Monday, February 16, 2009

Revelation About Making Decisions

I'm getting ready to go to the annual convention of the American Bell Association (ABA). This will be my first time attending one of these conventions, though I have been a member of my local chapter for about 7 years. Since our local group is hosting the convention, I will attend and will help the group. It's a small group of about 30 very dear folks.

The convention is an opportunity to show the bells I want to sell. The audience is a select group of bell collectors! To seize this opportunity, I need to decide which of my bells to sell. Then I need to get the bells ready, devise a method of record keeping, and pack the bells to sell.

I have had a problem deciding which bells to sell. When I first inherited the collection from my parents, someone in the ABA gave me some advice I have been grateful for:
(1) Don't sell anything until you know what you have and what bells are parts of a set with other bells.
(2) Don't sell anything you like; you won't have a chance to own it again.

I saved all the bells I liked in any way. Then I sold off a lot of bells that I clearly didn't like. I also tried and failed to sell many of the bells that I don't like. What I have left is a lot of bells ready to sell but still too many bells that I have saved because I like them.

A difficult task I face before the convention is to sort the bells that I like and sell some of them. There are several reasons why I have kept these bells:
(1) I do love some of them! They are cool, fun, and beautifully made. Some depict famous characters who mean a lot to me. Some have interesting histories or uses. Some are very old. Some are unique (back to cool).
(2) They are a collection. This is one of the sticky problems. If I see the bells as a collection, then I am apt to keep some I don't like, because they belong in the collection. If I see them as individual bells, I may sell off some that go with others. Then the individual ones will be on the shelf all alone. Will they have as much visual clout without the collection surrounding them?
(3) Some I have saved because they are valuable and it's special to own them.

Looking at some of the bells I have kept, and casually puzzling about how to choose some to sell, I found myself looking at some specific bells and wondering how much money I can get for them. Can I get what they are worth? Are people at the convention going to be more thrifty this year because of the economy? Looking at other bells, I didn't even consider wondering how much I could get. I couldn't even consider selling them!

It wasn't until later, when I wasn't thinking about the bells, that I realized that I had answered one of my own toughest questions. One helpful way to decide which bells I am ready to sell is to ask myself, "how much do I want for this bell?" This might not help me sell the bell for the highest price, but it will tell me whether the bell goes into the "for sale" pile!

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