What I Learned From a Year of Selling Clothes with Poshmark

I’ve sold clothes on Poshmark for just over a year now, and my story runs the full gamut of Poshmark experiences.

I’ve learned a lot in my first year of this glorious side hustling madness; I’ve been discouraged, I’ve been excited, I’ve been overwhelmed, and I’ve been proud. At times, I feel like I’m being a bit obsessive, but most of the time I feel empowered to work toward my financial goals. But no matter how I feel, I know I’ve learned a lot about the IMG-0432growing niche that is the online secondhand clothing market, and I’m sharing it here to hopefully give other sellers or prospective sellers some specific insight into the experience.

Lesson 1. When you are aiming to make a little extra cash slinging second-hand clothes, patience pays off. Selling clothing online is not a way to get rich quickly, but it is a great creative outlet and a fun way to make a little extra cash. But the good thing is, you can make a little extra cash, if you’re willing to be patient.

IMG-0436Lesson 2. When it comes to Poshmark (and other selling apps), patience is about more than being able to wait for your clothes to sell. Patience is a multi-faceted skill that you’ll need to cultivate and repurpose throughout the whole process; from picking out which clothes to sell to photographing to finally getting the cash in your account. Side note about this: This is an amazing life skill to have anyway, regardless of whether you’re a Posher. Patience is a dynamic and ever-changing virtue.

Lesson 3. It takes some time to develop a good system that works for you, but once you find one, it makes the job wayyy easier and often more fun. And it is ridiculously helpful to have a system if you’re going to make a go of selling more than ten items. And so worth the time you will put in up front. If you are hoping to do more than sell a few pieces (especially if you’re hoping to flip thrift store finds), you’ll forget what you’ve listed, you’ll forget what you paid for it, and you’ll forget what you learned when you researched the best listing price. So, whether you’re making a spreadsheet, hand writing your records, or actually writing it in the listing itself, put in the time now so you don’t have to put in the time later.

Lesson 4. The dollar is in the details. (No devils on Poshmark, amiright?) If you provide IMG-0438your potential buyers with more details (measurements, info about flaws, materials, was instructions, etc.) up front, they get more information to make their choice. Plus, you don’t have to fish out the item later and try to find it.

Lesson 4. Pictures matter more than words. I mean, we all know that (…”worth a thousand words,” yadda yadda), but this little tidbit of knowledge matters on both ends of the spectrum. If you take good pictures, you will be able to attract more buyers. Users are scrolling through hundreds (or thousands) of pictures each time they log on. Why stop on yours unless it’s pretty?

Lesson 5. Conversely, you can describe a flaw to your heart’s content, but if there’s no picture of it and your buyer wants to return it, then you’ll be out a sale and your time. If there is a problem with your listing, five out of ten people will try to return it even if you described the problem and showed pictures clearly. Take this little tidbit however you’d like — if you’re fine with the frustration of dealing with returns (which means you don’t get your money and need to create a brand new listing), then this isn’t really that big of a deal. Poshmark errs on the side of “the customer is always right,” meaning they’re more likely to let a customer return something than not. If you’re easily offended (I am, and this is one reason I try to list flaw-free items–not worth the stress), then you might want to really consider whether to just donate something that’s missing a button or has a tiny hole.

IMG-0433Lesson 6. It’s important to remember to have fun. I know this piece of advice might seem trite and idealistic, but I’m a pretty serious person and I still find that I need to remind myself of this. When I remember that using Poshmark is fun, I get more sales because I take better pictures, interact more often with other sellers, and write better descriptions in my listings. When I’m having fun, I don’t even have to remind myself to be patient.

Are you a Posher? Do these lessons hold true for you? What have you learned? What do you still want to know?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Keep calm and Posh on!

 

 

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The Time I Didn’t Stop in To’hajilee

As someone who has lived in the Northeast and South Florida, New Mexico showed me a part of the heartbeat of this beautifully diverse country that previously seemed out of reach. It was not strange to me, but illusory, like I could only read about it. When I saw pictures of the New Mexican and Arizonian landscapes, heard about the climate, or encountered details about Southwestern architecture and decor, it seemed hard to comprehend or imagine living a life surrounded by those things. How is that life different? Why do the buildings look that way? What’s the pace of life there?

I had never been to a place like New Mexico before, a place where the heat didn’t sink in so far that it steamed from the ground at night. Instead, the Southwestern heat bounced around during the day and surrendered to cold at night. I’d never been to a place where salsa was on every menu. 

