Clearing clutter is sometimes an emotional rollercoaster, but if you can make some money from your clutter or help others with it, then it can soften the blow. Gone are the days when the only way to sell your used stuff was to get yourself down to the local car boot sale at the crack of dawn.
There are many ways you can sell your unneeded things. There are Preloved websites and car boot sales, specialist websites that will buy your CD’s, DVD’s, old mobile phones and Lego, to apps and national markets that have a local presence. All you need is the ability to get your stuff to the sale or take a photo, upload it and get to your nearest post office or parcel drop off point.
Don’t have the space to store your unneeded items while they sell? Then you could be part of a specialist sale like a Mum2mum sale or a local car boot. There are now car boots that start in the evenings if the thought of getting up at 5 am makes you want to hibernate for weeks. Or you could support a local charity and give it to them to sell or pass on to those who need it.
If you’re struggling to let go of some of your unneeded stuff, it’s useful to flip your thinking and think about the other people who could use or need your items more than you. It also helps to think about an experience or something you want (that isn’t adding clutter again) that you can pay for with the money you make. Think about what you’ll be able to do or how you’d like to feel at the end of selling or giving away your stuff and keep that top and centre as a reminder. It’s useful to write this down and keep it close so you can refer to it when you forget or reach a low point.
Whichever way you choose, here is a rundown of my great eight useful ways to make money from your clutter. You’ll notice Amazon nor eBay feature, as let’s face it these have become for the more seasoned sellers who are there to turn a significant profit. Most ways I have used myself in the past, a couple I’ve heard good things about. Some top tips for selling online or face to face follow.
Grab a coffee or tea and a biscuit and let us begin!
At number 1. Shpock
Shpock is my go-to app right now for selling my stuff. Their tag line is ‘the local way to buy and sell.’ For me, it’s like selling at a car boot sale without having to stand outside and hope the weather holds. All you need to do is take some photos on your phone to upload, set your approximate location and off your unneeded clutter goes. You can post or have items collected depending on what it is. I use Hermes couriers as it’s easy, cheap and there are over 4500 drop-off locations across the UK. Plus, so far they have been reliable and pleasant to deal with too.
Shpock says they have more than 10 million active users. That’s a lot more people searching specifically for what you are selling than you’d get at a car boot sale. And for the record, I’m not sponsored by them or taking any commission. Right now, I think they are the best way to make money from your clutter.
Although, they should add the tag line, be courteous and communicative otherwise don’t bother.
2. Specialist sale
The specialist sales I use once a year or so are kids and parents’ sales. The one standout parent’s sales are Mum2mum markets. Although this doesn’t mean dads can’t sell at them too. What sets them apart from the others? Their marketing. This alone is worth the £20 you pay for your pitch. They market their sales on Facebook and other places too so that you know you will get a lot of people passing through. You can upload photos of your items on the Facebook page for each sale, which means that you may even get people who have come to the sale specifically to find you and your items.
Other specialist sales you can look at are vintage or interiors sales. They usually come in the guise of a car boot sale, but some do sell themselves as specialist sales. There are many specialist car boots in London such as Battersea car boot. How to find them? Ask around. Your local free paper is a good starting point, pop into their offices and ask them. They should know everything and anything about your local region. And if that fails put a recommendation post out on social media – works every time!
3. Preloved shops and dress agencies
Here in Essex, I go to Ruby & Willow and Groovy Baby, although I tend to buy rather than sell. They have new and preloved clothes. But I have friends who practically sell ALL their nearly new clothes with these two shops in Leigh on sea, and you can find shops like these all over the country. How it works; You hand over your items during their intake window, which is usually once a season but can be more often depending on the shop. Your items are appraised, and you’re given a price. If you’re happy they are either put up for sale, and they take a commission when they sell, or they buy straight from you there and then.
These shops aren’t just for clothes you can find them for furniture and interior items and more. Many will collect too. I’ve only had experience in Leigh on sea and Sheffield, but it’s a good one.
Why these shops work so well? They know their trade, they know what will sell and for how much. They are specialists, and you can take advantage of their expertise without any cost to you.
4. Local shelters
If you have unused, unopened toiletries sitting in your bathroom. In date canned or dry foods that sit at the back of your cupboard unused. Good condition coats, hats, scarves, blankets, boots and shoes that are barely used, outgrown or surplus to requirements. Get them to your local homeless or women’s shelter or your local food bank. Some people need those items in your community and would be very grateful for them whatever time of the year.
Wrap up London is a prominent campaign that happens at Christmas and takes warm winter coats. But search for your local homeless services or women’s shelters, and there will be somewhere to give items all year round. Start by using www.homeless.org.uk to search for your local services and ask them where you can take all your items. They will be able to point you in the right direction.
4. Good old car boot sales
Get yourself on car boot junction and find all your local sales listed there, including the specialist ones mentioned at number 2. The times are listed so if 6 am is too early for you, you can find the 11 am starts or the evening sales too if there are any in your area (fingers crossed if you’re a night owl). They also let you know the cost for a pitch. From £5 depending if you have a car or a van load. Plus they list the amenities at each sale and if there is a website or contact details where you can find more information. Great for any specific sales or specialist sales you’re interested in. Whether it’s hard ground or on the grass, inside or out, you can plan to make money from your clutter and have the sale go the best way that it can.
