Sell­ing your clut­ter can make a clear-out worth­while

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sally Coulthard

THERE’S noth­ing bet­ter than a ruddy good clear-out. Clut­ter around the home is a bur­den, both phys­i­cally and men­tally, so it’s not sur­pris­ing you feel so bril­liant af­ter a spring clean. If you’re plan­ning to sell your house, it’s also vi­tal to jet­ti­son as much of your junk as pos­si­ble.

Feng shui ex­perts cer­tainly rec­om­mend it.

They be­lieve that clut­ter is stag­nant en­ergy which blocks the flow of chi through your house and af­fects your well-be­ing. They say its pres­ence pre­vents you from ac­com­mo­dat­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties and new ex­pe­ri­ences and can leave you feel­ing stressed, de­pressed and ir­ri­ta­ble.

That’s all very well, but there are many bar­ri­ers to get­ting rid of the stuff you’ve clung onto. What you need is an in­cen­tive.

Get­ting rid of your un­wanted stuff isn’t as sim­ple as tak­ing a trip to the tip.

Re­duce, re-use, re­cy­cle has al­ways been the mantra of gree­nies but I’d add a fourth, equally im­por­tant word – re-sell.

The old cliché of turn­ing trash into trea­sure is ac­tu­ally true and sell­ing your un­wanted junk is one of the quick­est ways to put cash in the kitty. Per­fect if, like me, you want to save up for some­thing but are cur­rently feel­ing the pinch.

EBay and auc­tions are good places to start but they both come with fees at­tached – fine if the item has some value but point­less, I would say, for things worth less than a fiver.

If you want to keep all your lolly, the best way is to or­gan­ise a garage sale.

The con­cept is sim­ple – turf out the car and turn your garage into a mini mar­ket – but there are some golden rules you’ll need to fol­low:

1) Think about what you’re go­ing to sell. Al­most any­thing goes at a garage sale, but bear in mind buy­ers will want to pay cash and only have lim­ited trans­port to take items home.

Books, CDs, or­na­ments, cloth­ing, crock­ery, IT equip­ment, toys and tools are ideal – bi­cy­cles, lawn­mow­ers and ex­er­cise equip­ment will sell but make sure you don’t end up be­ing re­spon­si­ble for de­liv­ery. Ex­pen­sive items and valu­able an­tiques are best taken to spe­cial­ist auc­tions or ad­ver­tised sep­a­rately.

2) Get the price right. Keep things cheap and cheer­ful - pun­ters are ex­pect­ing a bar­gain. For­get com­pli­cated pric­ing – stick to whole num­bers (£2 in­stead of £1.99 for ex­am­ple) and try to keep most things un­der a fiver. Group­ing things ac­cord­ing to price also helps both you and the buyer.

3) Don’t flog bro­ken or coun­ter­feit goods. The oc­ca­sional garage sale doesn’t make you an of­fi­cial trader but are still bound by many of the in­dus­try’s laws.

Make sure ev­ery­thing is safe, es­pe­cially toys and elec­tri­cal goods.

Sell­ing fakes, whether it’s hand­bags or DVDs, also car­ries heavy penal­ties if you’re caught. Ev­ery­thing must be fit for its pur­pose or a buyer can de­mand a re­fund.

4) Ad­ver­tise, ad­ver­tise, ad­ver­tise. Don’t rely on pass­ing trade. Hold the garage sale on a week­end (when more peo­ple can at­tend) and put as many free/ cheap ads around as you dare.

Com­mu­nity and school no­tice­boards, word-of-mouth, shop win­dows, posters in your house and car, and free ad pa­pers are ideal. Do­nate some of your tak­ings to a char­ity and get them to ad­ver­tise in re­turn.

You’ll also need to make a large, clearly writ­ten sign to tempt peo­ple in on the day.

5) Make it fun. Why not turn your garage sale into a real event? Dec­o­rate your garage to make it look ap­peal­ing. Make up some real lemon­ade or serve tea and bic­cies de­pend­ing on the weather (an­other op­por­tu­nity to boost the cof­fers).

Get the whole fam­ily in­volved – kids love play­ing at shops – and in­vite friends and col­leagues to en­hance the num­bers. Noth­ing at­tracts buy­ers like a crowd. Above all, be friendly and ap­proach­able. Scratch be­neath the sur­face and there’s a bud­ding Del Boy in all of us...

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