Simply Being Mum’s Spring Sale 2012 Starts

I read a while back that the average UK household contains £600 worth of stuff that is no longer required and could easily be sold.

Now it’s very annoying when someone quotes a statistic like that and cannot find the source to back it up. Sorry but, I’m going to be one of those annoying people today. I have a good idea it was an article in one of the Hubby’s finance magazines, but can I find it? Alas no. A couple of years ago I would have presumed I’d hidden it away, my opinion this morning is that it’s been enthusiastically recycled (aka chucked)!

The reason this value sticks in my head (and thus I’m confident to quote it) is that lovefoodhatewaste.com also claim the average family throw away over £600 of food each year.

£600 saved by not wasting food + £600 generated from selling unwanted stuff = £1200

Enough for a family holiday in the UK, me thinks!

We’ve been on a sorting and decluttering vibe for over 3 years now, and it still amazes me how much stuff I can find to sell. So being an ‘experiment loving gal’ I thought this year I’d tally up how much I can generate from a relatively decluttered home. I actually believe I can top £600.

This week sees the start of my Spring Sale. I did the same last year, but kind of forgot to tally up! oops! I know Jenny (a good blogging bud of mine) made over $1,000 from a garage sale she had.

eBay and I, have a love-hate relationship. I love generating cash from redundant items, but hate listing them. It’s not because it takes time. It’s rather I’m concerned about getting a really accurate description, and ensuring the person buying is fully clued up on the item. So mentally it can be draining! However, I got to it, and with much cajoling from the Hubby listed 6 items over the weekend. There are more to do.

(Baby swing now outgrown! How times flies, make the most of it!)

We also got to work on the hoard in the garage. Over the winter, as I’ve decluttered, I’ve thrown it all in a pile to be sorted and then sold at a car-boot sale. It’s planned I’ll do one this Sunday, and there’s some good stuff included.

Talking about hoarding, there’s still this to contend with. Non-saleable items. I have a little confession, despise my good intentions it still hasn’t been dealt with.

There’s a fantastic show started on Channel 4 Thursdays 9pm – The Hoarder Next Door. It’s a great watch for me, as it demonstrates to me how far I’ve come, and yet where it ultimately could have led. It makes my (now much reduced) sentimental hoard look almost innocent!

It’s when I watch shows like that, that I know I will never be a true minimalist. I like to live simply and live a slow, decluttered life, but I still like to retain some non-essential things. This is a topic that’s come up in the community recently. Robert posted this, and I took a virtual tour of Megyn’s minimal kitchen late last night (oh the beauty of the internet!). It’s a far cry from my own kitchen, which contains quite a bit of stuff, but is all used. Megyn and I do share the same Ikea dinner service however, although different colours.

I’ll be checking back in with my cash generated totals as I continue to get rid of stuff. Wish I had a Blue Peter Total-o-meter to keep track of my progress!

Any plans to start selling yourself? Please share how you are planning to do it, and what targets you may have set yourself…

Don’t forget I now post daily on Facebook, why not pop over and join the conversation. We’ve been talking running shoes this morning!

{ 72 comments… add one }
  • Robert Wall May 8, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the linkback Jo! 600 pounds is about $1000 USD last I checked, and while I always wonder exactly what the magazine people mean by “no longer required” and “easily be sold”,
    I’d believe that an average family could easily have $1000 in extra stuff laying around.

    What’s a car-boot sale? Is that what people in the US call a swap meet?

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:02 pm

      Robert – firstly – I’m probably highly paraphrasing! haha! I’m sure the article will turn up and I can quote from it directly… pretty sure I kept it as always knew I’d include in a post. Regardless I too believe an average family would have this amount laying around. Like I say, we’ve got rid of a lot of stuff and have stopped acquiring new stuff in any great amount and I’m sure I’ll top the figure.
      The car-boot sale is where you pitch up on a field (normally a HUGE field) and get your trestle table out and pile your unwanted stuff up. Lot’s of others do it…very common in UK…
      ps – did get your mail, as always I’m a little behind with my e-mail communications! I’m rubbish aren’t I… will get back to you shortly…

  • Robert Wall May 8, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the linkback Jo! 600 pounds is about $1000 USD last I checked, and while I always wonder exactly what the magazine people mean by “no longer required” and “easily be sold”,
    I’d believe that an average family could easily have $1000 in extra stuff laying around.

    What’s a car-boot sale? Is that what people in the US call a swap meet?

