Selling your clutter can make a clear-out worthwhile
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...