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Old 01-29-11, 11:50 AM   #1
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Exit Strategy for Toys

“…times are rough, and I’ve got too much stuff…” --Jimmy Buffett, One Particular Harbour

OK, so maybe times aren’t all that rough, but I do have too much stuff.

Before I launch into this, I know what the obvious answer is. Writing about this is more a part of my mental process for dealing with the outcome. Further, I’m not a materialist/consumerist, so this is not a “He who dies with the most toys, wins” situation.

Right, then…

Over the past decade or so, I’ve collected things as I’ve ratcheted through many hobbies and interests. Now, I find I have things that are just sitting there, hardly being used, and collecting dust. Logically, my mind says I should sell what I don’t use and move on. But for some reason, I still want to hang on to them.

For point-of-reference sake, the items I’m talking about are a Hobie Cat and a motorcycle (2002 Triumph Bonneville).

I’ve had outstanding times with both. Further, I did not – nor intend to - give up either sailing or motorcycling. It’s just that in the past year, these have not gotten a lot of use – as if these activities have been de-prioritized. (As another point of reference, during this same time, my bicycling hobby ramped up to crack-addict proportions.) Additionally, my living situation is going to change in four or five months, which will require me to pay to store these (currently, I’m fortunate to have these in my driveway and garage, respectively). Finally, there are the ongoing costs of license and insurance and such – not a huge expense, but still there.

My question then, is when you buy a non-essential item (read: Toy), do you do so intending to keep it forever? Or do you have an exit strategy, e.g. “I’ll sell this in five years” or “I’ll get rid of this if it sits more than 18 mos” – something like that. Or for the folks that have N+∞ bikes, I’d reckon that there are some that are not in the standard rotation that are just hanging there (I assume you hang your bikes up) – how do you go about letting them go?

Logically (this is where I already know the answer) the thing to do would be to sell the boat and the motorcycle, as: 1) That would solve the pending storage issue, 2) it would generate some $$ that could be put to other use (like my current crack habit, or something – gasp - responsible like savings or bills or something), and 3) these would then would be used and enjoyed by their new owners. However, these are logical responses to a largely emotional issue (that rarely, if ever, works well).


Thank you.
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Old 01-29-11, 12:35 PM   #2
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This is a VERY bad time to sell your Hobie. The market is depressed, and you won't get its true value.
. “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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Old 01-29-11, 01:54 PM   #3
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About storage, I have some tools and equipment in storage. I have paid more for the storage in the last 4 years than the stuff is worth. Still paying on it. I need to sell it. Have not used nor needed any of it in 4 years.
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Old 01-30-11, 06:54 AM   #4
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I have a buddy who has never been married. Buys all the toys he wants. His house is like a sports and electronics museum. He sells some stuff (some to me) but mostly just keeps it. A few years ago I wanted to try throwing a javelin - so I asked if he had one. Of course he did. His garage is stuffed with bicycles, windsurfers, kayaks, canoes, motorcycles, racing carts, skis, snowboards, and on, and on, and one. He has more carbon frames lying around than I could count.

Sell the stuff you wont' use anymore. Most of it will only go down in value the longer you hold onto it. True value is what others are willing to pay for it today.
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Old 01-30-11, 08:05 AM   #5
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How hard is it to replace them vs how much to store them vs when you're going to use again. Hobie cat should be easy to replace but I imagine quite a bit to store. Motorbike? Less to store, but you're paying for insurance etc. Maybe use it more - commute to work? Save on fuel/parking to justify it.
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Old 01-30-11, 09:35 AM   #6
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I'm in roughly the same boat - I own different types of items, but would like to sell some - and am holding off due to the market being less than kind at present.

My solution has been to :

A. Hunt around online to determine what the 'street price' actually is right now (ebay - completed auctions, classifieds which indicate how much an item sold for).

B. Find sites for enthusiasts who might be interested in or actively looking for your items. Don't be a lurker/vulture; register on the site and spend some time contributing there.

C. List them in the free classifieds at a fair realistic price you won't lose sleep over. You may need to re-visit, bump your thread, etc. These types of sites might take some time to yield results, and you won't get the VIP emails as with ebay or CL.