A random scroll through my Google Photos from that trip has landed me on a photo of the exit to To’hajilee, a spot that seems appropriate for a starting point.

To’hajilee is a Native American reservation that is part of Navajo Nation but isn’t contiguous with it. It’s also the site of one of the most important moments in Breaking Bad, where Hank makes his final decision (y’all know what I’m talking about–wave that dark cloud of sadness away; it’s just a TV show!). It’s also a place I didn’t stop to admire.

Those three characteristics of To’hajilee represent three themes I tend to think of and feel as I look back at my memories of my travels through New Mexico and the American Southwest–and they also represent a lot of themes of travel in general.

While a lot of the Southwest is certainly quintessential Americana, a lot of it feels like it is its own separate pocket of the world. Like you can’t get an experience quite like that anywhere else.

And To’hajilee’s infamy due to a television show distracts sightseers from its larger place in history and modern life, but conversely, it puts it on the map and calls attention to it.

Lastly, it’s one of many places that is easy to pass by even though it is rife with meaning and importance. That’s something I feel when I travel–something that I think people don’t often talk about–the stress of not feeling like you can fully experience everything you want to when you go somewhere new.

This post was originally started so I could talk about the Balloon Festival, the food, Taos, and a few other things, but instead I think it’s a comment on traveling in general. While one place or event may draw a person to an area, sometimes it’s the experiences we don’t intend to have–however fleeting or incomplete–that create opportunities for us to learn, understand, and grow.

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The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Stuff

Whether you’re considering getting rid of some of your stuff because you need to downsize (like us), because you need a little extra cash (also like us), or simply because you want to declutter, there is more than one way to eliminate your excess belongings.

When we decided to move into a tiny home, we knew we would have to get rid of a lot. But we didn’t realize how much, and we definitely didn’t realize how much it would be worth.

When we decided to move into a tiny home, we knew we would have to get rid of a lot. But we didn’t realize how much, and we definitely didn’t realize how much it would be worth. I began the downsizing process by walking around the house and letting myself get completely overwhelmed (not a great way to begin). It started to seem like we had to get rid of everything that we had put our time and money into, and it felt like we would be seeing our investments go down the drain. But, as I looked, it dawned on me that a lot of the things we had could be valuable to someone else.

We had furniture, clothing, decor, and lawn and garden equipment. The thought of simply donating it seemed like a lot of work for not much return. So, I decided to think about how to get rid of it in a way that I could capitalise on its value. I decided to sell it.

How to Sell Your Stuff (instead of just giving it away)

First, decide what you want to sell.

As I keep saying, you might be surprised to find out how much of your stuff is worth money to other people. It may not be a lot, but it’s still something. For example, I sold a five-year-old foot stool that had basically been a decoration in the entryway, and I got $15 for it. I also got $5 for a lightly worn Jagermeister tank top that I won on bar trivia night.

This may seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. The nature of the stuff you want to sell will dictate how you sell it. If you have furniture to get rid of, you’ll need to consider the size of it when you decide where and how to list it. If you are selling clothes and small decorative items, you’ll want to think about how much (or how little) money you’re willing to get for the work you put in.

So, that means the first thing you need to do is take stock of what you want to sell.

That way, when you start getting into it, you won’t start down a rabbit hole you weren’t ready for. You’ll know that you have furniture and clothes, and you’ll know that you probably want to sell them in different ways.

Then it’s time to decide how to get rid of it all.

You can sell your stuff online or in person. Some of your options are sort of a mix of online and in person, and each method has drawbacks and benefits. Below is a list of many of your options, and some of the pros and cons of each.

Community Posts & Yard Sales

One of the oldest tricks in the book for selling your stuff is having a yard sale. If you have a yard sale, you can make money faster. It’s a one-shot chance to sell stuff and make money. But, yard sales are notorious for requiring a lot of work, and your success can depend on the weather, your mood, conflicting events, and many other hard-to-predict factors.

As an alternative, you can post in an online community to have a sale that functions like a yard sale but doesn’t require a date and time. Websites and online communities dedicated to connecting people who want to make sales with people who want to buy stuff for cheap are growing in popularity. (Think Craigslist and Facebook.)

These two options are especially good for large items, like furniture, yard equipment, and decor.

