Six Secrets to Convert Clutter into Cash – How to Make Money Selling Your Stuff

By | February 27, 2018

Selling the things we don’t have a use for – what’s the big deal?

The majority of us have probably entertained this line of thought – easy peasy, just list the items you don’t have a need for and sell them online.

What’s the big fuss?

The big fuss is this : knowing that we should carry out an action and actually doing it are two totally different matters.

I have learned important lessons from this simple endeavor. Read on and you’ll learn to use these six surprising secrets to your best advantage.

Why do most of us never get around to doing some things, even when we know it’s good for us, and in this case, good for our pockets?

Well, this time round it’s going to be different for you.

Take these steps to mobilize yourself into action!

1. Conquer Procrastination

Decide to start. Right now. Not the ‘I’ll do it later when I’ve the time,’ or ‘I’ll do it tomorrow after I’ve recovered from my ordeal at work today!’

I have the same problem. I still do, but I’m working on it and it’s getting better.

Selling stuff I see around my house has, until recently, been a lukewarm effort on my part. Seven years ago, I donated almost three truckloads of quality goods to a well-known local charity. Yes, three truckloads.

They were just items that had somehow accumulated over five and a half years.

We had sold our home several months before, and since the deadline to move had suddenly approached, my reaction was to donate our goods as a quick, easy fix.

My family was against yard sales and I was just too lazy to list my items to sell on websites. As a result, I paid a heavy price for my slack attitude. However, I consoled myself that my things were all going towards a good cause.

I used to come up with lots of excuses to myself so that I wouldn’t have to list my ‘things’ for sale. But my recent sales that are picking up is telling me that selling unwanted stuff is really a great idea.

2. Find a motivating purpose, goals, or whatever you choose to call it.

I had listed items for sale in the past, so what’s different this time?

Our family hasn’t had a vacation for the past 7 years. My challenge is to fund our vacation at the end of this year with the amount raised from selling the items sitting around in our house.

Can this goal be achieved? We’ll see.

What I’m pointing out is that we all need a ‘why’, a goal to work towards, so that we’ll be motivated to continue selling.

So, if your goal is to make some money through selling your unneeded stuff, you still need a specific ‘why’. Then you’ll likely be motivated enough to keep on selling, because you know that you’ll reach your goal eventually, when you don’t quit.

So, come up with strong reasons to spur yourself to take the necessary steps towards reaching your goal.

3. Maintain the right mindset

Arming myself with an ‘I can do it’ mentality, and constant self-reminders that it is possible, gave me the determination to continue.

I sold items occasionally in the past. But it was always a half-hearted chore. I used to think that no one would want my things, because I don’t want or need them myself.

How wrong I was! I have since changed the way I think.

Yes, it may be my clutter, but it can be someone else’s treasure! I told myself that if I could do it in the past, I can certainly make my sales now.

4. Handle the Cash You Get from Your Sales

The items I sold were paid mainly in cash. I held the notes in my hands, relishing their feel, their smell and just immersing myself in the money. I took photos of the cash and look at them several times a week. Gosh, it makes me happy that I’ve exchanged unneeded stuff for cold cash. 

5. Transform Your Perception

Last year, my spouse and I made a decision to consciously save money, to become more aware of where our money is disappearing. Our successful endeavors on our savings journey changed my perspective.

I began to see dollar signs on items I have always ignored around the house. I began to notice items that others want, instead of ignoring them as clutter around the home.

6. Persevere

At one point I continued to sell my stuff even when there were no sales at all for 3 whole weeks.

How did I make myself persevere? I kept reminding myself that customers can appear at any time. Sooner or later, there will be people looking to pay for the privilege of having my items. 🙂 

This post details the amount of money I have received so far from January 1, 2018 to February 24, 2018, just from selling the things that I don’t need anymore.

Why would I want to detail all this?

1. It’s fun to track the amount gained, all the more when I didn’t need to spend much time selling them. It was a case of listing them and forgetting about it. Any as yet unsold stuff was simply relisted.

2. More importantly, I learned that with a simple mind shift, it was possible to earn money even though it didn’t seem feasible in a short time. I had previously focused my attention on saving, not on earning money from selling unneeded items.

You may like to read later about how I was able to save hundreds on 12 Surprising Frugal tips that Thrifty people love.

3. Many people don’t see this as a good way to earn money, but I’ve discovered otherwise. I didn’t think that selling unwanted items lying around the house could add up to a few hundred dollars!

I started to list unwanted items, some of which were brand new. Confession time: I was prone to impulse buying in the past. 

Here’s the list:

On January 1, 2018, I earned $73.60 from my indoor houseplant which I had kept for 2 years.

Beyond regular watering and some wiping of its large leaves during all this time, it had purified the indoor air for us, and grown to an impressive height of 6.23 feet.

Ironically, the only reason I sold it was that my ceiling won’t be tall enough to accommodate its height in the near future.

I also sold two cake tins that I had used only once. They were practically brand new.
I received $13.60 for them.

On February 12, I sold my son’s calculator which had been used for a few years. That brought in $63.50

Then on February 14, someone bought my branded eyeliner for $12.20
I had actually received this as part of a gift package when I bought other skincare items.

A few days later, I sold a music metronome and tuner for $20.70
It had been put to good use for music practice at home, and that had been 8 years ago.

I had bought a roll of natural waxed paper in a hurry by mistake, thinking that it was baking paper.
Trying to get a refund from the shop wasn’t a success.

