Learned this saying from a lifetime farmer and wish I would have learned it earlier. I used to raise poultry. I had up to 30 peacocks and ornamental pheasants, but, our mainstay was ducks and chickens. At one point I had about 50 chickens so I placed an ad in the paper to sell them for $8 each. A man came and I told him he could take his pick. He wanted to buy about 30. He chased and caught, chased and caught, and when he left gave me a check.
I surveyed what was left and what did I find? He had picked through and taken all the best of the birds and I was left with the too small, too old, too young birds. My prime laying stock was all gone. Of course it was! He was not stupid, I was!
Everytime I reflect on this situation I want to hit myself in the head. I had set myself up so splendidly. But, most interestingly is that we all do this to ourselves when we walk into or get put into a lower income situation and do not have a plan. We can end up loosing our best house, or best car, or best anything because we have not structured ourselves to prevent it. We either try to pay everthing and end up late on it all or we pay nothing and end up late on it all.
Doing an inventory is the first step when confronted with a downturn. Realize that everything is at risk and make some decisions up front on how you will handle it. If you need help read books, go to consumer credit counciling, talk to people over 70 who went through the biggest depression and get their advice. Their experience is priceless.
Then, keep the best and sell the rest.