De-cluttering is an issue that strikes a chord with many of us.  The concept is met equally with a myriad of reasons as to why it can’t be achieved and conversely, the importance of why it is a task that must be tackled.

Usually, all that is needed to overcome the resistance or prompt us into action is the right type of motivation; so today I will share with you the secrets of how to turn your unwanted and unneeded possessions into de-cluttered dollars.

So, you’ve followed our previous tips (6 Simple Steps to a De-cluttered Paradise) and now find that you have several piles of items that you no longer want or need. Or, perhaps you haven’t even begun, because you anticipate those piles of unwanted goods and feel equally overwhelmed about what you will do with it all, once you’ve made the leap and decided to ditch the clutter.

If you followed the steps in our previous article, you will now have a selection of different coloured garbage bags easily identifying the items that you wish to give to family or friends, donate to charity, advertise for sale (or give away for free) and throw out.

If that is the case, STOP!

Before handing over all your unwanted items, we want to run you through the same process that we take our clients through in determining if you have items of value that are worth advertising for sale, and other options for disposing of your no longer needed possessions.


Almost every home has a saleable collection of furniture, large & small electrical appliances, unused building materials & decorator items that are no longer required or in use and you have no doubt de-cluttered some of these items. A professional de-cluttering expert would say that if you haven’t used it for 6 months or worn it for 12 months, you don’t need it.

The saying that ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ is 100% accurate & I advocate advertising every unwanted item for sale.

The key to getting this right is remembering three important things in relation to each item:

  1. If you don’t sell it or give it away, it is going to cost you money to get rid of it.
  2. If you are selling it (or giving it away), it must not cost you money to dispose of it.
  3. If it is un-saleable and inoperable or in poor condition, it is junk. Dispose of it appropriately – take it to the tip. Charity shops incur huge costs disposing of donor’s junk and their funds are better directed to helping people in need.

I believe that pretty much everything is saleable and for this reason, should at least be advertised – whether it sells is really a question of getting the price right. This includes items that no longer operate. If your unwanted items do not sell, then items in good condition should of course go to charity and this will leave the minimal amount going to land fill. Everyone’s a winner!

So, now that we have that worked out, let’s talk about how to go about selling your items and what factors will help you get the best price possible for the things you have:

  1. Round up all the items you intend to sell and set aside some time to get them all listed at once (or on a rolling listing system) so that you can drive buyers to look at all the items you have for sale.
  2. Search your chosen selling platform (eBay, Gumtree etc.) for each item you are intending to sell, to see if there is others on offer & see how yours compares and get an idea of value.
  3. Start preparing your listings – Be as factually descriptive as possible in you heading – this must include colour, brand, size, model & quantity as a minimum.
  4. Be honest – describe it as it is – warts & all. Buyers know they’re buying second hand & will bid with more confidence if they feel that they have an accurate description of the item.
  5. Add photos, as many as possible. Photograph the item from every angle, include close ups of the brand label/model number if relevant & also of any defect.
  6. Take the time to write a great long description of the item. Again, be detailed. Start by re-stating the description you used in the heading section & then expand upon that. Be positive in your description also, using words like beautiful, great, as new, reliable etc.
  7. Finish with a sentence that affirms that the buyer will be happy e.g. ‘A must for any enthusiast’, ‘every child’s dream’ or ‘the new owner will not be disappointed’.
  8. If you are advertising more than one item, at the end of your main description, on a separate line, invite the reader to look at the other items you have for sale, even if the items are completely unrelated. You never know what a buyer is looking for.
  9. Advertise each item for a minimum of 5 days, and always include a weekend within that time.
  10. Be prepared to allow the ad to run a maximum of 3 times if a sale is not achieved the first time around – this gives the item a realistic opportunity to sell.
  11. Advertise all items as ‘pick up only’. If a purchaser is unable to collect, delivery will be at their expense, not yours.

