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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Big Purge and Kick Off Summer of Savings at Lowes! #SaveAtLowes

Every once in a while I get in the mood of purging everything and anything. Typically, this happens when I run into some limit, like lack of space, or in this latest instance, Instagram's limit of following 7500 accounts. Consider it my own spring cleaning. Here are some tips for purging your unwanted items yourself.
Junk Mail
We've lived in our current house for about 15 years. We're still getting mail for the prior owners. And, we're getting our own junk mail or mail/catalogs we used to want but no longer do since you can get the same info online without the wasted resources. I use a site called Catalog Choice to help get rid of our unwanted US Postal Service (USPS) mail.

Catalog Choice maintains a directory of catalogs/companies and how to remove yourself from their mailing lists. Typically, you just pick the catalog name and provide your mailing info from the address label and they deal with the specifics of getting you removed from their mailing list. In other cases, they point you to the instructions/form on the vendor's site for you to fill out there.


The use of Catalog Choice is free and you can donate to help support the site. Well worth it for the convenience of getting rid of some unwanted snail mail.


Email

There is no magic Do Not Email list like the Do Not Call list. Even if there was it would just be ignored, too. What I'm doing here is unsubscribing from the mailing lists I no longer want. It is a good idea to do this every once in a while, especially if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with email. It is hard to keep up with your email when you've subscribed to too many mailing lists.

At times, I feel like others sign me up for some mailing lists as I know I didn't myself for some companies. Of course, with all the giveaways one can enter, you're bound to get signed up for some mailing lists just for entering.


Instagram

Did you know that Instagram has a limit of 7,500 users/accounts that you can follow? If you weren't over 7,500 when they implemented the limit, you're stuck with the limit and their is no way to exceed it (behind a handful I've seen). If you were over 7,500 when the limit was introduced, my understanding is there is no hard limit. https://www.instagram.com/worthwhilestyle/ is one account I ran into that exceeds that 7,500 limit considerably with over a million accounts they are following.

Once you've hit the 7,500 limit, you must unfollow someone before you can follow someone new. How do you pick who to unfollow? I use a Chrome plugin called Helper Tools for Instagram. First, you let it crawl your Instagram account to see who you are following. Then, it checks out each account, creating a spreadsheet of info for each account like the description, # of followers, # following, private/public, and, most importantly, date of last post.


When I go to purge accounts from Instagram, I use the following factors to help me determine if I should unfollow:

  1. Date of last post. If someone hasn't posted in two-three years (or more), I will typically stop following them after a cursorary look at account .
  2. Number of posts. If someone doesn't post, they aren't worth following. I make some exceptions for family members who just don't post.
  3. CLOSED in profile description. Some of the accounts I follow, are or at least were stores at one point in time. I can use the results of running Helper Tools for Instagram to see which if any sites are flagged as Closed somehow.
  4. Privacy. Someone may have flagged their account as private and for some reason I picked to follow it. You're not notified when that someone approves you to see the account. In some cases, once I'm approved to see what is behind the private setting, I'm not interested in seeing it. So, they make a good candidate, too, for unfollowing.
I'm sure there are other factors to consider here. After clearing space for a few hundred, I'm then good for a while. I could remove more with just these factors, it just becomes a question of how much time do I have to do that. You can save the spreadsheet that Helper Tools for Instagram creates so you don't have to act all at once. Another good use of the tool is to see who the active users are that follow someone else. You can then use that information to try to grow your own user base.

eBay
The last things I've been purging lately are just stuff around the house. We tend to donate the children's clothes that our son has outgrown, but other knick knacks that just take up space and collect dust get posted to eBay where we try to make a few extra bucks. The funny part about this though is I also pick up some items with my son at yard sales that we try to flip for a few bucks. So, while we're getting rid of stuff we no longer want or need, we're also adding stuff we hope we can make some money off of. I should try to get rid of the items I don't want to pack up to ship on Facebook Marketplace (or Craigslist) but I haven't done that yet. 

No real tools to help here if you are new, but there are plenty of eBayers who share their knowledge on YouTube, like Jason T Smith formerly from the TV series Thrift Hunters and now occasionally on Pawn Stars.

If you want to see what I'm selling, see my store JZ's Graphic Goods. It is a mix of stuff from around the house, items I'm selling for others on consignment, and stuff that has been purposely purchased for resale. I started out with t-shirts as a quick and easy thing to resell as they're easy to ship, don't take up too much space, and are not too expensive, and kind of branched out from there. Occasionaly, you'll see me sharing eBay goodies on my Twitter feed. In some Facebook groups, you can post your listings for others to share, but in return you also have to share other users' listings, too.

Don't be afraid to purge things in all walks of your life. For a while, our regular mail was literally just bills and a bunch of magazines we subscribed to, besides the occasional other thing, with little to no junk mail that we had control over. It has gotten worse again so definitely time to clean that up where we can, especially the mail for the prior owners. I have no clue how some of that starts coming to us now after not for so many years. 

Set a goal of getting rid of your own stuff, whether it be physical that could be donated or sold on eBay, or electronic like unsubscribing from newsletters you just don't need any more. There are definitely tools to help you all around. And, don't limit yourself to just eBay to sell. Once done, you'll find yourself with more free time and space for you to do your own thing.


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