How to Get Rid of “Stuff” Before Your RTW Leap
One amazing side effect of long-term travel is the necessary step for one to reevaluate one’s belongings. Maybe you’re not a casual hoarder like 99% of us are. But if you’ve been on this planet for a few decades, it is more than likely you have amassed at least a good room full of “stuff” over the years. I had at least two rooms full of things, furnitures, ooks, collectibles, clothes, kitchenware, glass, plates, sports equipment, you name it. My mission was to get rid of most belongings before a long-term backpacking trip to South America. And I had only three months to purge!!!
Get the most bucks for your big ticket and miscellaneous items
♦ Sell furniture on Craigslist
- Search your own items first to get an idea of market price for each item.
- Pictures, pictures, pictures! More pictures and measurements you provide on your listing, more interested buyers, guaranteed.
- Post each furniture for sale individually under “For Sale by Owner” and as a bundle in “Garage/Moving Sale” sections. You can set a date for the garage/moving sale and also have ready other miscellaneous items for sale when buyer comes to look at the furniture. No one likes to leave empty handed, they just need options.
- For clarity, I usually add in the posting: cash or PayPal only, buyer pick-up, and first come first served.
♦ Join a Facebook Group in your area
- Some may shy away from the anonymity of Craigslist and not knowing who they are dealing with. With Facebook groups, you can post item(s) for sale and get a bit of information on interested buyers from their profile.
- Know more about how to find a Facebook group here.
- Create your own here.
♦ Ask friends and family for a joint yard sale
Joint neighborhood yard sales bring all the bargain seekers to the lot! Don’t let winter get in the way, make it a garage sale!
- Buyers come like a swarm of bees at the opening of a yard sale. No exceptions. It’s Chapter One in the Bargainer’s Handbook. So be ready, price your items ahead of time so you won’t be overwhelmed.
- People will bargain. That’s also in the handbook. Experienced buyer will bargain piece by piece. When buyer asks for the price on an item, say that you will give a discount if they buy multiple items. DO NOT DISCOUNT ITEMS ONE BY ONE!!! When you discount as a bundle, it’s easier to track plus it won’t be as steep of a discount. While you think, oh it’s just a few dollars off for this item and a few off of that, when you add it up, it is way more than you would discount if it’s a bundle. Guaranteed.
Clothing, electronics, books and other valuables
♦ Clothes and bags for cash or to consign on ThredUp – Free shipping!
This site is a backpacker’s best friend! Not only have I purchased quality, reasonably priced items, I got rid of over 25 lbs of “stuff” I no longer use or want. The most eco-friendly way to send forth your belongings. For common items you can opt to receive money or credit once ThredUp process your bag, whereas high value items are consigned and you receive a payment when it sells. Best part of it all? You can order a free bag to ship your items. It’s a blessing when you are already short on time.
♦ Used shoes welcomed at Donate Your Old Shoes and Soles4Souls
Donate Your Old Shoes is a family run charity that will take old shoes in decent condition and spread it to other parts of the world where people are shoeless. Sure you will need to pay for your own shipping, but this is almost as direct as delivering the shoes to those in need yourself. This family has a very respectable mission. Soles4Souls is a much larger operation with drop-off locations if you don’t want to deal with shipping.
♦ If you have time and patience, Poshmark is your online closet store
This is one of the easiest apps I’ve used. Take photos of what you want to sell, set a price, and boom, you have a store. Buyers can make an offer (like bargaining…best game ever) and you can accept or decline. The whole system is very friendly and reliable. The only thing is, Poshmark takes time to build up followers and also requires a good amount of attention and maintenance if you want the items to sell quickly.
♦ Electronics for Amazon Trade-In, instant quote
We all have an extra reader, camera, old laptop or something we might have gotten as a Christmas gift, waiting to serve. But sadly electronics don’t get more valuable over time (at least not the first 25 years). Amazon Trade-In accepts such a wide array of gadgets that it outweighs sites like Gazelle and Adorama. By chance you can’t sell, free electronics recycle program at BestBuy will make sure those toxic metals don’t end up in a landfill.
♦ Books and textbooks on BookScouter
The heaviest and densest of all things, are our beloved source of knowledge — books. Use BookScouter lookup to compare the best prices you can get from multiple sites.
Pay it forward
Once you have filtered through and recovered as much value as possible from your belongings, that doesn’t mean the rest have to go into the bin. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, no need for anything to go to waste!
♦ Get tax deduction by donating to these places
- Salvation Army – They offer pick-up for large items such as furniture or mattress.
- Churches or religious organizations
♦ Neighborly love
- Freecycle Network – Run by local volunteers, post what you have for free and maybe find something you need for free.