If you’re actually considering selling everything you own to go travel, congratulations! This is a huge step forward and one that will certainly make you a stronger person. Let me tell you, it’s not easy.
Most people will probably think you’re crazy for doing this. When I sold all my stuff to go travel, even I thought I was crazy!
Overtime, we become attached to our belongings for no apparent reason. If we don’t have a reason to get rid of something we just hold on to it for years to come. Some people are so bad about keeping their stuff they made a TV show about it!
All of us aren’t hoarders, but I guarantee that you own stuff that you barely ever use. I had a bunch of stuff that fit in this category and when I decided to travel it was a great excuse to pass these things on to someone else.
Before you start selling all your stuff and regret it later, we’ll look into whether or not this is a good option for you. If it is a good option, then we’ll follow a step-by-step process to maximize your profit from this process.
1. Why to Sell Everything You Own
This is a bold action to take and you need to be certain that it’s the right thing to do before you start offloading your stuff. Here are some reasons you might consider selling everything:
Taking a Trip for Many Months or Years
Unless you’re planning on embarking on a journey with no end in site, you’ll be coming back home eventually. If you don’t sell all your stuff, you will need to keep it somewhere. Unless you’re renting your apartment or house out through AirBnB, you’ll likely store your stuff at a storage facility.
Depending on how much stuff you have, these storage facilities can cost you $100+ per month. Here is some basic math that will help you make a logical choice on the emotional decision of whether you should sell everything.
Value of Your Stuff – (Monthly Storage Fee X # of Months You’ll be Traveling) = Value of Your Stuff When You Get Back
The idea behind this is to see if you’ll come out ahead by selling your stuff. For example, let’s say you estimate the value of all your belongings to be $1,000. You go to the storage facility and they say it will cost you $150 per month to store your stuff there. You’ve decided to travel for 6 months. Let’s plug these numbers into the formula:
$1,000 – ($150 X 6) = $100
This means that if you were to sell your stuff when you got back for some reason, you’d only walk away with $100 since you spent $900 on storage.
However, if you were to sell everything before you left, you could use the $1,000 to buy what you need when you get back.
You’re Planning on Moving When You Get Back
If you don’t plan on staying in your house or apartment when you get back from your travels, selling everything you own isn’t a bad idea. You’ll probably end up selling most of your stuff anyways, so why not get it done before you leave?
You’ll save yourself the storage fees mentioned above and the moving fees from moving all your stuff. You can then repurchase your stuff when you move into your new place.
If you’re still convinced that you should sell everything, then it’s time to prepare.
As I mentioned above, selling your stuff is not an easy thing to do, but it does get easier. You’ll want to make sure you’re in the right mindset and have set expectations before you start.
If you are too emotionally attached to something, selling it probably isn’t the best choice. We’ll talk about how to handle this in the section about what to keep.
Selling and donating your belongings can be stressful at first, but after awhile it starts to feel good. You feel a weight lifted off your shoulder as the stuff you don’t need is passed on to others that can use it.
As the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, said, “The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything are you free to do anything.”
Once you have the right mindset, it’s time to start categorizing your belongings.
3. The Three Piles
To do this most efficiently you should categorize all your belongings into one of three categories: trash, keep, or sell.
There is also donate category that we will talk about at the end, but that’s more of a catchall category that you don’t need to worry about right now.
I’m sure no one really needs a definition of what trash is, but lets make this simple: if something is not valuable to you and there’s no way it will be valuable to someone else, then it’s trash.
Do you have a bunch of paperwork that’s cluttering up your office or bedroom? If it’s unimportant, shred it. If it’s important, scan it into Evernote and then shred it.
It’s weird how much trash gets accumulated over time in our homes, but this is the time to get rid of it all. Don’t have any mercy on your trash. If you’re selling everything, there’s not going to be anywhere to put it anyway.
If it’s recyclable, recycle it. Throw everything else away.
Now that we’ve gone through the trash, we should only be left with items of value.
Although the title of this is How to Sell Everything You Own, you’ll still want to keep some things. This is understandable and totally normal, especially with clothes. Please at least keep some of your clothes!
Remember that anything you keep needs to be stored somewhere while you’re gone. If you’re not bringing it with you, where are you going to store it? What is the cost going to be to store it there?
Remember to only keep the things you need and the things that have a significant value to you.
If you need some help figuring it out, think about it this way: if something is worth more to you than it would be to someone else, keep it.
If you can get $1,000 for some rare item your grandmother gave you that means the world to you, then keep it. To you it’s a priceless item that’s worth more than $1,000.
Once again, you’ll want to be strict and logical about what you keep and what you sell. The goal is to pass on as much stuff as you can for others enjoyment and, in return, maximize your profit for your trip.
Now that you’ve tossed the trash and set aside everything you want to keep, you’re left with everything you want to sell.
Finally, it’s time to sell your stuff and make some money!
You’re left with everything that you think is more valuable to someone else than it is to you. For example, your bed is worth more to someone else than it is to store it in a storage facility.
Let’s take a look at exactly how to sell all your stuff.
4. How to Sell Everything You Own
Remember we want to do this as efficiently as possible and make as much money as we can in the process. For that reason, it helps to be very organized.
If you’re not much of a spreadsheet person, a Word doc or pen and paper work fine as well.
Now make a list of everything you’re selling. Write down the name of each item in one column
In the next column, write down your asking price. This is how much you will list the item for when you go to sell it.
