6 Week Round-Up and the 5 Priority Possessions We’ve Managed to Shed

We’re back and excited to share some return to success over here at Shed52. As dedicated readers will know, we were deep in the Shed52 struggle for the past few weeks, with no takers on our Stakmore Table Set and it turns out that you actually can say “no” to a muppet on a bicycle. We managed to continue to pare down our possessions in weeks 4 and 5 by giving away freebies and donating lots of clothes from our closets. But the point of Shed52 has been to sell our stuff and feature worthy charities to whom we can donate in the process. So, needless to say, these past few weeks have put a crimp in our style.

Not that kind of crimp.

Fortunately, things have turned around for us in Week 6 and we’re psyched to report that we were able to sell an item that’s been taking up a lot of space at our place, getting minimal use, and serving as the site of the occasional teen-sibling fist fight. (I love our family, but let’s face it: teen siblings with mountain dew and Doritos in their systems are scarier than a Sharknado in a midnight rainstorm.)

Back to letting the cat out of the bag. A bean bag, to be exact. That’s right: we were able to sell a LoveSac gamer beanbag/memory foam chair that we received as a gift from a family member who was moving several years ago, back when I believed that you could never have too many kinds of chairs in one room. I couldn’t say “no” to a velvish fluff-ball on which I imagined many hours of book-reading would be spent. (I selectively forgot at the time that kids have smartphones now and books are just obsolete ipads in their eyes.) As you can imagine, this underused item has been a bit of a dark cloud in our house for the past few years. Literally.

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Exhibit B: Dark Cloud

We posted this bad boy on Facebook’s Marketplace a few weeks ago, where I imagined throngs of gamers in need of a new seating situation would eagerly be outbidding one another on our totally reasonable asking price of $175. (I know what you’re thinking– but these retail new for $350, without the velvish cover! And you don’t get what you don’t ask for.)

Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way, and for two weeks, we were forced to resort to keeping our bike in the garage and the LoveSac in the living room. In the meantime, we did manage to continue in our decluttering quest, despite the many obstacles we were facing  and the limited time we’ve had to dedicate thought to this process. It’s true: I have an uncanny knack for biting off way more than I can chew and perpetually wondering how it will all get done. So basically I chose the perfect time to start a blog.

Accurate representation of me pretty much every morning.

The good news? Our new good friend named James came through unexpectedly on Monday night and asked to pick up the LoveSac for $75. We were eager to be able to donate to the survivors of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, where virtually the entire island is without power, so we took James up on his offer and met up the next day. He shared with us that the LoveSac was a gift for his 14 month old daughter, and of course our hearts melted, and before I knew what I was doing, we were telling him to just take it for $60. I drive a hard bargain, I know.

And since that papa’s got a brand new bag, we feel like a total weight has been lifted in this joint. It’s also given us some time to reflect on this journey so far, which is perfect timing, since today is Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. We’re looking back and feeling lots of gratitude for the privileges we enjoy every day, and also looking ahead to living more intentionally and more justly. This also coincides perfectly with our plan to give readers a recap of everything we’ve sold/donated in the past 6 weeks:

6 Week Recap

  1. Item: IKEA Kallax Bookcase     Sold: $35     Donation: Southern Poverty Law Center
  2. Cherry Oak Bar                           Sold: $200   Donation: Houston Food Bank
  3. Malm Dresser (Boss’s)               Sold: $80      Donation: Jimmy Fund
  4. Nifty Doodad                         Given Away      Donation: Nothing. We’re the Worst
  5. Bags of Clothes                      Given Away      Donation: Goodwill
  6. LoveSac                                        Sold: $60      Donation: Unicef for Puerto Rico

We’re hoping that our practice of donating about 25%-50% of our proceeds from these sales will inspire others to give what they can to worthy causes in a time of great instability in our world.

We’re also excited to announce our next item up for grabs on the blog, along with an organization very near and dear to our hearts and a totally epic announcement about an encounter with a total hero next week. But we don’t want to give anything away…

Not all heroes wear capes.

Check back later this week to learn all about it. In the meantime, tell us about the dark cloud of your decluttering journey. Is it a giant beanbag? Trash bags classy plastic containers full of gently used clothes? What GIF best represents your Shed52 Struggle?



A Special Post: Jason Weighs in on the True Weight of Stuff

As I read Shed52, I am struck by how much it is less about getting rid of stuff and more about the existential meaning that we make of our stuff and the meaning our stuff suffuses into our lives.  Shedding possessions would be easy if it were simply a matter of finding things – inanimate objects – around us that clutter our lives and thereby also our thoughts.  But our thoughts are so attached to our things, not out of avarice or need, but out of a matrix of meaning in which we are ensconced.  It is difficult to shed our stuff because of the significant space it takes in our minds.


Example 1: My car.  Today my car sputtered out and was left on the side of the road for dead.  As a mass of metal, electronics, and rubber, it holds no particular importance in my life’s priorities.  As a means of transportation, it holds somewhat high importance because it isn’t so easy to get from Brookline, where I live, to Norton, MA, where I teach, by public transportation or even Uber or Lyft.  But the car – and its treasonous transmission, or whatever it is that gave way – is symbolic in my mind of so much more than mere transportation.  I’m not talking status symbol or even American independence (which, in the popular mythology, has been constructed around our vehicles).  I’m talking survival mode.  The demise of my automobile is inextricably linked in my mind with my economic, physical, and mental deterioration.  I’m sure that this is just apocalyptical exaggeration. But am I?  Which is the lie – that it will be alright, or that it is the beginning of the end?  I waiver back-and-forth in my judgment.

RIP you little silver beast.

Example 2: Memorabilia.  I don’t know about you, but I have a little box in which I place various items of what I affectionately call “Memorabilia.”  These items include movie ticket stubs, birthday cards, concert programs, and old driver’s licenses and school ID cards.  I find I put something in the little box about once a week.  This is frequently enough that, by the end of a year, or six months even, the little box needs to be emptied into a big box.  And after 40 some-odd years of walking this planet, those big boxes now tally in the double digits.  Why do I do this?  I don’t know.  I enjoyed the movie – or more likely the companion with whom I went to the movies.  I imagine someday I may want to recall just what pieces were performed at the concert.  I like to see what I looked like when my driver’s license was issued and compare it to the next expired license.  In those cartons is contained my life – or so it feels.  Lose that and there goes my entire past.  

Boxes of every student ID, alumni magazine and toll receipt Jason ever had.


Example 3: Books.  Yes, I am a bibliophile.  Books, or “The Original Portable Information Device,” as I like to call them, have a tangibility to them that the Kindle does not.  I can feel the pages and, as I love to do with old, weathered, yellowing books, smell the pages.  We are living in a digital world and I am a material girl, to turn a phrase.  But more than that, books mean so much beyond their presentation to the senses.  They are friends from my past or, possibly friends I shall discover in the future.

