The Traveling Suitcase : How My Personal, Dumb Nightmare Came True


I’ve had to work through a few hurdles over the years as I’ve learned to be more intentional with my stuff.

One of my big issues, like any hoarder of cute stuff, is the belief that all my stuff is worth good money and has endless potential. There have been times that I’ve kept something I no longer used not because I liked it, but because I knew I’d never recoup what I felt like the item was worth and I knew it could be used somehow and it killed me to not find its best use.

I told myself if I couldn’t make it fantastic in my house, I should at least hang onto it until I could sell it properly on ebay or in some make-believe shop for what I was sure someone somewhere would pay for it. I always felt like it was my responsibility to either give each item a great home in my house, or find it a great home with someone who could appreciate it.

Typing it out here only makes me realize even more how ridiculous that thought was…


I like to think that I have the gift of seeing potential in many things but it can also be a curse, because everything becomes a grand possibility and can seem to have unlimited value, even if I don’t need it anymore. It causes a person to want to hold onto things…until you need them. Translation: Forever.

Back in October when Angela and I had the Big Sale I was able to part with many cute, potential filled items that I’ve held onto for so long. One of the reasons the Big Sale is so rewarding is because I know all my stuff is going to like-minded people who will look at it with potential in their eyes. What a relief! You are giving my stuff a good home!

suitcase in mirror

A few weeks ago I was walking through a local shop filled with booths run by dozens of different merchants selling everything from furniture to drapes to cute, vintage trinkets. As I was looking at all the wares a pair of houndstooth suitcase trunks caught my eye. I’d recognize them anywhere. They had been mine and I sold them at the Big Sale. I bought them for $4 each with my mom five years ago (scroll to the bottom of this post to see them when I purchased them). I sold the pair for $10.

My initial response when I saw them for sale at this swanky shop with a $40 price tag each was Darn it! I’m so dumb, I missed out! I could have asked $40 for these, I knew they were worth more! My worst case scenario had come true! It only took a few seconds for me to realize that yes, I could have asked $40 or $400, but that didn’t mean that I would have a buyer.


Eight months after someone bought my suitcases they were for sale again for $40. But they weren’t even sold yet. And even if they sold that day, my goal was to get rid of them. Seeing something I had sold months ago now, in a shop for sale for more than what I sold them for was something I had always dreaded–that would mean I lost and was dumb.

But no! Guess what?! I didn’t feel that way at all. I didn’t have to rent out a space for months on end and keep it stocked and pretty and hope those bulky suitcases would one day find the person who knew they how to use them and recognized that they were a good price at $40. I got to get rid of them right away and free up precious space in my home! My goal isn’t to run a cute shop so I can keep it stocked with items I find and then sell them for more. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your passion–I LOVE to shop at places like that, I just don’t want to own one.

Guess what?! I won! Not because I made more money, but because I met my goal.

*notice that this post has NO photos of the suitcases I’m talking about? I looked back through my THOUSANDS of photos from the last 18 months that are on this computer and I found NO photos of these suitcases, except for one. If that doesn’t prove I don’t use something, I don’t know what else could. Want to see the one one photo? Scroll up to the photo of my bed, look in the sunburst mirror above the bed, see that reflection? Suitcase.

 “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  –Yogi Berra

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  1. My Dad used to sell farm related antiques and he always said – ‘It’s not what something is worth, it’s what someone will pay for it’. So true…

  2. Oh my have I struggled with this same issue!! I am learning to let go much better these days but the guilt over letting a piece go without return is still tough. I am happy to give things away for free to a good home or donate to someone else selling to raise $ for a good cause but if not I feel like I should keep it and sell it at a yard sale or on E-bay which never happens…We are living with a much less cluttered look these past few years and I love it. And it definitely has helped my “issue” but I still have a closet and a cupboard with things that could/should go. Freeing up space is a good motivator – thanks for the reminder (and the free therapy today…) : )

  3. This post is SO timely for me. Having just moved across the country from GA to WA. I cleaned out my whole house, I was proud…then, the movers came and packed it up. After seeing the number of boxes, I was feeling gluttonous for being able to fill an entire semi truck. Seriously sad and guilty feeling. Our possessions arrived to Washington State, and all I could think was, why?? Why did I keep this (many) item that I felt was so important? I am clearing out again, re evaluating my grand plans for items. I keep telling myself, if I must replace it, I will, but in the meantime, it has to go if it is not truly important.

  4. I have the “hoarding” problem with clothes – particularly if it was expensive! I have problems with yo-yo weight and tend to keep clothes “if someday I am that size again”. But in the meantime fashion and my lifestyle has changed and I don’t need (and look absurd in) the suit with power shoulders – but oh, it is such a good quality and was sooo expensive, so I put it back in the back of the closet :-)

  5. Excellent post. I t, too, have agonized over getting rid of possessions that I purchased, especially wonderful vintage items that no longer appeal to me. Do I donate and have the peace of mind of just having the stuff gone or do I try to sell on ebay, etsy or a tag sale (as we call them here in Connecticut). After cleaning out the home of a friend’s in-laws, who literally had five of everything, including two or three of each item that no longer worked, I vowed I would never save my old toasters, broken furniture, or every item of clothing I’ve ever bought, But those wonderful pieces of china or pottery, knick-knacks and baubles (and yes, vintage suitcases) from the past remain harder to get rid of when we no longer need or want them in our lives, .

    • The counter is sitting right on the washer and dryer and cut to fit just right from wall to wall, and yep, my husband cut out a few inches at the back so the hoses can come up because they make the hookups higher on the wall, super easy, crazy rough cuts because they never show since I have a basket there anyway!

  6. Ok, here I am that person that has the cute booth, finding all the cute stuff, including stuff from my house to keep that cute booth stocked up, with those great potential finds that are gonna make more money, not to mention the storage building where I have all that cute stuff stored until I can work on it, and because I have all that stuff to work on, I don’t even have the time to get my house like I would like for it to be because I am working on the cute stuff to put in my booth that someone else will want to buy. Boy I am just tired thinking about this! So glad I read this post because I think I realize that my dumb nightmare has come true and I am living in it!! Think it might be time for a change! Will you be at becoming this year?

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  8. recently held a garage sale and totally get your angst about letting things go for a song. however, the awesomeness of having extra space and not having to walk around things that no longer are of use for you is so worth it. Not sure why folks are willing to pay so much more at a 2nd hand store for items that they will barter over at a garage sale.

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