If your home is anything like mine, you have way too much stuff yet not enough money for when bills are due. As I head into the Christmas silly season, my challenge in this blog post is to convert some of my unwanted and unloved junk into cash.
This is a slightly confronting issue for me to deal with. I know some people are really comfortable with selling things that they don’t need, but somehow, mentally, I feel like it is wrong. I worry that things that I have would not be perceived to be of value, that maybe people would laugh at me for listing them or for charging too much. I much prefer to gift to my favourite op shops or to give away via the Buy Nothing Project.
This is, I realise, a limiting belief. I buy second hand goods all the time. I love a bargain. I also like looking for things that are slightly obscure (at the moment prasiolite aka green amethyst and vintage jewellery). So why wouldn’t someone just happen to want the odd thing that I have listed for sale? And if I thought something was valuable enough to buy it, why wouldn’t someone else want to own it?
Some readers might remember that a few months ago I earned a few hundred dollars from selling some old Chinese provincial chairs that I no longer needed by listing them for auction with Allbids. They were lovely chairs, but didn’t fit into my apartment and were just cluttering up my car park in the basement. Now I have more room for my bicycles, and even room for my man’s motorbike.
As an aside, if you are looking to attract a romantic partner into your life, one of the best things you can do is to signal to the universe that you are ready is to declutter. Start by clearing space in your garage for another car (or motorbike if that is your thing) and room in your closet for someone else’s clothes. Yep, I’ve done this and it works. It really works.
Kylie from the Thrifty Issue is a big fan of ‘flipping’. Her blog is featuring a challenge of creating $20,000 in extra cash. Selling things you no longer need is one of the big ways that and she and others in her community make extra cash.
Last month, during the Cashed Up Christmas month, I started on a challenge to list as many things for sale as I can between now and Christmas. Even if I only earn small amounts, I know they will add up. I am putting these small amounts into my new Acorns account. I am finding that watching how my savings adds up is quite addictive .
What I have discovered through this is that it is now much easier than ever to list items for sale. There really are no excuses not to declutter and earn cash from your unwanted trash. These are some of the places that I am listing items that I no longer need or want:
- Allbids. This is a Canberra-based online auction platform that is expanding throughout Australia. It is especially good for antiques and items that are a little bit quirky and might be of value because they have specialists who can appraise you of value and help you market it. (That kitsch knick nack that your dad or granddad bought in Asia on posting in the 70s might be worth more than all your household contents put together.) They are also really good for bulky furniture because they can pick up for you, and they are great for handling large lots such as deceased estates and items from people who are downsizing. Best part is that they do all the work – they take photos, list the items, liaise with the sellers and then just give you money when it is all finished. (Beware: this website is addictive and you might end up wanting to buy more than you sell.)
- Gumtree. Gumtree has a large reach throughout Australia, and I find it works well for things that you want to be able to see in person such as furniture, handbags and clothes and bicycles. Listing is free, but there are inducements to encourage you to bump up your add. The only real problem is working out how much to list things for. I find that people tend to put on slightly higher prices to factor in it being negotiated down. Some of the jewellery on here, for example, I believe is over priced relative to Allbids.
- Facebook marketplace. Facebook has been aggressively promoting its marketplace option, perhaps ahead of Amazon entering the Australian market. I have bought items off here, but I am yet to successfully sell something. I am slightly appalled by the amount of used make-up and perfume that is being offered, and the strong consumer culture (some people seem to have endless amounts of clothes). But it is soooo easy to just flick through and look at things.
- Facebook groups such as buy, sell, swap and giveaway. There are several groups in Canberra and I am sure there are many groups in other places. If you list on Facebook marketplace it also gives you the option to list items into groups that you belong to so you can list in more than one place fairly easily. An added advantage is that your friends are notified when you have something to offer. I find this works well for household items such as baby items that you no longer need. The items can’t really be searched or curated as neatly as other platforms (there isn’t really a database as such), and I find that items tend to pop up for a day or two then disappear.
- Work classifieds. If your work has an online classifieds forum, or even a cork board in the kitchenette, then use it. An advantage of selling through work is that it is easy to bring it in to sell (assuming the item is not too large). A disadvantage is that you might want a functional separation between your home and office lives.
- Ebay. I am finding that increasingly sellers are commercial in nature with their own shops, but there is no reason you can’t list individual second-hand items on this platform. This can work well for the obscure. But as (unlike platforms such as Allbids) you don’t have someone to advise on value you risk underselling or overselling items that are potentially rare or valuable.
How have I gone? Well so far I have sold a wooden table that I no longer needed for $100, and an old kids bike for $20. There are three items that have no takers, and I am about to list some unneeded camping gear. (BTW, the featured image is of a item for sale – a Selangor pewter orchid necklace. The chain is, I think, silver and better quality than it looks. I don’t wear it. I don’t know why.) Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot – but it is $120 in my Acorns account growing interest that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Your challenge is to identify an item that you no longer need and list it for sale. Don’t delay and wait until you have ‘time’- pre-Christmas is the best time to do this. Just find something you don’t use and try to sell it – you will probably find heaps of stuff while digging around for the Christmas tree in any case. And connect with me and others on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire Facebook Group to tell us how much cash you managed to flip!