There are also those books that were left to me from my father.  He didn’t have a life insurance policy.  He didn’t have money.  He didn’t have a mansion.  But he did have books – tons of books!  As someone remarked to me soon after his untimely death, “These,” she said, feeling the spines of the books on the shelves of his library, “these are your inheritance.”  She was right.  I could remember as a child, almost from before I could read, wandering among his stacks and stacks of books (before he had a library in which to house them) and seeing all the covers and dust jackets and wondering in awe what was contained within them.  Some of them I began to read over the years.

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A literary favorite and the perfect gift. Valentines Day 2016.

And then when I went to college, I would ask my father if I could “borrow” this book and that for my classes.  Never did I return any of those books.  And then, after college, when I would visit home, it became a ritual of mine to silently wander among his tightly packed shelves and pull out a book here and there that caught my eye.  His library was organized in a haphazard way – very loosely by topic.  Each time I performed the ritual, I could swear new books were appearing.  But though he occasionally bought new books, the fact wasn’t that I was finding all the new ones, but that my interests were growing ever more broad and so a book that I passed by before would now call to my rapacious curiosity.

So it was, just a few weeks ago when, putting the house that my parents lived in up for sale, I was allowed one last rite of passage through the stacks.  I carefully combed the tomes and found a number of books that I swear I had never seen before, even though my father had passed away over a decade ago.  Among them was  A Canticle for Leibowitz.  I had never heard of this novel until a couple of years ago when a quote from it caught my eye.  “You don’t have a soul. . . .  You are a soul.”  

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Since reading that quote – and I don’t recall where I came across it – I have heard more and more about this novel by Walter M. Miller.  Suddenly, there it was in my father’s wide-raging collection of low tech mobile information devices.  I took it and about thirty other volumes from the library and had to bid farewell to all the other books that made up his collection – a reflection of his mind – and accept that no longer would new titles appear as if from nowhere among that sacred space for me.  

So you see, stuff is not really just stuff.  The stuff that is just stuff is easily parted with. But the stuff that we carry with us– sometimes it sinks us, and sometimes it carries us right back.   

What’s the stuff that carries you? What do you know is so special, that you could never part with it? Tell us below and check back on the blog this week to learn where Shed52 falls in our list weekly goals!

Week 5 Recap: When Life Needs to Take a Long Walk Off a Short Pier

It’s another Sunday here at Shed52 and we can’t believe all that the universe can manage to pack into one family’s life in just 7 days. We’ve been eager to return to this amazing little community here at WordPress since Wednesday, but each day has brought a new challenge and rendered us pretty useless in the blogosphere, and mostly just trying to survive. To give you a sense of what we mean, here’s a rundown. Because who doesn’t love a good Sunday morning list?

  1. There’s this tiny little storm moving through the great state of Florida and both Jason’s mom and my parents live just north of Fort Lauderdale. They also all live in waterfront homes. Jason’s mom is on oxygen, so we were able to persuade her to get out fast and come be with us on Wednesday. Unfortunately, this cost us about $800 for a last minute flight. More unfortunate was that my folks decided to stay, and are currently hunkered down in their tiny space awaiting the worst.

    This satellite photo accurately captures the scale of this storm, which they say is nearly the size of Jason’s book collection.
  2. The federal government officially announced plans to rescind DACA, which means that Jason, an immigration attorney, has been inundated with calls and visits from deeply worried clients who are in fear for their status and their families. We understand this as a human rights issue more than a political one, and it’s heartbreaking at the end of a week to know how many folks are suffering right now.5535C056-93C2-440F-9D4E-9555F570CDD3_cx0_cy6_cw0_w1023_r1_s.jpg
  3. The federal government also made vague, worrying and misleading comments about Title IX, the federal civil rights law that protects people on the basis of their sex and gender in educational institutions. This greatly affects my work as a sexual trauma counselor and advocate at a nearby university and needless to say, I’m fired up about continuing to effectively and appropriately respond to survivors of violence in my community. This is difficult to balance with my concurrent desire to just hide under a blanket with a bucket of pumpkin mac ‘n’ cheese, because it’s September and I’m a New Englander.il_340x270.1336049079_bez9.jpg
  4. I continue to have no idea what I’m doing in the one PhD class I was stupid enough to register for this semester (what’s a Piaget, anyway?) and would rather bake cakes all weekend than read books, so that’s what I’ve been doing to cope.
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    Peach upside down cake, baked with brown sugar & bourbon caramel. I call it “Procrastinator’s Delight.”

    Jason’s car exploded bit the dust on the highway this week and we learned it’s worth nothing and we’ll get roughly zero dollars for it. He got about 165K miles out of it, but we were disheartened to learn that you can, in fact, kill a Subaru. He just got a great deal on a preowned Prius yesterday (yay!) but we’re reeling from sticker shock of this week, and the cumulative effect of all these other matters.

    World’s most expensive trash can, according to Jason.

We were worried that this would mean we would fail to continue to empty out our house of useless stuff, like the two kids’ bikes I hoped to sell for $29 a piece. We have’t been able to pursue the sales as persistently as we’d like, and so nothing’s sold as of yet!

On second thought, it would have been pretty great to see Jason use this to get around instead.

However, Jason was quick to point out that, with the loss of his car likewise means the loss of all of the utter junk that was piled up in it. I frequently refer to Jason’s car as a “trash can on wheels” because it’s accumulated nearly 10 years of kids’ bubblegum wrappers, crumbs, loose change, and of course, random scraps of paper (yes, I try to clean it out frequently, but anyone with kids will know what I mean). This isn’t to mention the formidable stench of a teenage boy’s hockey equipment, which is enough to chase you out of the car and into a sewer during peak season.

Me, every single season.

So while I’m not feeling like we’re “winning” at Shed52 these past few weeks, I have to give credence to all the obstacles we’ve been facing as a family and also give credit to the fact that we’re not giving up. This blog has definitely helped us remain accountable to ourselves in this quest to give up “stuff” and I have a renewed sense of commitment to shedding at least one item this afternoon. One stop I know I can make is to our local Goodwill with a bag of clothes to be sent to survivors of these recent Hurricanes. Right after I start this homework.

Check back tomorrow for a very special post from Jason! He’ll be sharing what Shed52 has meant to him, and reflecting on the true weight of stuff in our lives. We’ve also been procrastinating dealing with the issue directly in front of us with other writing projects, such as this piece I just published over at Medium about what Harry Potter can teach us about white supremacy. If you’re like us and in need of a little break this weekend, feel free to check it out, comment and share!

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“What White People Can Learn from harry Potter About White Supremacy” on Medium, September 10, 2017

How are you all doing with the recent happenings in the U.S. and around the world? Are you or your loved ones in the path of Hurricane Irma? How have you been coping? What’s sorts of things do you use to stay hopeful and on track with your goals when the going gets tough? We’d love to hear from you below!


Lemonade, Shed52 Style

We’re here with a quick update, as promised, to fill readers in on the stressful seven days we just spent trying to sell the item we had selected for Week 4 on Shed52. We knew we were bound to hit some snags, and anticipated that we might have to pivot to make good on our commitment to this process.

As the old saying goes, “When life hands you a vintage card table that nobody wants, try to sell it for a short while and then just give up.” It’s kind of the home organization equivalent of Lemonading. Kind of.


