Why I don’t sell my stuff … and why I don’t think you should either

Why I don't sell my stuff, and why I don't think you should either

I have decluttered thousands of items from my home over the last few years. I can count the number of items I sold on one hand. Selling things is not my go-to method of getting rid of my excess stuff and I don’t think it should be yours either.

When I started decluttering, the first thing to go was my Nintendo Wii. It had been sitting there, still in its box from when we’d moved into the house ­-two years ago! I loved that Wii; I managed to complete an entire 12-week fitness programme on that thing (something I’d never done before and haven’t managed since). But my life had changed, so it just sat there.

Just because I didn’t use it, didn’t mean I didn’t think about it. I’d catch a glimpse of the box under the coffee table and feel guilty – what a waste.

I must set that up.”

Ick, I can’t be bothered with setting that up. All those cords.”

Hmm, I should sell it. I’m never going to use it now, I can get some of the money back.”

Right, I’m going to sell it. Better set it up to check it’s all there.”

Well, if I can set it up, I might as well keep it. If it’s set up, I’ll use it.”

Ick, I can’t be bothering setting that up now, all those cords. I’ll do it later.”

Sound familiar?

On 1 June 2015 I decided I was going to get serious about decluttering. I was playing the Minimalism Game. I chose the Wii as the first thing to go because I wanted to stop feeling guilty about it. I listed it for free on a local Facebook group. It was gone by the end of the day.

I got a huge response to the post. People offered me money for it. I briefly questioned if giving it away and foregoing cash was the right decision, but I stuck to my plan. As I continued to declutter, the value of that decision not to sell the Wii (or anything else) was reaffirmed.

Three practical reasons not to sell your stuff
If you want to declutter, there are three practical reasons why you shouldn’t sell your excess stuff:

  1. Selling your stuff is a momentum killer
    Yay, you’ve decided to get rid of a bunch of stuff. It feels great … and then it sits there while you get around to listing it … and then it sits there until it eventually sells. You don’t see the benefits of your decluttering for weeks or months. Compare that to putting your stuff on the kerbside with a “free” sign, or driving it off to a donation centre. Instant results, and in turn further motivation to continue.
  2. Selling your stuff is more work
    You’ve gone through your stuff once already, do you really want to go through it again to list it for sale, and then again to transact with purchasers? Given that this is stuff you’ve already identified as no longer adding value to your life, why waste any more energy on it? Move on. Direct that energy to something that does add value to your life.
  3. Selling you stuff creates drama
    When people are paying for something, they have expectations, and not always reasonable ones! There are the time wasters, nit pickers, people who treat $20 transactions like they are buying an Old Master. Sure, most people are great most of the time, but do you want to risk it?

One fundamental reason you shouldn’t sell your stuff
If you are really serious about making a change – there’s another reason you I don’t recommend that you sell your stuff. It’s about mindset.

The problem with selling your stuff is that in doing so you adopt the mindset that your excess stuff is money, just currently in a different form. As long as you associate getting rid of excess stuff with wasting money, its going to hamstring your decluttering. No one likes to deliberately waste money. That’s why, if you want to make a real change, you need to flip your thinking and adopt a new mindset.

You waste your money when you buy an item, not when you get rid of it

This shift in mindset is life-changing. It has allowed me to let go of thousands of items with ease. But the value of this mindset doesn’t stop at decluttering. The real power of flipping your thinking like this is that it makes you more intentional in your purchases.

If you look at a pile of your excess stuff and think, “What a waste of money”, then you need to start bringing that thinking into every purchase that you make. This is when waste is created, at the time of purchase.

Adopting this mindset will get you further along the path to minimalism and financial freedom than getting $500 for your excess stuff. Give it a try.

Does not wanting to waste money prevent you from getting rid of stuff?

 

Still set on selling your stuff? Check out my post on how to sell your stuff without losing your mind.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Why I don’t sell my stuff … and why I don’t think you should either”

  1. Such a sensible approach, Amy! In the past, I sold things on eBay, but it’s only the high sales value items that are worth the effort. Otherwise, it’s so much better to let things go. After all, you’ve already paid with your time, your attention and your energy in keeping this stuff. As the Disney song goes: Let it Go!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the same way. I sold one item, a Keurig, and after that, said never again. It was far more time consuming than I thought possible. Ever since, I switched to donating all items to charity, preferably to homes for abused women starting a new life, refugee organizations, homeless veteran groups, and lastly, Goodwill. I even found out Nike has a recycled shoe program for old worn out shoes. They use the old shoes to make playground areas globally.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It depends … but in lots of cases I prefer to give stuff away 🙂 Recently gave away a couple of very old appliances as I couldn’t be bothered going through the hassle of listing etc and we well and truly got good value out of them. Donating them was a way to pay it forward, people are grateful for free and I felt really good after that. But I sold a dog collar that was too big for our dog (he wasn’t going to grow into it) so that it wasn’t a total loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy someone else out there feels this way. My frugal side has been unhappy with the 20 plus boxes and bags that I have donated while decluttering. But it just felt so good and freeing to be done with them. Also I’d add decision exhaustion to a reason to simply give things away. It’s tiring enough to decide to keep or toss things. Selling adds another 5 decisions or more to each item.

      I also really like to your comment about equating stuff with money and therefore giving it more value.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So true!
    I’ve let the money part be such a big moral road block in decluttering. I’ve done everything from listing online to setting up at fleamarkets. Every time the profit barely covered expenses. And it never changed, not when I had amazing items, nor when they were the dregs of what was left.
    Once I’d done that in different settings, I came to the conclusion that selling second hand goods just wasn’t a good business plan, unless you make it your business, and I definitely didn’t want to do that!
    Now I take everything to the charity store. I am happy with the thought that someone, somewhere will pay a small amount for it, what they can afford to get a good item.
    I now only sell clothes from a high end label online. I try to talk myself out of it as much as possible, because selling is always a lot of work! I just get discouraged when I think about how many steps are involved in recouping some money from stuff I can’t or won’t use anymore!
    More and more, I’m just letting it go. If it’s a high end item, I’ll still try to let it go, because like you said: once the decision is made to get it out of my life, I really want it out of my life NOW.
    Thanks for a fantastic blog post. I love the line: “You waste your money when you buy an item, not when you get rid of it.” That’s the reason for all that comes after.
    Kind regards.

    Like

  5. I needed this advice so much. I have been a demonstrator for a stamping company for over 16 years. I’ve sold a lot of my retired items, but still have boxes of stuff. Three of my customers left me more boxes. I could open a store with the amount of stamps, paper, punches, etc. that I’ve accumulated. The extra boxes line the walls of my garage. I’ve had sales at my house; gave around 20 banker boxes away and still my shelves are full. I’ve tried to sell on Etsy, but that is an effort with one sale. I have plans to sell some items at a couple of scrapbook crops. When those opportunities are finished, I think I must just give the stuff away. I have couple of teacher friends who take anything I give them.
    I was trying to get some money for all the beautiful things that my friends and I have paid for. After reading this article and the comments, I’ve come to realize the burden of the clutter is not worth it; I’m constantly overwhelmed in my physical space and in the wonder of how to get rid of it, which is time consuming.
    Thanks for sharing the article and for the encouraging comments.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s