The joy — and relief — of giving things away

My wife and I have been enjoying a couple of localized Facebook pages that serve as ongoing virtual yard sales.  People know each other to some extent, people post pictures, people raise their hand if they want something, and people deliver the goods.  We’ve gotten some neat things, and we’ve gotten rid of some of our stuff that had past its usefulness.

Overall, a good time is had by all.

It’s not fun to have an expensive item that you can’t sell

A little over a year ago I bought a parlor grand piano on Facebook from a local person.  I regretted buying it even before as they were moving it off of the truck.  (Two things that I learned from this experience: (1) trust your gut, and (2) if you’re buying a bulky item, don’t let the seller bring it over to show it to you before you’ve bought it, because that creates a sense of indebtedness that weakens your negotiation.)

So, I had this piano that really wasn’t what I wanted.  It was taking up a lot of room.  It was old, and the more I researched how much it would take to fix it so that it played even passably well, the more depressed I got about it.  I truly had bought a dog, and I disliked looking at the thing, which was displayed prominently in our foyer.  I couldn’t avoid looking at it every day.

So, I proceeded to try to sell it.  First, I asked friends.  A few looked at it, but everyone turned it down, even at a price far less than what I paid for it.  I tried selling it to piano dealers, but they wanted nothing to do with something that old.  I tried selling it on the Facebook bargain sites that my wife and I were frequenting.  (The person who sold me the piano was on those sites.  How’s that for eating crow?)  Several people said that it was beautiful, but I was thinking: “I don’t care that you think it’s pretty, blah blah blah.  Just buy it.”  I tried Craigslist, but all I managed to do was attract a bunch of people trying to scam me with fake cashiers’ checks.

Giving something away is more than just the money

After the last person who was mildly interested in the piano didn’t bite, I decided to take getting rid of the thing seriously.  I had slowly resigned myself to having to take a big loss on it, and now I just wanted it to be gone so I could get the space back.  I had gotten I put the piano on Freecycle.org.

Free is a powerful word.  It took only two days to be rid of that beast.  No scammers, no window shopping, no anything.  The new owner picked it up for me, brought some help, and it was gone.

If you give something away — especially something that you don’t really want anymore — it doesn’t matter that there’s no money exchanged.  The fact that it’s gone is enough.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

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Comments

  1. That’s a very good point!!! I think for some reason we were rejected for Freecycle, but I will have to ask my wife why, as I wasn’t the one who applied. Anyway, I am glad you got rid of that eyesore!

  2. FREE is definitely a powerful word, to the point that it gets overused and people still really enjoy the concept of it. I’m glad that you got rid of the piano – sometimes just getting rid of it is better than any money that you might have gotten out. :)

  3. That’s too bad that you didn’t have any biters on a purchase, but it’s great that someone could provide a great home for it!

  4. I know what you mean on getting rid of the junk! Once it’s gone you feel like a whole new person, and even though you had to take a total loss on it, it probably was still worth it in the end because now you’re finally rid of it!

  5. did you try donating it? we’ve been in a “purge the house” mode since the 1st of the year, first we try selling on eBay or craigslist or consignment shop, then garage sale, then what’s left we donate to local charities

  6. I agree with PFM – why didn’t you at least donate it to a music school or other charitable organization that would have allowed you to write it off as a tax deduction?

  7. I love giving stuff away. 1. because I have managed to help someone and 2. because I have managed to rid myself of something that really wasn’t adding any real benefit to me.

  8. Glad you found a new home for your grand piano. Seems that no one ever leaves one out for the garbage collectors on “trash day”. Or maybe the just get picked up before the trash truck comes around!

    Since you HAD a grand piano – I’d like to ask: are there any courses that you recently tried concearning learning to play the piano or did you already know how to play. I asked a pro piano player about lessons (I’m in the Kansas City, Missouri area). I did find out something. Most “pro” piano players like to play – and not teach. I asked a pianist playing at a local lobby hotel that was very very upscale. He goes by the business name of robertjohnsonpiano He was very helpful. He mentioned some really affordable online ebook courses like http://www.rocketpianio4you.com Since I already had a little piano theory amassed – he also suggested to search Youtube for songs that I wanted to learn. Just looking to find a couse on playing the piano. Any info on your end would be appreciated. Thanks.

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