Clearing your clutter to make more money

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According to recent research, every home in the UK has hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of “stuff” that isn’t used or needed. If you are anything like me, you hang on to this stuff for months or even years as you might need it “one day”.

When I realised I was in debt, and even now when my finances are under control, I realised that hoarding this stuff was not achieving anything. I had to be brutal, but my flat has never looked better. My finances are also on the up too which is really exciting!

Where to start?

I usually start with DVDs, CDs and books. These are small but often numerous around the home and clearing them out can add up to some quick money but without feeling like your home is empty. There are loads of apps which you can download on to your phone and then use the camera on your device to scan the barcode. It will then give you a price for your item. My favourite is Ziffit. You need to trade either a minimum of 10 items, or a total of £5 or more. Some of the items might only be worth a few pence but it soon adds up. Once you’ve processed your items through the app, you print off a label that will be emailed to you, and drop your (well packaged) box of items to a local Collect Plus retailer.

You can use the banner below for a bonus on your first trade in.

What next?

I usually try local selling groups next. You can find them in Facebook. Another good place to look is on Gumtree or other selling apps. I had a bad experience with a buyer through Shpock, but then I know people who’ve had great experiences on there, and terrible ones via other mediums.

Top tips for selling face to face

  • Keep all communication through the website or app, and only exchange contact numbers in case there is an issue once everything is agreed.
  • Unless you are selling something large like furniture etc, agree a location that is near to where you live but not your actual address. Much as the majority of people I’ve sold things to online have been lovely, for me personally it is always a worry when a sale goes wrong and they know where I live.
  • Make sure the item(s) is as described – preferably clean and well packaged too. If an item is damaged or stained, be sure to state that in the description.
  • Ask them to ensure they have the correct money, so you don’t need to worry about finding or providing change.
  • Never agree to take payment via bank transfer or PayPal as these can easily be reversed and you can lose out.

What about eBay?

I never used to like using eBay to sell stuff. This was mainly because of the fees that you have to pay to both eBay and Paypal. I’ve come to realise though that the audience on eBay is far higher than you are going to find with any other method and therefore increases the chance of a sale, as well as the price that may get. The introduction of their Global Shipping programme has really helped too. You can select an option in your listing and then international buyers can purchase the item, but you only have to ship to a UK address. The buyer pays the international supplement and eBay do the rest.

Top tips for selling on eBay

  • Start the item(s) to start on a Thursday evening and run for 10 days. Research shows that auctions that finish on Sunday evenings go for a higher price than at other times of the week. If necessary, use your 20 free scheduled auctions to start them at an appropriate time.
  • Take as many detailed pictures as possible – and use as many as you can for free in your listing.
  • Provide a really detailed description, including any damage or details that a buyer may query. Take photos if necessary.
  • Weigh your item before you list it. This will help with your postage. I personally use My Hermes as their pricing is really good. It is easy to work out your postage as the sizes and weight guidelines are very clear. It is also easier for me to post things as you can drop your items to many local shops that are open much longer hours than the post office.
  • Try and respond to any questions potential buyers may send you during the listing promptly. This will encourage them to have faith in you and are more likely to bid on your item.

Car boot sales

For me a car boot sale is a last resort. It’s only really a useful thing to do if you have a lot of stuff to get rid of in one go (whereas I usually do a few things a week via the other methods). I did a car boot sale earlier this year and made £70 for a morning’s work. I was really happy with this but then I realised that what I had paid to get in, worked out at a similar percentage to eBay and Paypal fees – so that puts it in perspective.

Top tips for car booting

  • Ensure you know what time you need to get to the site to ensure you get in. Some local to me you have to be there several hours before the scheduled listing time and you still might not get in. All that sorting and loading of your car will be a complete waste and it is so frustrating.
  • Use as big a car as possible – the more you can take to the sale, the more money you will make.
  • If you don’t have enough to fill the car – perhaps do one with a friend or relative. You will half the price of getting in, and also can cover for each other for comfort breaks and browsing.
  • Start with prices higher first thing. The first people at a car boot sale are the serious buyers. They are there for a purpose. Don’t price yourself out of a sensible price range, but equally, hold your own. You can reduce the prices later on if things have not sold.
  • Ensure you have a good float with lots of change to start the day with. You’d be surprised how quickly you will get through it.
  • Be prepared for haggling. Have in mind a price you want, but equally, sometimes any money is better than none.

What if you’ve tried everything?

If you’ve tried everything and have had no luck, you can always try again (such as list on eBay again but at a lower price). If I’ve tried a few of these on an item and it has still not sold I have to make a few choices. Am I prepared to give it away, or would I rather hang on to it for another time? The vast majority of my stuff (apart from a few pieces of memorabilia) I would be quite happy to just get rid of. Anything big, like furniture, I’ve gotten rid of via Freecycle as it is the buyer’s responsibility to collect. Anything else I’ve usually bagged up and donated to a charity shop (some charities also do furniture collection if you don’t want people you don’t know coming to your home). It’s very rare that after trying to get rid of something that it hasn’t sold, and if it hasn’t, that I then decide to keep it.

Being brutal will help your finances and your home will feel less cluttered – it really is a win win!

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