By , January 17, 2011 4:44 pm
Unfettered released from physical or mental bonds; unrestrained
The prospect of selling our stuff is finally upon us. At this point, we have decided not to decide when, where, or if our trip is going to end. We may travel forever, we may travel for a year, we don't know. What we do know is that if our trip does end, we don't want to move back into our same old home here in Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Even if we do decide to live in Saskatchewan again.

Our Home in Qu'Appelle

What we want, is the freedom to resettle wherever we decide when our trip is over, or to continue travelling until we are old and grey.  So, for us renting out our house while we are away, and putting all of our stuff into a storage locker is not the ideal solution.  And so, we've made the big decision to sell our house and most of our belongings to become... unfettered. To give us that freedom to go wherever we please without the constant worry and expense of looking after our belongings while we are away. The big ticket items that are going to take some time to dispose of are the house and the car. The car we'll need for Ashley to commute to work with until the end of June, so we can't sell it quite yet. The house goes on the market Wednesday, and can really go anytime. We're lucky that way. Ashley and I currently live just a few blocks from my parent's home. A home with a spare room in the basement that we are hoping to live in from the time our house sells until the time we catch a ride to the airport. That brings us to the small stuff. And, we have a lot of it. It never really felt like we were wasting money on items that we hardly use, but now that we have to clean the place out, there is no denying that there has been some impulse buying in the past.

A photo of our spare room with a growing collection of stuff to get rid of

The first step was to divide everything into two basic categories, things we still use, and things we could do just fine without. The latter category was then divided further into the following groupings. (note by dividing I mean separated into their own piles on the floor)
  • Garbage that nobody would ever want
  • Stuff that may sell for a few dollars in a garage sale
  • Items we hope to sell online

The same room as above, with our stuff organized into piles.  The junk is in the bottom right hand corner, garage sale stuff near the centre, and the stuff we think we can sell online is sitting on the table.

The garbage we have been diligently throwing out whenever there is still space in our garbage bin on collection day. Most of the junk went in about two weeks, so we probably had 8 bags or so of junk that we tossed away. The garage sale stuff has been cluttering up our floor, and I'm not sure if we'll just leave it there for a summer garage sale, try to hold a winter garage sale (unheard of, at least by me), or just throw it in the trash so the room does not look so cluttered. I guess the decision will partly depend on what our Realtor tells us when he comes to list the house. That brings us to the last grouping. Since November, we have been trying to convert everything in this group into cash for our trip. Primarily we've been using two different online tools to do this. The first is a free online classified add website called Used Regina. I realize that this is very specific to the Regina area, but that same website has links to affiliate sites all across Canada. There are a few great things about this website. The most important is that it's free. Second it targets local buyers. Every sale is done in person and is as simple as exchanging items for cash. The buyer and seller communicates by email, agreeing on a price and a location for the trade. Finally, there are a lot of people who use this website. I've actually been quite amazed at the success we've had finding people to buy our used items. I even managed to sell an electric floor fan in January when it was about -20 degrees Celsius outside. Aside from used Regina, I've also taken my first plunge into Ebay. The problem with Ebay is the fees. So far I've only sold one item, a 35mm film scanner. I was delighted that I was able to find a buyer, and the price got bid up to about what I paid for it, $811.25. Now take a guess how much cash I get to keep from this sale? After Paypal and Ebay fees I'm left with $615.29. I paid $195.96 in fees, or about 24%. That's a lot of fees. I think in the future, I will reserve Ebay as a last resort for the items I can't get rid of on Used Regina. In summary, use your local free online classified websites before Ebay.

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