Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Big Sort!

Ahh, there's nothing like a well organized drawer!!!

Over the past couple of years, Mr. J and I have accumulated more STUFF than we’ve ever had before, and now we’re faced with the fact that we’re going to have to pare down, or else.  I’ve always been a real stickler about only keeping what you love in your home. Otherwise, before you know it, you're surrounded by useless clutter that bogs you down, makes you unhappy, and totally cramps your style. So, we've had to get serious about unloading some of the crap we’ve been toting around. 

As a bonus, three of the thirty things on my to do list revolve around getting rid of crap, so this "Big Sort" has helped me check off all three.  Score. Getting rid of stuff you don't use can be thrilling, and watch out!  There are zillions of articles with tips, tricks and the how tos of the super organized--check out Real Simple if you're clueless about this kind of stuff--so I won't bore you with all that.  The bottom line is, you gotta do what works for you.  My personal checklist for whether or not to get rid of an item is:

1. Do I love it? If the answer is no, or even maybe, it has to go.
2. Do I have a place for it?  Again, if the answer is no, out it goes.  This seriously will eliminate half the crap in your house.
3. Do I use it?  Out goes the other half of the crap.  Works like a charm for me!

Anyway, we have been sorting through our great sea of unused stuff, deciding what to keep, toss, donate and sell.  We recently posted and sold quite a few things on Craigslist, and I must say, I consider myself a pro at the fine art of Craigslist.  Seriously, I can move old stuff on that site faster than you'd even imagine!  So, I thought I’d  leave you with some of my top tips for Craigslist success. 

First, think about what items you want to sell. I'd say Craigslist is best for less valuable furniture items, household goods and appliances, and gently used event and party supplies (bulk candles, lanterns, lighting, vases, etc).  If you have multiple items to sell, create a post for each, and think about whether someone could really use the item you're considering before you post. There are other ways to get rid of your stuff, and if it's just a pile of junk, that's all it is, so toss it or donate it and dedicate your time to something else.

Second, think about how you’d search for an item, and be as descriptive as possible. Is it a dresser? Maybe.  But, it could also be an end table, an entry way table, or a nightstand. No one will find your post if you limit your description. It’s all about the keywords, so make sure to include as many relevant terms as possible in the copy of your post. Just because you'd use it one way doesn’t mean it wouldn’t suit someone else’s purpose.  We’re not all copy writers, but you've gotta take a crack at it. Try out something chock full of adjectives: “Sturdy, solid wood three-drawer dresser with dovetail joints. Medium tone wood finish with black painted top.” If there’s a brand name, include that as well—especially if it’s a popular one like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, etc. Again, it's all about the keywords and getting your piece in front of the right set of eyeballs!

Third, take some good photos. There are actually a couple key points here.  The first is, make sure your photos are good quality. Again, we’re not all pros, but there are some basics that should help things along. Shoot in the daytime, turn all the lights on in your room, and take a bunch of different shots from all sorts of different angles. Zoom in on features you want to highlight (dovetail joints, hardware, even a detail of any damage to the piece).  The second point here is to stage the hell out of your piece. Grab a few of the decorative accessories you have laying around: some books, a plant, a smaller piece of artwork, a pillow, a throw, whatever. Just channel your inner catalog photo shoot styler and stage away. Nothing will ensure your item doesn’t sell like bad photos.

Finally, be realistic about the price you’re asking. Many people search and filter listings by price alone.  What would you be willing to pay if you were looking for a similar piece? Forget what you originally paid for the item, you won’t get close to that amount, unless it’s brand new and in perfect condition. Even then, the mere fact that it’s spent time in your home has devalued it. So be reasonable. Also, don’t forget to pad the price by an extra little margin so when your buyer inevitably bargains the price down, you’ll still be happy with the final selling price. Like I said, it’s kind of an art form—don’t go too high, but don't go too low, either!

Happy Decluttering!

And P.S. Yes, I baked bread and yes it was awesome. Photos soon!

Image via Real Simple

1 comment:

  1. Looks like we are on the same page this weekend. Getting rid of the old and packing up the rest. Good luck with your craigslist sales!


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