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:02 pm

      Robert – firstly – I’m probably highly paraphrasing! haha! I’m sure the article will turn up and I can quote from it directly… pretty sure I kept it as always knew I’d include in a post. Regardless I too believe an average family would have this amount laying around. Like I say, we’ve got rid of a lot of stuff and have stopped acquiring new stuff in any great amount and I’m sure I’ll top the figure.
      The car-boot sale is where you pitch up on a field (normally a HUGE field) and get your trestle table out and pile your unwanted stuff up. Lot’s of others do it…very common in UK…
      ps – did get your mail, as always I’m a little behind with my e-mail communications! I’m rubbish aren’t I… will get back to you shortly…

  • Jules Carter May 8, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Love your site, been reading your posts since April & have been trying out your Friday ideas. I have just had a new kitchen/diner built needed to declutter this was perfect opportunity. The only problem I now have is a garage full of stuff which you have inspired me to sell. Thanks Jules

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:04 pm

      Thanks Jules, and great to have you commenting. I hope the Friday routines working out for you, and please do share your progress in the NWTG comments if you’d like to? I love to hear how others are doing it!
      know what you mean about piling it up in the garage, the Hubby’s been having mini panic attacks looking at it – he wants his place back!

  • Jules Carter May 8, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Love your site, been reading your posts since April & have been trying out your Friday ideas. I have just had a new kitchen/diner built needed to declutter this was perfect opportunity. The only problem I now have is a garage full of stuff which you have inspired me to sell. Thanks Jules

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:04 pm

      Thanks Jules, and great to have you commenting. I hope the Friday routines working out for you, and please do share your progress in the NWTG comments if you’d like to? I love to hear how others are doing it!
      know what you mean about piling it up in the garage, the Hubby’s been having mini panic attacks looking at it – he wants his place back!

  • Claire Rudkins May 8, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Last year I made enough to take myself off to Cornwall for a week. This year I haven’t really been keeping track but I keep on selling!!

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:05 pm

      Way to go Claire! Little bits and bobs seem insignificant but when you add up what you can generate and look at the big picture, it could indeed be a holiday!

  • Claire Rudkins May 8, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Last year I made enough to take myself off to Cornwall for a week. This year I haven’t really been keeping track but I keep on selling!!

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:05 pm

      Way to go Claire! Little bits and bobs seem insignificant but when you add up what you can generate and look at the big picture, it could indeed be a holiday!

  • Sarah May 8, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I share your love hate Ebay relationship…the time taken making a super accurate listing, taking a decent photo, answering questions from people who then never bid, the fact that my house seems to clutter up as fast as I sell some clutter on Ebay…but the extra cash is nice! I just sold 5 items and want to keep the momentum going, so I’m hoping you might keep me motivated!

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:07 pm

      Keep going Sarah. As with much in life it’s the taking that first step. Momentum will carry you on. I moan so much pre-listing that you’d think I was doing it with a gun held to my head! Once I get going, I start sifting round for more to list… Hope all is going well with the new blog? 🙂

      • Sarah May 9, 2012, 8:02 am

        Thanks for asking Jo, I think it’s going well…300+ page views and 2 lovely followers (who came via Simplybeingmum on facebook, I think, so thanks for the call out!), Sarah (everydaylifeonashoestring.blogspot.co.uk)

  • Sarah May 8, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I share your love hate Ebay relationship…the time taken making a super accurate listing, taking a decent photo, answering questions from people who then never bid, the fact that my house seems to clutter up as fast as I sell some clutter on Ebay…but the extra cash is nice! I just sold 5 items and want to keep the momentum going, so I’m hoping you might keep me motivated!

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:07 pm

      Keep going Sarah. As with much in life it’s the taking that first step. Momentum will carry you on. I moan so much pre-listing that you’d think I was doing it with a gun held to my head! Once I get going, I start sifting round for more to list… Hope all is going well with the new blog? 🙂

      • Sarah May 9, 2012, 8:02 am

        Thanks for asking Jo, I think it’s going well…300+ page views and 2 lovely followers (who came via Simplybeingmum on facebook, I think, so thanks for the call out!), Sarah (everydaylifeonashoestring.blogspot.co.uk)

  • Lauren May 8, 2012, 5:55 pm

    I have to confess, that box of sentimental stuff under the bed I mentioned in an earlier post nearly went up on the last free listing weekend. I realised that it actually wasn’t that sentimental (it’s a small crystal collection) and the proceeds from selling it could pay for something far more useful. I ran out of time to do it last weekend, but they might not be so lucky on the next one.

