The title of this post speaks for itself.
We had a ton of stuff piled up in the garage, in the guest bedroom, in our closets – everywhere. Yes, I have slight hoarding tendencies.
Most of that stuff, we didn’t need.
So I finally sifted through all the clutter, went all “You are the weakest link. Goodbye.” on many things and then sold them.
Given the amount of things I’ve sold in the last couple of months, I’m sure that some of my Facebook friends thought we might have been going through a rough patch financially. There were a few “Is everything ok?” messages I received, but no, we aren’t having to skip meals or anything. That being said, we were working on the farmhouse remodel and there were a lot of unforeseen expenses that came our way such as getting the whole house replumbed, a new garage door, a new water heater and lots of other things that added up pretty quickly. To help pay for all of that, I pulled on my big girl panties, waded through the excess furniture, clothing, home decor items, and random other miscellaneous stuff that had been piling up, and sold whatever we didn’t need or want anymore.
I didn’t keep track of the exact amount of money I made from selling all the unwanted items, but I know it is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 over about two months because I paid $1500 cash for all the plumbing updates and new garage door at the farmhouse, then had a little over $500 left to spend on other items.
Here’s how I did it. From beginning to end. The cleaning out to the selling. All of it.
Now y’all, keep in mind that you may have more or less things to sell than I did. Your things may be worth more or less than mine were. Don’t go getting all scrappy with me if you don’t make $2000. This is one of those “results will vary” kind of deals. I feel like a commercial saying that, but there are some people out there who might think I can magically put $2K in their pocket by them reading this post. I’m not a magician, y’all.
How I Made $2K+ in Two Months Selling Crap We Didn’t Need
1. Go Through Your Entire House
This is, of course, the no-brainer here. You are going to have to go through every room, every closet, every nook and cranny and be ruthless.
Purge like you’ve never purged before.
No matter how big or small the item is, if you no longer need it, don’t like it anymore, doesn’t fit anymore, or haven’t used it in a year, let it go.
I had been holding onto multiple pieces of furniture, some small, some larger, from our previous home as well as some pieces I had picked up at yard sales and thrift stores, because I kept telling myself I might need them here or there or at the farm. I took a long, hard look at each of the pieces and determined that I really didn’t need about 90% of it. The only things I kept were a couple of side tables for when we makeover the guest room and a couple of pieces to makeover and then sell because I knew I would get a substantial amount of more money out of those pieces if I just took a little time to redo them.
I went through all of our closets and got rid of anything that no longer fit or that we hadn’t worn in a year.
I went through the closet in my office where I keep little home decor knick-knacks and got rid of any that I hadn’t used in a year.
Just turn on some good music, grab yourself a beer and get to purging, baby.
Gather all the items you are purging in one space. For us, we used our guest bedroom.
2. Create Two Piles / Categories.
After you have gathered all the items you no longer want/need in one space, create two piles or categories within the space.
Category One: Larger items that can be sold locally online such as on Craigslist, Facebook, Close5 app, Letgo app, etc. I only sold items locally. I wasn’t going to deal with the headache of shipping items.
Now you might be asking yourself, “How do I decide what could be sold online?” Here are the general guidelines I go by when determining what I will sell online locally…
Try to Sell Items Online First if They Meet the Following Criteria:
- You think it will sale for $20 or more. (This is a personal preference here, but I’ll only take the time to list something online if it will sell for $20 or more. You might have a higher or lower number.)
- Furniture – just about any furniture piece, unless it’s badly damaged or banged up, I will list online.
- Item Lots – I group all my daughter’s outgrown clothes together by size and try to sell in one big lot or in smaller lots to a few different people.
Category Two: Smaller items that can be sold at the upcoming yard sale you will now be having since you cleaned out so much shit. 😉
You might have some things you think just need to be tossed in the trash right then and you can totally do that, but y’all, I tend to put those items in my yard sales first. You would be amazed at what some people buy at those. My friend Jason’s mom, sent over old bras with him to sell in one of our yard sales and they went like hotcakes. Hell, Kathryn even sold a bottle of partially used shampoo at one of our sales! I think she was just going to give it away, but someone actually paid money for it!
3. List the larger and higher-value items for sale via local online marketplaces.
You’ve got your two piles now – one for the things to try and sell locally online and the other for your yard sale. Let’s get those higher priced items listed for sale now!
- Take photos of the items you will be listing for sale online.
- Take photos in well-lit spaces.
- Shoot from different angles.
- Get detailed shots.
- Take measurements of each piece.
- Make note of any imperfections.
List your items for sale on:
- Your Local Craigslist Page – if you don’t already have an account, you’ll have to create one and then it will walk you through setting up a listing.
- Facebook Marketplace – type in “Facebook Marketplace” in the Facebook search bar while you are logged in and it will bring up local listings in your area, then click the blue button on the right that says +Sell Something.