I have a lot of old sayings I like to make up when things aren’t going my way, like this past week while I was wringing my hands over the Stakmore Set that nobody wanted. And you know? The longer we were trying to sell that thing, the more attached to it I became. I have virtually no use for it. I’ve never played Bridge. And it’s certainly not my style. But it’s still ours, because in a brazen sleight of hand on Sunday I decided to switch out the Shed52 Item of the Week and pretend like these poor old pieces were never up for grabs to begin with.

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But seriously, will someone please buy this?

So how did we make good on our promise to keep getting old junk out the door for Week 4? In a series of hasty moves, driven mostly by impulse and instinct rather than intention, I found myself scanning the house on Sunday for anything that looked like we could live without it. It’s not exactly the conscious uncoupling we’ve been humble-bragging about practicing on this blog, but we were feeling a little desperate and short on time, now that we’re also trying to get Jason’s mom out of southern Florida a week early for her upcoming visit to Boston.

I ended up almost overlooking this nifty doodad, which I’ve had for probably 15 years. I call it a doodad because I have no idea what it actually is, or what it’s for. It’s moved across 3 cities and 5 apartments with me, and to this day, I have no idea what to do with it. This photo might fail to capture just how small those teeny drawers are, but each one has enough storage for about two earrings and a hay penny. I also have yet to explain my bemusing habit of leaving my jewelry everywhere (that’s for another post) and so needless to say, this doodad never had a chance at serving whatever its teleological purpose may be.

Exhibit A: Nifty Doodad

I realized that it’s offering neither form nor function for us at this point, and at about 7 pounds, it weighs more than I’m willing to schlep to any other apartments if we ever have to move. So I slapped a post-it on it (“Free!”) put it on our stoop and waited like Joe Biden in the window totally casually to see if there would be any takers.

Joe understands my plight.

And then I accidentally fell asleep. But! When I woke up, like magic, the nifty doodad was gone. I assume some eccentric neighbor with exactly 6 pairs of earrings serendipitously stumbled upon it and that it was the answer to all of their tiny-home-storage problems. It’s probably as close to feeling like Beyonce as I’ll ever get. And yes, I know how sad that sounds. In any case, we were able to at least ensure that we’re one more item down in the quest to de-clutter, and looking ahead to the rest of our shedding the rest of our stuff.

What’s on tap for Week 5? My confidence is a little shaken by this past round of Shed52, but I’m holding out hope that we can appeal to the masses with a few bicycles the kids outgrew like 6 years ago. If you know anyone in the market, get at me. They’re in great condition and I dare you to say “no” to a muppet on a bike.

This could be you, reader, if the price is right.

5 Ways that Jason Contributes to Clutter (or, Bad Buddhist)

Happy Monday! We’re in slow motion over here at Shed52, enjoying a leisurely holiday weekend of hosting two of our favorite relatives from Cleveland and eating more pizza than should be legal in most states. Beautiful days like this one (70s and sunny here!) remind us why we deal with such a temperamental climate and high cost of living in Boston. Fall will be here before we know it, but we’ll be getting as much time outside and on restaurant patios as weather will allow.

If considering brunch to be a food group is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I might also be procrastinating a little by spending the weekend brunching around outside, since I’ve started taking classes toward a PhD (social workers are a special kind of masochist) and French toast is much more appealing to me than French theories on human social development. At least, for now.

And speaking of procrastination, Jason’s been totally avoiding enjoying thinking about the ways in which he contributes to clutter in our house. Since he’s not likely to make an actual list, we… um… collaborated… to share his top 5 clutter culprits in our over-crowded space. I may have taken some liberties in sharing photo evidence of these adorable idiosyncrasies, mostly as a cry for help, and partly in an attempt to garner sympathy. Jason, I love you. Please don’t break up with me.


The 5 Things Jason Can’t Keep from Cluttering our House

1. Books

I don’t even know where to begin here (though you may recall my reference to Jason’s “Bibliomania” in a previous post) but Jason loves books. As in, we once had a conversation about what we could never live without in life and for Jason, books came before both me and his children. I’ve been told that Jason takes after his dad in his love of books, which is deeply heartening and a sweet tribute (Jason’s dad passed away several years ago) and it seems they both had a wide-spanning love of all genres, authors and subjects.

Which is great! Really! Except Jason doesn’t just read books. He owns them. He has to buy them, borrow them, order them, and then store them. We have 1000 books JUST IN OUR LIVING ROOM. That’s not an exaggeration. I counted once. (Yes, I know I need a hobby.) And we have just a measly thousand in the living room because that’s all she can hold. That means our dining room, breakfast nook, bedroom, garage and basement also have books. Jason and I almost broke up once over a storage unit he couldn’t get rid of, because books. In sum, books haunt my dreams.

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A sampling of what I found on Jason’s nightstand this morning. You may note the irony that Jason has a very non-zen attachment to books on Buddhism.

2. Papers. Just Like, Random Papers.

I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’ve peered into the minds of normal people before and I know that normal people would be thinking “But Rach! Books are MADE from paper. Haven’t you already covered this?” I envy you, normal people.

No. I haven’t covered this. “Papers. Just like, Random Papers.” gets its own subheading because this is a type of clutter that accumulates on a whole ‘nother level. It creeps in from every corner of Jason’s world. He uses scraps of paper as bookmarks for his bajillion books he’s  simultaneously reading. He uses paper to take down phone numbers instead of putting them into his iPhone like everyone else does. He writes down thoughts that he has and wants to remember instead of just remembering them. He’s kept every single sales receipt from every. single. purchase. he’s. ever. made. They’re in a giant garbage bag somewhere in this house, and that is just terrifying.

Coffee table, Sunday morning, pre-Jason

But it’s not just the accumulation of papers that contributes to the cluttered chaos of our living space. It’s how they coexist with us in the space. Jason (who I swear is my favorite person) has a way of manspreading his papers around the house such that they take up every possible inch of every possible surface we have. Tabletops, counters, couch cushions, buffets, consoles, and even the tops of our clunky old radiators usually have scraps of paper, or Jason’s manuscripts, or sheet music strewn across them. Jason insists that he needs to do this in order to know where things are. I’m pretty sure he does it because otherwise he’ll forget they exist. Needless to say, we’ve managed to accept one another for our different orientations to reality, which usually means I’m tidying, stacking and sorting papers and Jason steps in just to spread everything out again. Have I mentioned yet that I really do love him?

Coffee table, 5 minutes later, post-Jason

3. The Invisible Man

I fully realize that this next item may not count, per se, in terms of how one brings in things that contribute to clutter in the house, but Jason’s not writing this and so I have creative license here. I’m mentioning this one because I think I’ve burned more calories closing drawers, cabinets and doors in the past year than doing probably anything else. I don’t know what it is, but Jason (and both of the kids) have this baffling habit of opening, say, every single cabinet in the kitchen, and then just LEAVING THEM OPEN. FOREVER.

