Friday, October 10, 2014

My bar is pretty damned low, actually

Is there a limit to The Hustle?  Is there a hustling LOW you won't go to?  Because I have not found that low, not really.  And I have ABSOLUTELY gone to a new Hustling Low...

A friend of mine (K) her husband died about a year ago.  She is finally ready to part with his clothes and stuff.  She asked me did I want them, as 'there is a ton of stuff with the tags still on!  you could totally sell it on Ebay and make money!' - While I thought that might be true for a few pieces MAYBE, like some NFL jerseys or whatever, I knew the couple and know where they shop.  They shop for new stuff where I shop if I want new stuff - Old Navy, Kohls, etc.  That stuff doesn't exactly bring in the bucks.


I knew I needed to get that stuff out of her house for her, and she wasn't going to be able to do it.  Just LOOKING at something her husband owned/used/talked about brings her to tears still.  An entire closet of his clothes was going to be beyond her abilities.  So I drove out to her house and spent a couple hours cleaning out his closet.

They are smokers.  And he was kind of a clothes hoarder.  The closet was packed, jam packed - and oddly there were completely greasy, filthy clothes hung up with the other stuff.  (he was a mechanic, hence the grease) I have no idea why dirty stuff was hung up, but there ya go.  Grief makes you nuts.  So I hauled it all out by the armload to the living room so that she could sort through it - she found a couple of 'keeps' and wanted me to take the rest.  And by 'the rest', I mean HOLY CRAP.  I made her take out the hangers and throw them away, nobody EVER needs that many fucking hangers I'm not kidding.  I was very bossy but sometimes you need a push - she threw them all away at least.  And that lowered the mass of the pile somewhat. (I made her throw out all his shoes too - I could've given them to the homeless but I could not stand the smell of so many used shoes GAG)  OH I forgot my trunk was full of my recycling so all this crap had to go in my back seat.  HUSTLE.

I threw away every dirty/paint stained/greasy/torn item, and that lowered the mass of the pile a hair.  What I was left with was this:

I forgot to mention - on top of the fact that they are smokers, being a clothes hoarder - some of that stuff hadn't seen the light of day since 2004 (there were tags) or possibly the 90's (based on style) and the collars, shoulders and exposed arms of all shirts were coated in a sticky yellow coating of gunk, dust, and nicotine.  Not to mention they hung stuff up that was worn/filthy MY CAR SMELLED SO BAD.

This was a labor of love, did I mention?

Since I was meeting EP France at Mission Bay for a walk, I just went ahead and drove straight there.  I knew where there was a dumpster in a fairly big parking lot (safety first) and I parked, put in my headphones, and started sorting.

I folded everything I wasn't keeping and stacked it pile after pile next to the dumpster area - I knew there were plenty of homeless around that place and they always need clothes.  Winter in San Diego is still not pleasant, at night, in the river bed, with bugs and rats *shudder*.  After my 3rd trip I turned around and saw this:

My neat stacks on the right, outside the dumpster area - trying to keep them OUT of the nastiness.  Homeless sorting through it all on TOP of the dumpsters.  They were polite and thanked me - they were also speeeedy high and a little fuh-REEKY but *shrug* they appreciated the clothes.

**that dumpster was full of fish parts from the people who fish in the bay.  To say that dumpster smelled is an understatement.  THEY STOOD ON TOP OF IT FOR OVER AN HOUR I don't think they noticed the cigarette smell on the clothes, amiright?**

As I kept sorting, they started coming to my car for armloads.  They thought some of this stuff was AWESOME.  I was keeping some, in a pile - there WERE a few good pieces.  One of those pieces was a suede Chargers (San Diego NFL team) jacket.  Looked a lot like this
But not new.  Also not as cool as this one.  PLUS the one I had ahold of needed to be cleaned very badly which means dry cleaning.  Then selling it on Ebay - shipping costs will kill you if you arent careful, and while this thing wasn't really all that heavy it was bulky and would have required a pretty big box.  My profit margin was going to be about $10 the way I figured it.

Here's my Hustling Low Point -->  The guy in that picture (in the tank top) wanted that jacket VERY badly, wanted me to sell it to him.  We were all old pals by this time (har) and I kept telling him NO!  You don't have money for this shit you need to get a motel room (that was their plan).  I tossed my 'keep' pile into my car and started to drive off.  He rode his bike after me and stopped me and shoved a $20 bill at me.  Said he could re-sell that jacket for $60.  I TOOK THE MONEY and gave him the jacket and said 'good luck' and drove off.