Pros:

  • Your customers can see the goods in person.
  • You can negotiate prices.
  • Your customers will pick up the items they buy.

Cons:

  • It can require a lot of planning.
  • People you don’t know will (sometimes frequently) come to your house.
  • Some people will ghost you.

Consign Locally

You can also bring it to a local brick-and-mortar consignment shop, where they’ll sell your stuff for you. Typically, consignment shops either buy the stuff from you directly, or they send you a check when your items sell. It seems like the most common consignment shops sell clothes and furniture, but some sell decor and other knick knacks.

Pros

  • You can get rid of your stuff in one trip.
  • You can make some money!

Cons

  • The nearest store’s location could be far from home.
  • They may not take everything.
  • You may not get paid for months.

Consign Online

Another option is to send your stuff away to some place that will sell it for you. You may not make as much money as you might with in-person consignment or selling it on your own, but it’s usually super easy. You’ll most likely have to pay for shipping, but online consignment companies often put together It also means you don’t have to do much more work than you would if you were taking it to the dump or dropping it off at Goodwill.

Pros:

  • You can get some money.
  • You don’t have to do much work!
  • It’s fun to see your clothes listed professionally.

Cons:

  • You’ll most likely have to pay for shipping (but online consignment companies often deduct it from your payouts).
  • If they don’t take your clothing, you either have to pay for it to be shipped back to you or they donate it, which means you effectively paid to donate your clothes.

Sell Online

You can also post your belongings online for others to buy, making them available to the country at large.

Pros:

  • You can make the most money. (You keep a larger portion of the profits than you would with the other options.)
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s easy to post.

Cons:

  • You have to make your own posts and descriptions–in other words, it can take a lot of time.
  • You have to manage your inventory and upkeep your account.
  • You will be constantly tempted to buy new stuff!
  • You have to manage shipping (and possibly returns).

Some Things to Consider

If you’re selling your stuff in your local community, you have to find out what price range your community is accustomed to, and what styles and brands they’re into. And, you’ll need to try to figure out whether what you have is useful to your community. For example, if you have a weedwacker to sell, but you live in an area where there are a lot of apartment buildings and not many people have yards, you might need to price that puppy pretty low and/or be willing to deliver. But, if you live in a college town and you have a papasan in great condition, well, you’re golden.

Similarly, when it comes to selling your stuff online, each app, website, or community functions a little bit differently. They all have different terminology, and they do things in a different order. And, they all have their own priorities. For example, eBay encourages bidding because it drives up their earnings. Poshmark encourages community building and visibility because it helps increase sales. Tradesy values high-end designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories. As you use each of these outlets for selling, you’ll learn what they value.

So, should you sell your stuff?

The decision of whether to sell your stuff online should come down to a few different factors: money, work ethic, and time. Ask yourself these questions before you start, and if you can answer “yes” to all of them, then it’s a good idea to sell your stuff.

  1. Do you want the extra money from selling your stuff more than you want to get rid of the stuff?
  2. Are you willing to put work into selling your stuff?
  3. Do you have enough time to take good pictures, write good descriptions, and manage your postings?

I’ve sold tons of stuff online and offline, and (most of the time) I’m glad I started doing it. It has become more of a mentality than a question at this point, and I’ve even bought stuff with the sole purpose of reselling it for a profit.

Have you sold your stuff? Do you have tips for the rest of us or do you want to share your story? Talk about it in the comments! Or, if you know someone who sells their stuff (or maybe should sell their stuff) share this!

Swap.com Will Sell Your Clothes for You

I found Swap.com because I love selling gently used and new clothing. Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a fashionista myself, though I do love wearing cute outfits when the occasion calls for it. However, I have always enjoyed looking at, buying, and reading about clothing.

I began my consignment journey with Tradesy in 2016, a site for selling clothes. On Tradesy (and Poshmark, Vinted, and Mercari, which I later tried and still use), you have to photograph, price, and list your own items, much like you would with eBay.

But since we were downsizing, I needed a change of pace before our move date. In other words, I needed to get rid of a lot of stuff, fast. And I wanted to get some money for it. That’s when I found Swap.com, a site that is similar to the more trendy ThredUP. To sell your clothing with Swap, all you need to do is request a bag, box or label, fill it with undamaged clothing, and send it on its merry way.