- Local Facebook Yard Sale Pages – while logged into your Facebook account, do a search there for “InsertYourTownHere Yard Sale.” There are probably lots of local yard sale pages already out there that you can request to join and then list your items for sale. Once in the group, if you scroll down a little on the right, you will see more suggested groups that will most likely also be local yard sale groups you can join and list your items on.
- Your Own Facebook Profile – If I have items that I think some of my friends might be interested in buying, then I will also list them for sale on my personal Facebook page. I just create a post detailing what I’m selling and then list the items in the comments. I’ve found this very useful for selling lots of kid’s clothing and smaller home decor items.
- Close5 and Letgo Apps – you can download both of these apps for free on your smartphone and list items you wish to sell.
When Listing Your Items Be Sure to Include:
- The photos you took of the item.
- What the item is (yes, there are some people that just can’t tell from photos)
- Measurements (especially for furniture!)
- Any imperfections on the item – photos of these imperfections are helpful for buyers as well.
- The overall condition of the piece (Brand New, Like New, Excellent, Great, Good, etc.)
- What the item is used for or what it could potentially be used for – for example, a dresser could also be used as a buffet or sideboard in a dining room. I also had a piece once that could double as a storage cabinet or a bar.
- The item location or where you are willing to meet someone to sell the item.
- Any other buying criteria you have. In all my listings, I always include the following language:
Located in ABC City. Pickup only. Cash Only. First Come, First Serve. No holds. Cross-Posted.
If it’s a smaller item that you are willing to meet someone with, then replace “Pickup only” with “Willing to meet at” and then wherever you want to meet. I don’t hold anything for anyone unless I have cash in hand from them. The “cross-posted” lets people know that the item is posted for sale in multiple places and not just that one. Below is a posting of mine for a table and chairs set that I sold.
Any large furniture pieces that I sell are usually pickup only items. I’m fine with putting a small side table, mirror, or something similar in my car and meeting someone with those, but if it’s a bigger piece that requires more than one person to load it, then that person has to pick it up. I don’t care to help them load it when they come, but I won’t deliver or meet with those items. The main reason for this is that I’m not going to haul something across town and then they decide they don’t like it when they see it. That being said, having a stranger come to your house can be a little scary though. Here are my tips on that…
Things to Keep In Mind for Selling Pickup Only Items When People Come to Your Home:
- Try to have the item in a spot at your home that is very easily accessible to where the person would park and also that is very visible to neighbors. For me, I have found that my garage works best for this. As soon as someone sets up a time to come see something, I have Grunt help me pull that piece right smack dab by the garage door and that way I can just open the garage door and show the person the piece right there. If the weather isn’t questionable, I’ll even pull the piece outdoors. What you really don’t want to do is have a person walk all through your house to see something.
- Try to set up times for people to view items when someone else is also at your house with you.
- If someone else can’t be there with you when someone comes, then send a text to your significant other or a friend saying, “Hey, just wanted to let you know someone is coming to look at XXX at XXX time.” I do this with Grunt Labor if he isn’t home. If I don’t text or call him after that person is set to arrive, then he calls me to make sure everything is ok.
- Only let people come over to see items during daylight hours. Yes, I know bad things still happen during the broad daylight, but still, it’s better to have them come during the day rather than at night.
- Sometimes people will come and look at an item and say they want to buy it, but can’t take it with them that day. If you’re a sweet, kind soul, then you may take their word for it. Because I’m not a sweet, kind soul though, I tell them that they have to leave at least half of the cost of the item as a deposit for me to hold it for them. I also tell them that it must be picked up within a week or I keep that money and also re-list the item to sell.
Things to Keep In Mind When You Are Meeting People to Sell Items:
- Meet only during daylight hours and in populated areas you are familiar with. I tend to lean toward grocery store parking lots, large retail store parking lots, etc.
- Take someone with you or let your significant other or a friend know what you’re doing, just like I noted above.
- Be sure to ask them what type of car they will be driving so you can be on the lookout for them.
Here’s another sale posting where I sold a lot of toddler shoes and was willing to meet the buyer:
After Listing Your Items for Sale:
- Keep a good eye on your email, Facebook Notifications, Facebook Messenger, phone, etc. for anyone who may be contacting you about purchasing an item.
- “Renew” Your Items on Craigslist every 48 hours.
With Craigslist, after you list an item, you can renew it once every 48 hours for the first 30 days that it is listed. This bumps your listing to the top of the sale category you posted it in. To do this, login to your Craigslist account, and you should see a link that says “Renew” beside your listing. Click that.
- Bump Your Sale Posts in Facebook Yard Sale Groups
Like renewing your Craigslist sale posts, bumping your sale posts in Facebook yard sale pages will also move them to the top of the discussion. To bump a listing, you simply comment on the sale post by writing “bump.” Most Facebook yard sale groups have rules about how often you can bump posts, so make sure you are following those. Generally, I bump those posts about once a week.
- As items sell, be sure to delete the listing.
I try to delete items that sale just as soon as they are sold. That way I don’t get calls about them and people don’t get mad if they see something for sale and then it turns out, it isn’t anymore. Be sure to delete the listing on all the outlets that you listed it on – Craigslist, Facebook, etc.
