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In this post I share my top tips for making money from decluttering, the key is to be smart and sell different things in different ways, read how…
Easy ways to sell clutter and make money from decluttering
I’ve put a lot of focus on decluttering this year.
One thing I couldn’t bear to do was get rid of good quality stuff without trying to make money out of it.
At first I thought I could just shove stuff on eBay and watch the money pour in.
But I found myself handing over bags of gorgeous kids’ clothes and expensive toys for pennies.
So I had to think again.
And I am glad I did, because it turns out…
You can make money from decluttering!
It took me a while.
But I discovered there are ways to make good money selling clutter both online and locally.
The key is to be smart and sell different things in different ways to get the best price.
Now I’ve got more of a handle on it, I thought I’d share my eight point plan for decluttering your house and making money from your clutter.
So here you go, my top tips to get you started actually making money.
Have a read and then get going with your own clutter.
If you aren’t sure where to start with decluttering, read my post on the fastest way to declutter your home.
Easy ways to sell clutter and make money from decluttering
1. Use consignment stores for kids’ clothes and toys
Unless you’re a super hot trader, don’t sell bundles of kids clothes or small toys on eBay.
There’s just TOO MUCH SUPPLY.
The little I made didn’t even cover the time I spent on photos, answering questions and postage.
I reckon, the best bet for bundles of kids clothes is to use consignment services.
Consignment companies take on all the hassle of taking photos and sending individual parcels.
Plus generally it’s easier for them to get a good price for high quality stuff.
My only … hard earned … word of caution would be to read the Terms and Conditions about rejected and unsold items and make sure you understand any upfront costs.
One exception to this tip is specialist clothing like waterproofs.
Because there’s much less supply of kids waterproofs, I’ve found I’ve been able to earn over 50% of what I paid by selling kids waterproofs on eBay.
2. Get cash for old phones
Old phones and gadgets are one of my pet hates .
They, and their assorted chargers and wires, seem to be scattered all around the house.
My family is squirrel-like about hoarding them, “just in case we need them”!!
But the realisation that there was money to be made motivated everyone to have a bit of a declutter of tech kit.
For newer tech you can actually make some really nice money.
3. Bulk trade CDs, DVDs and games
Olds CDs and DVDs take up HUGE amounts of space that could be better used.
Luckily, no matter how ancient your CDs and DVDs are, you can make money out of them as long as they still play.
You won’t make a fortune per item but for bigger collections, it really adds up.
4. Reserve eBay, Amazon and CraigsList for the biggies
Now, I said at the top of this post that I didn’t have much luck selling bundles of kids’ clothes and toys on eBay.
However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t sell on eBay.
What I’ve learned, is that even if you’re not an expert trader, you can still make decent money from selling high end branded items on the three big trading sites.
I’ve made 40% and more of what I paid on essential big ticket items.
Things like our buggy.
Also for totally brilliant, but expensive, toys that only get used for a few months before your baby or child has outgrown them. For example, our Jumperoo.
I’ve also done well with surplus decorating supplies.
The building work on our house when we moved in was a bit of a nightmare – it snowed in October when the roof was off!
It just doesn’t snow in London in October!!
The result was big delays and surplus materials that were outside the return date, but I found there was a good market on eBay for even quite small runs of for example, good quality tiles.
You can just use existing product descriptions, categories and photos and your items will also show up when people are searching for new stuff.
5. Hold onto some stuff to sell seasonally
Big name branded clothing in good condition, outdoor toys and other high-value items can often achieve much better prices if you sell them at a seasonally relevant time of the year.
Bear in mind that kids’ bikes can do well during the high summer months, but can also do particularly well in the run-up to Christmas.
So, if you’ve got the space, I’ve found it is worth holding on to seasonal items, as you can double your money and more by selling at the right time.
Also, think carefully about selling unwanted gifts you might have received.
Clearly, you have to be careful not to offend the OGG (original gift-giver) but it’s better to sell an unwanted gift than to have it sitting in a cupboard cluttering up your home.
6.Don’t underestimate the value of old stuff
If you’re anything like me, when you’re selling stuff, you get wildly excited about making cash and then get disillusioned by the whole experience.
You do have to be realistic most of the time.
In general, it will be £100s rather than £1000s that you are making.
But it is easy to underestimate the value of some things that other people collect.
I was totally shocked to find even tatty versions of old children’s books from when I was a child can sell at £50 on AbesBooks the second hand book site.
Most of the sellers on AbesBooks are professionals, but individuals can sell as well and they let you check the value of your books by ISBN number.
If you’ve got a whole load of textbooks or recent paperworks it’s worth checking out Half who let you bulk sell books as well as music, DVDs and games … although, we tend to donate our paperbacks to our local charity (thrift) shop.
Moving away from books, I have my grandma’s old Singer sewing machine from the 50s and just checked out the prices on eBay to see if it was even worth listing … they are selling at more than £300!!
7. Use local sales to save effort
Now obviously you could organise your own garage sale.
I loved doing this as a child, but unless you’re moving and need to get rid of heaps of stuff to avoid the costs of shifting it, this has to come under the category of ‘major headache’.
However, I do think it’s worth looking out for local mums and school sales.
The caveat being that you are prepared to ‘price to sell’.
This way you can get rid of loads of things all in one day and be done.
There’s a lot to be said for getting rid of a big bunch of stuff all at once, even if you make less money .
But if selling physical clutter just creates a whole load more mental clutter and overload, it’s just not worth it.
8. Don’t underestimate the value of your time
Now this isn’t so much a tip on how to make money from your clutter as a watch point, to save you valuable time trying.
Cleaning, taking photographs, writing descriptions, answering queries, parcelling securely and taking to the post office takes time.
I’ve learned to be more realistic about what I can make selling clutter versus the value of my time.
If I won’t make more than £10 on a transaction it’s really not worth the effort.
The specialist bulk consignment and cash back services do help here as they can save you a lot of time.
But with some stuff, I’ve learnt to take the hit and accept I won’t make money out of it.
Plus I’ve come to terms with the fact that continuing to keep hold of this stuff won’t get me my money back either!
The clutter all still needs to go!
So even if I can’t make money out of it, our local thrift / charity store can and that’s a good thing in itself.
On a total decluttering mission?
I do hope you find this post helpful, happy decluttering!
Would you love to earn money whilst being a stay-at-home-mum?
Mother Your Business is a new section on Mums Make Lists.
It has a growing list of posts covering everything from starting your own money making blog or online business to how to manage your time and focus when working from home around parenting your kids.
The latest post gives you the low-down on places you can successfully sell crafts that you make at home online.
I’ve taken a look at the big craft market places, like Etsy and Amazon Homemade, but also looked at the other ways you can sell things you make at home to earn extra money.
Read the post here: The best places to sell your crafts online and earn great money
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