I’ve joked (okay I might have been crying) about coming home to a house that looks like it was raided by a poltergeist, but no amount of coaxing or operant conditioning will convince them to just close things after they open them. I call it the “invisible man” because no one ever seems to be able to determine exactly who does it, because it’s literally everyone except me. I realize it doesn’t add to clutter, technically, but by god, what good are doors and drawers if they’re not masking over the shame of clutter!? They have one job.

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If this kitchen looks cramped and awful, that’s because it is. And also because every cabinet is open in it.

Real talk: Does anyone else have partners or families who do this? I’m half ready to fund a sociology student to do their dissertation on this phenomenon. I need answers.

4. Obsolescent Stuff that Jason is Convinced Will Be Relevant Again One Day

It won’t. I’m not just talking about mix tapes and CDs (Jason’s a musician, so I’ve resigned myself to living in an apartment that’s always going to have like 5 more Phil Collins albums than ever needed to be made). I’m talking about computer keyboards from 1992. I’m talking about extension cords that kind of look like they were actually invented before electricity was. I’m talking about VHS tapes, and weird pottery that will never come out of our garage, and okay, yes, I’m also talking about those Phil Collins CDs. We have a Spotify Premium account, for godsake!

And yes, Jason still owns every single computer he’s ever owned since the late 80s. He also still owns every word processor and electric typewriter he’s ever had. They don’t turn on. They don’t contain any information he’ll ever need or be able to access. But we’ll be damned if we’re going to free up some prime real estate in the garage by throwing out the world’s most expensive paperweights.

Free to a good home. Just kidding. We’re crazy.

5. Books

Your eyes have not deceived you! I’m giving books a whole second section because a) SERIOUSLY SO MANY BOOKS, and b) because really, Jason is a pretty simple, wonderful guy who puts up with a lot from me and all he needs in life is books, coffee and some quiet time to think each day. Shed52 has, if nothing else, helped me realize that I am actually the one who contributes the most to the “stuff” in our house, with purchases, freebies, tchotchkes and furniture. Jason knows how to live in a space in a way that makes him happy, and he actually doesn’t require many material things to do that. Unless you count each individual book as a separate material thing. Which I usually do.

I might be giving Jason a hard time about the burdens of living with a bibliophile, but the truth is that Jason never complains about anything. His natural disposition is warm, thoughtful and friendly and that’s probably why he’s never met a book he didn’t like. And that’s also probably why books are his best friend, and why they all live with us at Shed52.

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Jason’s besties. Pay no mind to the tribute being paid to the compact disc.

So there you have it. Jason may contribute to the cluttered ways in which our space gets lived in, but I nobly accept that I’m the one who acquires the most stuff. By taking a closer look at our own habits, we’ve already begun to treat our space differently, which is an unexpected but positive byproduct of this silly blogging adventure.

And if you’ve gotten to the end of this post and are wondering whether I’m also procrastinating about sharing whether we managed to sell/get rid of our Week 4 item the answer is yes (yes, as in, I’m procrastinating. not yes, as in, we sold it). We’re not telling yet, so you’ll have to check back in later at Shed52 to see whether we bounced back from our struggle to sell, or if we dropped the ball!

What kinds of funny habits have you noticed in your family members/ partners/ fur babies that contribute to the chaos of a cluttered house? I have to know I’m not alone here. Share below, and maybe gather the whole family ’round to read this post too.

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You thought those cabinets were filled with non-books? Don’t be ridiculous.



De-Cluttering Detour

Update: We’re already donating to the Houston Food Bank to support the extraordinary survivors and helpers in Houston, but since we’ve also already posted our item of the week, we are offering to donate 50% of the proceeds of the sale to the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County. See our Instagram and Facebook for details. Item pictured below:

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You’re gonna see this photo twice in this post because #houston

As we mentioned on our Instagram account this morning, we’ve been struggling to sell the item we posted on Shed52 this week. It seems folks in our area aren’t interested in a vintage Stakmore table and chair set, even though we’ve set it at the all-too-fair price of $399. These pieces usually hold resale values of around $450 and apparently the more seasoned Bridge players among us have been known to lay down up to $500 for a set in mint condition.

Unfortunately, it also appears that seasoned Bridge players have no idea what Facebook Marketplace is, and probably aren’t following our Instagram for the latest and greatest on what’s happening at Shed52. Seasoned Bridge players are the worst.

I kid! No matter the reason why buyers in our area aren’t biting this week, the home organization gods (all named after modular Scandinavian sofas) presented an opportunity that we just couldn’t turn down. It’s a de-cluttering dilemma with a happy ending, so gather round on the Norsborg on this chilly Boston evening and get ready for some Hygge-style story time.

you and me, dear reader. cuddle up.

Yesterday, while discussing our recent exploits in blogging and inspiration for Shed52, my boss and I turned to the subject of her house. She lives in a beautiful cape just outside of Boston that’s recently undergone lots of updating and upgrading, including expanding their family to include three adorable kids. This has also meant lots of change and transition in terms of furniture, storage and home organization needs as the kids get older, bigger, and more outspoken about their indisputable interior decorating needs.

This isn’t her kids’ bedroom, but I found it on the internet and wondered if this was a surprise for some kid, and how that worked out for everyone.

With new stuff going in to her house and old stuff coming out- including cribs and baby clothes that she has generously donated to coworkers and friends- my boss mentioned casually that she’d like to sell an item or two like we have been. She doesn’t have Facebook and jokingly (I think) said that I should post her Ikea MALM Dresser on Shed52. I jokingly (I think) replied that I’d totally do it if she’d donate some of the proceeds to charity*, and she seriously (I hope) agreed. So last night, she sent me a quick pic of the item, which I then posted to the Marketplace for $80.

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It was actually like a regular MALM.


Within roughly 30 seconds, a totally trustworthy 20-something named Gabe offered full price, and I mistakenly told him we’d be donating 100% of the proceeds to charity.** I also then explained that it wasn’t my stuff. And that it wasn’t located at my house. And that the person he’d meet when he picked it up would actually be the nanny. But not my nanny. It would be my boss’s nanny. And also there would be a sleepy baby. Needless to say, I was equal parts surprised and impressed when Gabe actually showed up today.

The Jimmy Fund, an amazing charity for pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Fast-forward to this afternoon: Honest Gabe turned out on time to take the dresser away, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t even wake the sleeping baby. Good work, Gabe! My boss and I discussed the financial part of the transaction in a conversation that would probably rule us out of a career in organized crime:

“So, I’ll just ask him to Venmo you later?”

“I guess? Hope he’s good for it.”

“Yep. Also what kind of cookies are in the break room?”

The best part about this unexpected detour in our de-cluttering efforts on Shed52 is that 50%*** of the proceeds of this sale will go directly to the Jimmy Fund, a charity that my boss supports regularly in honor of her dad. It’s inspiring to think about how the “stuff” of our every day lives can go from supporting the wellbeing of the littlest and newest people in our families to honoring elders or loved ones whom we’ve lost. It might seem trite to aggrandize the function of a piece of bedroom furniture, but these humbling encounters over the past few weeks have me rethinking the value of clutter.