    Somewhat related, but what I am struggling with at the moment is bulky stuff that isn’t good enough to sell, or even give away really. Like an L-shaped desk where the corner (including the support column) broke beyond repair. This is where having a car would be useful, as I could take it to be recycled. Might have to ask the in-laws to visit and help.

    Off to watch the video, I love me some minimalism! 😉

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:11 pm

      I reckon the crystals days are numbered….
      Regarding bulky – you say not good enough to give away, but it may be useful to someone, maybe? Do you have a local non-profit that takes furniture for resale or even for reuse? Some places are able to fix them up and re-home them? Don’t forget I love a bit of refurbishment so based on condition this may be rather optimistic of me – I can get carried away!
      The video is great, really it is. I was so interested in seeing how a really minimal kitchen looks. And Megyn is a fab narrator. It’s so hard to do a vlog, I know I tried once and gave up, I was hopeless!
      ps – dropping you a mail now!

    • idreamofdownsizing May 10, 2012, 5:09 pm

      If you have craigslist in your area it’s worth a try to post it for free. I’m in the US, but am pretty sure they’ve got it in the UK and maybe other countries too. I have gotten rid of an amazing amount of large stuff that seemed like garbage just by posting it for free.

  • Lauren May 8, 2012, 5:55 pm

    I have to confess, that box of sentimental stuff under the bed I mentioned in an earlier post nearly went up on the last free listing weekend. I realised that it actually wasn’t that sentimental (it’s a small crystal collection) and the proceeds from selling it could pay for something far more useful. I ran out of time to do it last weekend, but they might not be so lucky on the next one.

    Somewhat related, but what I am struggling with at the moment is bulky stuff that isn’t good enough to sell, or even give away really. Like an L-shaped desk where the corner (including the support column) broke beyond repair. This is where having a car would be useful, as I could take it to be recycled. Might have to ask the in-laws to visit and help.

    Off to watch the video, I love me some minimalism! 😉

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 6:11 pm

      I reckon the crystals days are numbered….
      Regarding bulky – you say not good enough to give away, but it may be useful to someone, maybe? Do you have a local non-profit that takes furniture for resale or even for reuse? Some places are able to fix them up and re-home them? Don’t forget I love a bit of refurbishment so based on condition this may be rather optimistic of me – I can get carried away!
      The video is great, really it is. I was so interested in seeing how a really minimal kitchen looks. And Megyn is a fab narrator. It’s so hard to do a vlog, I know I tried once and gave up, I was hopeless!
      ps – dropping you a mail now!

    • idreamofdownsizing May 10, 2012, 5:09 pm

      If you have craigslist in your area it’s worth a try to post it for free. I’m in the US, but am pretty sure they’ve got it in the UK and maybe other countries too. I have gotten rid of an amazing amount of large stuff that seemed like garbage just by posting it for free.

  • Jenny May 8, 2012, 8:32 pm

    Hey Jo! I hope ou do well on your spring sale this year. I haven’t been motivated to sort through our spring purges yet. Hopefully the spring de-clutter will bite soon. 🙂

    We have our neighborhood garage sale coming up again in a couple of months. I don’t think I’ll make over $1,000 again, but every little bit helps!

    P.S. Thanks for the link, too!

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 8:39 pm

      Hi Jenny – You sound as though you’ve plenty going on over there, so I’m not surprised you haven’t had chance to sift through yet.
      I’m sure you’ll do great once more at the sale, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares!

  • Jenny May 8, 2012, 8:32 pm

    Hey Jo! I hope ou do well on your spring sale this year. I haven’t been motivated to sort through our spring purges yet. Hopefully the spring de-clutter will bite soon. 🙂

    We have our neighborhood garage sale coming up again in a couple of months. I don’t think I’ll make over $1,000 again, but every little bit helps!

    P.S. Thanks for the link, too!

    • simplybeingmum May 8, 2012, 8:39 pm

      Hi Jenny – You sound as though you’ve plenty going on over there, so I’m not surprised you haven’t had chance to sift through yet.
      I’m sure you’ll do great once more at the sale, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares!

  • Megyn @MinimalistMommi May 9, 2012, 7:23 am

    Thanks for the link back, Jo! Do you all have Craig’s List in your area? I tried the Ebay thing, but found Craig’s List to be my best money maker and time saver! I’m excited to see how it all goes for you…sometimes I think I get rid of things just for the thrill of selling it lol!

    • simplybeingmum May 10, 2012, 9:16 am

      Hi Megyn… Hmmm don’t think we have Craigslist, will check it out. Now I’m on a roll there’s no stopping me, found loads of stuff yesterday, which makes me think I really haven’t done the best job of decluttering!