In the third column, write your bottom price. This is the least amount of money you’re willing to take for an item. This isn’t necessarily what you want to sell it for, but it’s what you’re willing to sell it for if you need to.
Now you have a list of everything you’re selling and what kind of price you want to get for it. In order to sell it for it’s maximum price, you’ll want to entice potential buyers with some high-quality photos.
Photos can really make or break your selling efforts so don’t skip this part!
As a rule of thumb, the more expensive the item is, the more photos you should take of it. If you’re selling a yo-yo, two pictures is plenty. If you’re selling your car, you should aim for 15-20 pictures.
I recommend taking at least 2 photos of each item, and more if possible. Also, don’t try to hide any defects of the product. If your sunglasses are scratched up, take pictures that show how scratched up they are. This may seem counter-intuitive, but you don’t want to waste your time or other people’s time.
For example, say someone sees your sunglasses on Craigslist and thinks they are in mint condition. They drive out to buy them and see that they are scratched up. They’re probably not going to buy them and they won’t be too happy either. You’ve wasted their time and your time on something that didn’t make you any money.
Take clear, high-quality photos that make your items look as good as possible without hiding things that would steer away potential buyers.
Once you’ve gone down the list of items and taken pictures of everything you own, it’s time to show the world what you’re selling.
Where To Sell Your Stuff
There are plenty of options when you’re deciding how to go about selling your stuff. The four that I’m going to focus on are Craigslist, Facebook, eBay, and garage sales. There are pros and cons to each and depending on your situation, all of them can be helpful in one way or another.
Pros: What’s great about Craigslist is that you can get in front of people that are specifically looking for something to buy. Everything is nicely categorized and as long as you do a good job with your posting, you’ll most likely get some interest.
Since you’re selling to strangers, you can negotiate to get yourself the best price possible. You don’t have to cut them a deal since there are probably others that have shown interest as well.
Craigslist is free to use for this and setting up meetings with people to sell your stuff is as simple as a text message or email.
Cons: The downside to Craigslist is that you’re competing with a bunch of other people selling things as well. You have to figure out how to cut through the noise and make your posting stand out.
It takes time to actually meet with people, so make sure they are serious before you waste your time meeting with someone who isn’t interested.
Pros: You’re selling things to your friends. You know who may or may not be interested in what you have to sell. If you’re selling everything to go travel, they might want to buy your stuff just to help you out.
Another benefit is that you know who is benefiting from your old stuff. You know your former belongings are in good hands and that your friends are enjoying them.
Cons: People don’t go on Facebook to buy stuff, so once again you need to make your stuff stand out. No one will want to buy stuff from you unless it’s a good deal.
Unlike Craigslist buyers where you can negotiate to get the best price, your friends will try to get you to lower your prices even more. You probably won’t maximize your profit when you’re selling to your friends since you want to cut them a deal.
Pros: eBay is a bidding platform, which means your item will be sold for the highest possible price. Just like Craigslist, these people are actively looking for what you trying to sell. As long as you do a good job presenting your product, you have a good chance of selling it.
The buyers are not limited to your area, which means you’ll have a lot more eyeballs on your product listing. This is good news! If you’re having a hard time selling something locally, selling it on eBay is a good option.
Cons: eBay charges selling fees, which will cut into your profit. Although you maximize the selling price of an item, you still need to account for how much you lose to eBay. These fees change depending on what you’re selling.
Also, you will have to ship your product. This means you’ll spend time packaging your item, driving over to the post office, and sending the product to the buyer. This usually takes up more time and energy than it does to simply meet someone that wants to buy what you have.
Pros: Garage sales are great for unloading a bunch of stuff at one time. By advertising around your neighborhood and on Craigslist, you can just sit back and let people come to you. You don’t have to worry about setting up meeting or shipping products away.
Cons: People that go to garage sales are cheap! They want the best possible deal and they are not willing to spend a lot of money on what you’re selling. On top of this, you have to sit outside for hours while people rummage through your stuff.
Garage sales are great for trying to sell anything that you couldn’t sell on Craigslist, Facebook, or eBay. If you’re going to sell something at a garage sale, you must come to the understanding that you won’t be getting a lot of money for it. This is great for little knickknack things that you don’t have any interest in keeping.
You just went through the three main piles: trash, keep, and sell. If you didn’t throw it away, you don’t want to keep it, and you couldn’t sell it, it’s time to donate it!
Before you give it away, consider why someone wouldn’t want to buy it. Was your price too high? Or is the item absolute junk?
Don’t donate crap that no one wants. It’s really not as helpful as you might think. If the item has value that others can benefit from, then donate it. If not, consider throwing it away or recycling it in some way.
At this point, you should only be left with the things you want to keep. Now it’s time to go travel!
Selling everything you own is a pretty extreme action to take. Most people will tell you that you won’t even miss the stuff you sell or donate.
Honestly, you’ll probably miss it a little bit.
There are going to be some things you look back on and wish you still had them. If this happens, you can purchase that item again if you really need it. If you got rid of something that you were keeping for the memories, keep in mind that the memories are still there. The item is not the memories.
Remember why you sold your stuff: to have amazing experiences and create memories that last a lifetime.
Don’t sell everything you own without some sort of plan when you get back. Be smart about it. Can you sleep on a friend’s couch for a week or two to get your life back in order? Where are you going to start getting an income from again?
Now that you know the process for selling everything, are you going to do it?