I don’t hate my husband’s motorcycle. I mean, it gets better mileage than his car, and it’s not like I didn’t know about it before we got married. So I try to maintain a cool, wary distance from it. You know, when I’m not giving it the side eye for taking up space in our garage. Or wondering if it truly is loud enough to make his presence known to oblivious drivers. Or refusing rides because it’s uncomfortable to sit on and helmets are hot. Truth be told, if you asked me what kind it was, my response would be, “A red one.” Shrug.
One day this month, I noticed its title sitting out on our kitchen table. I knew what that meant. After years of ownership, my husband was finally ready to part with his bike. Our neighbor made it clear on day one of our move that he would happily take it off our hands when
we my husband was ready. That was three long years ago. So I did what any other finance loving, clutter-hating person would do: I hid the title.
Decluttering Isn’t Just About Less
As my husband flung open drawers and cabinets, he kept saying, “Don’t you want an extra $4,000?” The man knows how to win an argument, doesn’t he? Of course, I’d like an extra $4,000. Shoot. I’d take an extra $400, $40, or $4, as I’ve been known to do when unloading things on Poshmark. Selling things for extra money: I speak that language, and he knows it.
But the things I sell don’t actually make me happy or serve any real purpose. Sure, I sometimes get nostalgic when I list a pair of shoes that I remember my grandma* snatching from my hands and parading around the house in even though we never were quite the same size. My heart jackhammers slightly when I remember my mom or my husband gifting me a particular jacket or sweater. But no matter how emotional I might feel about parting with my stuff, I’m not emotionally attached to them to such a degree that I actually wear them. Therein lies the problem.
Decluttering removes excess, frees up space, and shines a focus on what really matters. I’m not on a mission to get rid of everything. I just want to eliminate the things that are no longer useful, the things that don’t make me happy. By that definition, the four different pairs of brown heels that have never been worn–oh, but they were each a screaming deal!–have to go. But that very same definition is what made me realize, almost instantly and most certainly before my husband, that the motorcycle had to stay.
Keeping Things Can Be Cost Efficient
We tend to focus on the monetary benefit of selling things. In fact, on virtually every post about needing to come up with more money, you’ll find the suggestion to sell stuff. But, it turns out, sometimes keeping things can be cost efficient as well.
When my husband transitioned from the extra money portion of his argument, he started saying that maybe he’d buy another bike in ten or fifteen years. I quickly countered by asking him if he’d rebuy the red one. You know, the red one in its exact make and model from that exact year. He knew the answer was supposed to be yes. But I could tell he wasn’t actually happy with that answer.
Of course, he wouldn’t pine over a bike that was twenty or twenty-five years old. That might be the practical answer, but it’s not the stuff of garage fantasies. It’s especially not helpful when you’re trying to convince yourself to do something you don’t actually want to do. I know next to nothing about motorcycles, but I know that in ten or fifteen years, $4,000 would probably get him a bicycle before it got him a motorcycle that he’d actually be excited about riding.
As of this morning, the red one still takes up valuable real estate in our garage. I still hold my breath a bit when I see him pull out of the driveway on it. But that smile that hides behind his helmet nearly matches mine when I see how little money he spends on gas for the month when he rides his bike. I may never embrace motorcycles, but I don’t have to for my husband to keep his. He uses it. It makes him happy. That’s good enough for me.
So Tell Me…Would you keep the motorcycle? Have you ever gone overboard with decluttering?