Now - a truly KIND person wouldn't have taken the money.  I tried like hell to talk him out of it.  I had just given them more clothes than the 3 of them could carry.  He was really insistent on getting that damned jacket.  *shrug* okie dokie artichokie.  Here ya go.

Because you know what?  He wanted to hustle that jacket and I'm hustling too.  That's how you do it.

Here's some other things I want to tell you, the collective YOU:

What YOU think something is worth?  Sorry, but it's bullshit.  Whether its your grandmother's china or a diamond ring or Pokemon cards (MIKE) or clothes with the tags still on, stuff is worth maybe 1/10th of what you think it is.  Nobody on earth will pay you for 'sentimental value'.  Do not save things thinking they will fund your retirement.  Baseball cards or sports memorabilia?  If you do not have the COA that goes with the picture/ball/signed jersey it is worth dirt.  Boxed dolls, toys, books, all that crap - make sure you look it up with a detached analytical mind.  Find out what people are actually BUYING it for, not what some website is selling it for.  Stuff that is truly worth money and will appreciate in value is worth keeping in a nice place.  Honor your good investments by keeping them safe, clean, and neat.  Hoarding it in falling down piles and dusty stacks is disrespectful of the value and YOUR SPACE.

That smell in old people's houses that makes you gag?  That's the smell of books/papers that have been sitting around, and the smell of clothes that haven't been washed.  PLEASE people.  For the love of all things holy - wash those cardigan sweaters, those hoodies, those ball caps you wear outside to get the mail or whatever.  You think it's not dirty!  You think it's a jacket how bad could it be?  it's bad.  Sweat happens more than you think.  Dead skin cells are dead skin cells.  I would say wash all that crap, PLUS the blankets on your couch, at least once a month.  For coats that can't be washed, please just toss them in the dryer on low with a damp wash cloth and a dryer sheet.  My parent's house smelled like a thrift store - so does Jeff's parent's house.  Does yours?  Would you know?  My own wonderful special snowflake of a husband wears his button-down shirts 2 or 3 times between washings which is not optimal.  Sometimes I just take everything out of his closet and wash it because I can't stand when my house even remotely smells like my parent's house.

I also have been known to open the closet doors and turn a fan on and let it air out.

Spray febreeze or whatever in your shoes once in a while.  Throw out your flip flops every year and spend the damned $10 for new, your sweaty feet will thank you - and your whole house will smell better.  Get your carpets cleaned every year, every 6 months if you can.  Usually for $40 someone will come in and do two rooms - that's a hell of a deal, even when you tip the guy $10 cash (because you should always tip).  Wash your dogs.  Put a scoop of dishwasher (dry stuff) down your garbage disposal and pour in some vinegar.  LET IT SIT.  then run water and run the disposal.

Don't hang out near a dumpster full of dead fish.  <--best advice I can give you, actually.


  1. A homeless guy in hot pursuit on a bicycle chasin' you down the street to hustle a used dirty jacket?!
    OK, decades ago my Nsis had a fit when a (large) homeless guy was going through her Pappagallo, Chanel etc. boxes she placed outside her building in preparation for a move. She was screaming like a banshee when I pulled up in front of her apartment building, "I'm being RAPED!" which was enough for me to slam it in P, double park and jump out of the car-but how could she be in the process of being assaulted by a guy who was rummaging through her boxes-over there, on the sidewalk-while she was standing here screaming "RAAAPPEEE!" in the middle of the street?
    She wasn't and he wasn't: He was going through her TRASH. Apparently he didn't even rate her garbage. And it's frikken cold in Manhattan in the winter-the poor guy looked slightly ashy (as in hypothermia on dark skin).
    After I got her back in the lobby of her building ("SIT! STAY! Otherwise you'll have to find another sherpa besides me") I helped the guy find the good stuff. There was so much of it I told him to go get his shopping cart he stashed up the street so we could load it in there. Once he was set and on his way (several carts full to over-flowing) it was safe to allow Nsis out of the Lobby.
    If that man followed us down the street in ANY way, she woulda had a heart attack: Such a shame he didn't-I'd have given him a few more $$ to do that if I'd thought of it at the time!

  2. Been my "side hustle" business, fall yardwork and walking the gigantic puppy (at 5 months he weighs 60 pounds) and you just had to rattle me about how my house might smell like my folks place! Shit, Gladys, I just posted 14 auctions on Storage Wars that are way more important than a clean house! Hustle, hustle, hustle.
    This week's low is getting a couple of hot neighbours to haul another neighbour's garbage into my garage so I could sell it.