With “Twelfth Night” fast approaching, I’m starting to un-Christmas and de-tinsel the house for another year. Sob. Sob.
Fear not, here are a few ways to make the job easier and next December’s unpacking task simpler. Win! Win!
- Store it all in one place. Sounds simple, but it’s easy to squirrel things away in different places and then forget where you put it 11 months later. Obviously it’s depends on how much storage space you have available, but we’ve been able to set aside a corner of the loft for all things Christmas. I don’t just put all the decorations up there, but also Christmas plates, tableware and linens, leftover cards and wrapping paper, candles that I only ever seem to use at Christmas anyway, Christmas books we read to the children, novelty soap bottles and even a pair of my son’s Christmas pyjamas I’m saving for the year my daughter is big enough to wear them…Reading the list, it is clear I love a bit of festive tat!
- Only store the things you use. We seem to have collected three wreaths but only have one front door and I’ve been unpacking the two redundant ones every December and repacking them every January for the last few years. Madness. I’ve had a bit of a blitz this year and finally getting rid of those broken and unwanted decorations we’ve amassed.
- Store them safely. By using a couple of big stackable plastic boxes, you can hopefully avoid any potential damage through the year. I’ve repurposed a handbag protective bag, an old Christmas gift box and a liquitabs box to add extra protection to my decorations.
If you’ve got any breakable baubles, use some old egg boxes as seen here on Babble.
- Use roadside collection for your real Christmas tree. Some councils offer free collection of real Christmas trees with your recycling, which can save on the hassle of humping it down to the tip and getting all the needles in your car. Mine doesn’t unfortunately, but always worth checking.
- Make a note of who sent you Christmas cards before getting rid. Save any embarrasment next year and make a quick note of all those who sent you cards in the back of your address book, that way you’ve got a ready-made Christmas Card list. My 88 year old Nan does this, but she also almost seems to relish crossing the names out if the recipient has died that year – well stamps are so pricey nowadays!
Happy packing – watch out for those pine needles!
I’m well and truly in decluttering mode. My three boxes for “Sell”, “Donate” and “Dump” items are overflowing (see my last decluttering post). It is so satisfying to see all manner of tat safely encased in those boxes.
When you’re super busy (or a bit lazy like me) selling old stuff can seem like too much hassle. eBay is the UK’s most popular auction site and I’ve used it to sell clothes, shoes, shelving, a sofa, a much-loved classic car and even an entire kitchen. But there are also lots of great things I’ve spent time and effort listing and ended up not selling, or worse….selling for 99p.
At the request of some readers, I thought it might be useful for a quick guide on how to sell on eBay or, more importantly, how to get as much cash for your junk as possible. So here are five tricks that can speed up the process and make it much more worth your while.
Research, Research, Research
Check out similar items listed on the site to get ideas about how to describe the item, what keywords to use in the title and what amounts the items are selling for. There is a great website called www.get4it.co.uk where you can search for an item and see the average selling price. It’s such a great way to work out whether it is worth listing or not.
Timing is key
Don’t list items to finish at ridiculous times. eBay gets most traffic in the evenings (between 6-9pm), and Sunday evening is best. If you list items on a Thursday evening for a 10 day auction, the item will be live for two weekends maximising the amount of people who could view it and then it will finish on Sunday evening. Also, think about the seasonality of the item – listing summer clothing, garden furniture, outdoor toys in early summer should hopefully mean more demand.
Sell, Sell, Sell!
A good selection of photos and an honest, friendly description with as many helpful details as you can make a real difference to the amount of bids you receive. Give bidders confidence that you are a genuine eBayer.
Get the price right
Choosing between setting a minimum bid, buy it now or reserve price depends on the item, what you feel it is worth, what people with similar items are doing and whether you like to live dangerously! The general rule of thumb is the lower the minimum bid price, the more interest you’ll get – but it’s a risky strategy and you might end up selling something for pennies. Be sure to cover postage costs but keep them keen. Check the Royal Mail’s website for accurate costs, and be creative reusing old packaging you’ve got handy to keep costs down.
If you’ve got a smart phone and haven’t already tried the eBay app, it is worth downloading. You can’t do anything too complicated but for a straightforward listing it is a great time-saving option.
On Friday I blogged about my attempts to properly declutter my house and mentioned that I may sell any old mobile phones that I come across hidden in one of my many junk drawers via an online site. Well, scrap that idea!
I was reading the fantastic blog The Ramblings of a Former Rock ‘n’ Roll Mum over the weekend and she mentioned a current Kids Company campaign that is being supported by Netmums. “Mobiles for Meals” is encouraging people to donate their old, unused or even broken mobile phones. Orange and T-Mobile will then recycle them and pass on the cash to the Kids Company so they can help the staggering one million children in the UK who are living with “food insecurity” (they don’t know where their next meal is coming from).
