How I Became a Minimalist

So, you love the idea of leveraging your home into more income, but my Eleven Essentials list of items to purchase scared you away. While you may feel hopeless, I know a way you can make it happen. Becoming a minimalist has countless benefits including earning income by selling your junk. Having a successful garage sale can turn your household clutter into cash.

Minimalism

Let’s talk about becoming a minimalist for a minute. Maybe you’ve heard of the concept since there was a documentary about it on Netflix called “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.” Becoming a minimalist does not mean getting rid of all your earthly possessions. There is a wide spectrum of minimalism philosophies. I practice cozy minimalism. My goal was to spend less time looking for things amongst my other pointless objects. After the big minimalism purge, I can't fit all my possessions into a backpack, but I did reduce my anxiety by reducing my clutter.

You might be wondering how renting out your house, having a successful garage sale, and becoming a minimalist all tie together, so I created an infographic timeline!

Sometimes, the universe puts you on a path, and it just feels right. The series of events that lead to my vacation rental business felt undeniably like kismet. As I started becoming a minimalist, it helped me not only earn the startup cost for my Airbnb, but it also made my home more guest-friendly.

The great news is you can do it, too!

Garage Sale

Keep in mind, having a successful garage sale is about getting rid of stuff, not memories. Selling or donating something will not erase the memories associated with any particular item. Ask this question to see if you huck it or hoard it, “Will my kids see value (monetary or sentimental) in this item when they are responsible for my house after I’m gone?” Not to be morbid, but all these earthly possessions will one day become someone else’s responsibility, and I wouldn’t want to cause weeks of stress on my kids while they sift through my junk. Remembering that, your garage sale preparation can begin.

If you have an underutilized room, like a dining room, use it as a staging area. We used a combination of our dining area and office to organize all our garage sale items. Go through each room of your house one by one. Empty every drawer, clear out every cabinet, and literally touch every item in your home. The only items you keep are ones that are currently, actively in use by a member of your family or items that pass the “after you’re gone” question from above. Everything else can go.

Becoming a Minimalist De-Clutter

Secrets of a Minimalist

In case you think I don’t know what items you secretly want to keep, I really do. The clothes you will fit in again after you lose 15 pounds—need to go. The drawer of cords and batteries to items you think you’re going to find—need to go. Every stuffed animal your child ever received—most need to go. The broken items you’ve been meaning to fix for years but are obviously not important enough to make a priority—need to go. The reusable plastic containers overflowing in your kitchen—need to go. The food in your pantry that you’d only consume during week 3 of the apocalypse—needs to go. The numerous items of college/high school memorabilia that remind you of the good old days—pick one favorite and get rid of the rest.

When you really get focused on sorting through your things, you will realize you’ve managed to accumulate thousands of items, many of which you don’t need. Besides, every time you go to look for something, it’s hidden amongst all these thousands of things that bring no value to your life. Turning your items into profit is one successful garage sale away. Purging the useless is incredibly freeing.

Bonus Money

So, now that you’ve decided what you’re going to sell, try these online tools for maximum money from becoming a minimalist:

Vudu: Convert all your DVDs and Blu-Rays to digital for just $2 each! For real, there is no reason to have physical movies anymore.
Decluttr: Check what prices you can get for electronics, CDs, DVDs, and video games, then price those items slightly higher at your garage sale. If those items don’t sell, you can just let decluttr pay you for them!
Poshmark: If you have high-end clothes, purses, shoes, or perfume, this is the outlet where you will likely earn the most cash. Just make sure your photos look bright and clear for best results.

Successful Garage Sale Secrets

This is about making you some real money. Since I don’t want you spending an entire weekend in the hot sun only to socialize with neighbors coming by to take a peek, here are my secrets to a four-figure garage sale!

1)      Sign up to accept credit cards! People will spend a lot more on high-ticket items when they can put it on plastic. Use this Square link to process your first $1,000 of transactions fee free: www.squareup.com/i/VVISIONARY

2)      Announce to your social network, family, and neighbors that you’re becoming a minimalist and trying to have a successful garage sale. Ask them if they have any items they are ready to ditch. We had several people gift us items to sell.

3)      Post your garage sale on local Facebook groups, Nextdoor, Craigslist, and every website that appears on the first page of google when you search for “garage sales near me.” Make sure to highlight if you’re selling anything in the coveted successful garage sale categories like tools, baby equipment, toys, furniture, electronics, exercise equipment, books, sports cards, and art.

4)      Look at a map of your neighborhood to plan out how many signs you’ll need. If you want a really successful garage sale, I recommend routing traffic from at least three major corridors. We used around 35-ish signs.

Successful Garage Sale Signs

5)      When you buy your poster board, purchase it all in one color. You want to create brand cohesiveness for your successful garage sale.

6)      Splurge on the FAT Sharpie marker and buy two so someone can help you make the signs. Your family should be invested in helping the process of becoming a minimalist.

7)      Get these neon price stickers for marking each item. Shoppers like to see if you’re in the same ballpark in terms of the price before they approach you.

8)      Every single sign should say “CREDIT/DEBIT ACCEPTED” in huge bold letters.

9)      Group items by category just like in a store. The more organized your sale looks, the easier it will be for shoppers to give you their money. If you have tons of $1 items, they can make a category of their own. And now that you own all the digital copies, sell your DVDs for $2 and Blu-Rays for $5 each. Our income from movies surpassed what we paid Vudu.

10)   You may pride yourself on your negotiating skills, but don’t play so hardball that you’re unwilling to part with items. Nothing you’ve put in your sale should come back into your home—it either sells or gets donated.

Use every opportunity throughout the day to engage, entertain, and entice your visitors to take your items away. Your successful garage sale depends on your ability to communicate with every potential shopper. Even though you’re practicing it, talking about becoming a minimalist to your customers during the garage sale is not advisable. You’ll risk deterring them from helping you minimalize. Save that talk for the after party you throw once your home is minamized and ready for company.