Consider Selling Everything When You Move

Consider Selling Everything When You Move

When moving day comes around, instead of packing up all your old crap in boxes, entrepreneur Marshall Haas suggests selling everything and starting from scratch. It may sound like a step backwards, but if you know what you’re doing, you can actually make decent money selling your old stuff.

Picture: Karen/Flickr

Once you’ve done that, you have a nice nest egg to upgrade, and you might find that you’re happier with the new stuff if you’re forced to buy it:

From clothes to couches, I found myself attracted to a different style than I had before. Also, a nice side effect of one shopping spree is getting everything to match.

When you begin replacing things, start by only buying what you miss. Maybe a couch, a TV, and a bed, and then continue. It’s how you’ll make sure to only buy what is essential. Years of junk builds up fast, you’ll be amazed at what you owned, but never used.

Obviously, this approach isn’t for everyone. The value of selling all your things depends heavily on the value of things being sold. And, of course, you’ll find there are some things that you just can’t bear to live without. The process of ruthless reduction of resources, however, can force you to realise what really matters.

Sell Everything [Marshall Haas]


  • I’ve done it (or nearly so) several times. My most recent move involved 6 “plaid bags” and 3 suitcases. The one before that 3 suitcases and 2 boxes. This partially comes from having had to clean out Mum’s house after she passed and partially comes courtesy of “no-relo” employers and my desire to conserve costs. By the time you factor in an interstate removal, you can often come out ahead buying new on commodity stuff like appliances, everyday clothes, furniture if moving to an area that has a thriving secondhand economy (gumtree).

    Recommended if you like a change of scenery and new-to-you things periodically. Because my life is somewhat structured for this (I don’t, for example, pay a premium for new designer furniture), it works for me. If you have lots of original art, heirlooms and such that would be difficult to replace, it’s less effective.

  • This is a really good idea! And it means I DON’T have to move my 50″ Tv, and that now I get to buy a new TV!


    No I’m not being sarcastic. I really love shopping for tvs. It feels like what hunting mammoths must’ve felt like for ancient man.

  • I just can just imagine trying to convince the missus that it would be much simpler to sell everything than to move it.

  • When i moved back home to my mothers so i could save for a deposit i only took my study desk, bed, tv, side tables and tv stand. so now…. i will only have to move with one ute full of my junk in the cupboard when my house settles next week. i made a decent amount of money for my old furtiture also, which went towards saving for a deposit.

  • I’m someone who owns a few heirloom furniture pieces: handmade for me by a relative who has since passed away. So although I’ve considered this strategy several times for long-haul moves, on each occasion I realised that by the time I was paying to move the furniture (which I like very much and would never sell) it wasn’t going to cost that much extra to add my other possessions to the container/truck.

    Another factor to consider is if you own any kind of library (professional or otherwise). Whenever I move, this is another substantial part of the load. And again, there are many items that I know would be very difficult and quite expensive to replace.

    That said, I always take the opportunity of a move to do a radical declutter and get rid of things I’m not so fond of anymore. And if the move is to a different country, then appliances need to be replaced anyway.

    • “if the move is to a different country, then appliances need to be replaced anyway.” – because?

      I’ve moved house across three continents in the last 15 years and brought quite a lot of appliances with me. It was only going to and from the US that I shed a few voltage-limited devices.

      A few years back when I moved to continental Europe to live near friends who had come from the US, we had taken rather different approaches to packing. They had shed quite a lot, and I brought almost everything as the incremental cost of packing more into a container was quite a lot less than the repurchase price and hassle. They ended up borrowing quite a lot of stuff from me!

      • Because…
        [renter’s perspective, and yes, moving to and from the US]
        In the US you don’t bring your own fridge and washer with you to a rental property, those things are there. So even without the voltage issues, which you mention, I’d still have needed to leave such things in Australia. The only appliance I thought worth moving to the States and operating with a step up/down transformer box was a very good sewing machine. The only appliance worth moving back (I thought at the time, although I wouldn’t do it again) was a high end juicer I’d been given.

        Also not prone to travelling well: old pianos. They don’t like the long trip in the container ship, and in Australia, you’re much better of buying an instrument that’s been built for our climate/humidity.

        • My piano has been through 3 continents in the last 15 years and is doing brilliantly. Didn’t even need to retune after the last journey. I’ll be unwrapping it from trans-hemispheric journey number 3 next week.

          Most of my electronic (as opposed to purely electric) appliances work quite well in the 100-240 range, so I either rewire the plugs or rewire the plug of a powerboard to cover a set of appliances.

  • I would rather keep my vacuum cleaner that has lasted 15 years so far than buy a new one that will break in a year’s time. They don’t make anything the way they used to, everything is cheap, shoddy, and replaceable.

  • I am tempted to do this now even though we are not moving… We often dream about having the $’s to just buy all new stuff – stuff that we want… (we own a lot of hand-me-downs which has saved us money it’s still “this will do for now…”)
    We went to Ikea on the weekend (got some new stuff for the kids rooms (which incidentally are better set up than our room) and dreamed about just buying everything new for the whole house…
    Dreams and wishes!

  • We’ve got a lot of customers that take the garage sale route right before the moving and removals guys come around. Not everything gets sold of course, but it really is a good way to make back a bit of money on things you’re going to end up throwing away anyway.

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