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By Sharon Jones

We’re not sure if we would go so far as to call it a minimalist revolution (not just yet!), but the world has certainly been hit by a decluttering tidal wave. It’s a buzz word that has taken off with more force than an Apollo mission and, from what we can tell through our regular online scrolling, every other person has become obsessed with it. It has become the focus of many a household the world over.

People are using it as part of their “new year, new me” rituals, others are finally understanding that the more stuff you own the more your stuff starts to own you, some have just realised that a messy house equals a messy mind, while a hefty amount of people have accepted the fewer tidbits they own the more space they have. Basically, this tidal wave is not without reason.

However, before you start pulling out bin bags and calling up skip companies and tossing all your unwanted-slash-unused stuff out, we thought you would like to know that you could be making money out of it. That’s right, we’re talking about that age-old saying, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.

Now, we’re not saying you are going to make a fortune from this stuff, nor is it likely that the urn holding your great-grandfather’s ashes is from the Ming Dynasty. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a tidy bob and either work off your debt faster or spend your winnings on a meal for two at the Lobster Shack.

Of course, you may be thinking, “if it is so easy to do, then why isn’t everyone doing it? Why isn’t the Lobster Shack always fully-booked?” It’s a good question, but there is an answer to be had: people don’t know what they are looking for, where to sell it or how to get a good price, which is where we swoop in like a bird of prey that’s spotted a mouse in the open.

So, without further ado, here are our top tips for making money from your old clutter. Don’t spend it all at once.

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  1. Used Kids Clothes And Old Toys

This is pretty much the default thought of most people when the word “clutter” pops up in conversation. It doesn’t matter whether you are a parent or not; toys and kiddie clothes are always high on the list. Now, if you’re one of those human-unicorns that a) has a successful store on somewhere like eBay or b) is a whizz at selling things, we would recommend you steer clear of these kinds of online stores. Chances are, you have too much stuff to make it worth the effort. All that photographing and uploading and writing descriptions and working out what you want for them which, let’s be honest, won’t be a lot, and answering questions from buyers and posting them.

Instead, your best option is to give everything to a consignment service and just let them deal with it all. They’ll take care of those horrid chores we mentioned and they’ll be able to fetch the best price for the better things.

There is, of course, an exception to every rule and, in this instance, it is specialist clothing. They can fetch a pretty penny on sites like eBay. Waterproofs, wetsuits, that sort of stuff. Anyway, that said, no matter what you are selling or who you are using, always read the terms and conditions and know what the costs are. Always.

  1. Your Bygone Generations Of Electronics

Thanks to Apple somehow being able to release a new phone every two weeks and still create a buzz around them despite nothing has changed since the iPhone 5 came out, we all have piles and piles of old electronics that we keep for a) sentimental sake, b) reasons to do with laziness and c) the fact all our photos are still on them. We’re talking phones, tablets, laptops, computers, smart watches and all those non-universal charges too. We’re like squirrels hoarding for the winter.

Well, this needs to stop – it needs to stop right now – and the best way to do that is to sell these electronic bits to sites like Buyback Express that will transfer you your money on the same day. Of course, how much you actually receive will be dependent on a few criteria, such as the condition of said electronics, how old they are, what size the memory is on them and what make they are. It is also worth mentioning that you’re not going to get a great deal of cash thanks to old technology becoming so redundant so quickly. That said, the money you get could offset how much an upgrade costs.

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  1. No More Risks With Discs

We get it, your car is a 2005 model, which means it still has a space for six CDs to be stored at once. But, come on, when was the last time you popped in Bryan Adams instead of just listening to the radio. Exactly. And as for that DVD collection you were so proud of in the early 2000s, you have Netflix now. What we are saying is, “why do you still have these things?” (We can’t actually hear you but we’re presuming you are stuttering and failing to find an answer.

Well, to help them find a use again, we suggest you empty your cupboards and drawers and shelves and make money from them. It doesn’t matter if they’re ancient or dreadful, if they play someone will pay, such as that Buback Express company we mentioned above. Once again, you’re not going to be able to retire on the amount you receive but, if you do have an almighty collection, then you may find that it all adds up, especially if they offer you store credit.

  1. Sell According To The Season

When you sell can be the biggest factor in how much money you make. This is one of those little pieces of advice that can really add some value to your collection of clutter. That is why you need to be smart about the bigger and better things you are thinking of selling. It could be that you have a whole stash of Burberry raincoats you have never worn because, well, you’re forty now and you can’t fit into them anymore. To put it bluntly, these are going to fetch a higher price in the fall – when people are actively searching for raincoats – than they are in the summer – when everyone is wearing next to nothing.

This approach can be used for almost anything. Beach toys, garden furniture, bikes, sunglasses, anything. We’re not just talking a few cents or a dollar here either; we’re talking about items having the potential to double their value. So, when you are bagging items, always have the seasonal thought in your mind and then decide when the best time to sell is.

  1. Oldies Can Be The Goodies

About four times a year we stumble across a story in national newspapers about someone making tens of thousands of dollars from a doorstop they had never given any thought to before because, as it turns out, it once belonged to King George V. Sure, this is rare. But that doesn’t mean you should nonchalantly dismiss what you have. Your chances of winning the lotto are 175,000,000 to one, but you still check your numbers every week. The point is this, you don’t know what your old stuff is worth or how much someone else may be willing to pay for it. You don’t.

It could be that you’ve found some old books in an old tuck box in your old attic, in which case it is well worth popping on to Abe Books to see how much they are selling for, or you might have come across some old china that is well worth investigating and even having a specialist valuer come around and give their verdict or a hand-operated Singer sewing machine from the 50s.

Yes, you will probably be disappointed, and your hopes of getting thousands for something will more likely be hundreds, if not tens. However, it would be absolutely soul-destroying to get rid of something willy-nilly and then find out the buyer has moved into a castle after coming across a large wad of money. Basically, what we are saying is, always get your hunches checked professionally.

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With that said and done, there is only one thing left for us to do: tell you not to underestimate the value of your time. After all, it is the most valuable commodity any of us own. Cleaning up, snapping photos, parcelling everything securely, heading to the post office, accepting returns and all of that stuff. By working out how much time is needed, you will be able to work out if the effort is worth it. On this note, heading to a local car boot sale or holding a yard sale of your own could be a better use of your time. It’s one of those things options that can see you get rid of huge lumps at a time. Sure, it may not fetch the best price but, like we said, nothing is more valuable than your time.

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