This week I began the first of many changes to my life, in order to make room for more coziness. I haven't been in my new place for long and I had nothing when I got here, but amazingly after sorting through every single cupboard and having a bit of a spring clean, I still managed to find a few things to get rid of. I love the simplicity of a minimal life and I find it quite claustrophobic to have too much stuff, but if you are one of those people who hasn't moved house recently or tends to hoard things, then I can highly recommend a book (and a Netflix series) called Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. Basically, you look at every item you own and you decide whether it makes you feel happy or not when you look at it. If it doesn't 'spark joy' then can you get rid of it?
I only had a handful of items because I've moved so much in the past 18 months that I've gone through this process multiple times and only just purchased basic furniture things like a bed, but the point is, if I can find a few things that I don't need, then so can you. I needed to find a way to bring in funds pretty desperately because I knew my dog, Isla, was dying and I needed to have £125 in my bank ready to pay the crematorium otherwise they wouldn't collect her and I didn't want to have her body lying around at home and because I'm renting it is illegal to bury a pet - plus my yard is paving slabs and I wanted to be able to take her ashes to my forever home in the Lake District later in the year.
The only thing I could think of to sell, was my cat treadmill. This was a luxury purchase but also essential when I was living in one room of the bed and breakfast when I was of no fixed abode for 14 months as my three cats were in a confined place and putting on weight and getting bored and were starting to get cabin fever. They used the wheel all the time in the room, but since we moved to the this place and now they play outside most of the day, the treadmill is just gathering dust. So I put it up for sale on Facebook Marketplace, along with a couple of extra plates and bowls (I live alone, and really don't need a whole set especially since I don't know anyone here so never have guests over), and a few other trivial items. The treadmill sold after a few days, and I gave up with the smaller items as they were a couple of pounds each and seemed to be attracting a lot of either scary people (from their Facebook profiles - always vet people before allowing them to your house) or were time wasters and didn't show up. Those items I ended up taking to the pawn shop where I got my replacement laptop. But you could sell your stuff outside your house in a yard sale if you have neighbours (which I don't because the properties are mostly empty or boarded up), have a car boot sale (I don't have a car and didn't have enough things for this), or sell them through places like Craig's List or Ebay. I probably could have got more for them through Facebook Marketplace, but I decided that my time and energy was worth more than waiting on non shows, and so the pawn shop was my preference. I took things in to town and asked for valuations from both places before deciding.
The sale of the cat wheel was cash, which I promptly paid into my new Starling bank account via the post office at the end of my street, and I even had a little bit left to get some food in the house, which felt amazing - nothing fancy, just bread, eggs, cheese. The things that I sold at the pawn shop (CEX was one place I visited) netted me about £40 amazingly, and I used this to buy seeds, compost, and containers ready to grow my own produce which I hope will save me money in the longer term. I did toy with using this money to pay off the interest on this month's credit card bill, but I decided that I was better to 'invest' and 'grow' this 'seed' money because all being well it will save me more over the course of the year and help me to clear my debts and buy my house sooner. I'll talk more about debts in another post. I'm no expert on financial things, I'm really just sharing my own journey with you. I'll break down exactly what I spent this money on in another post, and tell you where I got things from and how I plan to be more self sufficient and to lower my outgoings.
But that's your homework for today! Have a spring clean and see if there is anything you can sell, and then list it for sale or sell it at a car boot or through a place like CEX. If you don't use those items from week to week, then chances are you won't miss then at all, and you could use that cash to grow more cash, time, or energy in the longer term (or use it to buy investment pieces like tracker funds or new cozy mystery book covers). I would love to know how you get on. If you feel overwhelmed then tackle a little bit at a time, like one shelf of a cupboard, or your sock drawer first. Oh, and if you are doing clothes things first, then check out Marie Kondo's folding video. I've been using this system for a couple of years now and I love it.
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