Make Money Decluttering: How Decluttering Made Me $400 Cash

Make Money Decluttering: How Decluttering Made Me $400 Cash

May 21, 2018 0 By minimalismlite

Make money decluttering

Decluttering is a primary goal in my life right now, and just by putting in some extra effort I was able to make $400 cash selling items that were cluttering my space.

It all started with a cluttered round table. I purchased a round, wooden, Ikea table used for $35 and imagined myself eating breakfast at it in my new two bedroom apartment. I even bought it a month before moving and stored it in the basement until the big day. Not so long ago, being constantly on the lookout for something to buy was the norm for me. The table was cheap, which pleased my inner frugal soul and tricked me into thinking I wasn’t acquiring a useless item, because it was a table and it was cheap.

The table was simple and sturdy, and I thought it looked nice near the entrance of my 680 square foot apartment. Unfortunately, it became a dumping ground for mail, groceries and my backpack. Using the table as a dinning table to entertain guests didn’t happen as much as I had thought. I used it as a desk sometimes, but a round desk is awkward!

Finally understanding the uselessness of this table took about 6 months. My boyfriend said “the table round, it’s terrible for a small apartment, it can’t be pushed into a corner.” I could finally see that it was in the way all the time and it couldn’t be pushed aside. Having a meal at this table wasn’t even comfortable. So it had to go.

Getting something functional is worth it

As my first item to go we agreed we could replace it. So I listed it for $30 and had someone pick it up within a week. In the same week I found a bamboo Ikea table with two drop-leaves. Brand new it was $280 but used with a couple heat stains was only $90, and I love it! Functionality and desired aesthetics are not mutually exclusive! The table fits nicely against the wall when its not in use, and the two leaves create plenty of room for big board games. I began to get really excited to start reevaluating the usefulness of the rest of my possessions.

Every sale motivated me to sell more

Next to be listed for sale:

  • a fondue set ($35),
  • an Ikea zipper wardrobe ($20),
  • a collapsable ottoman ($10),
  • a Steve Madden purse ($25),
  • two lightly used eyeshadow palettes ($65),
  • a TNA bag ($45),
  • four plastic chairs ($20),
  • a chin-up bar ($10),
  • a laser printer ($35),
  • Beanie Babies ($45),
  • a beach chair ($20),
  • an old camera ($20),
  • a collectible model truck ($20).

All of the above was sold in about 3 weeks time and I can confidently tell you a month later that none of these things are missed! Decluttering Round One was a huge success for me!

I kept the cash in a separate envelope away from my spending cash so I could see how impactful all this decluttering really was. I was on a roll and really excited to let go of all these items. Looking at this list can you believe it totals $400? Each item individually doesn’t make a large impact, and at first you may not feel is worth the hassle of selling. Try looking around and assembling a collection of items you are ready (or almost ready) to part with. Seeing how impactful donating or selling this entire pile of items will help motivate you to take the plunge and get started.

Take time to reflect on the experience

The cash made from decluttering now stays in a separate savings account because I am not finished and I intend for this account to grow. After moving this month I plan to continue selling. I expect to find that certain items don’t have a practical home in the new space and getting rid of them will be easy. Check out my post that describes how I successfully purged by asking myself if I really want to pack and move each item.

I learned that the process of selling these items in person and planning in-person meet-ups is extremely tiring. For now, I have taken a break until my move is finished. A fire has but lit under me and I have a long way to go.

4 lessons I learned while selling used items for cash

  1. Selling items individually on local websites is a burden. Selling ten, twenty or fifty items on Craigslist, Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace takes patience. You will spend time agreeing on time and place, and there is often low-balling or no-shows. I feel that my clutter weighs heavily on my mind. Spending time and energy trying to relieve myself of an item doubles or triples that weight. I found myself saying “I never want to buy anything again if this is how hard it is to get rid of stuff!” This was a very critical lesson I learned about my clutter that I wouldn’t have understood had I not tried to sell so many things in a short period of time. I now evaluate the purchase of new items based on their life cycle from in my possession to out of my possession.
  2. You won’t get your money back. This becomes obvious very quickly. Though it will be exciting to make money decluttering, you cannot sell most of your used items for anywhere near the original price. The beach chair I sold cost me $40+tax, the fondue set was a gift but I know it was priced at $100. Seeing how much money I was actually able to recoup on these items really affects how I justify prices now. 
  3. You can buy almost anything used and at a discount. It turns out a lot of people are also selling gently used items for much less than full price. Paying full price for something doesn’t have to be the default! This is how I got a nearly new Ikea table for less than 40% of the catalogue price, and a one-year used Ikea sofa for 75% off. This kind of purchase is extremely satisfying, especially if its something you really want and fits into your life very well.
  4. It is much easier (emotionally) to let go of things when someone else is going to enjoy them. This might not ring true for everyone, but I found it exponentially easier to let go of items I had held onto for so long when I knew someone wanted it enough to contact me, set up a time to physically meet me and pay for the item. The woman who bought my fondue set was very excited to try it with her friends. The man who bought my collectible truck said he didn’t have this one yet and was glad he found it. The Beanie Babies I had since I was kid were going to be loved by a couple’s grandkids. It was so much easier to give these items to good homes instead of sticking them in a donation box or the trash.

More decluttering to come!

The impact of this experience is motivating me to do it again and keep track of my total progress. Just writing this post is a huge step to keep me accountable and excited. I wanted to share my progress and encourage others! I am on the right path to a healthy balance of minimalism.

As mentioned, I am taking a break in purging and selling while I focus on packing and moving.  Pressuring myself to be a strict minimalist would cause extra stress that I don’t want during this move. Minimalism can happen slowly and doesn’t have to be the source of stress in your life as your pursue it. Do what works for you! Tell me, how did your last decluttering session go?

Clear your head, clear your space, and make money decluttering your life!

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