Monday’s budget post update had me giddy and stupefied. Giddy that my “normal” monthly expenses were under by $85, and stupefied as to how I could spend eight thousand dollars in four days. This realization launched my mind into a new direction of how can I simplify my life and manage to pay back this $8,000 by Dec 31st 2012. I can hear you all now, “Michelle, really? You have to be kidding? $8,000 in a month and a half? NO way!” Alright, it is a stretch goal, but I am going for it. I need to kick my butt back in line once and for all. In a month and a half it will be a new year and the year of the dragon will be over.
You’ve heard me chant before that our want for “stuff” causes us undue spending and stress – who’s the hypocritical one now? Ugh. I’ve also chanted that I would like to go the minimalist route and simplify my life. Get rid of all the “stuff” I no longer need. So, my new mission is “The Great Life Sale”. Sell it all!
Going Minimalist Step One: Taking Inventory
I’ve lived my life with “stuff” and with the overwhelming desire to procure more “stuff”. So how can you do a complete 360 and get rid of it all? It takes huge commitment and a will of iron that I didn’t seem to possess last week (I know, I am being super hard on myself) Anyways, back to the will of iron – once you’ve decided to do this, you need to stay strong.
The first steps are to determine all the items you’re going to part with and categorize them. You have to be harsh, there’s no waffling as to whether you’ll eventually use that Nintendo Wii that has been sitting for years while you use your Xbox 360. See? I have too much stuff. (Update: They’ve both been sold. Yay!)
How do you Categorize All Your Stuff?
Think like Ebay – Clothing, Electronics, Sporting Goods, Craft Items, Automotive, Collectibles. You get the idea.
Clothing is a tough one, so I decided anything of value (designer) or that was in “like new” condition would be sold. Anything else that was in good condition would be donated.
- List it all in an Excel spreadsheet. I downloaded a template and customized it (if you want a FREE copy, email me). It’s great, it adds up all the values you put in!
- Assign values/sell prices to your items. Using Ebay, Kijiji, Craigslist etc., find your item using the search tool and select sold items. Looking at sold items gives you and idea of what people are willing to pay.
- Take photos of all your stuff. A few tips: make sure you use a white or neutral background for your photos. Lighting is important! Remember to take shots of important features and from different angles. For example, my Coach purse I’m selling has a leather “certificate of authenticity” sewn into the inside of the purse. It’s good to take pictures of these important things. Many people sell non-genuine items online.
- Start networking with family and friends to let them know you’re going to be selling a bunch of your stuff. Sometimes this makes it way easier to sell and avoid the hassles/fees of selling online.
This first step could easily take you a few weekends of non-stop rummaging and photo taking. It’s probably going to be another week before I have it all done.
Have you sold everything in your life? How did it go?
Stay tuned for Step Two: Starting to sell your Stuff – the 5 W’s of Selling Online