I didn’t really expect to sell it, but someone bought it for $6.80 the day after it had been listed. In fact, there were 124 views on it. I was so pleased. 

Then on February 24, our tertiary textbook was bought by a university in another city for $93.60.
I was shocked. At such a price, I didn’t think anyone would buy it.

All these items above amounted to a total of $284. After I deduct the 8% commission charged by the online platform, the money was still a good sum – $261.28

I managed to sell another textbook for $51 directly to a local university bookshop, so there wasn’t any commission charged for it.

In total, I received $312.28 for just eight weeks of selling unwanted home items on a website.

I have big plans for the near future.

Right now, I’m using my new ‘money lenses’ to look around the house.

My future listings are:

-a brand new printer (Sold)

-a brand new mirror(Sold)

-a wall picture (Sold)

-several brand new educational CD roms for children

-last year’s Christmas gifts

-brand new curtains (One pair has been sold)

-plants (Some plants have been sold)

– textbooks

and many more.

So do cast new eyes at potential items in your house and garage, and evaluate their ‘stay’. Have these items ‘overstayed’ their welcome?

There’s potential cash lying around just waiting for you.

I hope this will spur you towards listing the items you no longer need around the house. View them through “money” lenses, and that should do the trick to get you started on selling.

Just a little reminder: If you need to meet your buyers, make arrangements to take place during the day and near retail locations that are well-lit with high foot traffic.

Thanks for reading this. Tell us about your successes – I’d be happy to know about them.
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If you’ve enjoyed this post, do share.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below 🙂

10 thoughts on “Six Secrets to Convert Clutter into Cash – How to Make Money Selling Your Stuff

  1. Jenna

    Thanks so much for this motivation. Especially seeing how much money you made on each item. Where do you sell your stuff on line and I think the biggest obstacle for me when selling would be where do you meet to sell it? Do you just give your address? I don’t think my husband would want me doing that and I always have the kids with me. Is it safe to take them with me to sell somewhere else? Or am I being paranoid? Thanks so much!!

    Reply
    1. moremoneytips Post author

      You’re very welcome Jenna. I’m in New Zealand but the amounts I have written about are in US dollars, as I think more readers may be from the United States. My things have been sold on TradeMe, a popular online trading site. Buyers do pick up things from my place, quite a common practice in NZ. I have also arranged for buyers to collect from my workplace or my spouse’s workplace. This is meant to make it more convenient for buyers, since they can choose from 3 different parts of the city to collect their purchases (this convenience may make things more attractive to potential buyers). I fully understand your concern about safety. If convenient, transacting at the workplace or in a public place like a mall tends to be safer. I’m certain that you’ll find good ways to convert your clutter into cash. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Kirsten

    I have a horrible procrastination problem. That and I have to be in the EXACT right mind set to go through stuff and list it for sale. It really is a lot of work. Setting a goal like you said such as a vacation is a great idea. That way it could give me more motivation. That is really awesome the amount that you ended up making! Thanks for the ideas and the push.

    Reply
    1. moremoneytips Post author

      Hi Kirsten, I do have this procrastination issue as well, and I’m trying to make it disappear. Thanks for your compliment 🙂 There might not be a need to go through all your stuff yet. Maybe you could make a small start by listing one or two higher value items that you find. This would make it more worth your time. When they sell, the larger sums you get is more likely to motivate you to list more things to sell. Whatever your goal, you could display related pictures and words in places you tend to look at everyday – like your fridge, dressing mirror and bathroom mirror. I’m sure you’ll make good money soon 🙂

      Reply
  3. Mirlene | Savory Thoughts

    It’s funny how much we do not realize the amount of money we have sitting in our home. I often take things into our local thrift store to sell or donate. I must admit, I truly dislike tagging clothes. We made over $1,000 dollars selling unwanted items from our home. Your tips-secrets are great. And motivation is key!

    Reply
    1. moremoneytips Post author

      Hi Mirlene,
      Thanks for your thoughts. 🙂 Gosh,you’ve made very good money! It’s a wonderful feeling to get cash (preferably lots of it) for our clutter at home. Having good reasons for selling our unwanted stuff will help us to get started and it’s well worth our effort, no matter how much we dislike it.

      Reply
  4. Aimee

    This is awesome thanks for the tips! and yes having the right mindset about it, we think since its trash for us, it must be trash for someone else but its truly not.

    Reply
    1. moremoneytips Post author

      Thanks for your kind feedback Aimee! Yes, when people pay money to take away our clutter/trash, it confirms the old adage “one person’s trash is another’s treasure” 🙂 You may have found (or you may soon find) that trash converts nicely into cash. Wishing you happy and quick selling!

      Reply
  5. Arlene | From Pennies to Plenty

    Wow, nice job selling things around the house! I love selling. I started selling my old clothes that I knew were still good and popular. Then I moved on to reselling items from thrift stores. Now my family and friends ask me to sell their household items for them, ha! It’s amazing how much money have we have sitting around it our homes without even realizing it. I like that buying and selling used items also promotes recycling instead of always trying to consume the next new thing. I hope you have continued success in your selling.

    Reply
    1. moremoneytips Post author

      Hi Arlene,
      Thanks for your kind comments. That’s a great move selling your old clothes when they’re still popular 🙂 Gosh,the reselling is enterprising! Yes, it’s true that selling used items is kind to our environment. I hope your sales reach new heights!

      Reply

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