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Honesty Jar experiment / How to get rid of your stuff

In an attempt to “minimalise” our belongings before heading out on our year of travelling, I organised a pile of books, DVDs, PS3 games and CDs that I wanted to sell. I was determined to make some money off it, as I completely failed to make any money from my clothes (mostly donated)! There was some quality stuff in there — FIFA Street (PS3), Vanquish (PS3), Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, 1000 cocktail recipes, Freud’s ‘Hysteria’ — as well as some less quality stuff like Top 20 Christmas Jingles.

Keen to clear out as much stuff as conveniently as possible, I thought I’d try something different to my usual Facebook listings — a stand in my apartment block with an honesty jar. Now, I’ve seen this work quite well at Escape the City events and churches, with people taking what they wanted and putting the correct payment in a jar. There was a side of me that was worried people might take advantage of this and just take the stuff without leaving any payment. Or even worse, take the money that others have left in the jar!

But I threw caution to the wind and took a box of around 20 odd books, 5 games, 10 DVDs and 2 CDs down to the common area in our apartment block, and left a jar next to it with a post-it note explaining how this works. People have told me that when you’re travelling you get to see the best of people and it’ll restore your faith in humanity — I wanted to experience that here and now in Deptford, London.

Curious at how my experiment was going, I visited the common area a few times throughout the day. The first time I went down about an hour after I’d set this up, I could see that someone had looked over the titles but nothing was taken (and no money in the jar L). The second time was about two hours into the sale and lo and behold — a glorious pound coin and an assortment of smaller coins! A whole three pounds! My experiment was working — I’d soon have a tidy £40 to pay for some travel goodies — a couple of quick-dry Underarmour underwear or some travel packing cubes for me and Iris!

Fast forward six hours and here was my taking:

broken image
The not so honest jar :(

And this was the pile left over:

broken image

Considerably smaller pile

So a lesson learned — honesty jars are probably not the best way to sell stuff to add to your travel fund. I do feel a bit gutted that I live with some bad apples. My faith in humanity down a little bit. Maybe I was a bit naive! But I’m looking at the positives — it’s one less box of stuff to store away and I’m hoping that the books, DVDs and CDs have found a new home. And I hope that my less honest neighbours will learn to love themselves and just become less douchey people (there’s a bit of venom in this sentence isn’t there?)

It’s also given me an experience to write about and a fiver (£4.99 — someone underpaid by a penny) that’ll pay for some batteries for my new headlamp, which I hear are a must when staying at hostels!