So there you have it. 24 hours, 80 bucks, and one truck later, and we’ve at least helped one home scale down on their stuff. We still have 4 days to try and meet our goal of getting rid of the Stakmore set, but if we don’t meet our deadline, can we get a free pass this time around? I think Gabe and his 80 dollars worth of assembly-free storage would vote yes.

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If this gets $399, we’ll be donating $200 to survivors of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Spread the word.

What suggestions do you have for getting this table/chair set out the door at our place? Can we pull it off in time? Tell us how, and check back later this week to see if we’re in for another win, or what happens if we’re not!

*by “some” I later realized I meant, like, all of the proceeds

**100% = like, all of the proceeds. oops.

***sorry, boss! you’re super great and generous. please don’t fire me.

5 Ways We Contribute to Clutter in Our House

It’s been amazing to spend the past few weeks thinking more deeply about what should still have a place in our space, and what can go. When we first conceived of Shed52, we imagined that we’d be getting rid of the big and small things that are scattered around our modest living space by determining what we just didn’t use anymore. What we didn’t expect was the kinds of compulsion-driven conversations would emerge about what we can confidently categorize as either:

  1. “necessary/useful item that should definitely be here!”
  2. “what even IS that thing? i don’t remember buying it. be gone, useless thing!”

It turns out that we probably haven’t gotten rid of this stuff before because it causes a lot of stress to think about letting go of it. Especially when it’s the type of stuff that we have weird, unconscious emotional attachments to and then it ends up accumulating in every imaginable drawer, cabinet or gap between the wall and furniture. We both do this in different ways and so we thought it might be a good idea to share about it by identifying 5 ways in which we each contribute to the clutter.

For example, I’ve been calling more attention to the fact that, when I feel like I can’t give some of my stuff the time or energy required to determine whether to keep it, I hide it from myself. Like a squirrel. I put it in a drawer or a random box (which is kind of like the Inception of clutter), consoled by the knowledge that it’s not entirely gone, but equally comforted by the fact that I don’t have to look at it, or crack that nut just yet. Yes, squirrels are my spirit animal.

What’s inside? I have no idea. But Christopher Nolan could probably make a movie about it.

As I’ve paid more attention to this over the last month, I’ve been laughing at myself and the neurotic ways that I accumulate– without even thinking– random clutter that must hold a place of importance in my unconscious, but equally holds a place of hilarious absurdity in our house. I’m bravely sharing those with you today, in part because I should actually really be cleaning our house right now but PLEASE GOD NO.

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5 Things Rach Can’t Keep From Cluttering Our House:

1. Random Ceramics & Glassware that we Definitely Don’t Need

I once tried to take an inventory of how many drinking glasses we had in our kitchen cabinets and I lost count at 50. You might be thinking “why’s this crazy white girl saying she has a small house when she’s got room for all that glass!?” I get it. But these are four dozen mismatched, sometimes broken, high-piled, mostly inherited displays of my inability to just say no to glass. I don’t understand it, but glassware is one of those things that I’ll accept as gifts from people, and then buy cheaply online or at IKEA, and then grab at a funky antique store and always justify because it tends to be inexpensive AND it speaks to the party host in me. The party host whose idea of heaven is a classy lawn party with cake plates and champagne coupes for days. We have so many platters, glasses, vases pitchers and pots that I’m on track to be one of those old folks who has to build a display shelf along their ceiling for every teacup they ever owned.

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can you count how many containers are photobombing this Fri-yay ‘gram?

2. Stuff with the Letter “R” on It

Despite the creatively cruel nicknames my brother gave me when we were little, my first initial is definitely “R.” My first and last name are also the same as that of my beloved grandmother, Nonna, who passed away in 2011. Despite her unending love for all of her grandkids, I always felt a special connection with her as her namesake, and held a special fascination with the monogrammed linens, towels and kerchiefs she had stashed away from the 40s and 50s. She used those kerchiefs as part of a sweet ritual we had when I was a kid, when she’d drop my brother and me off at home following the epic weekends we spent at her house.

After she and my grandfather would bid us goodbye on the front stoop of our parents’ place, they would slowly drive away while beeping, blowing kisses and shouting “goodbye!” to my brother and me as she waved her white monogrammed “R” kerchief out the window until they were out of sight. She looked like an actual queen, and it’s one of my favorite memories of her. So yeah, I’m #sorrynotsorry that I’ve collected a lot of random “R” stuff, and I’m not ready to part with it. Unless you know someone named Roger who’d love a monogrammed doily. Hit me up, Roger.

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Nonna tried to teach me to cross-stitch once and I was like “nah, I’ll just take your stuff one day.” I probably should have accepted her offer, but I was 7 and 7 year olds are savages.

3. Nautical Crap

Pardon my French, but one of the great mysteries of my life is why, in heaven’s name, I have such an affinity for nautical crap. I have no relationship to sailing, boats, celestial navigation or marine life that I can recall. I get seasick in kayaks. The older I get, the more scared I am of the ocean.  So what’s the deal with my endless need to collect decorative ship wheels, anchors, sailboats and themed screen prints? I wish I had the answer. But until then, I’ll hold on to my pipe dream that I’ll one day be an expert sailor, and friends will join me for a super bougie brunch in my little Laser sailboat on the Charles River, and everyone shall call me Captain. Also until then, our house will inexplicably be filled with wall-art, discarded buoys, and anchor-shaped jewelry. And yes, jewelry will probably get its own post at some point.

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My favorite antique store in Boston.

4. Picnic & Party Paperware

By now, you might have started to pick up on my fondness for the finer things in life, which, according to me, have everything to do with food and friends. I’ve realized by delving how I contribute to clutter in my house that most of where I spend my time, money and energy has to do with feeding friends and friendships. My ability to actually cook decent food might be up for debate (see our post on the infamous rice cooker from last week) but that hasn’t stopped me from luxuriating in countless hours planning, hosting and remembering parties and picnics we’ve held for friends and family over the past 5 years.

We’ve hosted Thanksgivings, ecumenical holiday parties, annual BBQs for the most important day of the year in Boston , dinner parties with crafty libations, and day-long picnics in green urban spaces all across the city. Nothing makes me happier than eating, drinking and being merry with our favorite people and seeing new, deep and lasting connections form between individuals whom we know are some of the best in the world. We also love to take friends for their first trip to our favorite outdoor music venue, Tanglewood, which is known for its incomparable lawn picnics during world-class concerts by the BSO, John Williams or Bonnie Raitt.

Unfortunately, this often leads me to get a little too enthusiastic about the goods at Paper Source, Target and even IKEA, and lord knows I can’t say no to a patterned cocktail napkin. Jason and I took a hard look at our budget from last year, and let me just summarize by saying that outdoor entertaining needed a line item for the 2018 fiscal year. But can we really ever put a price on making memories?

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Tanglewood Picnic Greatness. Complete with bubbly, photo props, color coordinated fresh flowers. I promise there was also food.