      • Robert Wall May 10, 2012, 10:33 am

        Hi Jo! You’re in the UK, right? http://london.craigslist.co.uk/ – look over at the far right-hand side of the screen and it’ll show a bunch of different cities. Pick whatever is closest to you. There might not be a Craigslist that’s specifically for your city, but usually there’s one that’s close.

  • Megyn @MinimalistMommi May 9, 2012, 7:23 am

    Thanks for the link back, Jo! Do you all have Craig’s List in your area? I tried the Ebay thing, but found Craig’s List to be my best money maker and time saver! I’m excited to see how it all goes for you…sometimes I think I get rid of things just for the thrill of selling it lol!

    • simplybeingmum May 10, 2012, 9:16 am

      Hi Megyn… Hmmm don’t think we have Craigslist, will check it out. Now I’m on a roll there’s no stopping me, found loads of stuff yesterday, which makes me think I really haven’t done the best job of decluttering!

      • Robert Wall May 10, 2012, 10:33 am

        Hi Jo! You’re in the UK, right? http://london.craigslist.co.uk/ – look over at the far right-hand side of the screen and it’ll show a bunch of different cities. Pick whatever is closest to you. There might not be a Craigslist that’s specifically for your city, but usually there’s one that’s close.

  • Jane May 9, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Boy oh boy am I with you on the love+hate thing with Ebay. I’ve been both a buyer & a seller & both situations have been very very good & horribly tragically bad. Yet, it’s still the best gig in town to unload stuff to the widest possible market. I refuse to have a garage sale (car boot sale) as the thought of having people meddle about my items really irks me.
    While the husband & I are not quite yet ready to relocate…we are sure doing a lot of clearing out of stuff now for the move later. Ridding ourselves of big & small things that we both know we don’t need here & really won’t need once we move. Having said that, I’m predicting a mass unloading of stuff when we do move as the reality of dragging unwanted/unneeded stuff becomes crystal clear.
    Just this morning I ran a box full of plastic tupperware type storage containers & some articles of clothing over to the donation store. Some days I can’t find anything to part with…but the very next day & find enough to fill the trunk of my car!

    • simplybeingmum May 10, 2012, 9:19 am

      Hey Jane – volume of stuff certainly does fluctuate based on frame of mind. Yesterday I found loads of stuff that I must have previously thought I needed, but I don’t! Your aversion to garage sales’s made me laugh… I actually love doing them (but can totally see why you don’t!), and (don’t tell anyone this but…) sometimes give stuff away for free. I love to see my unwanted stuff re-homed. Get a great sense of satisfaction – it’s also to funny to see peoples expressions when you say – “oh just take it!, I don’t want it”.

  • Jane May 9, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Boy oh boy am I with you on the love+hate thing with Ebay. I’ve been both a buyer & a seller & both situations have been very very good & horribly tragically bad. Yet, it’s still the best gig in town to unload stuff to the widest possible market. I refuse to have a garage sale (car boot sale) as the thought of having people meddle about my items really irks me.
    While the husband & I are not quite yet ready to relocate…we are sure doing a lot of clearing out of stuff now for the move later. Ridding ourselves of big & small things that we both know we don’t need here & really won’t need once we move. Having said that, I’m predicting a mass unloading of stuff when we do move as the reality of dragging unwanted/unneeded stuff becomes crystal clear.
    Just this morning I ran a box full of plastic tupperware type storage containers & some articles of clothing over to the donation store. Some days I can’t find anything to part with…but the very next day & find enough to fill the trunk of my car!

    • simplybeingmum May 10, 2012, 9:19 am

      Hey Jane – volume of stuff certainly does fluctuate based on frame of mind. Yesterday I found loads of stuff that I must have previously thought I needed, but I don’t! Your aversion to garage sales’s made me laugh… I actually love doing them (but can totally see why you don’t!), and (don’t tell anyone this but…) sometimes give stuff away for free. I love to see my unwanted stuff re-homed. Get a great sense of satisfaction – it’s also to funny to see peoples expressions when you say – “oh just take it!, I don’t want it”.

  • idreamofdownsizing May 10, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Good luck! I’m really impressed with anyone who braves ebay. Just thinking about trying to sell there makes me anxious and panicky.

