It’s a natural human instinct to hoard. We evolved in a world where everything was in short supply and where it made sense to make stores – squirrelling away the things we would need for survival. However, now we live in a world of relative plenty and our tendency to accumulate possessions has become something of an encumbrance. Thankfully, Pass it on Week is a great time to take stock of our stuff and move on the things that are cluttering our homes and, more importantly, our minds.
The Japanese have a tradition of clearing out their homes at the end of the year and the upcoming Pass it on Week is a great chance for us to do the same and have a good Spring clean in the process. There’s no shortage of advice on how to do this, but a great starting point is to sort your stuff out into piles separating those things you want to keep, sell, donate and recycle.
The art to loving where you live is working out what you really want to keep. The Japanese use a method called “KonMari” which involves identifying the things in their lives that “spark joy” and getting rid of anything that doesn’t. William Morris had another way of putting it “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
It may sound like hard work but there is a silver lining (literally). Selling stuff can earn you serious cash and donating it can help others do good work.
There are loads of places to sell your stuff and to make sure you get as much for it as you can, here are a few good tips. Remember, one person’s trash is another’s treasure and you will be amazed what people will pay for your stuff. A friend of mine had an old leather army holster and thought briefly about which recycling bin it should go in but, after a week on eBay, it made over three hundred quid. Not bad for five minutes work. Another friend liberated a Flying Scotsman trainset that had languished under his son’s bed for years. It made enough to buy his son a second hand road bike and inspire a young Graham Obree fan.
Do a bit of research to see how much things like it are selling for online and where they are selling. Some locally-focused, online sites are better for large items that it wouldn’t make sense to post while others give you access to a global market.
Use great photos – you bought it because it looked great so make it look great for the next owner.
Describe it in glowing terms. You loved it enough to buy it so you know what will sell it.
Sell technology stuff as soon as you have replaced or upgraded it – the more current it is, the more you’ll get for it.
If it’s not worth your while selling stuff, there are plenty of other ways to find it a good home. There are no shortage of shops that welcome donations and the better the shop is organised and run, the better value they will get from your item so look for a shop which meets the Revolve standard. You’ll find a local one on the Revolve website.
You might also like to swap your stuff. Zero Waste Scotland are encouraging people to set up swapping events during Pass it on Week and there’s lots of advice on how to do that and where to find one near you. They are a lot of fun and in the great re-use tradition, a brilliant way to find things that will bring you joy as well as getting rid of things that don’t.
But perhaps best of all is that, every time you pass something on, you are reducing the amount of new stuff that people are buying and taking the strain off the world’s precious energy and resources.