In just under two months we will officially be nomadic, living our lives on the road full time travelling around Australia. While this is an adventure we absolutely cannot wait for, we have had to make a few sacrifices to turn this dream into a reality.
One of the biggest sacrifices is of course having to sell just about everything we own.
De-cluttering over the past few months has been so freeing. At first it was a bit sad parting with possessions we loved and bought using our hard earned money many years ago before me were married. But as the clutter started to clear slowly, we started to feel freer and less bogged down by those materialistic items.
While (at the time of writing) we still have a few bits and pieces to sell, the whole process has been very beneficial to our minds and our savings account. We’ve also learnt a whole bunch of things along that way that we want to pass onto you.
Here are a few reasons why and a few tips on how to sell everything you own to travel.
3 Reasons Why You Should Sell Everything You Own to Travel
Yes you could keep your belongings in storage or with a friend or family member for when you eventually settle back home but we think there are a few excellent benefits to ridding your life of excess baggage and clutter.
1 – Save Money on Storage Costs
If you’re not lucky enough to have a friend or family member with enough space to store your belongings or you’ve simple got too much stuff, then your only other option is to rent a storage space.
But let me tell you, storage spaces aren’t cheap! In Sydney the cost of a storage space to hold the contents of a two bedroom apartment will set you back a massive $250.00 per month. That’s $3,000.00 for a year!
However if you were to sell it all (or most of it), think of what you could do with that $3,000.00. It could easily fund 3-4 months of travel in South-East Asia or other notoriously cheap regions around the world.
2 – Extra Spending Money for Your Trip
Just about everything you own has a monetary value, even used items.
I can guarantee you for the right price that someone, somewhere, would be willing to buy your old faded couch and put it in a good home for many more years of use. Or even your dinner set with one plate missing. And what about your collection of board games and puzzles from when you were a kid that have been collecting dust for years?
There are many people out there looking for a bargain, or trying to get by with very little money that will appreciate your used goods no matter how much you think they are rubbish. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
Each item that you manage to sell is more money is your bank for your trip and if you’ve got lots of things to sell it can easily start to add up, potentially giving you a few extra thousand dollars to spend on your trip.
3 – Material Possessions Won’t Make You Happy
To be brutally honest, you really don’t need to own so much crap to be happy.
We know from past experience living out of a backpack while working and travelling in Europe and the UK that you really do need very little to survive day to day and of course to make you happy.
The memories you make and experiences you have on the road will by far out way your love for any material possession you own. FACT!
10 Tips to Successfully Sell Everything You Own to Travel
1 – Start Early
If you have a lot of stuff to sell, starting early, by selling the things you don’t need day to day will give you time to get the best price. A rushed sale means you probably won’t make as much.
2 – Survey What You Have
Make a list or start a spreadsheet of all the items you want to sell. Go room to room in your home noting everything down. This is not only a good idea for initially surveying what you have, but this spreadsheet will come in handy when you actually get to the selling phase later.
3 – Be Ruthless
Don’t let your sentimental side get in the way of you making extra money for your trip. Be ruthless about what you keep. For everything item we wavered on we sat down and had a discussion about why we really do/don’t need it. 99% of the time our reasonable side came through and the items were sold.
4 – Research the True Value of Your Items
Whether you realise it or not, some of your items might actually be worth quite a bit. So spending a bit of time doing research will ensure you have more money in your pocket at the end of this process.
Our process has been to check the full recommended retail price if bought brand new by Googling the item. Then we check websites like eBay, Trading Post, Gumtree and Craigslist to find out what other people are selling them for used. We then price our items so they are competitive to this research.
You can go one step further with items that might be extra valuable, like collectibles and jewellery, by taking them to a qualified valuer.
5 – Take Great Photos
Buy and sell websites are so competitive these days that you need to make sure your items stand out from the rest. Having great photos of your items is one very good way to do just that.
As a traveller I’m sure you already have a good camera that takes decent shots. Even smart phones these days have good cameras. Here are a few tips to follow when setting up your items to be photographed so they are shown at their very best:
- Items should be as clean as possible.