    I made $600 two weekends ago selling a chicken tractor, a file cabinet, a child’s bike, and a floor cleaning machine. I just try not to think too much about how much money all those things cost to begin with. Most of the stuff we get rid of ends up being donated or given to people we know so I imagine that this will be near my final total for this round of decluttering unless I find something really valuable that I’d forgotten about.

    • simplybeingmum May 10, 2012, 11:03 pm

      It’s best to not think about original value. It can be a deterrent to getting rid of redundant items! Wow a chicken tractor! I don’t have anything that exciting to sell!

  • idreamofdownsizing May 10, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Good luck! I’m really impressed with anyone who braves ebay. Just thinking about trying to sell there makes me anxious and panicky.

    I made $600 two weekends ago selling a chicken tractor, a file cabinet, a child’s bike, and a floor cleaning machine. I just try not to think too much about how much money all those things cost to begin with. Most of the stuff we get rid of ends up being donated or given to people we know so I imagine that this will be near my final total for this round of decluttering unless I find something really valuable that I’d forgotten about.

    • simplybeingmum May 10, 2012, 11:03 pm

      It’s best to not think about original value. It can be a deterrent to getting rid of redundant items! Wow a chicken tractor! I don’t have anything that exciting to sell!

  • Libby May 11, 2012, 1:50 pm

    We had a yard sale two weekends ago and made $240 plus filled the car to the gills with stuff for Goodwill (a charity shop) at the end of the day. Last weekend I sold my son’s old baseball equipment plus two pairs of snow boots for $70 using Craig’s List. I just tallied up the books I’ve sold using Half.com so far this year and they total $47.77!

    The hardest thing for me is having the stuff hang around our very small house once the decision has been made to part company with it. It took me a month to sell the stuff via Craig’s List. Patience is not necessarily one of my strong points 🙂

    We are trying to generate enough money to cover going on a whale watching trip while we are in Alaska this summer! I think we are there…..now If I could just generate enough “stuff” sales to cover the entire trip LOL!

    • simplybeingmum May 11, 2012, 6:36 pm

      I know how you feel Libby, I have a pile of stuff sitting next to my desk that’s listed or about to be listed on eBay. It can be very frustrating once you’ve decided to part company with the item, ti have it hanging round. And as for packing it up – well that’s another task in itself! But needs doing!
      Your Alaska trip sounds amazing…and a very worthwhile thing to be putting the pennies/cents toward! Good luck with reaching your target, and maybe exceeding it?

  • Libby May 11, 2012, 1:50 pm

    We had a yard sale two weekends ago and made $240 plus filled the car to the gills with stuff for Goodwill (a charity shop) at the end of the day. Last weekend I sold my son’s old baseball equipment plus two pairs of snow boots for $70 using Craig’s List. I just tallied up the books I’ve sold using Half.com so far this year and they total $47.77!

    The hardest thing for me is having the stuff hang around our very small house once the decision has been made to part company with it. It took me a month to sell the stuff via Craig’s List. Patience is not necessarily one of my strong points 🙂

    We are trying to generate enough money to cover going on a whale watching trip while we are in Alaska this summer! I think we are there…..now If I could just generate enough “stuff” sales to cover the entire trip LOL!

    • simplybeingmum May 11, 2012, 6:36 pm

      I know how you feel Libby, I have a pile of stuff sitting next to my desk that’s listed or about to be listed on eBay. It can be very frustrating once you’ve decided to part company with the item, ti have it hanging round. And as for packing it up – well that’s another task in itself! But needs doing!
      Your Alaska trip sounds amazing…and a very worthwhile thing to be putting the pennies/cents toward! Good luck with reaching your target, and maybe exceeding it?

  • Sugel May 13, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Hi new to the site and also to car boot sales. Doing my first one on Sunday as an incentive for the kids to get rid of the copious amounts of stuff they calim makes it impossible to keep their large(!) bedrooms vaguely tidy! Kind of ok with flogging their stuff for whatever we can however I have a huge amount of vinyl lps and 12 inch singles and some evening dresses in fantastic condition which I don’t really know where to start with? Any advice? The dresses were all quite pricey but I don’t want alot for them just kind of some ideas really?

  • Sugel May 13, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Hi new to the site and also to car boot sales. Doing my first one on Sunday as an incentive for the kids to get rid of the copious amounts of stuff they calim makes it impossible to keep their large(!) bedrooms vaguely tidy! Kind of ok with flogging their stuff for whatever we can however I have a huge amount of vinyl lps and 12 inch singles and some evening dresses in fantastic condition which I don’t really know where to start with? Any advice? The dresses were all quite pricey but I don’t want alot for them just kind of some ideas really?

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