I seem to accumulate a lot of stuff.
For a fair sized one bedroom flat we surprisingly have next to no built in storage – just one cupboard – and it all just seems to take over sometimes. This is not to say I help in any way: I’ve always been a prolific shopper, ever since I got my first part time job as a teenager. I’ve curbed this a lot in recent months though; I’ve tried to cut down and started to get rid of things we no longer need.
Now that it’s the spring, that age old idea of ‘spring cleaning’ has made me decide to do an even bigger clear out over the next few weeks, so while I’m no expert (my husband will testify to that!!) I thought it might be useful to give you a low down on what I’ve learnt about downsizing your stuff.
Be realistic and ruthless
If there’s one thing I can tell you from personal experience, it’s this. Try to look at everything with as unemotional an eye as possible – easier said than done, I know, but ask yourself some questions, and you might find it easier:
- When did you last use this?
- When will you next use it (honestly?)
- Is it contributing to your quality of life?
- Will you miss it if it’s gone?
I didn’t do this initially and it’s taken much longer than it should have done to get this far. Try to only take a few seconds to decide on each item.
So, you’ve done the above. You probably have ‘Keep’, ‘Throw’ and ‘Maybe’ piles. Now’s the time to really test your resolve. With the ‘Keep’ and ‘Maybe’ piles, I suggest you put all of it away for a couple of weeks, and then ask yourself the questions above again. You might be surprised by the answers.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Now, what to do with the stuff you don’t want?
There are lots of options:
Charity – local stores will accept donations (but please drop off bags when the store is open) and some will collect from your doorstep – speak to your local branches.
Friends – Would your friends or family make use of it? Is it in good enough condition to give as a present at their next birthday or Christmas? otherwise, just hold a ‘jumble sale’ and let them help themselves.
Boot Sale – during the summer. This can cost anything from a few quid to over £10 for a pitch – I suggest sharing with a friend unless you have lots to sell. I did two last year and was amazed at how much I was able to get rid of. Clothes sold more easily than I anticipated and I sold all of my silver jewellery in the first 5 minutes at 7am!
eBay – obviously. This has been a go to for years. However I should point out that they have changed their billing model not so long ago, meaning there are now no listing fees, but you pay a ‘final value fee’ on everything you sell (not just in certain categories like it used to be) AND you also pay the final value fee on the postage. This can easily leave you out of pocket if you’re not careful to price up correctly. Don’t forget to include your packaging costs into your postage charge too.
Preloved UK – Possibly slightly less well known, it’s also free to list on here though there are premium options which may help your stuff get sold quicker – the Premium Membership (a year’s membership is £25 but get 4 extra months free via this link using code: PREM4FREE) gets you full page ads, unlimited photos, the ability to add links and videos, among other things.
Gumtree – free to list, though there are options to upgrade ads by paying should you wish to. For me it’s lost some of it’s sparkle in recent years and I’ve found selling things elsewhere much easier.
MusicMagpie / Zapper – Similar but not the same. With MusicMagpie you can sell DVDs, CDs and games as well as electronics and mobile phones; Zapper accepts books, DVDs, CDs and games, mobiles and electronics – and Lego® (?!). You’re not going to get loads for each item but a good option if you just want to get rid.
Shpock – my new favourite. I’ve both bought and sold on here and it’s really easy. It’s all done via an app rather than online, and I love the layout. The offer system is really simple and clear and there’s a real mixture of stuff on here – their tagline is ‘the boot sale app’ – which means that almost anything might sell. As it’s free to list, anything is worth a try!
Repeat this process a few times a year
As I mentioned earlier I struggled to get into the swing of doing this and have found myself doing it multiple times. To be honest it’s worked out for the best in a way as it’s forced me to constantly re-evaluate. I have a big pile of things to put up for sale so I’ll be working through this in the next few weeks!
Do you have any tips for me?! 🙂