Estimated Monthly Savings: $100
There’s no question that your typical American is buried in an avalanche of stuff. While the average home has nearly tripled in size since the 1960’s, 1 out of every 10 Americans still rent a storage unit. Many families don’t have enough room to park their cars in their garages–imagine letting a $30,000 vehicle sit out in the elements, taking unnecessary wear and tear, in order to store a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff you never use. Our economies and sense of scale are completely off. The average American family spends $1700 on clothing each year and also gives away or tosses 65 pounds of clothing, while a study in the UK shows that kids own an average of 238 toys a piece but only really play with about 12 of them.
Financially, owning too much stuff simply doesn’t make sense. We spend too much money on stuff, too much money on storing and organizing our stuff, and too much time trying to manage it all. Fortunately, this excess seems to be on the way out as a sharing economy takes root. We can now rent or share everything from a monthly wardrobe to educational toys to rides downtown on a Friday night.
If you find yourself drawn to a more minimal lifestyle but don’t know what to do with all the extra gear you’ve accumulated, there are two apps you should check out: letgo and offerup. Both apps are disrupting the market space and have people hooked, allowing users to buy, sell, and trade items right from their smart phones. Both apps let users sign up instantly through Facebook or enter their email and create a password to set up a quick profile, which takes less than 30 seconds. Once you’ve signed up for a profile, consider the following tips to clear out your garage more quickly and get the most bang for your buck:
- Start with large, high-dollar items or items with a quick turnover. When you work toward any new goal, whether it’s a fatter budget or a slimmer waistline, it’s important to get some quick wins to motivate yourself to keep going. Some of the most popular items on these apps include furniture, vintage items, small electronics like tablets, Chromebooks, and smart phones, as well as baby and kid clothing and toys in good, gently used condition.
- Take an extra minute or two to put your item in the best light. While you certainly don’t have to be a professional photographer, it doesn’t hurt to knock the dust off of furniture that’s been sitting in your garage for 10 years or quickly launder a batch of baby clothes. Do all of your cleaning and prepping at one time, and then put your items outside or under bright enough light when you photograph them. There’s nothing worse (not to mention unlikely to sell) than a dim, hard-to-see photo of some dirty kids’ toys.
- Consider selling similar items in lots. While you may make less money this way, you’ll save a ton of time and get rid of stuff more quickly. Popular items to sell in lots include fashion and accessories, baby and toddler clothing, sporting goods, makeup, toiletries, and hair products, and books.
- Descriptions and categories are your friends. Both letgo and offerup organize items for sale by category. Users can’t buy your things if they can’t find your things, so be sure to select the correct category! You should also describe your item fully, including any exceptional selling points like brand names and overall condition.
It doesn’t take long at all to start selling on either letgo or offerup, and you are guaranteed instant access to thousands of users in your area who are looking to purchase used items in good condition. Of course, the monthly savings can add up if you’re able to cancel your storage unit or spend less on organizational tools, and you’ll also make a little money by selling through the app–but the real savings will be the extra time you’ll have on your hands and the reduced stress in your life.