Your house is not your warehouse

 

The Samsung just took the lead on lap 13.

The Samsung just took the lead on lap 13.

Also known as a lesson in de-cluttering and cost effectiveness.  I have seen too many of my friends upgrade their houses based solely on an increase in junk accumulation.  Household junk is very  much like being in debt in that both will weigh you down.  That’s a hard to justify cost increase when many items will go unused.  At the very least, moving the excess accumulation to a storage unit would be a lower cost method.  But why give your money away on that option?  For what it takes to maintain, secure, and store excess items, a better deal exists:  the opportunity to liberate yourself of your more useless possessions.  Not only would you free up some cash which could be put to better use, but your house will seem bigger than ever before.

There’s a personal rule which I have adhered to for years.  That rule is that if an item hasn’t been used within the last year, it gets sold.  If I need it in the future, I can always buy it back, usually close to what I sold it for (often less).  There are some exceptions to this rule; reference books, personal mementos, and occupational related items.  Those will be kept, but in the case of old video game systems, that extra computer monitor, power tools, or DVDs; out the door they go.

>>> There’s another benefit of this technique.  Repeated over time, it will transform you into a better sales person.  It will also increase your eye for value and perhaps make you more critical of what to take in to begin with.  Choosing a house to live in will depend on many factors; desired location, good schools, commuting distance, personal sentiment, etc.  Just don’t let the ever-expanding pile of junk be one of them.

Local Classifieds

I have been a big fan of local classifieds lately. In a medium to large metropolitan area these classifieds can represent miniature economies, in which a multitude of items are bought, sold, and traded. Services ranging from accounting and tax preparation to roofing and tiling will be listed. Looking through the classifieds, which are generally online these days may be a good way to get rid of unwanted items and get a bit of cash as a result.

Here are some hints for navigating a local online classifieds. Stay authentic: Make sure the host of the website is legitimate. In my location the local classifieds are hosted by a local news channel. It is viewed by the locals as safer than certain nation wide web sites. Call and talk to the lister beforehand: It’s both the nice thing to do and allows you to get details and check if the item is still available.

For cars: Show me the Carfax! Make sure the title is clean and the car is not stolen. A call to the police (non-emergency number) can confirm if the car is not reported as stolen. Also, the dynamics of local classifieds involves calls to and from unknown people, showing the up for sale items to people you don’t likely know, and yes, scams do exist; so exercise caution in all transactions.

Ebay Hints

I periodically downsize excess and unwanted household items to declutter the home.  Most of this is done over Ebay.  I have been Ebaying for about 7 years, and I have come to figure some things out.  One thing in particular is shipping.  In general, Ebay is a good system, filled with good people.  However, there are exceptions; both in the form of misunderstandings and scams.  As such, I typically offer only the lowest cost shipping option as that reduces my risk if a buyer demands their money back.  When this happens, I give a no hassle refund as it’s good for business and it takes too much time to dispute.  I’d rather keep moving forward.

Overall, I figure that refunds count for about 5% of both my customer quantity and sales amounts, which is not really that bad of a number.

A well-kept secret is the USPS regional rate box.  I’ve sent out plenty, but have never received one.  These are priority mail flat rate boxes that offer different rates to different regions.  This is very advantageous to those who live in the middle of the U.S. and for those whose shipments are within a region.  The regional rate boxes are still effective from coast to coast if you take advantage of the dimensional differences between traditional flat rate boxes.  In addition, all priority USPS mail can be arranged for at residence pick-up at no charge through their online portal.

Item condition is a tricky one.  If I feel that an item is high risk for malfunctioning such as tech items, I will just list the item for parts. Even if I get less money for it, I still made a sale and avoided the potential for a bait and switch.

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