Home Purge: Week 1

I have a crazy plan to sell, give away or recycle one item every day until we move in July.  Crazy plans are sort of my M.O.

We are totally thrilled about living in Boston starting this summer, but not as excited about the process of moving there.  Actually, Nat practically breaks out in hives at the thought of moving.  It doesn't help that we tend to hang on to things that no one would want, including old tech items we've already replaced.  We need to reduce the amount of stuff that we own now if we want to move easily and maintain a more minimalistic home in Boston.

I will be thrilled if the money from selling items also covers new purchases like our portable scanner. We got it so that we can start making digital copies of our never-ending boxes of papers, acquired over a combined seventeen years in college and grad school, instead of moving them with us.   

See what we purged this week:


Item:  My eight year old laptop. 
Exit Strategy: Recycled through the Dell recycling arrangement with Staples
Cost: Free!  

After even the Jolicloud OS couldn't keep this baby alive for more than 20 minutes, it was time for it to retire.  You can drop off Dell computers at any Staples and they will recycle it for you at no cost.  I was so happy with how quick and easy they made it.  Dell offers several other free options for recycling, and Staples will take any other brand of e-waste off your hands for a $10 fee.  


Item:  Digital camera- probably ten years old
Exit Strategy: Recycled through Recycling For Charities
Cost:   $4.00 to package and ship to Boulder, CO

If they are able to resell the item the profit will go to the charity of my choice.  If not, they recycle it.

Item:  Box full of notes
Exit Strategy: Recycled
Cost:  free

This is the first box of notes, old exams, and syllabi that we can live without.  Counting paper as an item may seem like cheating, but sorting through all the papers lying around in the office was a time-consuming project for both of us.  Then I had to go through and remove metal and plastic bits.  Scanning the rest of our notes will also be a big project....


Item:  Book
Exit Strategy: Sold through Sell on Amazon
Earnings: $12.50

This part of the project is a bit inconvenient for me since I don't have a printer at home for printing the packing slips.  Otherwise, uploading a new book to sell seems a bit faster on Amazon than on Half.com, and I think this quick first sale is evidence that my books will also sell faster on Amazon.


Item: Class Notes for History of the Middle East with Dr. Stewart
Exit Strategy:  Scanned with our new compact Magic Wand portable scanner, then recycled
Cost: $96 for the scanner itself and $14 for the necessary SD card, both of which we're planning to use again frequently. 

Scanning this first set of notes took several hours, because I had to set up the scanner and download CutePDF, PDFSam, and update Java (all free) so that I could convert the JPGs to PDF.  Luckily, I have time for this because it is spring break and it's something I can do while we're watching Dexter. 

Thursday & Friday:

Item: Two Cell Phones
Exit Strategy: Recycling through National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Cost:  Free - they provide shipping labels!

Week One Debrief:

Our move will be at least one box lighter after this week.  It was more work than I expected, but I think it was worth it because the e-waste would probably have been thrown away unsafely if we had waited until the move to deal with it.  At this point we're about $104 dollars in the red on this project, but I haven't focused much on selling things yet.

Are you doing any spring cleaning? 


  1. The magic wand looks really cool. We're looking at scanning a lot too, so we don't have to carry boxes and boxes around with us. It might be worth it in the end. Is it much faster than using a regular scanner that is attached to the printer?
    I love your idea of one thing a day. Good luck!

  2. Hi Ella... wanted to thank you for your visit to my blog today and noticed your living in Champaign-Urbana.. in school all these years.. whow! I came to Florida from the same area.. went to UofI also and worked my catering business out of the Levis Center.. I also read your moving to Boston...Moving is fun.. I've done it,, hmmm? maybe 100 times over my lifetime and this is it.. I'll never move again.. Told my husband to just scatter my ashes out back......lol
    Thanks again for your visit..
    Enjoy the move.. you will like Boston!

  3. Katie - I don't think the Magic Wand is faster - you have to move the scanner across the page slowly and evenly so that you don't distort the image. We picked it because it is much smaller. The image quality is good though. The digital versions of my notes have been totally legible, even if they were written in pencil, and it can also scan color images.

    Sandy - Small world! We love living in CU, but we've got at least two moves ahead of us in the next five years. Hope you get to stay put!

  4. Adrielle, you have a lovely blog!
    We are totally obsessed with the idea of scanning everything and going almost paperless. Please keep us updated... I am very curious to hear how you like your scanner!

  5. So Margee had told me about this blog post, and I just got around to finding your blog. Derek has a similar goal for me--we need to get digitalize our Hillsdale notes, too, especially now that we're living in CA where no one has basements! I'm inspired! Let's see if the kids let me accomplish even a quarter of what you're doing... =)

  6. My only regret at the end was that we didn't get rid of more! Good luck!


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