I have sent five “boxes” to Swap.com and am awaiting a bag for my sixth because I’ve had mild success. In fact, I started purchasing some items (specifically children’s clothing and certain brands that don’t sell quickly on Poshmark, etc.) from the Goodwill Outlet near me and sending them to Swap instead of listing them myself. So far, I’ve definitely made my money back, but I’ve also made a bit of extra dough, which they deposit into PayPal periodically.

I’ve learned a few things about how to be a successful Swapper, and currently have a fairly eclectic mix of items for sale, which you can check out if you want to get a feel for the kinds of stuff they’ll take. (Like I said, my items aren’t designer items, but Swap.com believes they will sell eventually.) So anyway, here are a few tips for getting the most out of the experience:

  1. Roll your clothing to pack it. Their shipping rate is a flat fee. That means you can send ten items or twenty, depending on how well you pack and if you stay within their weight limit (which is likely). A friend who was in the military told me that they are trained to tightly roll their clothes and bedding to make it the most compact for packing.
  2. Wait until you can fill the bag before you send it. The reasoning here is the same. If you send ten items, but your mom was hoping to get rid of a few things and you don’t see her until next week, it’s probably worth it to wait. If you wait until you have a pretty good amount of clothing to send, you’ll get the most out of the shipping charge and you’ll be happy that you don’t have to pack another bag.
  3. Take a picture or two of your clothing pile before you send it. Make sure you can see at least a scrap of each piece of clothing so that you can identify it if you need to. If you’re like me, a detailed list won’t do you any good and will take too much time, but a look at the clothing’s material will allow you to remember.
  4. Appeal their decision if you think they should have taken an item that they rejected. They will reconsider your items. Their people are people too, and sometimes they make mistakes or may come from a professional background that is more selective than Swap.com. My first bag contained almost ten items they initially rejected, but they take a picture of the reject pile and you can see which clothes were rejected. I knew the rejects were good items, so I sent them an email providing some detail about a few of the items they’d rejected. They ended up reconsidering all ten and taking eight.
  5. Be patient! Of those eight they took on a second glance, two are still left. And I sent them over six months ago. What I’m trying to say is, normal clothes will take a while to sell. If you have designer items that they price cheaply, it will sell quickly. But if you have something that’s pretty normal (a Target brand, for example), it will probably take a little longer to sell. And unless you select “SureSell,” which literally gives you pennies for some items, you have to wait until your items are sold before you get paid.

 

Snow Day

Just a short post to say that we took a day off from the gym due to the snow and freezing temps. Tried to eat healthily and not sit too long each day. It’s okay to take a day off. Keep at it.

Wander on.

6 Realities of Having a Yard Sale

When we decided to take on the tiny living lifestyle, we knew we had to get rid of a lot of stuff.  We’d managed to fill up our two story, three bedroom home with a large basement, collecting all kinds of things, from hundreds of books to drawers full of clothing to an eclectic mix of meaningful and personal decorations and knick knacks. Deciding to downsize wasn’t easy, but our current lifestyle as renters wasn’t working for us anymore. And with big dreams, adventurous spirits, and lots of school debt from school and credit cards, we knew we wouldn’t be able to buckle down and get a traditional home that would suit our needs.

So once we’d fully committed to downsizing, we (well, I) decided to have a yard sale early on in the process to get a realistic, hands-on idea of how much stuff we really had. I also thought it would help us get an idea of how easy or hard it would be to sell certain items in the market we had access to.

I spent 2-3 hours putting my clothes on racks, 15 minutes putting a post on Craigslist, a half hour flyering, then about 45 minutes setting up the whole thing. 4-5 hours of work, and I successfully made $22.81. But I did get a better idea of what a task downsizing would really be, and I also learned a few things about having a yard sale.