- Lower prices if needed.
If I haven’t had any bites on items that I’ve listed after a couple of weeks, then I will lower the price some.
4. Have a Yard Sale.
And now, the final piece of the “get money for the crap you don’t need” puzzle. Have yourself a yard sale. Now is the time to get rid of all of those smaller items you set aside in the yard sale pile earlier. I wrote a post last year detailing all of my tips for the most successful yard sales, which you can read here. All the information you should need for a great yard sale is in that post. One thing I will add though is that if you’re doing a big clean-out where you have lots of larger items that you have listed online for sale, then wait about a month after listing those before having your yard sale. That way, you can add any items that didn’t sale online to your yard sale as well. From my experience, you can usually make a little more money on those larger items by selling them online as I’ve noted above, rather than at a yard sale, thus why I suggest waiting a month.
I think that just about covers it.
Here’s to reclaiming some of your square footage and making a buck or two while doing it!
If you have any selling tips, please do share them in the comments! I’m always up for hearing more ideas!
You might also want to read…
DIY Clothes Rack and Free Printable Size Dividers for Your Next Yard Sale
Three Things That Could Cut Your Electric Bill In Half
Five Ways to Decorate Your Entire Home on a Tiny Budget
Our local police encourage people to meet their Craigslist buyers in the police parking lot.
That’s a really great idea, Deb!
Margo Findlay says
Really helpful, Jenna! You’ve inspired me to start the room to room purge and make a little extra cash. Thanks for the Close5 & Letgo Apps info. Always learning something new on your blog…best, Margo
Glad to hear it, Margo! It’s also really freeing to just get rid of all that clutter lying around.
Lisa A. says
Since 2004 I have sold $15,700.00 worth of just stuff I am purging on EBAY. Not trying to make it a business, just selling stuff in my house no longer used. I don’t sell junk, only things that have some value and are worth the time. With two kids growing up – you cannot imagine the stuff I was able to sell. American girl dolls paid for prom dresses, college text books paid for new college text books, Cuisinart parts paid for new Cuisinart, etc. I cannot stress enough the power of a good photo and detailed description. My family will see me packing something up and cannot believe it was sold. My paypal account is my little slush fund! This does not even include the big stuff I have sold on Craigslist. Two days ago a light fixture from Pottery Barn that was in a box for two years after I replaced it sold for 65.00….I really need to get on the Facebook band wagon so I can get rid of two really big things prevent the parking of cars in my garage…Thank for the details of the Facebook selling.
Wow, Lisa!! That is awesome! I totally agree on the photos and description. I myself am more apt to buy something online if I can see the product better in another seller’s photos and the description is better – even if it is a little more expensive! Yes – give those Facebook pages a try at selling items – I’ve had a lot of success there!
Heather G. says
Great ideas! Getting rid of stuff always feels SO good.
I came across your post through a link party and I’m so glad I did. I’m inspired to go through all my closets now 🙂
Awesome, girl! Get rid of that clutter!
angela bradley says
i wish we lived in the same city. i totally have taken the dog.
Oh, I’m sorry, Angela!
I have been slowly adding items that we don’t use anymore to my garage with intentions of just donating it all. But the more and more it piles up, I am considering having a yard sale. Thanks for all of your tips!
Go for it, girl, and have a yard sale! You can donate whatever doesn’t sale!
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
These are such great tips – and I can see you are highly organized and motivated! Love it. We’re having a block wide yard sale next Saturday so I’ll have to implement some of your tips!
Awesome, Angela! Thanks!
I’m an expat in a very multi-culti European city. I buy/sell through a few faceboom groups and keep a cup with in/out money. I sell kids stuff we don’t need and buy kids stuff we do need. Works out great as the money doesn’t come from our regular income. Also ex-pats are often greedy for brands from “home” or other countries so we all sort of gobble each other’s goods up. I only found out about after my second kid was about 6 months. Wish I knew sooner. Also, whenever I go to pick up something, I tell my partner the street address& name of where I’m going and what I’m buying. Just in case. Upside of city living is very close proximity of neighbors.
Wendy Ewing says
Jenna, you have totally inspired me!! I LOVE LOVE your blog!! Thank you for being you! ?
Happy to help, Wendy!
Kathleen Rupp says
Great post! I have been wanting to sell some stuff laying around the house…your post really helps lay it all out on how to go about it. Thanks so much! Saw your post at the funtastic friday link party:) pinned!
Jann Olson says
Good for you! With all of the social media sources now days it’s quite easy to sell things. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
I have been selling clutter on eBay since 2001. It’s a great way to get rid of what you don’t want and make a little extra cash too! I usually do a good purge when I want to make a big purchase or do some home projects, as you mentioned. My kids have caught on too…a couple of years ago my son sold his Legos for $3,000 to use toward college spending money!
I love Facebook Marketplace as well and your tips are spot on. Great article!
That’s what I’m talking about, Joanne! That’s awesome!