Most importantly, treat it as a bit of fun. It never ceases to amaze me what uses people have for things and what items are saleable and remember, every item that sells is one item you do not have to pay to dispose of and every sale adds a little bit extra to the de-cluttered dollars balance.

Do you de-clutter regularly? SHARE with us in the comments below.

Main image source: Shutterstock

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  • but sometimes pick up only is truly only pick up only and no chance of posting lol. Have nice, clear pictures that accompany the ads as well and include quite a few showing the different angles etc


  • We have decluttered our house and sold things as we no longer need them for years.


  • I de clutter regularly. Thanks to hubby’s hoarding habits, it never looks as though I do. As soon as I de clutter, hubby is filling those spaces back up with junk that he sees as treasure

    • Hi mom81879,
      Don’t feel you are alone! I think this is a very common theme :-) Thanks for commenting.
      Kind regards,


  • With five moves in the last few years getting good at it. Now that we have the stuff that was in storage to decide what to do and one of our sons moved home so he has to down size his stuff too.

    • Sounds like you have had plenty of practice youngoldlady! Like the groceries and washing, it just another job that needs to be put on the repeat roster!


  • In the process of doing this now. Thanks for the useful article.

    • Your welcome mom70876, I’m glad you think the info will be helpful.


  • I have done this a few times in amongst the few moves we have done in recent years

    • Hi Melissa89, moving is a logical time to go through this process, but I also like to do a mini version each year in November, before Christmas takes over everyones time. What do you think?


  • informative article, I have tried to sell our unwanted items and admit it does take a bit of work and patience! – thank you for your tips they should help heaps.

    • Hi taynik46,
      Thanks for your comments, I’m glad you hope the tips will be helpful. All the best. Jo Powell


  • Timely – I am up for a big de-clutter this weekend!

    • Hi mom93821,
      I hope the weekend was a productive one and that the tips in the article helped! All the best, Jo Powell


  • I don’t like the idea of strangers coming to my home, so I usually take unwanted items to Vinnies. I’m going to look into the ebay vallet service because it sounds like something I could use.

    • Hi mom160421,
      That is a really great point you raise. I am going to do some more research into the bay valet service myself so that I understand how it all works. It would be great if you shared your experiences with them if you do decide to use them, so all our readers can get that feedback too. All the best, Jo Powell


  • Yes, I declutter regularly but I’ve never tried to sell anything I don’t longer want or need. I find it too complicated. I’d be interesting in learning more about ebay vallets who take care of selling your stuff. It looks like a very big help. http://www.ebay.com/s/valet

    • Hi mom90758, Great suggestion, thanks for contributing! Kind regards, Jo Powell


  • We have a local auction site on facebook where all bidding starts at $1. I am constantly amazed at what people ‘want’ and what they are willing to pay – generally for stuff I would otherwise have given, or thrown away. All the more $$ for my pocket :)

    • That’s great tania_hardman. Every little bit counts as far as I’m concerned! Thanks for commenting. Kind regards, Jo Powell


  • We tried that with an as-new sofabed which worth approx $650.00 new.
    The covers were fairly expensive ones – not cheap looking, removable and machine washable. It had onely been slipt on a few times – with a waterproof mattress protecter. The highest offer I received was $120.00 then the prospective buyer decided against it. I have the receipt with puchase date, cost etc. I have now decided to give it to a widowed Mum.

    • That’s the downside, being stuffed around by buyers, but I bet that widowed mum is super pleased that the original buyer opted out, and I bet you feel better for it too – Good on you :)


  • I’m in the process of doing this very thing… Thanks for the tips on how to sell!


  • Great article,l am in the declutter stage at the moment and it will be great when it’s all done!

    • Hi mom112217, I hope your decluttering is going well and that some of the tips I wrote about were helpful to you. Thanks for commenting on the article. All the best, Jo Powell


  • Wonderful information. No I don’t declutter enough. Although saying that we have just done a big toy declutter with our 3 year old. Lots of space now

    • Glad you enjoyed the article mum4107. Thanks for commenting. Kind regards, Jo Powell


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