  1. People come early or toward the end. If your yard sale post or sign says that you’re starting at 8 a.m., some people will swing by at 7:45 to see if anything is outside and ready. I started my yard sale at 8, and I started setting up around 7:40. By 8 o’clock, I had had three visitors and made one sale. I asked them where they saw it, and one had seen my sign posted nearby, while the other two had seen it on craigslist. That, to me, meant they had read my post and decided to come early to see if they could get the good stuff before other got there.
  2. People want big and expensive stuff. This may seem obvious, but I was surprised at how many people were vocal about their disappointment with my small selection. They weren’t shy about saying they were expecting more, and many asked if there was more inside. To give you a better idea about what I had, I didn’t have any furniture to sell, and I had a lot of clothing and jewelry. I also had books and DVDs, and a lot of the other stuff were small household items including coffee mugs, curtains, and other decor, but no appliances.
  3. You have one chance to state the right starting price. The best example of this lesson I can think of is from one visitor who was looking at a pretty scarf I had. She asked me for a price, and I told her I was asking $5. She looked at me like I had told her her kids were ugly. After a beat, I told her I’d take $3 and she shook her head and slowly place the scarf back on the rack, mouth still open. I ended up selling the scarf on Swap.com.
  4. Items sell at much steeper discounts than they are “worth.” For example, I had a necklace and earrings set that was clearly costume jewelry, but still pretty. On eBay, similar items sold for $13-20. A man and his wife seemed to like it, and she tried it on and they admired how it looked. “How much?” he asked, and I (having already learned #3 above) said, “$8 for the set.” He said, “No, I was thinking more like $3,” so I meekly said, “4?” and he said, “No, 3.” So $3 it was.
  5. People look for valuable materials as much as they look for cute stuff. When I was setting up my first yard sale, I was nervous about a lot of my things being judged and finding out the truth about my personal style (or lack thereof). I had a lot of clothing to sell, and I had high hopes that people would come say they enjoyed my clothing and buy all kinds of stuff. But that wasn’t the case at all. Most people gave my clothing rack a once-over, decided they’d seen enough, and turned to my table of jewelry. Many people gave that a once-over too, asked me if I had more inside, then left. I think I figured out what they were thinking when a man bought some of my jewelry. I had a sterling silver necklace charm. (On eBay, similar items were selling for $10-20.) He showed interest, asked if it was sterling, picked out a few other pieces and asked if they were sterling, then asked me where all the “good stuff” was. When I opened and closed my mouth like a fish, he said, “You sold it all already I guess.” I just nodded. I asked him for $6 for the four pieces he believed were sterling, and he quickly negotiated it down to $2.50. I *kind of* wish I had hung onto it to sell online later, but when downsizing, getting any money for some of your things can feel like a victory.
  6. Most of your items probably will not sell. I’m not saying this to discourage you from having a yard sale! But it is a reality, especially if you are a novice like me. So many factors go into having a yard sale–weather, mood, your pricing, your offerings, your location, and probably a thousand other things I am not thinking of. That said, I estimate that I had over 200 individual items for sale. I sold 11 things. If you’re curious, here are the things I sold and the amounts I sold them for:
  • Rhinestone-studded silver necklace: $3.61
  • Three rings & sterling pendant: $2.50
  • Necklace and earrings set: $3
  • Sheer tank top: $3.50
  • Men’s pullover: $6
  • 2 Game Cube games: $2 each

Having a yard sale was a fair amount of work, but it was a fun learning experience for me! Have you ever had one? Talk to us about it! We’d love to hear more insights and ideas.

the New You, Day 2

Since we started out the New Year exercise routine early, I got a little behind on posting the exercises. Remember, change isn’t easy, but anything worth having is worth working hard for. Remain positive and don’t allow setbacks to derail what you want to achieve.

Overall, the cold hasn’t affected our desire to make it to the gym, but the snow hasn’t fallen hard yet.

A simple recap of the goals for the day.

Lift and run. Try not to eat sweets. I succeeded in lifting and running. Failed on the sweets. Though exercising can raise my metabolism, it’s still not a great idea to eat whatever you want. Especially foods that make you feel sluggish and bloated. Here is a recap of what I got done at the gym. Still starting slow. Hoping that the week of New Year takes off.

DAY 2 12-29-17
Exercise Sets x Reps Muscle Group Weight
Seated On Bench Bar Lat Pulldowns Both Arms 3 x 10 Back 100/110
Barbell Bent Over Wide Grip Rows Both Arms 3 x 10 Back 105
Standing Bicep Curl Barbell Both Arms 3 x 10 Arms 55
Barbell Reverse Grip Wrist Curl 3 x 10 Arms 55

After the lift, I ran a mile in 9:34. I won’t post calories burned until I have a more accurate counter.  Often the treadmills and ellipticals will overestimate them. Additionally, while it is a good idea to track progress through numbers, it came become an obsession. I don’t want to get focused on every number I can. Remember it’s how you feel.

Stay strong. Stay positive. Continue to wander.