I use Freecycle often, mainly in London and Essex. We’ve given away sofas, cots, tools, books, toys, tickets to a show and much more. It’s a great way to keep your unneeded stuff out of landfill and into the hands of someone who could use it or needs it. It’s straightforward, and I have at least one item listed all the time. Sign up, list your item for offer, with a photo if you can, and anyone who would like it emails you. I work on a first come first serve basis. Otherwise, it gets complicated. Arrange when they will collect the items or if you’d prefer to deliver you can arrange this too. Sometimes you get inundated with emails, and sometimes you get one or two. It depends on the item. Read the rules though to make sure you are compliant before you list an item.
6. Local charity
Taking your items to a charity shop is, I think, a perfect way to get rid of your clutter. It gets it out of your home as soon as you can drop it round to your local charity shop. The charity can make some much-needed money from your items to help with their cause, and you can gift aid them too. Plus, whoever buys your items gets preloved decent items for a lot less than they may be able to pay for them. It’s a win win win. A lot of charity shops don’t take electrical items though so that juicer that has sat on the side unused for years will need to find a new home another way.
7. Music Magpie, Mazuma Mobile, and other buying websites
Back when I first discovered Music Magpie they used to buy CDs and DVDs. I packaged up pretty much every CD and DVD we owned, and off they went much the Other Half’s reluctance. Now they buy books, games, mobile phones, kindles, tablets, laptops, go pros and even Lego. Scan your items or enter the bar code, add the condition and get an instant quote. If you’re happy, add the item to your basket and checkout. You get a free send label, so pack up your stuff, and away it goes. Once received they send you the cash straight to your PayPal or bank account.
Other similar sites are Ziffit or Webuybooks. Have a look at the reviews and see which best suits your needs. Be truthful with the condition though otherwise, you end up being disappointed when you don’t get the amount you were expecting.
Mazuma mobile is another site that is like Music Magpie that I’ve used before. It’s just for selling old mobile phones and tablets. They send you a bag to whack your phone or tablet in and send it to them for free too.
8. Your kids’ school PTA
Most PTA’s hold a summer fete every year and have stalls that sell toys, used uniform and more. It’s a good way to send on that good as new uniform that your kids outgrew before they hardly wore it, toys and other items that can be raffled. The money goes to your kids’ school and so not only gets rid of the clutter in your home but benefits your kid as well. Perfect.
So that’s eight great ways to make money from your clutter, but I have to shove another sneaky one in. Sal’s shoes! At the end of every year my sons’ school asks that we give outgrown shoes, even the school shoes they wore the day before, to send to Sal’s shoes. Sal’s shoes find new feet for outgrown or unworn shoes across the world as well as in the UK, and you can see exactly where your outgrown or unworn shoes have ended up.
It’s a great way to have those nearly new shoes find new homes. They take adult size shoes too as the shoes go to kids aged 18 and under. Shoes are mailed or dropped off to them in Kent 4 times a year – March, May, September and November. Take a look at their website for their address and what types of shoes they take. The May window is now open, so it’s a great time to declutter that shoe collection.
Tips and tricks for selling;
1) Pick the right kind of sale. Spend a little time researching specialist sales to find the right one for what you are selling. If you have trouble finding the sale you want, then the local car boot is the next best thing.
2) Don’t overdo it. You don’t want a stall so full people can’t see what you have for them to buy. You can always do another sale or sell items another way too.
3) Price it right. The aim is to sell as much as possible, so you don’t need to pack everything back onto your car and then back into your home again.
4) Have a plan of what you’ll do with what you don’t sell. Numbers 4, 5, 6 and 8 above are good ways to send items to a new home.
5) Don’t be too stubborn. It’s not just about making money or selling for as close as possible as you bought it for.
6) Keep expectations real. ‘They’ say that preloved items should be sold at 30% of the original price as a fair and reasonable amount. I tend to go for 20% as the highest amount and then an hour before the sale ends everything is 50p! I refuse to go home with a full car.
7) Don’t expect to have everything go in one sale. Although that’s the aim. It might take 2 or 3.
8) Plan plan plan. The more you plan and prepare for the sale the better it will go. Price your items at least the day before the sale and if you can mark every item with a price then do so. If not group items together to price them. E.g., everything in this storage box is £1 each.
9) If it’s not in a good enough condition to sell or donate, then take it to your local recycling centre.
10) Be prepared for people swooping in to look through your stuff before you’ve even unpacked it. It is mightily annoying but keep your cool and kindly ask them to step away until you are ready. They will probably hover as they don’t want anyone else taking what they want but be prepared for this to happen and don’t let it bother you.
11) When you’re taking photos to sell online follow these fail-safe rules: Make sure they are in focus. Blurry images are a no-no. Take the picture with the item on a plain light background if you can. And in front of a window. Have your back to the window but to one side when you take the photo, so you get the best light but don’t create a shadow with your body. Show the whole items not just part of it and make sure only the item you are selling is in the photo, no other items in the background.
12) Don’t be tempted to exaggerate the condition of the item. It just comes back to bite you. Be truthful, and everyone wins.
13) And finally, A GOLDEN RULE. You are there to sell, NOT to buy.
And now you’re set to send your clutter to new homes where your preloved items are needed and will be used just like we did a couple of months ago.
The Kid and I did a Mum2mum market sale and not only did the Kid learn about money and selling his toys so he could afford other things, but we found new homes for a lot of old baby clothes and toys and made a mint. The Kid made £80 from his toys alone, allowing him to buy the Lego he wanted and now had room for. That’s a lot of cash from used toys, especially for a kid!
The local Mind charity shop benefitted as did some of our family and friends. We asked if they wanted things first though. There’s nothing worse than pushing your stuff on people who might not want it!
If you have any other suggestions for selling or giving your unneeded stuff then comment below.
Photo by Carson Arias on Unsplash