Minimalism and Sunk Costs
Thinking about sunk costs today. It is a business term that can be applied to stuff. Many people have anxiety about getting rid of stuff because of what they spent on it, even if they are going to sell their stuff on Criaigslist. The thought is, “I can’t sell that I spent too much money on it and I’ll lose too much!” That is not the “business” way of thinking about these costs, which are sunk costs. When you buy something, you pay, and those costs are “sunk” meaning that the money is spent, gone. You have already taken the monetary loss at the time of purchase. At that point you own it and if it just sits in a garage or a closet, you are not getting any return on your sunk costs. In fact, you might be paying to own the stuff because if you have something you have to insure it, store it, clean it, upgrade it, repair it etc.
The only question in a case like this is do you want to recoup some of the sunk costs because that cost is done, finished, complete. Because the monetary cost is done and you are not getting any value from the thing, and in fact it may be costing you value, it makes complete business sense to try to recoup some value from it. That means either getting back some monetary value by selling it, or gaining some social value, or karma, or good will by donating it (and no longer have to pay the cost of owning it).
For some, me included, getting rid of an item, especially if it was expensive, forces you to confront the fact that you made a mistake in buying it in the first place. It is hard to confront a wasteful decision, and that keeps many, me included, from getting rid of some stuff. Just fess up and do it. This gets easier over time. Once you get rid of the stuff, you will forget about it and the sense of relief at putting that mistake behind you is a nice reward.