5. Dead Flowers

I’ve saved the worst best and most disturbing for last, because it’s the freakin’ weekend and you don’t need this kind of stress so early in your Saturday. As our last caption colorfully illustrates, about 3% of all that glassware I own is frequently put to use with all the fresh flowers I buy. Our local Trader Joes often has bunches of beautiful hydrangeas, tulips, sunflowers and roses for under $6 a pop.

The thing they don’t tell you at the store though is that, inevitably, flowers DIE. Seriously, has anyone ever seen this critical detail explicitly advertised in any floral department, ever? If you have, comment below with proof and rock my world.

Having the wisdom that comes with experience, I now know that all good bouquets must come to an end. And reasonable people who have dead, molting displays of unidentifiable flora in their house would probably do the adult thing and dispose of them. But I am not a reasonable person. This often means that our home is delightfully decorated with dead or dying $3.99 Star Market Specials, mournfully wilting and weeping all over the place. Like, for weeks. I’m actually sitting next to some right now. I’m not sharing a picture though because that would just be grotesque.

This is one area in which I AM actually very motivated to do better. Mostly because Jason’s mom yells at me about it with a twinge of both regret and resignation during every visit. I don’t know why I hold so fast to something as useless as dead flowers, but I have a feeling it’s tied more to procrastination than to an irrational attachment. This gives me hope. We’ll be getting further into how procrastination affects the volume of stuff in our house next week, when we take a look at the 5 Ways that Jason Contributes to Clutter. So buckle up.


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don’t be fooled by this adorable birthday tablescape. there will be dead flowers. everywhere.

If you’re feeling weirded out by these admissions or find yourself oddly drawn to confess your greatest sins as a clutter-prone consumer, feel free to comment below! What weird habits do you or your cohabitants have? We promise we won’t judge. But we may send you some dead flowers.

2020 goals: Sailboat brunching in Boston.                 A girl can dream.




Week 3 Update: Parting with Your Treasured Trash

3 cheers for 3 weeks! We bid goodbye to our precious rice maker on Tuesday morning as my colleague came through with her $5 purchase. I’m honestly delighted to have that shelf space back in our kitchen. I’m also tempted to sell our equally useless electric kettle, but I heard that there would be a mutiny from the other members of my household, who apparently aren’t convinced that our stove is capable of heating water.

We’ll be posting our next sale later on the blog this week, and it’s our riskiest attempt yet! (We’re told it’s vintage, and it’s a card table & chair set that apparently carries a value of about $450.00– when the sellers aren’t working against the clock!). Our hope is to collect enough on the sale of this set to be able to donate half the proceeds to another charity! Check back to see what kind of price we can fetch for it (yes, I’m going to make “fetch” happen).

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nevertheless, she persisted.

The more we share with readers and friends about all this “stuff” we’re trying to get rid of, the more we realize we’re not alone. Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise to us, since we were partly inspired to start this blog when we came across this Boston Globe article about Americans being buried, nearly literally, in their clutter. The TL;DR of the article is basically that we spend too much time acquiring money and things, such that we never actually get to enjoy the things we spend our time acquiring. That bougie fire pit that you thought you’d be gathering friends around all summer long with a chilled bubbly of questionable price point and origins? No way, Rosé.

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okay, so I do actually use my super bougie fire pit like all the time.

This article actually is an important snapshot of a particular socioeconomic class, though it doesn’t really acknowledge the material privilege associated with owning so much stuff. It basically purports that Americans are so busy consuming and stock-piling while paradoxically obsessing about decluttering and “simplifying” that many of us have mentally migrated to a place in which “possession” rather than “expression” is rendered synonymous with being “fulfilled.” Our focus on acquisition detracts from our ability to be immersed in love, vulnerability, joy, or new experiences that allow us to make memories within our communities. In a vigilant quest to acquire just enough, many Americans report some amount of overconsumption, and thus having to back peddle on how much stuff they think they need. Sadly, this often means purging their belongings as compulsively as they pursued their stuff to begin with.

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rare footage of a Sunday morning in which our coffee table isn’t covered in discarded mail, spilled coffee and seltzer cans.

I’m going to pause here to acknowledge that the this article is not an inclusive one, and is vulnerable to making sweeping generations about the struggles of all families in the U.S. To own this much and to be complaining about it it is, well, a special kind of problem. The article doesn’t address income inequality or the sense of food and other insecurities that families deal with that may contribute to folks’ feeling like it’s important to buy in bulk, or hold on to things they don’t currently need, or make small spaces work for large families, or dealing with the many systemic inequalities that must be disrupted and eradicated. There are many problematic dimensions to this kind of social issue even existing in a world like ours, and the inner cynic in me struggles to find compassion for folks who feel even the slightest sense of overwhelm when thinking “I just have too much! It’s just so hard to have it all!” (read: me.)

It’s tough out there for a yuppie.

If my soap-box digression here hasn’t lost you entirely (did I mention I’m a social worker?) I can get back to admitting that this article did partly inspire us. So did this one in the New York Times about the generational differences in how Americans value “stuff.” It essentially points out that millennials are much more caught up in a culture of mass production and pseudo-disposable goods, such as Ikea furniture, fast fashion, cheap household items and even plastic containers for their stuff. With so newly minted adult children unwilling to take furniture, wedding china and old Van Halen CDs from their parents’ storage units in the middle-class American family, baby boomers may find themselves stuck (again, privileged problems! Amiright!?)

Regardless, the struggle is apparently real, and it’s one which Jason and I have felt strongly that we must be reflective and thoughtful in addressing, especially as two individuals caught somewhere between the definition of millenial and generation x. We’re not super into shopping (Jason literally owns pants from 1997, but that’s not my story to tell). We’re not even big on consumer technology or trendy furniture or other home goods that could easily take up a lot of space. We tend to spend our money on entertaining friends at our house, going out to some of our favorite haunts in the amazing city that is Boston, or traveling to some of the best places in the world, when we can get away.

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we tell ourselves that hosting is a hobby. a very, very expensive hobby.

So how did we end up like the poor souls in these think-pieces we’re sharing here? As with most problems, there are many contributing factors, and not a single cause:

  1. We were both relatively established adults when we decided to move in together. Also, Jason is what I have affectionately deemed a “bibliomaniac” and owns roughly three billion books. So when we combined our stuff into one apartment, that meant we had a bed,15 bookshelves, those pants from 1997 and 3.00001 billion books.
  2. We have two teenagers who live with us about half the week, and split their time across two households. They have just about two (or three) of everything and let me just say that our house has more mismatched shoes than a DSW on Black Friday.
  3. I made the questionable life choice to go back to graduate school full-time approximately 5 minutes after we moved in together. For anyone who’s ever lived on a diet of student loans, part time jobs and generalized anxiety for two years, you know that the feeling of deprivation tends to linger, and it’s easy to fall into the trap in which you accept nearly anything labeled “free!” within a 5 mile radius. For me, that often yielded a lot of leftover pizza in the student lounge and tufted armchairs from nearby relatives who were downsizing.
  4. Okay, fine. I REALLY like tufted armchairs. We own like, seven of them, and of course none of them match, and concerned friends have begun to remark that our living room has started to give off a funeral parlor vibe. Which, I’m told, can be kind of a buzz kill at your Queen Sugar / OITNB / Insecure viewing party.
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5 generations of furniture in about 200 square feet.

