The first step of decluttering is often the hardest step, and while I promise that the end results will be worth all of your effort and hard work, I know that promise is not always enough to motivate you to get started. For some people, the motivation they need is knowing they can earn money from the stuff they’re getting rid of. You could use this money to pay off debt, save up for holidays or purchase a cool new gadget.
Of course, selling your stuff also adds an extra layer to this process of decluttering, and plenty of people declutter with the intention of having a yard sale or listing items on eBay only to realize that the pile is still sitting in their basement a year or two later.
As with most things, creating a plan ahead of time is the key to your success. Adam Baker recently published the much anticipated guide Sell Your Crap, with complete guides to selling on eBay, Craigslist & Amazon. For anyone who’s serious about selling their stuff, this guide is the one you need to walk you through the logistics of selling your stuff and maximizing your earnings.
But here is my short guide for creating a plan and getting started:
Decide what categories of items you’re going to sell and what you’re going to give away before you start decluttering. If you throw everything into one big pile, you’re going to have to sort it again, and that can turn into a huge obstacle that keeps you from ever taking that next step (who likes to have to do something twice?).
Maybe you only want to sell the extra electronics you have sitting around, or maybe you have a ton of books and other media that you want to list on Amazon.com. If you have young children and purchase high-quality clothing for them, you may want to take the extra clothes to a local consignment shop. You may have artwork, home accessories or furniture that you want to list on Craigslist. Or you may want to do a combination of all of those things.
The important part is to identify which categories of items you’re going to sell and keep those things organized by category in one location with the giveaway pile in a separate location so that it’s easy for you to actually list and sell.
Once you decide what you’re going to sell, start thinking about where you’re going to sell it. I already mentioned some options, like eBay, Amazon.com and Craigslist, but you may also want to consider a local flea market or yard sale.
Do you want to choose several options to maximize the amount you earn, or would you prefer to just sell everything in one place to simplify the process and save time? Whichever you decide, begin setting up your account(s) and learning more about the selling process so that you don’t have to wait for account activations and spend time learning your way around each system when you’re ready to begin.
To avoid piles that sit in your basement for years, set a deadline for yourself…and stick to it. Decide that if you don’t list the items you’ve decluttered by such-and-such a date, you’ll take everything to the Salvation Army or Goodwill instead.
Let’s face it — if it sits for six months or more, you’re probably not ever going to prioritize selling it.
Be sure to set a goal for the money you earn so that you can stay focused and motivated in the midst of you’re decluttering. What do you plan to do with the money from the things you sell? How much are you hoping to earn?
For some of you, paying down debt is enough motivation to get you started. Others of you may decide to use a portion of the sales for something you’ve been saving for or wanting for a while. Don’t just blow the money without a plan because you’ll probably regret all of the hard work you’ve invested in the process, but definitely budget for a reward for yourself!
For help decluttering and organizing your spaces, be sure to read through the archives here at Organizing Your Way.
For a more complete guide on how to actually list and sell your stuff on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, pick up Sell Your Crap today, which comes with a $100 effectiveness guarantee. If you aren’t able to sell $100 worth of stuff using the information you learn in this guide, Baker will refund your money, no questions asked!
When you declutter, do you sell your stuff or just give it away?