How to Sell Everything You Own
How do you sell everything you own? One thing at a time...
There’s nothing quite like the prospect of needing to get rid of everything to make you take a serious look at all your stuff and wonder how it all got there! We’ve always been quite frugal and choosy in our purchases, but still, after several years in suburbia, we had managed to acquire a decent amount of “stuff.”
John is quite adept at clearing out, organizing, and throwing things out that we no longer need, so he took the lead as chief decluttering guru. We had started casually decluttering long before we decided to go sailing since we were planning on changing up our lives one way or the other. As soon as we made the decision to sail, we kicked it into high gear and spent the next 12 months selling and donating everything we owned. You can of course do it much quicker, but we wanted to start early to really maximize what we could earn and to avoid throwing stuff away as much as possible.
Places to Sell Your Stuff
First, we started selling obscure things we no longer needed on eBay. We found it was a good place to sell things like old Lego collections, random electronics, and such.
Craigslist was good for all sorts of things, but is a bit of a pain since it usually takes anywhere from 1-12 people contacting you, setting up a time to meet, and then flaking out before you get an actual buyer. Not to mention the endless messages from scammers wanting to send you money orders! Lol. However, for the big things like couches, tables, appliances, etc. it works quite well. In fact, for these type of items, you'll get your best value from Craigslist because people talk prices down way more at garage sales for these big ticket sort of items.
We also used local selling groups on Facebook, which worked pretty similarly to Craigslist, but was able to reach a different group of people.
*Quick tip! Post everything for 20% higher than what you want to get for it, to leave room for the buyer to talk it down. No matter where you price it, they'll want to talk it down a lot to feel like they got a bargain, so price it so you both can be happy. ;)
Once our house sold, we gathered up everything that was left and had a garage sale. We posted it on Facebook garage sale groups, Craigslist, the local online classifieds, and put signs up nearby. It was actually a huge success and was a great way to get rid of household odds and ends, small furniture items, throw pillows, decor, extra dog toys, and lawn maintenance equipment.
Garage sale pricing is a little tricky. You want to price each item just slightly higher than what you'd be willing to take for it. However, at garage sales, if it doesn't sell, it will be donated or thrown away. So, keep that in mind as well. If you don't sell it for $x, you'll be getting $0. As our garage sale progressed, we adjusted prices to try to always keep things moving. Overall, this worked amazingly well.
One option that worked nicely for clothing was taking them to Plato’s Closet. Although they don’t pay much for your clothes, it ended up being able to cover a lot of our new (to us) wardrobe for sailing life. It ended up working kind of like a clothing trade-in to sell the clothes we no longer needed and use that money to buy used clothes from them that suited our new lifestyle. Any clothing in good condition that Plato’s Closet didn’t accept, we would donate or give to family and friends that might enjoy them. Keep in mind that stores like Plato's Closet only take clothing from the current season (no winter coats in the summer!), so try to start early so you can sell as much as possible instead of just the clothes from the current season.
Here’s a quick reference list of good places to sell or donate your belongings:
Places to sell your stuff
- Facebook local selling groups
- Local online classifieds
- Plato’s Closet
- Garage sale
Places to donate items
- Women’s shelters
- Family and friends
- Dog rescues (for like new or gently used dog beds, bowls, or toys)
When to Sell
We found that it was helpful to sell and donate our possessions in phases that corresponded with selling our house. Since we did start clearing out our stuff a year in advance, we wanted to be sure that we still had furniture and decor to stage our house when we put it on the market. Homes always sell better when they’re decluttered and the closets are fairly empty, so that’s where we started first.
After our house sold, we posted all of our remaining furniture online (minus our mattress, two office chairs and a workbench we’d use as a table) and held our garage sale. We had a quick closing on the house of only 30 days, so we went very quickly from having a modestly furnished home to having no furniture in a very short period of time. Thankfully, the furniture sold quite well between Craigslist and the garage sale, so we didn’t have much to take to the apartment.
Below is an outline of the kinds of things we sold before listing the house for sale and the things we sold after the house sold. It worked quite well for getting rid of everything without having to live in (or try to sell) an empty house.
Prior to listing the house on the market we sold
- Non-essential furniture
- Holiday decor
- Kitchen appliances
- Video games and other hobby items we can’t bring sailing
- General closet-filling stuff
After the house sold we sold
- All remaining furniture
- Lawn maintenance equipment and tools
- Patio furniture
- Anything and everything else that hadn’t sold yet
When it was all said and done, we ended up with just the things we were taking with us on the boat as well as a few select items with sentimental value that my family offered to store for me.
And that’s how we did it! In about a year, we downsized and sold our house and essentially everything that goes with it. What platforms have you found especially useful for selling or donating your old stuff? Don’t keep your best kept selling secret to yourself. :) Let us know in the comments below!