So between collecting curbside treasures, priceless family heirlooms, nautical conversation-pieces (okay, maybe I have a problem) and the occasional splurge on super awesome local art, we have reached a tipping point and recognize that it takes great care not to simply trash the stuff that’s not cutting it any more. We don’t want to buy into the culture of disposability, but also don’t want to be those people (thanks, George Carlin!) any more than we already are.

There definitely have been spaces we’ve managed to mix and match old stuff with new, and investment pieces with actual repurposed recyclables. We’ll be sharing more about where we’ve found success with this and how we’ve struck a balance. It’s been fun to think about what counts as a keeper, and also to admit to ourselves what we’ve been holding onto and why. One of my best friends has a saying: “let go or be dragged.” We’re working on letting go.  Stick with us.

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pictured: my grandmother’s chair from 1966; chevron blanket from HomeGoods; burlap basmati rice bag that I literally just stuffed a pillow into.

Can you related to the articles in this post? What has contributed to the trash or treasures you’ve accumulated in your space? Is it family heirlooms, or roommates with an affinity for “found art?” How have you coped and what was your “tipping point” moment? Share with readers in the comments, so we know we’re not alone here!


“Sometimes, You Eat the Bar…”

If nothing else, this post will inform our readers of our undying love of The Big Lebowski, which is especially important on the eve of our favorite cinema’s biggest event of the year, Lebowski Fest! This is the first year that we haven’t been able to attend, so pardon our cheesy film references and half-baked puns.



But back to the bar! We were fortunate to have Nathalie (whose name we’ve obscured for her privacy) follow through on her purchase with us, and she and her boyfriend came to pick up the bar this weekend. She was so excited to surprise him with it (and with the news that he’d have to load it into the truck they had rented!) and even told us to keep the change when she paid the balance she owed on the item. Sidenote: We’ve been using Venmo to invite folks to put down deposits on the items they want to buy to ensure that we hold them for up to a week. It’s been working out really well!

It was great to chat with Nathalie while Jason and her fella loaded the bar into their truck. She and I laughed in admitting to one another that we had been sleuthing around one another’s facebook pages while we coordinated their pick-up date, because she saw that Jason and I were planning to march in yesterday’s white-supremacy counter-protest and she happens to work in a similar part of the anti-violence field as I do. We both expressed appreciation for the unique ways in which we can meet great new people and feel a sense of solidarity even in these funny little interactions.

40,000 at Boston’s counter-protest against white supremacy on August 19, 2017.

Nathalie jokingly asked what we planned to do with the cash she’d handed us, which got Jason and me thinking. We knew we intended to use at least a portion of the money we collect to be able to visit his mom in Florida this year (she hasn’t been feeling well and is a fierce, independent fire cracker of a lady who lives by herself). But we also are frequently scraping around for change to be able to support causes and communities that do so much to support us and the ones we love. These include the Southern Poverty Law Center, National Lawyers GuildVictim Rights Law Center, and the Massachusetts Bail Fund.  We’ll continue to feature organizations we support, such as Planned Parenthood and Black and Pink, along with links to their websites to encourage you to scope ’em out!

This week, in the wake of what’s happened across the United States and especially in our home community of Boston, Jason suggested that we donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center, to thank them for their critical and inspiring work in addressing and eradicating white supremacy and poverty in the U.S. We followed through on that tonight, and we’re looking forward to further incorporating these efforts into our journey on Shed52!

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So what’s up for sale this week on the blog? It might seem anticlimactic after a few banner weeks, but one thing I’ve been itching to get rid of is an oversized, underused stainless steel rice cooker we’ve had in our kitchen for about 2 years. It was one of those impulse purchases precipitated by a fleeting delusion in which you convince yourself that you eat roughly 7 cups of rice a day each and can’t possibly go another moment without this beauty occupying what little space in your kitchen was left for elbow-room and the occasional grease fire.

R2D2. He’s starving.

I’m the only person I know who can manage to burn rice in a device that was LITERALLY INVENTED TO MAKE THAT AN IMPOSSIBLE FEAT, but I always manage to achieve the impossible. The real spoiler of the moment is that I might already have a taker for this poor neglected little rice cooker, whom I’ve affectionately deemed R2D2*. A colleague of mine at work heard about Shed52 and our plans for unused appliances, and she claimed first dibs! We paid about $20 for R2 (yes, he even has a nickname) back in 2015 and I only destroyed cooked one batch of rice in it before realizing that whole grains are overrated and that I can probably just survive on cereal for the rest of my life.

My colleague promised that she’d give it a good home and offered to pay whatever I asked for it. She’s a favorite of mine, so we settled my suggestion $5.00 and that crisp Abe Lincoln will get us one step closer to booking flights to visit our favorite Floridian. Check back this week to see if she follows through, and if we’re 3 for 3 on Shed52!

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Do you have a favorite organization or charity that you donate to? Who should be on our radar as we continue to explore worthy causes to connect with Shed52? Tell us more about how you incorporate justice and solidarity into your life in the comments below!

*R2D2 in this case roughly translates to “Twice as much rice as you intended, twice the time you wanted to spend on it, twice the devastation when it all comes out terrible.”


Reduce, Resist, Recycle

Sorry for our brief hiatus as we’ve worked to get Shed52 off the ground! We’ve been traveling around Washington DC and Virginia all weekend for the wedding of some friends, and between the celebratory events of the past four days and the contrasting white nonsense in Charlottesville and beyond, we’ve been trying to conserve our energy.

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As some readers may know, our work lives and personal lives are very active and can be personally stressful. Jason is an immigration attorney and lecturer, and I’m a trauma-informed counselor/social worker who works with survivors of power-based violence. Needless to say, our workweek is often fueled and affected by social and political events, and we’ve learned that it’s essential to take consistent measures to take care of ourselves in order to be sustained in the work we do.

You might be wondering what place this commentary has on a blog like Shed52. But we believe that all politics is personal, and so too are our personal lives political. In fact, much of our inspiration for “shedding” our home of unnecessary possessions is linked to our desire to deprogram from an increasingly materialistic, consumerist way of being. This feels like a political, social intention we’ve set for ourselves. (Yes, we’re looking to pocket some dough in the process, but we’ll share more soon on what we intend to do with with the proceeds– and it’s not buying more stuff!) While we’re certainly not preaching any particular ideology to any of our readers, we do feel a responsibility to acknowledge our intention in the creation of Shed52– and all of the fun, joy and positivity it also brings us.

With that said, don’t go thinking that we’ve given up on our goals for de-cluttering in our second week! We were thrilled to find that Shed52: Week 2 has been even more successful than Week 1 (is there anywhere to go but down now!?). The whole story began with this beautiful piece that’s been sitting in our dining room taking up space for about 5 years:


And while you might think it fits perfectly, take note that it’s backed all the way against the wall, with no room for stools OR to access the storage that’s back there (which, frankly, is probably a good thing! Less storage = less stuff, maybe?).

