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We all have stuff we don’t need.
When we decided to travel again, we knew that this time we wouldn’t return to the UK. After our last round the world trip we returned home appalled at the amount of stuff we owned. Not only that, but we hadn’t missed any of it.
Smart enough not to make the same mistake twice, it was obvious that this time it would all have to go. Turns out that this is a mammoth task. It’s a mammoth task with tusks – a woolly mammoth task, if you will. That guy in the picture? Nothing on us.
We’d accumulated so much junk over our twentymumble years that it was a time consuming and often emotionally difficult task to get rid of it all. But it has also been liberating and financially rewarding. We feel a lot freer – we haven’t missed anything (*cough*espresso machine*cough*) – and we earned a surprising amount of money towards our travel fund.
So, whether you are heading off to travel or just want to reduce your clutter, here are our top tips for offloading your junk.
TOP TIPS TO SELL YOUR STUFF
1) Start early – We started selling six months before we were due to leave and are glad we did. You own a lot more than you think you do, and it takes a lot longer to get rid of it than you think it will. Leaving it until the last few months is a bad idea because you’ll be busy with travel plans, so start as early as possible.
2) Take an inventory – The first step is to go around each room of your house and write down all of the items you could sell. Don’t forget to look inside your drawers and cupboards for things that you never use. You may want to create two lists – Sell Now for items you rarely use (if you haven’t used it in a year it should definitely go), and Sell Later for things you use on a regular basis. Once you’ve sold everything on your first list, go around again and add more items – you can always find more to sell.
3) Try selling everything – You never know what will have value to others so don’t discount anything- it’s surprising what can be sold. Electronics are always valuable, even when they’re broken as people buy them for parts or to repair. Anything limited edition (check your CDs) or signed sells well, but even low value items are worth selling as it all adds up.
4) Don’t get attached – It is emotionally difficult to sell all of your possessions, but try not to dwell on it, and remember why you are doing this. As time passes it gets easier to sell things that you didn’t think you could part with, and watching your savings account grow is a great encouragement. You have to accept that things will probably sell for much less than you think they are worth. It doesn’t matter – the important thing is getting rid of it all.
5) Research – Once you have your list of things to sell, do some research online on the best ways of selling that particular item and see how much you are likely to get. In Part 2 of this series we’ll share our favourite selling methods.
6) Set targets – Set yourself a weekly target (say 10 items) of things to sell to help keep you focused. Increase the target as you get nearer to your leaving date and when you get quicker at listing items. Caleb at 100 Days of Less set himself the target of getting rid of all his stuff in 100 days and documenting it on his website.
7) Give to charity – Anything you find you can’t sell, or by the end when you become weary of selling many low value items, you can donate to your local charity shop or list on freecycle.
8 ) Clear out sentimental items – We took eight bin bags to the recycling full of photos, sketches, journals, school notes, letters, cards and other mementos. That’s a lot! Did we really need all of that for memories? We did keep photo albums with the best photos, travel journals and a few letters and drawings. You need to decide what’s really important to you. We aren’t as hardcore as Colin from Exile Lifestyle who threw a shred party before he left on his travels and got rid of absolutely everything.
With the right planning and enough time, it doesn’t have to be difficult – just remember not to buy more stuff to replace all the things you’re selling!
Still not convinced? For more on the benefits of selling all of your belongings read our post The Benefits of Selling Everything You Own or watch George Carlin talking about stuff.
In Part 2 of How To Sell All Of Your Stuff we share our favourite selling methods- setting up a ‘stuff blog ‘ and Ebay, while Part 3 looks at Amazon marketplace, car boot sales, where to sell old CDs and mobile phones, and other methods, as well as detailing how much we earned.
Hubs and I are seriously considering selling it all- (or almost) and buy a catering truck to travel and work-
Our children are grown and we love to travel and each other more than anything.
What are your thoughts, tips to get started etc?
Have read the ENTIRE blog- love it!!!
Where are you presently? (March 2013)
Sounds like a great idea Melissa. We are actually launching a new site soon about getting started as a digital nomad. You can sign up for the email newsletter here which takes you through step by step: http://digitalnomad.co/. Mainly I’d say figure out what you need to do (save money, pay off debt, sell off possessions etc), calculate how long it will take and set a departure date to keep you motivated. Good luck!
PS. We are currently in Mexico City.
Great subject! I haven’t ran into a set of posts like this yet.
Helpful to me as well.. Like you guys, my first 4 trips had me traveling to 11 countries and I had yet to sell everything. I sold off about 70% of it two months ago when I relocated from Columbus to Minneapolis, but it’s time for me to get into the nitty gritty and ditch it all in a couple of months. I will be back for your helpful pointers ;)
Good luck with it Brandon. It’s a sometimes difficult but liberating process.
The hard part is selling stuff like art, antiques and jewelry. It’s actually very difficult. (Love your blog)
“the stuff you own, owns you” (quote from the film “fight club”)
i sold everything 15 years ago and have been travelling around drawing ever since.
ive lived in thailand for the last 6 years
Love that film and it’s so true. Thailand is a great place to live-enjoy!
Great post – i think the 6 months notice for selling is always important. You never know how long it will be before someone buys up your old items. Also it means that you wont necessarily have to accept below the asking price, you can simply wait a little longer for the right buyer!