5 Steps to Sell Your Crap & Fund Your Dreams

6 minute read

Of all the steps we are taking in our attempt to live a bold and adventurous life, purging the unneeded stuff from our lives is by far the most fun and challenging.

We’ve always considered ourselves minimalists. We purge the house every year, but as we’ve increased square footage, we’ve still increased possessions. You know how it is. More room creates a need to fill the empty space. Guest room, bedroom, office, workout room, living room, dining room, and a two car garage certainly had their fill. The thing I’m most thankful for is Mike uses the garage to park two cars and store car parts, tools, and man stuff. So it’s not full of useless crap like so many garages in our neighborhood.

But where to start?

1. Make a Plan and Stick to it! {.p1}


Tomorrow is the land of opportunity, according to a procrastinator. Without a plan, goals are unobtainable. So we made a plan. Sure, it was just a rough plan at first, but it gave us the constraints within which to work. It was simple: tow rig by August, Airstream by October, on the road by January 2015. With a timeline in place, now we know what we need to sell and when, especially to start building our funds up even more!

2. Organize! {.p1}

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 I work at Basecamp, so we’ve made incredible use of Basecamp to manage our life and goals. We have several projects going from “Mission Airstream”, “Sell Our Crap”, “Places We Want to Go”, and “Bold and Adventurous (the blog)”. Sell Our Crap has been vital to organizing what we need to sell, where we need to sell it, how much, and post any miscellaneous links to listings. It’s also a great way to go back see what we’ve already accomplished! There’s definitely great satisfaction in checking off these items. :)

3. Stick to your guns! {.p1}


Keep it? Purge it? What’s a person to do? So we ask ourselves:

  • will we need it in the Airstream?
  • will it fit in the Airstream?
  • if no to the above, do we *need* it now? (Do we need to guest bed? No! Do we need the couches? Maybe….. Do we need the baby swing? Yes!)

When it comes to buying new items we always ask:

  • will we use it in the Airstream?
  • is it something you can live without?

4. Be quick about it! {.p1}

The more time you spend sorting through your stuff, the more emotional and mental energy you’re putting into the item. Often you’ll be less inclined to get rid of it then. If you can’t make a decision in 3 seconds, put the item in another pile to be dealt with after you’ve finished going through that room. When you’re done, go back to the pile and make your decisions quickly. At this point, you may be so tired that you’re just ready to get rid of the whole pile anyway :)

5. Keep It, Sell It, Donate It {.p1}

KEEP: Things you use consistently and would need to purchase again.

SELL: A lot of what’s in your home is worth something to someone else, so leverage it! Sell it on Craigslist, eBay, or a garage sale. If you’re not pressed for time, ask for what the item is worth. If you’re pressed for time, price to sell!

– eBay

Shipable items that have enough value you aren’t cringing when eBay takes their fee. Well, you may cringe anyway. In our case, Apple electronics, high-end car parts, and other notable items were eBay sellers.

– Craigslist

Items that are worth a bit more like couches, tables, beds, bigger electronics (tv/sound system), and aren’t easily shipped do very well on Craigslist. We weren’t in a hurry to sell our items, so we priced them fairly. Some items went within hours of posting, other items took a few weeks for the right buyer to find us.

– Garage Sale

We’ve yet to hold a garage sale. That will come when the Airstream arrives. Kitchen items, misc housewares, furniture, and basically everything else that hasn’t sold will be offered here. It may take a full weekend, it may take a couple weekends, but we’re in the perfect area for late fall sales.

DONATE: Some items just aren’t worth the effort of listing, but they may be helpful to someone else. We’ve got a ton of books we’ve given to family members, and the office supplies we don’t need have been donated to a family member’s small church. Other items, like tools we don’t need, will be given to various family members as well. Whatever will be leftover in the end that we can’t get a nickel or dime for will be taken to the local Salvation Army or Goodwill. This stuff doesn’t belong in landfills if someone else can benefit from it.

In the end, we plan to be left with less than we need. Leaves more room for the right things.