We are still focusing on cleaning and reorganizing your art space! Why? Because I am still working on mine. But the end is in sight!! I will do a reveal on here once it is done. Promise.
Last week we talked about destashing your hoard. Thinning out all the excess. Now that you have determined what you don’t need, it is time to figure out what to do with it.
Even though I listed it last, trash is probably first and last in this equation. As you were clearing out your hoard, hopefully you determined then that somethings were just flat out trash and dealt with them from the very beginning. But don’t think that means you are finished with finding and declaring things trash. That was just the obvious trash.
What is less obvious trash?
- Old records you no longer need. Clean out that filing cabinet! I got 7 trash bags of paper from my library/office clean out. I kept way too much paper. Unless you are taking part of your house off your taxes, you don’t need old utility bills and even then those have a shelf life. Get rid of them!
- Old catalogs, Magazines, and Misc. Paper. As artists we do have a use for these BUT you should limit how much of this you keep. Trash the rest. Trash!! Not donate. Do not pile these up thinking someone else can use them or will want them. You can do that on a regular basis going forward. Make a basket to hold these routinely and then donate them to Doctor’s offices or even other artists. But this is not the time for that. This is the time to be brutal. Throw them out unless you have someone that has already said they want them. If they don’t have an absolute new home, let them go. It is just a trap to keep you cluttered.
- Up-cycle stuff. As artists we have great intentions to up-cycle a lot of things. Thin that down now. This was hard for me so I will tell you how I did it. If it is something that routinely comes into my home like cardboard packaging, I threw most of it away. Just like with my magazine example from last week, I gave myself a finite space to fill and got rid of everything over that. Also, if it is something I have had more than a year without up-cycling, I threw it away. If I was going to use it, I would have by now. Be strong!!
- Broken Items! These are such a trap for me. I know I can fix it so I keep it. But then I never do. This is the time to be realistic about what you will actually do. If you haven’t fixed it in a year (less if you are stronger), then let it go! If you have replaced it already, let it go! If it is less expensive to replace than repair, let it go! Just because you can fix something, doesn’t always mean you should.
Hopefully, you are feeling stronger about throwing things out. Don’t worry if you have kept too much. We will revisit trash again later.
Somethings you don’t want to throw out, don’t think anyone would buy, but still have some life in them. These can go in the donate category.
What do I recommend you donate?
- Clothes. Ok, this is outside the scope of an art space redo but, while you are clearing out, hit your closet. It needs it. All of ours do. We tend to keep too many clothes. We keep things that are too big because we may gain weight, too little because we may lose weight, out of style because they may come back into style, and things we don’t really like because they were expensive. While you are in the clearing out mood, hit that closet! I recommend donating these to shelters, churches, and charities over selling them. Why? You don’t get much money for clothes at a typical yard sale, consignment places are a pain to keep up with what is there, and most people that need used clothing need it free. Can you put this in the sell category? Absolutely, but at least consider the donation options in your area. Most of them give a tax credit for the donation and who doesn’t need a tax credit?
- Art goodies. If you belong to any kind of art group, you have probably been exposed to the “happy mail” trend. If not, it is sending off bits and pieces to another artist for them to use. You can send most anything in happy mail and it just spreads some joy to the recipient’s mail box. Again, something we could all use. I made a box just for happy mail items while doing my art room redo. Things that are inexpensive, easily mailed, and some other artist might enjoy. This is a fun way of getting rid of your excess and making someone else smile.
- Everything! If you don’t want to have a sale, charities will take most everything. I like the idea of turning some of my extra stuff into extra cash, but if yard sales just aren’t for you, Donate it!
What can you sell? Again, most anything. I am talking yard sale because that is what I did for the bulk of mine, but you can also sell on Facebook swap groups, Etsy, eBay, Craig’s List, etc. Actually, I am doing all of that to some extent. The yard sale was just my first line since I had so much stuff of all different types and we were having an organized area sale during my time frame.
I do recommend advertising your sale. I was really lucky because we had an area “Junk Hunt” set during my time frame and I could sell during it. This gave me a larger turnout and a dedicated promotion space. If you aren’t as lucky, promote it on your own Facebook, on Facebook swap shops for your area, and the local paper. Also, signs are great. How many times have you stopped just because you saw a sale sign?
The main thing I want to discuss about selling is how surprised I was by what did and what didn’t sell. The things I thought would go first, many of them never sold. The things I put in the sale thinking someone might want them, went first and had tons of people asking if I had more. I made sure everything was priced but also invited my shoppers to negotiate if they wanted something.
One thing I regret and will not do again, is too much interaction with shoppers online. A lot of people wanted to see more pictures on Facebook, wanted to negotiate prices on Facebook, and SO MANY wanted me to hold things for them. Don’t fall into that trap. Remember, the purpose of your sale is to get rid of this stuff. Holding it for someone that may or may not show up, bad idea. If someone is there and wants it, sell it. Tell everyone that asks, that you can not hold items. Also, don’t negotiate prices over Facebook or even messages. Tell them you will only negotiate in person. I spent a ton of time answering messages for will you take this for that and NONE of those people actually came to the sale.
Keep your goal in mind. Are you doing this to make money? Are you doing this to make space? Whichever is your main goal, let that goal drive you.
My main goal was to make space, so I sold a lot of things for way too cheap just to get rid of them. I also gave things away at the end of the day just to get rid of them. If your goal is to make money, have a plan for where you will store the things that didn’t sell until you can sell them and where you will sell them.
Some of the things I ended up left with, I was not willing to just give away. I posted some of those items on my local swap shop page to try and sell them as individual items. This costs me nothing except the storage room for the item until it does sell.
A lot of the smaller items that can be easily shipped, I will sell online. They won’t take up a lot of space until they sell and shouldn’t take a lot of time or money to sell, but remember that online/shipped sales do have some out of pocket costs and plan for them.
I told you we would start and end with trash. Why? Because when you are considering what you have left, re-evaluate whether it is trash. You didn’t want it, no one bought it, and especially if you tried to give it away for free and you still have it. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Trash runs every week. You can add to this category whenever you need to.
This is officially the longest blog I have done. But, in real life all of this was spread over three weeks of prep and three days of selling. So, it makes sense that it has taken me a little while to share with you my thoughts, experiences, and lessons learned.
I do want to come up with a system to prevent my clutter and excess from getting to this stage again but I don’t really have one yet. The amount of stuff I sold, donated, and trashed was ridiculous. I need to work more on a regular basis to keep it from getting to this point again. If I come up with something, you know I’ll share it.
Clearing out and up is on,