The 7 Easiest Pieces of Advice About Money I Wish I Could Tell My 21-Year-Old Self

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. --Jonathan Swift

Money. 

It brings people together. It pulls them apart. It “isn’t everything” and “doesn’t buy happiness,” but it is “the root of all evil.” And it sure does matter. And it causes a lot of stress.

Being smart with your money isn’t easy because it has little immediate reward. However, what you do today will likely still matter ten years from now. I’ve been in scary amounts of debt, made decent money doing various jobs, and lost money by making bad choices. And I’ve learned from those experiences and hope to be able to apply what I’ve learned in the future. It’s really too bad I couldn’t apply these lessons in the past, because they’re not that hard. If I could time-travel, this is the advice I would have followed.

Please note: All photos in this post are from various artists who share their work on Unsplash, a free photography website that’s way better than Shutterstock, et, al. All photos in this post are attributed, so please check out the portfolios of the photographers whose pics you like (links in captions).

  1. Don’t spend so much. My 21-year-old self is like, ‘uh, thanks?’ because this piece of advice seems obvious. As a 21-year-old, I didn’t buy a lot of expensive stuff. I was an avid sale shopper and was price-conscious about what I ordered on the menu when I went out to eat. But what I didn’t pay close attention to was how often I was spending these relatively small amounts and how quickly they added up.
  2. Hide your savings from yourself. When I was in my twenties, I thought of “saving” as getting a good sale price. And surprisingly, I actually put a lot of money in my savings account. But, because of my spending habits, I also took money back out. Instead, I wish I’d safeguarded myself against… myself.
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    Photo by Freddie Collins via unsplash

    How does one do that?, asks my 21-year-old self. Easy! By putting cash into accounts that require extra effort, then doing my best to “forget” about it. That can be as simple as putting savings into an account that isn’t linked to my primary checking account and credit card accounts. For example, if you have a checking account with Wells Fargo, a Wells Fargo credit card, and a Wells Fargo savings account, it’s a heck of a lot easier to transfer money out of your savings account to wherever its needed. And a heck of a lot more tempting. Think about it: every time you log in to see your debt, you see your savings sitting right next to it. Savings you could use to pay your bills… Instead, if you keep your savings account–and only your savings account–with a separate bank, you just might be less likely to spend those savings. You can also take it a step further and decline to create an online account for your savings. That makes it even harder to access it, but doesn’t leave you in the lurch in case of an emergency.

  3. See your debts as a whole. My collection of credit cards debt eventually reached over $10,000. It got so high because I allowed myself to see each source of debt separately instead of making myself see it as a whole. It was easier to look at one credit card that held $3,000, then ignore that one when I looked at another a few days later. Looking at each source of debt as an isolated amount made it seem more manageable, which is great when you’re focusing on paying it off. But when you’re not really focusing on anything, it makes it easier to simply never add up the true total.
  4. Make little payments toward your debts as often as possible. This is an important habit, even before that 0% deadline ends. Because, if you’re like me, you’ll mistakenly view that deadline as farther away than it really is. You may also view the credit card balance as more manageable than it really is, effectively ignoring it until it is too late (especially if you have more than one balance). Instead, when you get a few extra bucks here and there, whether it’s from Grandma or simply an unexpectedly low bill, chuck that little amount toward your debt. It will prevent larger interest charges and will prevent you from having to make that payment in the future.
  5. You will not make as much money as you imagine you will. Maybe this is an extremely negative way to look at one’s future; it certainly goes against Pinterest-worthy quotes and motivational posters with cats and lions. But for many people, it’s a reality. It is for me. When I was 21, I assumed that taking on new debts (student loans and credit cards) was an okay thing to do because I would be able to pay them off in a few years. I thought I’d be making a lot of money (I never bothered to think about how much, exactly), and I also forgot to think about new expenses I would have when I was making that money. When I look back, it seems that I must have thought all of my income could go toward the debts I was creating
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    A Depressing, but Accurate, Photo by Ian Espinosa via unsplash

    now. Here’s reality coming atcha and a healthy dose of darkness: That is absolutely not the case and isn’t going to be the case for most people. If you are not careful, your debt will follow you around for decades.

