Adventure doesn’t always need to be about travel, cage diving with great white sharks, or trekking to Everest. Recently, I’ve taken on a new exploit spurred by the minimalist movement. Decluttering.
A couple of years ago, I read the New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It interested me, and the idea of items sparking joy in order to stay in the house made me smile. I never thought about my stuff sparking joy, but it’s a charming way to think about the things we own. Or, depending on your view, the things that own us. Much of the rest of Kondo’s book I found a little out there. However, I took one big life-changing tip from it: folding clothing sideways so t-shirts look like books inside drawers. This little gem has been super helpful in both creating space and finding folded clothing quickly. Outside of that, I kind of forgot about the book until I came upon a newer book called Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki.
In this quick read, the author shares his own experience going from an unhappy, somewhat of a drunk “maximalist” to a happier, healthier minimalist. I can’t say I feel unhappy with the things I own, but I do feel scattered. There is so much vying for our attention including our things, it’s hard to really focus on just one at a time. Even while reading the book, I found myself doing other things trying to stay productive while consuming information, as if reading a book isn’t enough to do at one single time.
Anyway, applying a few of his recommendations, namely leveraging auction and resale apps or websites to sell some of the things that no longer sparked joy, I tried letgo, eBay, and the old standby Craigslist to get rid of stuff. Here’s what I found:
It seemed like all the cool kids were on letgo, so I tried it for myself by posting a ruggedized camera. It was easy to take a picture from the app, post it for sale, pop in a dollar amount and bam, wait for the offers to roll in. But that’s where things got a little iffy. No offers or chats rolled in. I got one message asking if the camera was in good condition, in which I responded promptly. Yes, it is, only used once, never dropped or submerged in water. Then, nothing. She never responded back and no one else bothered. Overall, I think this is a great place to get rid of free stuff or simple, straightforward items quickly, the kind that don’t need a lot of explanation, like an article of clothing, baseball card, or dresser.
eBay worked best for reaching a large audience and shipping smaller, easily packed items. I put the same camera mentioned above on eBay’s auction site and it was bid on in the first seventy-two hours. Unlike letgo, there’s ample amount of space to put in details for the product, it even has a search engine that helps you find your item and makes a suggestion on how much to sell it for based on what’s sold in the recent past. In my opinion, eBay is where you can make the most money, if that’s your goal and you’re willing to take the time and energy to pack your stuff securely, make a trip to the post office, and understand/be comfortable with eBay taking a cut of the sale.
Craigslist worked wonders for me when I lived in Chicago. There are so many people near you in the city, the odds are someone is looking for what you’re selling. Over the years, I sold multiple bikes, a snowboard, even a Kitchen Aid, and had great success. Living on the peninsula in the suburbs outside San Jose, I didn’t quite have the same success. The bicycle I posted has been on the site for many weeks, me faithfully renewing each week, bringing the price down with every passing week without a nibble. And it’s not the price, it’s listed for a little more than half of what I paid for it only four months ago – and it’s been for sale for one of those months. But I have had success with cheaper items that I didn’t want to ship like a couple of skateboards. They were also dirt cheap, but this is a skateboard kinda town.
There are other websites and apps that can help you get rid of the stuff that doesn’t spark joy, of which, I didn’t test out. Going wider than three apps seemed like a maximalist thing to do. But if you’ve got a success story on a different app or website, let’s hear about it in the comments.