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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tips on Getting Rid of Your Stuff

My post yesterday on how I gutted my basement and rid our home of unwanted possessions got me thinking about how I might be able to help others who are going through or considering this very process.

So, here you have it, A Crafty Mom's guide to purging your nonessential gear.

1. Sort through absolutely everything - leave no corner untouched. Try and get all the "stuff" together in one area. Get a friend or family member to help you because this is often the biggest part of the job.

2. Organize your clutter in groups - an ideal way is to make piles such as "to donate", "to sell", "to give away". Place each item in its respective group - and be realistic. Don't allow yourself to keep crap you don't need, don't use, and haven't touched for 10 years. Unless you REALLY might have another baby, keeping around cribs, exersaucers, high chairs, and car seats just wastes space in your storage area.

3. Set out a plan of attack for dealing with each pile - because I'm so busy I really can't get anything done unless I write it down. I make lists. I planned to do a little bit each day and slowly hack away at each pile over the course of two weeks until it was gone. Set a firm deadline and stick to it.

4. Take photos of the items you are listing - items in good condition I sold on Kijiji and things I wanted to give away I posted on Freecycle. Dusting/washing/wiping your item before you take a picture will help it look desirable in your ad. Kijiji and Freecycle are free sites so it costs you nothing to list your ad and place a photo with it.

5. List your items online - most importantly, be honest in your ad. If it has a scratch, say that. If it is like new, never used, say that. The more details you provide the less time you'll waste answering questions via e-mail. Posting a picture (or two) also is invaluable because potential buyers can view the item for themselves. Search for similar items to see what categories people are using and to give you a realistic idea of what price to charge.

6. Keep personal details to a minimum - If selling items from your home (like I did), think twice about adding your house address and phone number in the public ad. I only gave my name and home address out in the very final e-mail when I had a confirmed time that the buyer was coming to pick up. Unless the buyer was a woman (usually I felt comfortable trusting other moms of small children) I only allowed pick ups when my husband was home, so I didn't have strangers coming to the house when I was alone. (To murder and kill me.)

7. Do not delete your ad until after pick
up occurs - I cannot stress this enough. Some people will not show up! Be prepared and be patient. I never deleted an ad until the item was on its way out my front door. In cases where I had multiple requests, I usually replied "item is pending pick up - if it falls through I will contact you". And in a couple cases, I actually made the sale by contacting the "next in line".

8. Monitor your e-mail carefully and reply
promptly - I found replying immediately and watching my e-mail closely helped me stay on top of all the items. If you get behind things can spiral out of control. Even only with 10 items listed I had 100 e-mails a day just for my listings. Serious buyers respect someone who is kind, courteous, and prompt in their replies.

Follow these simple steps and pretty soon your basement will look like this!


Finola said...

Wow! Can you come over to my closet?

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is one sparkling clean basement, I'm impressed.

BeachMama said...

When I am ready I'll call, I may need some hand holding to let go of some of the stuff.
And that's a pretty clean basement ;)

A Crafty Mom said...

LOL, no it's not my basement :) Just a good photo I found!!!

Rebecca said...

I really thought it was your basement and was totally jealous!

great tips!! I've used Kijiji/usedottawa for a couple things before - very handy (plus, a couple extra bucks doesn't hurt!) - the worse though is the time to arrange a meeting and then the no shows. That happened to me a few times.

But, I still think it's worth it!

coffeewithjulie said...

Seriously, my house next! I'll pay you good money!! Especially if you can magically make it so that I actually HAVE a basement (true story, I do not have a basement and I have 2 children). Great post ... I love buying used and selling my stuff on.

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