stuff_westmountmag

The Hammer comes down:
Since you can’t take it with you…

Get rid of all that “stuff” you never use and don’t really need – NOW!

By Linda Hammerschmid

There are so many reasons to free yourself of the extras collected over a lifetime; and time to do so, is running out for all of us as we age.

While it takes a certain level of commitment, to make the decision to depart from your accumulated clutter and to sort through all the various items you have decided to rid yourself of, the clarity of spirit you will achieve from doing so is well worth the effort.

My decision to start the de-clutter process started in 2017 and was a result of two factors: one known and one, at the time, unknown.

Firstly, I have over the years (read: decades), collected a vast amount of wine, which required vast amounts of storage space. I had to, therefore, rent celliers (lockers) under the S.A.Q. on Nun’s Island. You may not be aware, but there are three (3) such S.A.Q. sites underground where serious wine lovers may store their wine.

Each locker holds a minimum of 400 bottles (more, if you stack cases). Your bottles can be laid out on metal racks in the climate-controlled space, which is accessible 24/7 via an entrance you access with a fob.

While it takes a certain level of commitment, to make the decision to depart from your accumulated clutter… the clarity of spirit you will achieve from doing so is well worth the effort.

Of course, paying annually for this service tends to be onerous and so when the time came, again, to renew the yearly leases, I made the choice to sell the wine, thereby also reducing the expense of housing it. In Montreal, wine auctions are held under the auspices of the S.A.Q. and I had my collection sold through IEGOR Auctions with the aid of their wine expert, Laurent E. Bernard. Empire Auctions also holds these types of sales.

Secondly, a lady I have known since the late 70s was obliged to take up residence in a senior’s facility, and as a result, everything in her apartment had to be disposed of. Enter the group of Tracey Abbey Taylor Estate Sales and just about everything, as well as some of my own clutter taken over for the two-day event, was either sold or carted away.

Once this two-day sale was over, the bulk of the apartment had been cleared out. There were however many little items left – small Limoges pieces, trinkets, decorations and various other items. What to do? I am loath to simply throw out good albeit more unwanted stuff, having more than enough of my own.

As the sale had taken place at the beginning of October, and with Halloween 2017 just around the corner I decided, instead of buying tooth decaying candy to give out, I would pack up all these cute items in loot bags (after all, the stuff IS like loot) and dispense them out as “treats”. I had enough to make up about 120 bags, divided evenly into two large Rubbermaid containers, one with items girls might like, and one bin for boys. I was particularly proud of having a little wooden treasure chest to give out to Ben, a little boy down the block, who happened to be dressed as a pirate.

But I still had so much in my own abode – this got me thinking – why not de-clutter my own house. Turns out, you don’t have to be dead or to have relocated to a residence or a smaller place to sell your stuff. It took almost a week to organize the sale – moving what wasn’t to be sold out of the four rooms, which would be used for the sale (my job) and another four days arranging what was to be sold (their job).

‘But I still had so much in my own abode – this got me thinking – why not de-clutter my own house. Turns out, you don’t have to be dead or to have relocated to a residence or a smaller place to sell your stuff.’

They (5 people), worked the rooms from Monday to Thursday, staging the fare on tables brought in and covered in black cloth, creating brightness to shine on the “for sale” items by hauling in a myriad of stand-up lamps to place strategically in each room and setting up shelving units in my garage (the 4th sale room) to accommodate those “things” for sale (suitcases, knick-knacks, oddities) that were not, shall we say, of the same caliber as the china, crystal, silverware, cabinets, dining set, paintings, etc. that made up the other three rooms.

The last thing done prior to Sale Day is to photograph everything on display in order to post photos on Kijiji. There are sales every week for which mass emails are sent.

The amount of work done in prep for the sale was amazing to watch. All items were cleaned and polished to enhance their saleability under the bright lights, which truly make even ordinary items stand out. To quote the estate sale group, “Moving (or disposing of a loved-one’s belongings) can be incredibly stressful – we are here to help make it easier.”

After a 3-day sale period, the bulk of the items I wanted sold – were gone! And as luck would have it, what wasn’t sold actually ended up going well in my now, much more open and breathable space. Anyone who has divested themself of much clutter will undoubtedly tell you how much more at peace, mentally, they feel. I certainly have this feeling now.

Nonetheless, I am by no means yet living without belongings and even after taking numerous boxes to Renaissance, I still have more “non-essentials” to dispose of. So, maybe by next year after another garage sale (or two) and with the continued help of an estate sale group – I may be finally able to shout – Free at last!

Feature image: Kaarina Dillabough via StockPholio.net
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Read also: The Hammer comes down: Whining about wine in Canada


linda hammerschmid

Me Linda Hammerschmid is an attorney and has been practicing Family Law since 1982. She is the Senior Partner at Hammerschmid & Associates at 1 Westmount Square, Suite 1290. She is a founding and current member, and past Secretary (28 years) of The Family Law Association of Quebec. She is a frequent guest on CBC TV/Radio, CTV and CJAD, providing commentary on Family Law. You can also hear her regularly on the CJAD show ‘Passion’ with Dr. Laurie Betito, the last Thursday of each month. She and her dog Mac are members of CPAT (Caring Paws Animal Therapy), giving joy to the less fortunate. Me Hammerschmid can be reached at (514) 846-1013 or by e-mail at hammerschmid@vif.com. All inquiries will be treated confidentially.


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