Sep 24, 2014

Tips to De-Clutter and Get Some Money For Your Stuff

It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate especially with young children in the household.  Prior to leaving on our 'Big Trip' of 2011 and now again prior to our immigration to Canada, we had to de-clutter our house. This time, we also aimed to get rid of our 2 vehicles, almost all of our furniture and unnecessary items such as home decor.  Sure, you can throw away stuff you don't need, or give it away to friends or charities.  But for us, we also like to make a few extra dollars 'recycling' it as the money would certainly come in handy when having to replace it once we moved to Canada.  

I'm happy to report that we managed to sell most everything we had intended to, and found homes for the rest.  Here's some Tips on how to get rid of your stuff, based on our recent experience in Australia:
1.  eBay
We started our de-clutter about 9 months ago by selling unwanted stuff on eBay.  Pros: you reach a large audience and are not limited by geography.  Cons:  Calculating postage accurately was a real challenge if the purchaser was not living locally.  Also, along with that, you have to pack it well to ensure that the item isn't damaged in transit.  Also, not everything can be posted due to size and weight, so then you are limited to a more local market.  Lastly, eBay's fees can add up and will negatively affect your net profit.  eBay is also recently charging a percentage on your postage costs too.

2.  Gumtree
Gumtree is quite widely used in Australia and has a similar format to that of Craigslist, which is widely popular in North America.  Pro:  You tend to attract a local audience and there are no fees for the seller.  Con:  Unlike eBay which has a rating and feedback system of the user, no such thing exists for users of Gumtree (and Craigslist).  As a result, you do have to beware who you are dealing with.

3.  Facebook 'Groups'
I only recently discovered these in the past few months and have had much success selling children's items as well as furniture and household goods.  You search for local groups in your demographic area that meet your market criteria (ie Baby and Kids' Stuff; Free stuff; etc) and usually have to request to join.  Pro:  There are no selling fees involved.  Also, in my experience, the transactions are very quick as the buyer usually lives locally or is prepared to travel to you as that is why they are part of the group to begin with.  There is no posting of the item required unless by mutual agreement.  Some of these groups have a large number of members.  Con:  Again, there is no way to rate the seller or buyer so you don't really know who you are dealing with other than they have a Facebook profile.  Depending on the group, administrators often maintain some sort of '3 strikes-you're-out' rule based on reports by other members.  Some people do seem to be 'time-wasters' and commit to buy your item but then never communicate and/or come pick up the item.  

4.  Specialty Websites
If you are selling a vehicle, you can opt to advertise it on the internet on specialty websites.  We didn't have any response based on doing this, although we did buy our car via this avenue.  (We ended up selling our cars via Gumtree instead.)   Pro:  You are advertising to a specific group of buyers who are presumably wanting to buy this sort of item.  Con:  There are often fees involved with using this service although the idea is that it will generate more specific results.  

5.  Garage Sale
We had 2 good old-fashioned Garage Sales this time around--what we didn't sell the first time 4 months ago, we just offered again a month later as everything was already set up in our secure and covered garage, which wasn't being used at the moment.  Pro:  Pure profit for a few hours' work.  And you get to meet some nice people too if you are lucky.  Con: We spent about a day preparing and displaying our items for sale.  And we had to make signsto put them up around the neighbourhood where they are likely to be noticed--this can be time consuming.  Don't forget to take them down when you are done either!  Also, if your Garage Sale isn't held in a covered space, you will have to worry about the weather too.

Our Garage Sale--lots of stuff!

6.  Charity Organisations
Large charities such as Salvation Army readily accept most items, with some exceptions including not bean bags and electrical items (in Australia anyway).  Pro:  Easy to either drop off your items or in some cases, they might even come pick it up from your house.  Con:  I do have an ethical problem with how these charities use the money raised through these donated items, but that's just me. 

So there you have it.  Give it a try--get rid of some unwanted stuff and make a little cash while you are at it too and reduce the waste in the landfills!  Good luck!


  1. It's also a great feeling getting rid of clutter; almost liberating. We did the same before leaving the UK for our travels. Good luck with the move.

  2. Hi, I've recently found your blog about travels with children. We are another travelling family and it's nice to connect with others. We've just returned from six weeks away with our three children. We are at

    Good luck with your relocation to Canada!