50% Reduction in Stuff | Going Minimalist

Stuff managment - cleaning house

In October 2013, we decided, one way or another, that we would be moving from Seattle to San Francisco. We had a 2,400 square foot home and had spent the last two months aggressively downsizing. In name, we hadn’t realized we were going minimalist, but we were. After selling and gifting close to 40% of our belongings my life had already become less busy. Simplicity was becoming addictive and I wanted more. And, apartments didn’t come cheap in San Francisco.

San Francisco - Going Minimalist

Only Keep the Tools

By the beginning of November, we had a job offer in hand and within 4 weeks we would be in California. When we first started downsizing, I went after the plastic. We realized we were going minimalist when we decided to sell everything that couldn’t be classified as a ‘tool’.

What we Sold

We hosted a couple of open house sales through Craigslist and continued to sell, donate, trade or give away more of our things. As I did in my previous post about reducing to 40%, I’ve listed the purchase price and dollar recovery to highlight resale value. Buying from Craigslist would appear to yield the most return on expense, but I believe it’s a false economy. I love buying secondhand, but Craigslist is very effective when it comes to search. Finding what you need on Craigslist can really burn time and time is valuable and should be factored into an items cost and return.

Custom Queen Platform Bed

Recovered 1/3 of the purchase price. Heavy mahogany wood and likely too big in a small SF apartment. We kept the mattress though which is a Sleep Number and folds for easy shipment.


We had too many suitcases and wanted to get more useful carry-on luggage for the kids.

Space Heaters (2 of 3)

Recovered 1/2 of the purchase price. Space heaters were critical in a100 year old home, but not in California. We kept one just in case and then proceeded to sell it a few months after arriving in SF.

Two Couches

Recovered 1/2 of the purchase price. Purchased on Craigslist.

Wooden Work Shelf

Sold for $20. Gifted to us.

Electronics (TV, Sound system)

Recovered 1/3 of the purchase price because we sold on Craigslist. We wouldn’t done better on eBay. Always sell electronics on eBay when possible.

Dining Table

Traded with a friend for a piece of art. The table was heavy and long and I am done with heavy furniture.

Original Art

I hadn’t intended to sell any art, but someone came to our Craigslist house sale and convinced me to sell 3 pieces.

Outdoor Propane Heater and tanks

Recovered 1/3 of our purchase price. Sold our used propane tanks on Craigslist for $10 each.

Two Credenzas

Sold on Craigslist for 20% less than what we originally paid on Craigslist.

1930’s Art Deco Armoire

After 5 months on CL we were grateful to recover 1/6th of what we paid for this lovely but large piece of furniture. We imagined passing this armoire onto our kids, but more likely we would have been passing on a burden! Large, old pieces of furniture are no longer in demand as we weren’t the only folks going minimalist.

Day of the Dead Sculpture

Sold for $25. Paid $110. An art piece that we enjoyed but took up surface space that we no longer had.

Kids Bike

Sold for $40. A top of the line bike that we bought for $5.

Teak Nightstand

We no longer needed side tables after downsizing and I no longer wanted heavy furniture.  We gave to a friend.

Stepping Stool

Sold for $10 on Craigslist. Purchased for $24.

Two Exercise mats

In Seattle, creating an indoor gym was key to our survival as well as doing Parkour! We donated our mats and anything useful to our magically, wonderful parkour gym.

Selling Small Stuff on Craigslist

Dealing with small dollar items on Craigslist didn’t make sense to us until we started using an honor system with buyers. We started telling buyers to pick up items from our porch and leave behind an envelope with payment. The honor system worked great for us and for the buyers.

Lessons Learning – Reducing our Footprint by Half

The stuff you think is worth something isn’t.

Apple products, may be one of the few exceptions, outside of real property, stocks, bonds, cash. Because it could be jailbroken, we sold an Apple router on eBay for twice what we paid.

What we Actually Need

  1. Basic Needs Happiness and Health
  2. Specific Needs Nutritious food, functional clothing & shoes, drink, our tools, time, relaxation, music, friends, Sun, exercise and each other.

When to buy Used | When to buy New

Specific tools that serve a specific daily function in our lives. Tools include a mattress, appliances, hairdryer, brushes, a blender, sparkling water machine, routers, computers, *shoes, *pants, and cell phones to name a few. Some of these items are often not available used and in some cases, we may want a warranty. If we can not find these items used, we try to buy from a local retailer that’s willing to negotiate.

* Though pants and shoes are widely available used, we have specific requirements making these items difficult to find used.

Thanks for reading along. You can read more about our journey of going minimalist here, here, and here.

xo – Bar

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