- Set up in a space that has plenty of natural light without too much glare. Alternatively use a good lamp with a light globe that lets off cool light, not warm.
- Have the items laid out on a flat clean surface. Preferably one that is light in colour so you can clearly see your items.
- Take lots of photos from every angle. This will help potential buyers decide if the item is exactly what they are looking for.
Still looking to buy a camera for your travels? We use, love and recommend the Panasonic LUMIX GX7.
6 – Write Headlines & Descriptions That Sell
To go with those perfect photos, you need a headline and a description that is going to sell the item.
The headline should be short but descriptive. For example, if you are selling a TV you wouldn’t just use “TV” as the headline. Be a bit more descriptive so the potential buyer knows exactly what they will find when they click through to your ad. Try “42 inch LG LED LCD TV” instead.
Then in the description you want to tell potential buyers everything there is to know about the item. Add things like model numbers; measurements; popular uses; the items condition; extra bits and pieces it comes with; anything a potential buyer will need to make a decision about buying your item.
7 – Select the Right Platform for Each Item
There are tons of online and in person ways to sell your unwanted belongings these days but knowing which one is right for each item can be a little tricky. Doing a bit of trial and error at first is a good idea, along with research. Look at what other people are selling on each platform to see where your items might fit best.
Here are a few places you can sell those unwanted belongings:
- Garage Sale – Free and relatively simple to do. Things that are low value will work best as people who visit garage sales are generally looking for a bargain.
- Market Stall – A low cost way to get rid of a lot of items in a short amount of time. Markets will work best for selling clothes, books, DVD’s and CD’s, small households items and toys.
- eBay – Simple to use online platform for buying and selling. You can buy and sell virtually anything on eBay these days so the skies the limit. However we’ve found items that have a significant value do better, especially collectibles.
- Craigslist/Gumtree/TradingPost etc – Similar websites that are dedicated to buying and selling of goods that are usually free (or cheap) to post ads. Nothing is out of question on these websites in terms of what you can sell and what does well. It’s really just a matter of whether there is someone looking right now for the item you have just posted for sale.
- Facebook Groups – Communities of people from the same local area can post items for sale for free just by being a member of the group. We’ve found the local Facebook Group in our area to be the most effective way to sell nearly everything we’ve sold so far.
8 – Be Flexible
Once you’ve posted your items for sale, make sure you keep an eye on them each day to see if there is any interest and to answer potential buyer questions. If after a few days you haven’t seen much interest, it might be that your item is priced a little high. Be flexible and drop the price a little and hopefully you’ll get a sale.
Don’t be completely rigid in your pricing. If someone offers you less and you think it’s a good offer, take it, especially if the item has been for sale for a while. We always price our items a little higher to start with and drop them every few days.
At the same time, some people will try to buy things from you for next to nothing. If you have done your research and you’re certain of the items true value in its current condition then feel free to decline any offers you feel don’t meet your expectations.
9 – Regularly Remind Yourself Why
At one (or many) point of this process you are likely to get a little emotional. And rightly so. You are parting with items that you’ve lived beside for some time now, items you have spent your hard earned cash on or items that were gifts from loved ones.
When you get to this point it’s a good time to remind yourself why you are doing this. You are about to embark on an incredible adventure that will fill your heart and mind with so much more than any material position ever can and will.
Keep telling yourself this and push through the tough moments. It will all be worth it in the end.
10 – Let Go if it Seems More Effort Than it’s Worth
Sometimes things just don’t sell. Whether its because you priced them too high or people are just not looking for what you are selling right now. There will come a time when the amount of time and effort you are putting into selling these items far outweighs the money you’ll end up receiving to sell them.
At this point the best thing you can do is let go and donate. There are millions of people all over the world who could use basic items that we take for granted day to day. Take anything you have leftover to your local charity store and they will gladly take in most of these items to sell or pass onto those less fortunate.
Over to you!
Would you ever sell everything you own to travel? If you have done this before, what additional tips can you offer other readers?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.