You will also never get the same exposure as you would on ebay or craigs list, et al, but you will be networking more directly with folks who actually might care about your items. If your asking price is seriously out of line with reality, people will even tell you, nicely. If your item doesn't attract attention, or you can't get the lowest 'reserve' you'd like, at least you've lost nothing except your time to list.

This has worked for me, as I was already on some special interest sites and I sold a few things that way when the time came. Some items I am just sitting on for now.

You also have to ask yourself if the items will ever really go back up in value. Some will, some won't. Again, just spending time on specialist sites will be a good education in that respect.

As to the emotional aspect of letting go - I know that all too well. My short answer to that is - once it's gone, you'll be fine. It's mulling over whether to sell/or not sell that is worrisome. I occasionally have brief pangs of seller's regret but I very quickly remember that selling was the right move for me at that time. I'm sure you'll be fine.

Many years ago, a friend once told me (when I was hemming and hawing about selling something with sentimental value) 'you can always find it and buy one again.' He was right - on a few occasions, I did find and purchase items I'd previously sold - and in every case I quickly remembered why I sold them in the first place (and yes, I quickly re-sold the surrogate replacement item!). Follow your gut - it won't steer you wrong.

Good luck!
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Old 01-30-11, 09:41 AM   #7
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I usually have an exit strategy for my toys. Other than the bikes, I don't have any toys anymore.
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Old 01-30-11, 10:33 AM   #8
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It's a tough call. When you can just throw the stuff in your garage without worry, there's not much reason to sell unless you KNOW you will NEVER use it again (i.e. smashed bike, etc). However, paying to store something you won't use for a year or more is a little silly - unless that item has HUGE value. Even your boat and motorcycle really doesn't have that kind of capital. I would avoid storage units at all costs and sell whatever you have that would need to go in one of those.

Much of my hobbies are electronic - computers, gadgets, gizmos etc. Most of these have a lifespan and I have zero problems selling or tossing them when it's their time. Bikes are another story - if I know I have completely outgrown a bike I will sell it. If I rationalize it as a functional backup, it stays.
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Old 01-30-11, 10:45 AM   #9
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i usually hunt around for a good enough deal that i know that a year or two down the line if i don't use my toys enough i can sell them without much financial loss. ie- i bought a Tri bike (cervelo p2 sl) for 1100, and didnt get into triathlons (only did 1) so a year and a half later when i needed the money more than the bike, i sold it for 1050. same thing with the outboard i have on my crabbing boat found a lightly used merc 3hp for 300 bucks, i could turn around and sell it for 500 if i wanted to but i dont see myself giving up crabbing any time soon (oh yeah i built the boat myself for 300 bucks so ill just cut it up when im done with it). basically, i try to make sure my purchases arent crazy, so that way i don't feel bad keeping or selling things. I DO think that if it doesnt cost anything to keep your toys, and you don't need the money, hold on to them. (ditto to the above on avoiding storage units)
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Old 01-30-11, 11:36 AM   #10
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I think it's partly age based. To generalize just a tad ... in your 20's to mid 30's people tend to collect stuff at will. Mid 30's onward people tend to understand the value of a quality item and tend to buy fewer stuff. This is partly because we're also thinking about retirement savings.

If you own quality toys I'd say try your best to keep them, but get rid of the junky stuff you rarely use. Ask yourself if you'll regret selling the item ... but be honest with your answer. Over the years I have given away a lot of stuff rather than selling it. I'd rather it go to a charitable organization like Salvation Army.

Btw, I'll only get rid of my bikes if I absolutely needed the money, or if I was unable to use them.
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Old 01-30-11, 11:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by palesaint View Post
I would avoid storage units at all costs and sell whatever you have that would need to go in one of those.
This. It's very easy to spend more on storage unit rent than the contents of the unit are worth.
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Old 01-30-11, 12:19 PM   #12
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I never buy toys w/ an investment strategy. I have bought some other items that I justify buying new w/ the intent of selling used later on, but that has never been fun stuff, always just household gee-gaws where ownership is easier to deal with than renting. For things that sell used for, say, half of their new price after half of their useful life, I have found it easier to justify paying full price for the 1st half of its life and then gambling on the exit price, rather than buying at a discount and gambling on how much of it's 2nd half of life is really left.

But for motorcycles, bicycles, that sort of thing, if I couldn't keep them around I would ditch for whatever I could get when I decided it was time to go rather than hold out for an idealized future better day in a better market.
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