  6. Sell your stuff instead of just giving it away. I moved a lot in my twenties. And I also experienced several style revolutions. That meant I transitioned my collection of stuff a lot, which also meant a got rid of a lot. While I am a big advocate for donating, I wish I had thought to try to sell my stuff first–particularly my clothes. If your things are in good condition, someone else probably wants it and will pay decent money for it. In the past few years, I have stumbled upon many ways to make money on your stuff, and I often think back about the gobs of clothing and shoes I simply donated in a frenzy of personal development. In addition to make a few extra bucks, you’re giving someone else a great deal–which brings me to my next point.
  7. Shop used and thrift. Since most of my money problems came about because I have an affinity for shopping, I think this piece of advice would have saved me hundreds, maybe even… dare I say it? Thousands. In addition to selling my own used stuff, I wish I had bought used stuff others were selling. Sure, I shopped sales and rarely/never bought anything full-price, but I still spent more than I needed to. Since I’ve started thrift shopping, I’ve found beautiful, brand new and like new clothes to experiment with. And, because I’m surrounded by more variety when I shop, I’ve also been more creative (and confident) with my daily look. What’s more, because thrifting requires a good eye and patience, I think I would have been pickier about my clothes (buying less, spending less, etc.) In other words, shopping used and thrift could have help me all around, and would have reinforced a money-conscious lifestyle that would have allowed me to use my money for other things–things that aren’t in the past.

So there you have it, 21-year-old self. There are a few pointers that could have saved you from getting into a shameful amount of debt. As I wrote this list it, I realized I can still follow those principles now so my 40-year-old self can share an entirely different set of “what I wish I knew” tidbits.

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Moving History in Glasgow: George Square

Time Required: Varies, but most likely 5 minutes to an hour

Cost: Free

Getting There: It’s a central hub in the city, so most bus lines stop there or stop nearby

Parking: Street parking available nearby, but you should probably take the bus

Other Notes: Bring your camera

Go? Yeah!

Address and additional details at the bottom of this article


George Square; Glasgow, Scotland

Population: 13 statues, history, pigeons, tourists, and people going about their daily business

Glasgow is a city that invites meandering. Its funky, artsy scene provides no shortage of things to happen upon, and that’s exactly how we found George Square.

We found ourselves in George Square after having been in Glasgow for only a few hours, following a Rick Steves: Scotland guide to learn a few details about what we were looking at and the ground upon which we tread.

George Square is a hard-to-miss city center (ahem, centre) park that fills a full city block of concrete and grass in Glasgow’s municipal district. Grass fields line the sides, and even in only-okay weather, you’ll see people lounging on the grass. 

Of note: George Square isn’t actually the geographic centre of the city; Blythswood Square holds that honor (ahem, honour).

DSC0581Anyway, the first prominent feature I noticed in George Square was a sculpture of the “grandmother of Europe” and namesake of an entire period, Queen Victoria, sitting (like a boss) atop her horse, poised and looking to the horizon, despite the pigeon poop streaming down her face. I wondered about the other tourists flowing through–whether they knew more than I did about what we were seeing here and whether they felt a connection to the people commemorated there. Or, were they simply looking at pretty things and taking pictures, as I was?

The other pretty things I photographed included the Scott Monument (of the Sir Walter variety), a pair of lions who somehow looked like Chris, and the Cenotaph (A Great War/World War I memorial) they stood in front of.

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After taking in the image of her royal highness (who reigned for 63 years and seven months–holy crap!), I scanned for other statues that stood out among the gobs of jacket-and-scarved people bustling to and fro on the grey day.

The statues I saw were placed in George Square over 100 years ago, and their placement there is an important part of Glasgow’s history.

However, post-travel research told me that these statues are not only at the center of the city, they are/were at the center of a controversy, albeit one that is being worked out in true British fashion and not with the American brazenness and dramatic flair. The controversy surrounded the city wanting to move the famed statues.

But WHY?! was my initial American response. How dare they? How could they even dream of moving the statues of Queen Victoria and the lions and… and… well, I couldn’t recall who else was there.

And apparently I’m not the only one who didn’t really know what statues I was looking at and couldn’t really remember whose statues sat in George Square after-the-fact. In researching this controversy and its pros and cons, I discovered that Glaswegians themselves aren’t exactly bowing down to the stone figures, and also turn to maps and guidebooks that not only name who’s who, but remind the locals why said person is even famous. As one Glaswegian blogger wrote, “Do you even know what is there just now?”

