When we are in our “big” house in Tennessee, I remain in a downsizing state of mind. If I am not taking stuff to Goodwill or the dump, I am at least thinking about what should go next. At the same time, I am cognizant of an attachment to certain “stuff” that has been in our lives for many years. Today I had successes in both categories.
Many folks who travel to Alaska insist that you must bring a high quality camera to capture all of the fantastic nature scenes. What they really mean is a digital SLR camera and multiple lenses. I considered then rejected that option for several reasons, including the significant cost. First, I am not and never will be a semi-professional photographer. It is not a talent or interest of mind.
Second, most of the photographs I take are of the people I am with rather than of the scenes around us. I want to capture the people memories – not just for me but for my children and grandchildren. I want to show my grandchildren a photo of their mother and father excitedly watching bear cubs play in the grass. The grandchildren can always find video of bear cubs. I enjoy taking non-posed family photos, editing them, and creating captioned slide shows from those photos.
Third, I don’t want to be burdened by the bulk, weight and complexity of an expensive camera system. Instead, I like pocket-sized point and shoot cameras that are easy to carry and use whenever and wherever.
Further, when I am looking at magnificent scenes of nature, I want to be in that moment as much as possible. I don’t want my experience and appreciation of nature’s wonders impaired by concerns that I am getting the best possible photo. Where we will be in Alaska, hundreds of thousands have gone before us. If I need to own a photo of a mountain scene, glacier, or grizzly bear, I can find and buy plenty. I may enhance some views with binoculars but otherwise I want to feel connected to Alaska’s majesty directly through all of my senses – not through a camera viewfinder.
But, I needed a camera with three features that our current camera lacks: Longer zoom, HD video, and a dedicated video capture button for instant video recording of wild and crazy family happenings.
I decided last night I could probably find what I needed on Craigslist. But how should I pay for it? Also, did it make sense for me to bring yet more “stuff” into a boomer household that is trying to downsize?
A plan was hatched. I thought I could find enough stuff around here to sell on Craigslist to pay for an upgraded camera.
So last night I photographed and posted three items for sale on Craigslist: (1) a three-bike trunk mount carrier in great condition; (2) my iPad (I’ve switched my allegiance to a smaller Android tablet); and (3) a vintage (1976) Marantz audio cassette player/recorder.
Guess which of these items was sold? The cassette player! This surprised me. Within two hours of my posting, I received an email from someone nearby that said: “Consider it sold.” My asking price was $75 and he paid it. He is a collector of Marantz audio gear.
I immediately started looking for a camera and found one that was perfect: A compact Nikon with 10x optical zoom, full HD video, and a dedicated video capture button. It was in brand new condition and came with a case and 16GB SD card. I paid $70. The seller was just five minutes away from the Marantz buyer so I dropped off the Marantz and immediately used that cash to buy the camera, putting $5 in my pocket. This was a definite win.
I enjoyed that Marantz which I suppose is why it stayed in our attic. We used it to play “name that tune” at many adult slumber parties we hosted. But it is just stuff and I can remember the parties without keeping an unused item around.
To celebrate my sell-buy success, my son and I loaded an old TV and some other audio equipment that we no longer needed and took them to Goodwill. I made a second trip to the dump with a car full of garage junk and old VHS tapes (remember those?). Our house is now significantly lighter!
The more stuff I get rid of, the easier it becomes to let go of the next batch. It is quite liberating to see space where junk used to be. And my important memories of use of the stuff remain intact.