Over the last few months I have been on a mission to clear out the huge amounts of clutter that have built up in my home over time. Living in a relatively small home, albeit one that is comfortably sized for one or two people, space is very important. Much of this all too important space has been filled with all manner of things that I have bought throughout my life. In fact, I’m pretty certain this is the first real clear out that I have ever done. There is literally 27 years worth of stuff to get rid of.
Despite being desperate to get my house looking the way that I want, I am unwilling to simply throw away stuff. Not only is it ecologically irresponsible. It is also madness from an economic point of view. The unrealised value that is to be found in old stuff is shocking.
The amount of money that I managed to recoup by selling old stuff is frankly ridiculous, and quite a stark reminder of the amounts I must have spent on all of this stuff in the first place. The thing is, you are never going to make back all of the money that you originally paid for all of your stuff. That is unless you have something that is now a sought after collectable. But, by getting something back for items that you no longer need, you are effectively reducing that initial outlay.
Over the last 90 days I have sold over £1000 in unwanted items on eBay. Although the amounts you can make will vary depending on what you have to sell, and how much effort you are willing to put into doing so; this shows that there is money to be made.
Games consoles, old musical instruments and used smartphones are the big money makers. But it is possible to make a surprising amount selling things like DVD’s, CD’s and even books. The key to doing well when selling things is to ensure that as much detail as possible is in the description and providing a reasonable starting bid, or by it now price. Surprisingly, setting the starting bid too low can actually turn off potential buyers, as it suggests there may be a problem with the item. Obviously setting the pricing too high is also bad, no one is going to buy your old stuff for more than they can get the same thing new. As a general rule I check previously completed listings for the same or similar items before I make my listing.
There are other online or local marketplaces that you can use to sell your things and these may suit your needs better than eBay. For me though, eBay has been useful and very fruitful.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the main driver for this clear out was not actually money, but space. There is so much more space in my house now, and this is only going to get better as I continue to get rid of unneeded things. As long as I can control myself when it comes to shopping (not something that I am always great at, as Helena will confirm). There were some unforeseen benefits of this as well though, having so much less stuff makes me so much happier than I used to be. When I was younger I always wanted new things, things that I ended up rarely using. I have noticed that things aren’t that great, and they certainly don’t make you happy.
I don’t know if I will ever really be finished clearing out stuff. My inability to control myself when shopping means that I will always be getting new stuff. I am also a huge tech fan, so most of my electronics will be replaced on a regular basis. The economic upside of clearing out clutter means that I will not hold onto all of this stuff ever again though.