With a little more research, I found out that the city wanted to move the statues so they would be able to hold the 2016 Homeless World Cup in George Square, which is basically an AWESOME idea for an event, and turned out to be a humongous success with 512 players and 80,000 spectators, temporarily making the grey, concrete square into “the most inspiring place on the planet.” I’m not crying–you’re crying.

Anyway, the city put the statues back in place after the event, making this debate a tiny blip in the expanse of Glasgow’s history, but creating an interesting challenge for tour guides and history books that mention the square: “The iconic statues of Glasgow’s de facto city centre, George Square, have been there for 200 years, except for when they weren’t.”

And so it goes.

We definitely were not the only tourists who stopped by to visit George Square. Other tourists unabashedly walked and stopped in front of one another (and us) to take pictures and pose with the slightly obscure, but not really that obscure, but sort of under-remembered Scots of the past.

I snapped a few other statues of men doing things (as men do), including James Watt, an engineer commemorated in a seated position, presumably thinking about machines and suchlike, and two men in robes whom I don’t want to incorrectly identify and whose names I did not write down. I also snapped a few of the beautiful buildings that surround George Square, into and out of which important people do their daily work.

A full list of those under-remembered Scots of the past can be found on the Scotland Herald website, where they explain who sits or stands where and why they are famous enough to be carved out of stone.

Part of me feels guilty for not knowing who they are. Part of me just feels uneducated. And part of me simply doesn’t care. Even if I don’t know who all of those people were and what they meant to the world, and even if I am not particularly moved by being near their likenesses, I do know that George Square holds new meaning for the modern world as the site of the 2016 Homeless World Cup. It’s now a place where history and fame stepped aside for a moment to bring a little hope, fun, and camaraderie to our world.


Visit George Square!

Address: George St, Glasgow G2 1DU, UK

Phone Number: +44 141 287 8349

Tickets/More Info: open 24 hours

Start the New Year, New You, Now

It’s been some time since I published the initial findingYOURinnerIRONMAN post. To the rest of the world, it would appear as if I’d been idle these past few weeks. Urging people to be the best they can be, while I, sit dormant. Watching.

That’s hardly the case.

IMG_2149I’ve been working out. But, I’ve also fallen victim to some of exercise’s biggest antagonists: procrastination, apathy, and excuses. These can cripple any workout regiment.

I took some pictures of myself. Got discouraged. Stood on the scale. Found a new level of self-doubt. Ate a couple pounds of holiday candy and came close to the epitome of self-pity. I still would go to the gym, but my workouts weren’t routine or organized. I didn’t have a focus. A goal. Those two components can keep you on track. Without them, it’s difficult to accomplish much. They are vital elements for maintaining a successful, long-term workout.

IMG_2151So I set a couple goals. These were of varying lengths and difficulty: long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals. My long-term goals include:

  1. Shed 40 pounds in 2018. Currently, I weight 231 lbs.
  2. Compete in a sprint triathlon with my uncle (and maybe father-in-law) over the summer.
  3. Be able to do 30 pull-ups.
  4. Run a half marathon (hopefully with my friend Ben).

Some of the mid-term goals would be:

  1. Go to the gym at least five times a week over the month of January.
  2. Drop 10 pounds the first month.
  3. Run at least 5 miles the first week of the month, 6 miles the second, 7 the third, and 8 the final week.
  4. Increase the weight on all of my exercises by the end of the month.
  5. Eat better.

IMG_2152And finally, some of the short-term goals include:

  1. Go to the gym today.
  2. Stay away from distractions while there.
  3. Don’t eat any holiday sweets.
  4. Run a mile.
  5. Perform all of my back and bicep exercises.

It’s a good idea to start working in some of your other life goals into these lists. Your physical health impacts your mental health which impacts your monetary, spiritual, and overall health. When you realize the connection between all of these, you can begin to improve one to help benefit the others. So, now that I have some of today’s goals outlined. I will leave you with my workout from yesterday. If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments at the bottom.

Enjoy the journey. Exercise more. Wander more.

Exercise Sets x Reps Muscle Group Weight
Day 1 12/28/17
Barbell Bench Press On Bench 3×10 Chest 145
super set with
Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press Both Arms 3 x 10 Shoulders 80
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 3 x 10 Chest 50
super set with
Front Raises 3 x 10 Shoulders 12.5
Pec Fly 2 x 10 Chest 130
Standing Cable Triceps Extension Both Arms 3 x 10 Arms 4 (I think the plates are 15 lbs each)
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