How to Sell All of Your Belongings in Less Than 3 Weeks

May 10, 2017

Zack and I made the decision not to re-sign our lease and travel right before we left for a vacation to Spain at the beginning of April. Our lease was up April 30th, so this meant once we returned home from we would have less than three weeks to sell all of our belongings, clean the apartment for the new tenants and get everything in line for our travels. It helped that while it felt like there was so much to get rid of through the process, we lived in a relatively small space that we had just spent over two years living and accumulating in. Before we moved to NYC we went through a similar process of selling all of our belongings so when we started in this space all we had were a few suitcases and our books. We purchased all of our furniture, Owen’s baby gear and our decor in that timeline and it still blows my mind that we ended up with as much as we did. I’ve received a ton of questions about how we made this all happen so quickly so I thought I would share our process with you guys and the services we couldn’t have done it without!

1. First things first – determine what you’ll be taking with you. When you take a look at your home and you think, okay everything must go. Breath. What do you envision yourself bringing with you on your nomadic journey or to your new home? If it’s a small enough selection like ours was, start a corner and start putting things aside. If it’s larger, make a list. For me it’s just always good to know what’s going where even if it’s in it’s usual place.

2. Find friends to purchase the items you know you’ll need to keep until your last day. We were so fortunate to have a handful of pals that supported our journey, so much that they purchased the furniture we needed to keep until the very end and actually let us keep it. This was so helpful because we didn’t have to worry about selling it, it had technically sold, and we were still able to have a bed to sleep on. It’s the little things right? Thanks Pete and Jerred! 😉

3. Sell the big stuff on Craigslist. This is where I sold all of our furniture (with the exception of Owen’s gear) and our electronics. It was super helpful that I had images from the blog to help elevate the listings, but honestly listed everything the day we returned from our trip (less than three weeks before leaving for Paris). I imagined that the furniture would be the hardest to coordinate in Brooklyn, but I may have jumped the gun on this because everything really quickly. We sold almost everything within a week which made things a little tricky when it came to having surfaces to eat and to store the rest of our belongings, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. We also met some of the NICEST people! Truly, the best experiences I’ve had on Craigslist ever and we sold everything.

4. Find a specialty re-sale online baby boutique.
I was so fortunate to have met Caroline, the owner of Weepea through Craigslist when I initially listed all of our furniture. She ended up purchasing all of Owen’s furniture, his stroller, the teepee and a handful of toys for her online shop WeePea – basically, she made our lives so much easier. She even let us hold on to our stroller until we had received our new one for our travels. Her shop allows for you to list your own items as well so if you’re either moving, or looking to get rid of any of your high end baby gear check out Weepea!

5. Despite your time constraints, really take a look at your clothing and what you’re getting rid of. I usually just give things away to friends, take bags to re-sale stores and donate everything they won’t buy, but guys, I actually paid attention this time and looked at what I had and had the best luck on Ebay! I made a good chunk of change on the quality clothing that I had. The items that were left I took to re-sale stores, and what was left after that was donated. By actually selling some of my clothing and accessories I was able to make enough money to pocket some for our trip and also purchase all of the items I had been eying for my capsule travel wardrobe.

6. If you’re in NYC, utilize the curb. This was so unfamiliar to me before moving to Brooklyn, but once we moved into our neighborhood I was constantly finding quality furniture and other items on the curb that people had just grown tired of. That’s how we got our espresso machine, a small bookcase, a meat smoker and countless books. Every couple of days I would take down a few things that I knew none of our friends needed for someone in the neighborhood to claim which was super helpful.

7. Send the must-keep valuables to your family as soon as possible. We sent a few small boxes to my parents filled with photos, important documents and other keepsakes. There are just a few things we couldn’t part with and I certainly won’t regret having our photos in a safe place. Sending these things right away helped with the clutter in our apartment and allowed my checklist obsessed mind to cross something easy off the list early on.

8. Find a solid place to donate your books and other household goods to. Poor Zack took countless trips to our local, Housing Works to donate his lifetime collection of books (still so proud of him for letting this go). These books were the only items we actually had shipped from Phoenix when we moved and I could tell were the hardest thing for him to get rid of. We let our local pals pick through them first and the rest went on their way to Housing Works.

9. Invite everyone you know over to “shop” your apartment.
We honestly let our pals pick through all our small stuff and just take what they wanted – kitchen items, plants, wall decor, you name it. They did a service to us by taking it off our hands and it was a great practice of letting go and remembering that all objects (for the most part) are replaceable.

10. Trash the trash. I know this seems crazy simple, but I’m the one that saves every last scrap of food, definitely eats my leftovers and doesn’t do well with just throwing things away. There comes a point with every move, no matter how big or small that you just have to trash some items. Remind yourself that it’s normal, and just let go.

This whole process involved a lot of Zack and I reassuring each other that we could in fact do this, plenty of deep breathing and pure focus on the end goal. Our bodies were sore after moving all of our belongings around and there were moments we felt like it was just too much, but as we stood in our empty apartment looking at what we owned it felt really really good. Cheers to a simpler life!

Photography by Amy Frances.

Leave a Comment

  • Did you ever consider a storage unit, e.g. for the books?

    Also, how did you list & sell multiple clothing items on eBay in a matter of weeks?!? Impressive.

    I recently sold my CD collection (what the vintage record shops would take) and donated the rest, since I just don’t buy or listen to music that way anymore (I always made mix tapes and CDs anyway, and digital lets me do that handily), but it was still tough. So feel you a little bit & admire your courage in making the leap to living differently and in a more untethered way.

    • Hey there Ally,

      We did, but we really wanted to use this as an opportunity to detach ourselves from material objects. We said to ourselves, okay we have all these amazing books, but why? If we’ve read them already it makes sense to pass them along for someone else to enjoy and for the ones we haven’t read we had to make the tricky decision of either storing them elsewhere, bringing them with or getting rid of them all together. Ultimately it didn’t make much sense to store the handful of books we haven’t read so we donated them. We each brought two with us and a few for our son and plan to donate them in Paris and pick up more as we go. 🙂

      What as really helpful with eBay was that I had a ton of images from the blog of me already wearing my clothing. I started with those pieces. I didn’t focus on taking a ton of measurements because most of the items were brand names and I would imagine most folks who were interested are aware of the sizing. I was still shocked though! I’ve never sold on eBay until last month!

      I did the same with CD’s when we moved to NYC, which was really hard for me. I too, made a ton of mixes and had a lot of emotional attachment around the actual object. It took lots of deep breathing, but digital is the way the world is moving and I finally had to let go of my book of CD’s I was carrying around in my car! Haha. Good for you for making the switch too!

      Thank you for your message!

  • Courtney

    I would love to see a post on the capsule wardrobe pieces you chose for your travel! 🙂

    • Hey Courtney! Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂 Did you see the full post and Pinterest board? Thinking about sharing the different looks with original photographs too so keep an eye out!

  • Every time I learn a little more about this process for you guys, I grow more impressed! Taking deep breaths with you reading about purging your items!

    • Haha, awh you’re too sweet girl! Those deep breaths were so essential. But now that everything is gone it’s so freeing!

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