When we decided to travel abroad indefinitely we made the decision to sell all of our things. Although I didn’t know exactly how long I would travel, I refused to tie myself to anything, especially literal things. It definitely would have been easier, though more expensive, to just keep my apartment or put things in storage while I allowed my wanderlust to flourish. Like with moving, you do not realize how much stuff you have acquired until you have to get rid of it. When faced with such large projects I like to break it down into small, manageable groups. This is my advice on how to sell all your things to travel.
Clothing & Shoes
After reading this post it will be undeniable that I am an avid eBayer. That said, my first option for selling things is always eBay. Not only do you get to set the price for which you are willing to part with your favorite things, you can do it all from the couch, or car or restaurant (thanks, eBay mobile). My advice would be to only sell your high-end clothes on eBay. The process is simple but can easily become daunting when listing an entire closet. If you are not sure how much an item is worth simply search the item you plan to sell and click the ‘Completed Listings’ option in the filter. eBay will show you the price point other people successfully (prices listed in green) sold their items at and unsuccessful (prices listed in red) price points. My only special trick for eBay, especially in a fire sale, would be to include the ‘Best Offer’ function. A lot of people want a deal, so even if your price is low enough, they just want a discount. I once accepted an offer for $74.98 on a dress I listed for $75. Petty, I know.
Once you’ve exhausted the eBay option you should attempt to sell your apparel at consignment shops. I would first research stores within your area that offer higher end second hand clothes (Buffalo Exchange, Rag-O-Rama, etc.) before going to the stores one step up from Salvation Army. You will get more for your things, and believe me, receiving $5 for a pair of jeans you bought for $150 hurts. The way I sold my things was by first going to the higher end second hand store, then taking everything they turned down to the lower end thrift store. Once you have exhausted all consignment shops just give it away to the Goodwill (who will come pick it up) or Salvation Army, you can still write it off on your taxes if you itemize your deductions.
Electronics & Household Items
I used the same method for my electronics and household items: eBaying what I could before trying other methods. I am a bit of a control freak so having someone else dictate the value of my items just doesn’t sit well with me. Be sure to check the completed listings on your hard to find household items even if you think they’re worthless. For instance, Target released Campbell’s Soup Cans with an Andy Warhol twist. I purchased 32 of them, on clearance for 36 cents each, to use as decoration in my kitchen. During my fire sale I realized there was a high demand for them on eBay and ended up making $200 from old cans of tomato soup.
After eBay I went to Craigslist with a fire sale. From TVs and furniture (shipping can be too expensive and dangerous for eBay) to my washing/dryer machines, I sold the majority of my home items in a moving sale I advertised on Craigslist. Like most people I was very creeped out with the idea of people knowing where I lived, especially since I listed our inventory on the posting, so I withheld our address. They will find you, don’t worry. I listed the cross streets, put a blue sign out front the morning of and was stampeded with customers. What I didn’t sell I took to a second hand home goods store.
Most people will try to go through a dealership or even list their car on Craigslist. For me, the best option was CarMax. We went into a CarMax dealership two days before we were to board our one-way flight abroad and sold our car in under an hour. They gave us 30% less than the Blue book value, but the convenience, security and flexibility were worth it for us.
Obviously everyone’s decision to travel will not be as drastic as mine. As I stated before, you can always put your things in storage, sublet your apartment or rent out your house. For us, this was the best option to guarantee that we did not have any loose ends and were completely free to follow any opportunities that we stumbled upon. If you do want to follow our plan, be sure to give yourself a lot of time and start getting rid of things as soon as possible. It is a full time job and not something that can be done last minute (except the car). I would say it took us about one month to sell everything. For two weeks we (two people) focused on listing things on eBay for up to 4 hours a day. Then, we focused on consignment shop runs that would take about 4 hours per day. Next, we hosted a moving sale for three days with most things selling the first day. Lastly, we sold the car in the least stressful sale of my life.
Here’s to your leap of faith to let go of your things and begin traveling. We hope this advice successfully teaches you how to sell your things to travel indefinitely like we did. Good Luck!