Recent years have seen a boom in interest in self-storage, as we acquire more and more “stuff” with less space to put it in. If you look around your home today, can you honestly say that you need – and use – everything in it? Have you been paying for a storage unit for years, conveniently ignoring the rising cost, as you have nowhere else to store your stuff? Increasing pressure to economise, as well as the wide range of opportunities to sell old possessions now mean that those items cluttering up your home or storage unit could be put to good use. In fact, as well as clearing out your home and reducing your storage needs, you could generate some cash from all that clutter.
The best places in your home for collecting clutter
Every surface, cupboard or shelf could be a place to find clutter that you could convert into cash. In particular, these locations tend to be a goldmine for items that have been put away, never to be used again:
Under the stairs
In the spare room
In the attic
Under the bed
On top of the wardrobes
In the garden shed
The forum you choose to sell in will make a big difference
Some options are better than others when it comes to selling old items on. Clothes, for example, are often best sold on eBay while unopened kitchenware or bedding can be easily sold via apps like Shpock. If you have items such as glassware, silverware, crockery and ornaments, you might want to consider taking them to a car boot sale, as you can often achieve a higher price by selling these in a way that allows the buyer to handle the item first.
If you’re selling on old tech, such as smart phones, then you’ll often get the best price from a dedicated refurbishment and reconditioning outfit like Gazelle.
CDs, DVDs and old games don’t sell that well as single items – you’ll get more for these if you sell them in bulk. If doesn’t matter how old these items are, as long as they still play, sites like Music Magpie will take your old collections off your hands.
“Big ticket” items are best sold where you’re going to be able to reach the widest possible audience. So, if you have designer bags or shoes that you know are worth a substantial amount, use Amazon or eBay to get the best possible price from the broadest audience.
Bear in mind that you’ll be responsible for ensuring that your buyer receives the item too and that can affect where you decide to sell it. For example, if you’re selling something heavy it’s better to use Facebook or Schpock so that you can find someone local. With eBay you could end up with a buyer thousands of miles away, making postage an issue.
Top tips for selling
Don’t forget to highlight the imperfections. If your items are damaged or slightly marked or broken, make a point of highlighting this in photos and in any description you provide. If you’re selling via a site like eBay and you don’t mention issues like this then you could be forced into a refund.
Some items are much more difficult to sell and it can be better simply to give them away. Used children’s toys, for example, may be better donated to a local playgroup and printers rarely sell online.
Providing free postage is an easy way to convince a hesitant buyer. A low purchase price with high postage is off-putting so try to factor your postage cost into the purchase price so that you can offer postage for free.
Bear in mind the impact of the seasons when you’re selling. If you’re trying to make some money from a pair of used skis, for example, then you’re less likely to have success during the summer months when people are thinking about beaches and not the Alps.
Don’t underestimate the value of what you have to someone else. It’s true that your trash may be someone else’s treasure. You may have exactly the books, shoes or clothes that someone else is looking for even if those items no longer have any value to you.
Successfully selling clutter to make some cash requires a little organisation in terms of how you approach the selling process. If you find the right forum then you could be very pleased with the results.
Amanda Gillam is Solution Loans's General Manager and has been since 2009. She is also a prolific writer on personal finance issues, and has been quoted numerous times in articles published on 3rd party websites and in press releases. Her...Read more about Amanda Gillam