You can read more about the campaign on the Netmums website. It has details of how you can donate any phones you or your family have cluttering up your house (via any Orange or T-Mobile branch or by printing off a freepost label).
This is definitely what I will be doing with any old phones I find.
I am a girl on a mission. A girl with a plan. A girl with three big boxes.
This is definitely the easiest and quickest way to declutter I’ve tried. (Disclaimer: at the moment all my unwanted clutter is living in these boxes, I haven’t actually rid them from my home for good so it may take a little longer, but we’re half way there.)
I’ve got three huge cardboard boxes in my spare room, each with one of the above signs on. Over the last few days, I have been trying to assess some of the areas of clutter around our home and pop the things that we don’t want to keep into one of the boxes. I’ve had a busy week so haven’t spent masses of time on this, but even a few minutes each day has resulted in quite a haul.
It really works. I’ve managed to collect a whole pile of stuff. Actually having somewhere to deposit the unwanted items that have managed to creep into the corners of our house, has meant that rather than just ignoring them I’ve been able to deal with them there and then.
I’ve been trying to adopt the famous William Morris quote as a mantra when I open a drawer or cupboard, look on a shelf or under the bed.
It’s tough. I’ve tried to be strict with myself, but there are still plenty of things I’ve smuggled back that are neither useful or beautiful. Let’s say I’m a work a progress!
But now the boxes are full. What to do with them now?
The Sell it box
So what sells?
One lazy girl’s junk is another one’s treasure, or so they say. Didn’t someone once sell a half-eaten banana on eBay? Well, I’ve wasted too much time listing things on eBay to sell them for a measly 99p, so I’m being a bit cuter on what I choose to sell in the future. In this box I’ve put all brand new things (e.g. unwanted presents, unworn clothes), anything in good condition with a designer label or branded items. I’ve got some CDs and DVDs in here too. When I find them, I’m going to put any old mobile phones in here. Second-hand children’s clothes sell well as does anything “niche” or remotely collectible.
Where do I sell it?
eBay is the most well-known online auction site and the one I’ve used before, but there are others out there. It isn’t without its faults, but I don’t think there are comparable online alternatives and sometimes it is better the devil you know! If you live in a city or large town, then it may be worth checking if they have an active Gumtree group. I don’t, so don’t think that is a realistic option for me. I’m planning on selling the DVDs and CDs through Music Magpie and any old mobile phones through the MoneySavingExpert’s checking service (they help compare all the online companies and help you get the best deals). In fact the MoneySavingExpert website has got lots of tips for making the most amount of money out of your unwanted gear. If I had a massive amount of stuff to shift, I’d probably tackle a car boot sale but I haven’t got enough to warrant it at the moment. I’ve got friends who have had quite a bit of success on their local area’s “For Sale” page on Facebook, and of course there’s the good old fashioned Classified adverts in local newspapers or local shops.
The Donate it Box
What to donate?
The things that I don’t think will sell but are perfectly useable have all been put in this box. I’ve got some clothes (High Street labels rather than fancy designer stuff), books and things ranging from an old purse to some spare saucepans. I’ll also put anything from my Sell it box that doesn’t sell in here. It goes without saying that everything I donate will be in working order and freshly laundered.
Who to donate it to?
There are so many choices when it comes to who to donate things to. As long as friends and family don’t want anything, my preferred option is a local hospice that we’ve supported since my Dad died. They have a shop and warehouse from where they sell furniture and electrical goods; they collect the heavy stuff too. There is a local homeless charity that does the same thing. I don’t really like using those textile banks you find in supermarket car parks as I’m not convinced that the charities receive as much as if you dropped it off at one of their shops. I’m sure there are good ones, but after reading some newspaper articles about how much money the middlemen make, I prefer to deal direct with a charity.
There are all sorts of other places you can donate kit to – magazines to hospital waiting rooms, children’s things to women’s shelters, pets bits to animal shelters, art supplies to old folks homes. I suppose it just takes a bit of imagination if you’ve got quite a stash of one thing or another. I’ve never tried it, but Freecycle is supposed to be a great site for matching unwanted items with people who want them. All good and certainly better than something ending up in the bin, but I still prefer the idea of donating items to those who are really in need.
The Dump it Box
What to dump?
Essentially anything that doesn’t go in either the Sell it or Donate it box. Things that are junk, broken, stained. My objective is to have a lot less in this box than in the other two.
Where to dump it?
We have quite a good recycling facility locally that takes all sorts, and rag and bone men who frequently drive by offering to collect anything heavy and shiny! There is also a good website RecycleNow that lists how and where you can recycle more or less anything.
I’d love to hear from you if you have found good ways to sell, donate or (responsibly!) dump your clutter….