Condo dwellers tend to be minimalist compared to their detached home owning counterparts.
But that doesn’t mean stuff doesn’t pile up. I live in an 1,800- square-foot condo townhouse and for the last seven years I have amassed belongings I know I will never use.
But things are changing. I just got off the phone with a lady that wants to come and buy a pair of crutches I advertised, something that’s been sitting in my basement for seven years that will never be used again. I posted them online and, voila, someone can use them and pay me money for it.
This has been my spring cleaning story this year. Finding items in my home that have value and selling them fast. It has resulted in two things – a clutter free condo and extra money in my pocket.
As a personal finance expert I always promote working smart and getting the most value. My theory before was all that coordination is not worth your time. In the past I’ve opted instead to donate, but here’s the issue; I’ve been unable to give away many items. It’s hard when it’s something that might still have value, even if it has no purpose to you. So I end up resorting and storing the same stuff year after year.
This year I decided to take a different approach and sell it. Motivated by a few minimalist friends and reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo. I have been on a mission. (FYI, this post is not a book review, but for anyone looking to live a more minimalist lifestyle this is the book for you.)
I started by joining every Facebook buy and sell group in my area, I registered for a Kijiji account and I went for it. With a smartphone selling online is super easy. Snap a pic, post it and go. Now that there’s money exchanging hands I’m much more honest about how useful my junk is to me. Money is always a great motivator.
I’ve been taking entire cupboards and closets of stuff out and only putting back what I truly need and love. Often people come over they say, wow you don’t really have that much stuff in your house, but the truth is it’s all been (until now) put away in a drawers, closets or storage bins, waiting to be used “someday.”
I’m not doing this to make money, but it tells me how so many of us have so much value lying around our house. All of a sudden things are off the floor and my home is starting to feel larger. If you’re thinking of selling stuff online here are some of my pointers.
- Take good pictures. No one will buy your junk if it looks like junk.
- Price competitively.
- Be safe. Goes without saying, don’t meet alone, at night or in an alleyway.
- Join local Facebook buy and sell groups. My favourite group in Toronto is the Junk in da trunk site.
- Get to know buy and sell lingo.
With my house feeling less cluttered, I feel like I have more time to write, spend time with family, basically do anything but tidy and organize. The process feels good, it feels positive and it’s putting a bit of money in my pocket.
RUBINA AHMED-HAQ is the Finance Editor for HPG. You can read her musings in Condo Life and Active Life. She’s also the Family Finance Advisor for PC Financial. She regularly contributes on TV and radio including CBC Radio, CBC News Network and Global News Toronto. Follow her @alwaysavemoney