We posted this sucker on Facebook Marketplace on Sunday last week and within 24 hours had about 10 inquiries. One woman offered our asking price right off the bat, and though she couldn’t pick it up until Saturday, she was willing to put down a deposit to claim it. We were more than happy to oblige, given that we were set to be out of town and unable to facilitate a pick-up before then anyway. She let us know that it was intended to be a gift for a loved one, and so how could we say no?

The grand total? We’ll have made $200 on this poor old bar when all is said and done. Not bad, considering we paid a little more than double for it a half decade ago and almost never used it. And while I’m super tempted to buy this scaled down solution to store our many fancy libations, I know better than to go out and just replace “stuff” with more fancy “stuff.” Even if it is pretty. And gold.

Which leads us to our next steps in de-barring our house. What solutions have you come up with when you’re scaling down on storage, but still have necessary items to that need a home? (Yes, gin is a necessary item in this house/political climate.) Have you been able to consolidate or re-purpose bar areas, or find innovative ways to display items you like to make available to guests? As always, let us know in the comments.

And stay tuned Shed52: Ep.3! We’ll be previewing our items up for grabs later this week! Oh, and take care of you and yours.

Why Shed52?

Many of you have been writing to us with questions about what inspired us to try a project like this, and why we’re making such a process of it rather than just holding a yard sale, donating everything, or getting a dumpster.

Well, wonder no more! We’re here to answer your questions.

The truth is, Jason gets all the credit on this one (including the name; he asked me to make sure I said that). Jason determined that, as our track record clearly demonstrates, we can’t be relied upon to purge ourselves of our least prized possessions in one fell swoop. If we could, we would have! But, we can’t! And so we haven’t.

As a self-admitted procrastinator, Jason tends to joke that he’s “allergic to the future.” This often means that I’m doing the planning in this outfit. Don’t get me wrong: Jason is just as necessary to this team as I am, especially since I get so overwhelmed with all the planning I do that I am often paralyzed by it. Jason keeps me present and grounded when it looks like I’m spiraling into an emotional apocalypse about what we’re going to make for dinner, or whether I’ll ever see Iceland.

What’s the point here? We’re essentially saying that, yes, we’ve tried to have a yard sale. In fact, we’ve talked about it approximately twice a year for the past 5 years. Usually when one of us has climbed out of an avalanche of mystery boxes in the basement or barely survived the annual spring tradition of tripping over one of the garage’s 11 precariously stored snow shovels, we find ourselves inspired.

“That’s it. We’re having a yard sale this (insert month/season/fortnight)!”

“Yeah!” We all chime.

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actual footage from our last attempt to “clean out the garage.”


Our determination wanes pretty quickly from there. Jason usually forgets he ever said it within a half hour, and I, anxiously perseverating on this commitment we’ve made, can typically be found in the fetal position scouring Pinterest for consoling responses to “yard sale fail” searches. It wouldn’t have been worth it to even bother, I tell myself.

This year, we’ve reached a tipping point. Stacks of stuff we’ve inherited from loved ones, or stored for friends we never saw again, or bought (because we couldn’t afford not to!) or found curbside during Allston Christmas, have begun overcrowding our space.

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Allston Christmas (aka Boston’s Moving Day). You’re not officially a Bostonian until you’ve almost died in UHaul on September 1st.

With all of that said, we realized that it’s better to make a year-long process of thoughtfully letting go of things we thought we’d treasure. We’re taking it one step at a time and setting measurable, realistic and achievable weekly goals. This means Jason can’t procrastinate too much, and I have limited time to perseverate.

This is supposed to amount to a win-win. We’ll see. We hope you will too!

What’s the one thing about home organization that you find yourself procrastinating or panicking about most? Are there projects that you’ve comically avoided, like we have? Let us know in the comments below!


Week 1: Mission Accomplished!

Week 1 of Shed 52 was over almost as soon as it began, and we are psyched to see how quickly, easily and lucratively we were able to get our first piece out the door! For readers who are just tuning in, we’ve been using Facebook’s Marketplace to sell underused items in our home to clean up, increase living space and ultimately shed our house of all the stuff we’ve accumulated and merged together in the 5 years since we’ve lived with one another.

Our first item up for grabs? An IKEA Kallax bookcase in black/brown that we purchased about 3 years ago. I can’t remember what we thought we needed it for at the time, but it has essentially been darkening our doorway ever since (actually, it’s darkened our whole entryway). It was in near perfect condition, mostly because it sat in the same spot over those 3 years, collecting dust and displaying other useless items we had that have also been collecting dust. Needless to say, we were eager to shed this item from our house!

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We were pleasantly surprised with how easily we were able to post our offer and set our selling price at a cool $39. We purchased the item in 2014 for about $69 and frankly, the worst part about IKEA furniture is the assembly. (We’ve decided that if our relationship can survive IKEA, it can survive anything).

The “no assembly required!” banner must have been attractive to buyers, because pretty soon an interested gamer named Roland offered to come by and pick it up THAT night, pay in cash, and take it away in his truck. We couldn’t turn down an offer like that, so we even kicked off a few bucks for his willingness to accommodate our schedules, and ended the day with an extra $35 bucks in our pockets, all told.

The best part? Getting rid of this underused, over-sized piece of furniture allowed me to do a quick DIY project over the weekend on the cheap. It easily opened up and brightened our entryway space and makes a much more beautiful visual impact for guests who come and visit our humble abode.

Shedding the shelf means that the gorgeous chair rail and crown molding are finally visible again in our entryway and that the colors flow more from room to room. I was able to use leftover paint ( Light French Gray by Behr ) from a previous bathroom makeover and salvaged this adorable tufted storage bench from friends who are also shedding stuff from their home in the city. We’re loving this new spot in our place and friends have already remarked about it!

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So, what’s next for this crazy home project? Check back soon to find out what we’re selling for Shed52: Week 2.

What kinds of home projects have you been able to accomplish when you’ve sold old items from your space? Have you re-purposed rooms in your house, or reorganized small spaces like this one? Let us know in your comments below!

Psst! Are you in the Boston area and interested in pickin’ up what we’re puttin’ down? Find us on Facebook’s Marketplace or Contact Us to learn how!


Welcome to Shed 52!

Join two recovering materialists as we set out to sell or get rid of one of our possessions each week for one year, in a quest to:

  1. increase living space in our home
  2. make a little money along the way
  3. meet some new people in the process

We’ll be sharing which items we’re shedding weekly, along with the details of how we get it out the door against the clock. The rules? No matter what, the item has to go by the end of the week. Our goal is for this to cost us nothing, and to avoid trashing anything.

Check back daily to learn what we discover as we let go of 52 possessions over the course of a year, how much coin we can expect to pocket, and what possibilities open up for those of us looking to lighten up our lives with less stuff.

Have you tried to let go of large amounts of stuff before? How did you do it? Did you make money in the process, or did it cost you? Let us know in the comments!