When decluttering, the question I ask myself is: “What do I need to keep?” rather than, “What do I need to get rid of?” This helps me in maintaining my focus on the items I consider to be necessary. If a certain item doesn’t make it on my to-keep list, it’s considered “excess stuff.” But what do I do with these excess stuff?
In this series, I will share my experiences on the different options I had when parting ways with excess stuff. For Part 1 of this series, I will focus on one of the first options we tend to consider when an item no longer fulfills the purpose it once had: selling it.
Knowing what to sell
We’ve all reached that point where we realize how much money we could have saved had we not bought this or that. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could earn back the money we used for buying those things we no longer need? But the thing is, not every item we intend to let go of will have a market value. For example, my old college textbook from many years ago would be too outdated by now. No one will want to pay for that.
That’s why I find that it’s important to sort through everything I’ve decluttered and then decide which items I am willing to sell. And by “willing to sell,” it means that I am willing to pour in the time and energy to take pictures of the item, post the pictures on various selling platforms, talk to different potential buyers, go on a meetup or prepare to ship an item, etc. Is it worth it for me to go through all that just to get a few pesos in exchange for my old college textbook?
Of the things I’ve decluttered, what I find easiest to sell is, of course, gadgets. Someone is always in need of a certain device, but is apprehensive to shell out so much as the retail price. I am also very careful of the gadgets I own, which of course helps in making it easy for me to sell them. I also include the original packaging and paraphernalia, and squeeze in some freebies as well so that the potential buyer will see that what I’m selling is a good deal. At the same time, I am assured that all my effort will be satisfactorily compensated.
Aside from gadgets, other secondhand items which I have observed that are easy (and worth the time and energy!) to sell are designer bags and shoes, musical instruments, furniture, and appliances. I don’t have any experience selling these personally, but I’ve heard great success stories from family and friends.
Knowing whom to sell
I’ve found that identifying my target buyer is an important aspect of selling my stuff as it helps me think of my approach in selling the item. When I sold my Bluetooth keyboard, I imagined that someone in the same field as I am would be the perfect buyer for it. So I sold it to a colleague. Personally, I like advertising my items for sale to my friends and colleagues first as it eliminates the need for me to take pictures, post an ad, go on a meetup, etc. My friends and colleagues also know me for being very careful of my belongings, and of course, it helps in making the transaction go smoothly and quickly.
But my friends and colleagues aren’t the ideal potential buyers at all times. There are times when I opt to sell online, but still, I think of the potential buyer’s profile. Is the buyer a student? A professional? A parent buying something for their kid? I still imagine what the buyer’s profile is even when selling online because I take that into consideration when making the “for sale” post. I have to adapt my language style depending on my target buyer, so that I could make the “for sale” post appeal to them.
Pricing my stuff
What I do to know how I should price my stuff is to research how my counterparts are pricing theirs. If I price my stuff significantly higher compared to how my counterparts do, potential buyers will surely choose to buy the more affordable option. However, it doesn’t end there.
Here in the Philippines, haggling is a sport. And it was a lesson I learned the hard way when I sold an item online for the first time. I’ve since learned that I should allow a significant margin for haggling, so that I don’t get disappointed when my expectation is not met. When a potential buyer haggles lower than the boundary I’ve set for the item, I usually tend to pass on the offer (unless I urgently need to let go of the item for sale).
Also, going back to the previous section of this post, knowing my target buyer also makes it easier for me to price my stuff. This way, I could anticipate the range of their budget, and hence, I could adjust the price (and my expectation) accordingly.
Doing it one at a time
The TV shows I’ve watched in my preteen years had me believe that it’s easy and fun to hold a garage sale. And as much as I would like to live that preteen fantasy, the truth is, I don’t have the time and energy to organize a full-blown garage sale. I don’t even have a garage!
Honestly, I know that holding my own garage sale would be overwhelming. I don’t have the motivation to do inventory, talk sales to people, perform business math… that’s why I’ve resorted to selling my stuff one by one. This way, I am able to maintain my focus in keeping track of what I’ve been selling and how much I’m getting, while also being able to avoid getting anxious about having to talk to too many people all at the same time.
Remembering my purpose for selling
I’ve gotten frustrated by the times when no one is interested in the stuff I’m selling, or no one is willing to pay the price I’ve set for my stuff. But when these times come, I ask myself: “Why did I want to sell this item in the first place—is it because I want to declutter or do I just want an easy cash-grab?” Sometimes, it pays to let the item sit for a longer time before selling it to someone who is willing to pay the price you’ve set for it. But there are times when I have to accept that, maybe, the item I’m trying to sell is not really meant to be sold. But it doesn’t mean I have no other options! And I will explore these other options in the succeeding parts of the series… 😊
What about you, what tips do you have when selling your stuff?