One man’s junk…how to monetise your clutter

I had to add that explanation to my post title as, hey, I don’t want to get blacklisted for talking about gentlemen’s privates!

If you’re anything like me your house will be full to the brim with clothes, toys, kitchen utensils and general tat that you really do not need. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably getting sick to the back teeth of it all, especially if you have a tendency to scroll through Instagram and Pinterest thinking “why doesn’t my house look like that?!”

I have recently discovered Marie Kondo – you’ve probably heard of her too. The (slightly crazy) Japanese lady who waxes lyrical about folding your knickers and thanking your rusty saucepans for their service before releasing them from your house. It’s all very sensible (aside from the anthropomorphization) but when you’re trying to pay down debt and save for the future, it can be frustrating, and actually quite emotional, to think about how much money you’ve spent on that clutter and simply disposing of it doesn’t create the happy feeling that Ms Kondo wants us to feel.

marie-kondo-shirt

How to fold a t-shirt, Marie Kondo style.

I have also become very aware of my environmental footprint as I discard these items, and would feel guilty about adding to landfill just because I no longer need something. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84 percent of unwanted clothes in the United States in 2012 went into either a landfill or an incinerator (source).

So, here are the ways in which I monetize my clutter while trying to be eco-conscious. This will not clear your house as quickly as hiring a skip and chucking it all in, but it will mean you don’t feel quite as guilty about getting rid of so much stuff that your hard-earned cash (and the earth’s resources) has paid for.


Ebay

The obvious one to start with. You’ll be able to get rid of brand new items pretty easily here, especially branded clothes with tags (labelled as BNWT – brand new with tags), unused makeup and more sought after CDs and DVDs. Clothing bundles can also do well but generally only when collection can be made in person, as the postage costs can skyrocket when the parcel weighs over 2kg (have a look at courier services for heavier parcels). A tip is to search for what you’re selling and filter by Sold Items only – this will give you a good idea of whether your item is likely to sell, and for how much. In terms of fees, you will pay 10% of your final selling price (including postage) to Ebay, plus a fee to Paypal. Here is a great fee calculator. You will get 20 free listings per month, and after that you will pay to list your item.


Bulk selling CDs, DVDs, Games and Books

There are several sites set up to do this; they are listed below. If you have a lot to get rid of and you want to maximise the amount you make, I would suggest setting up a spreadsheets with rows for the name of the item and columns for the different buyers, then add how much they offer you in each cell. Once you’ve finished, divide up into piles to be sent to each buyer. This will be time consuming but it’s the best way to ensure you get the maximum return. However, if you’re time-short, just upload everything to one site and keep anything that doesn’t sell to upload on the next one on your list.

selling

A not-at-all scientific example of a selling spreadsheet

The sites generally have an app that allows you to scan the barcode of the item, so this is worth using as it’s hugely time saving. Some things to consider – the sites generally have a minimum number or value of items that they will accept before your order can be submitted, so make sure you have a decent amount to add before you start. Also, you’ll be getting rock-bottom prices as they have to assume your item is only in acceptable condition, so if you can get more for the item on Ebay, do. You will have to securely package the items in a cardboard box and drop off with a courier (or have it collected), there are links to your closet collection point on the websites. Good luck!

The sites I’ve used are:

You can also sell the above items on Amazon, however I find that the market is absolutely flooded with books etc on here and you will probably end up paying more in fees than you make. Have a look at the website though and search for your item – if they usually sell for a decent amount then it’s worth a try.


Local selling groups

There are millions of groups on Facebook that people have set up to facilitate the selling of items locally – some will be specifically for kids clothes or toys and others are more general. Search your local area name and ‘selling group’ on Facebook and see what you find! Just make sure you thoroughly read the rules of the group before you sell anything – the admins will be running the group for no reward and in their own time so it’s just polite not to annoy them, eh?


Selling textiles for rags

Any clothes you can’t sell on and aren’t in good enough condition for the charity bags can be sold to a bulk textile purchaser. These are springing up more and more on the High Street. Companies include Cash4Clothing, Rag and Phone and Cash4Clothes. You won’t get much – my local shop paid 50p per kg – but if you have a lot to get rid of it’s worth a look, and you know the items will be recycled rather than going to landfill. There are also a few schemes set up with high street stores who will recycle your unwanted clothes in exchange for a voucher to spend in store (not great in terms of reducing your possessions though!). Have a read of Andy’s post on Be Clever With Your Cash for more information.


Old mobile phones

If you have any old mobile phones in your drawers, try selling them. There are hundreds of sites set up to do this now, so to save time have a look at Moneysavingexpert’s Mobile Valuer, a comparison site that will show you the best site to sell your phone through. You can also try it on Ebay, especially if it’s an older mobile not accepted by the valuer, as people will buy them for spares.


So – I wish you luck and positive thoughts, I know how disheartening it can be to be surrounded by clutter, and how tempting it is to just chuck it all in the car and whizz it to the skip. But remember, there is money to be made in all that madness – and you also owe it to the world not to add to the landfill mountain. There’s always someone who can use your items, so instead of throwing them away, let someone else use and appreciate them.

What have I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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