How I Sold It All to Travel the World

It was three years ago when I had moved into a brand new apartment after signing a one year lease. After about three months and several bills, I wanted out and to travel the world. In only three months, I had a fully furnished apartment with a 57inch projection TV, 32inch LCD in the bedroom, Xbox, Wii, couches, tables, chairs, a DJ booth (hobby of mine), and so much more. This created some difficulties that I briefly wrote about in another article on how I left the corporate world.

I wanted a complete turnaround in my life and go completely minimalist. At first I thought selling everything was going to be difficult. I had a lot of junk. Perhaps too much for how old I was at the time (23). Luckily I was wrong. It was actually too easy. I would salvage every little tiny piece in the apartment in attempts to sell it. People really do buy just about anything.

I don’t have the exact numbers of how much this made me but it was something around $3,000. It took me approximately six months to sell everything. The only reason it took so long was because I still had to live with a some of my items till the last few months.

These are the resources I used to save a large amount of cash to travel the world:

For Sale Portobello Mkt by jjay69, on Flickr

For Sale Portobello Mkt by jjay69, on Flickr

Craigslist

If you’re in the United States, this is a gold mine. Everything can be sold here. I was lucky enough to live 5 minutes from New York City and most of my buyers came from that area. I had one buyer come to buy a cheap computer case and I asked him if he was interested in buying anything else in the apartment, he sees a hair dryer and I make an extra $20. Favorite part about Craigslist is that shipping is not needed. All my buyers came directly to my apartment. If I felt uneasy about the customer, I’d meet him in the apartment lobby. I found most people want to bargain and I expected that so I would usually mark the price up a little higher then bargain down for enough room. When it came closer to leaving the apartment, I marked some items way low so I could just get rid of them. Nearly everything sold.

Amazon

Video games, movies, television box sets, and books were all sold on Amazon. They actually sold quicker than I could get to the post office. Every day I was shipping more items. The commission Amazon takes adds up but since all the items were useless to me anyway, it was all profit regardless. What’s great about Amazon is you don’t have to write a description on what the product is, they just need the barcode ISDN number then you write the condition. Everything sold easily and really quickly. I was making daily post office visits and sometimes sending multiple amount of stuff.

Friends

I had a few things my friends wanted. I may have been able to sell them on Amazon or Craigslist but it was easier and less of a hassle to see if my friends wanted anything first. Some things I gave for free and others I sold at a low price. It was mostly random things around the house like kitchen items. It’s also a nice thing to do and helping out both parties.

Garage Sale Sign by Chiot's Run, on Flickr

Garage Sale Sign by Chiot's Run, on Flickr

Message Boards / Communities / Facebook

I’m heavily involved with the DJ music scene in New York City. I’m a frequent member in several message boards. This was where I went to sell most of my DJ equipment. A few Facebook status updates also helped pass the word around. Not as big of a profit but it helped.

Donating Clothes

I did not sell my clothes. I gave several trash bags full of clothing to charity. It was exciting because so many of my clothes were years old and I was simply sick of having them. I needed something new and refreshing.

Did you sell everything? What resources did you use?

61 Comments

  1. JacknJillTravel on April 3, 2011 at 10:37 am

    We just got rid of everything we have — including car and mattress. Camped out in the living room last night. Anyway, just curious if you still have that bag in the pic. Jack has the exact same backpack that he’s taking with him. How do you like it?

    • Michael on April 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

      Hah, I remember when I had to do the same. Hardly even had a desk to put my computer on toward the end.
      I do still have that backpack after two years of travel! A really fantastic bag. Fits so well and has survived everything. I really love it and I think Jack will, too.

  2. JacknJillTravel on April 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

    We just got rid of everything we have — including car and mattress. Camped out in the living room last night. Anyway, just curious if you still have that bag in the pic. Jack has the exact same backpack that he’s taking with him. How do you like it?

    • Michael on April 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Hah, I remember when I had to do the same. Hardly even had a desk to put my computer on toward the end.
      I do still have that backpack after two years of travel! A really fantastic bag. Fits so well and has survived everything. I really love it and I think Jack will, too.

  3. Peach on April 3, 2011 at 11:48 am

    last summer i sold off everything on craigslist within one week in NYC!! the best part was when someone would come for the couch and decide they wanted the rug, lamp and coffee table too 🙂 i slept on the floor for a couple weeks, but totally worth it.

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:03 am

      Love NYC for this.

  4. Peach on April 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    last summer i sold off everything on craigslist within one week in NYC!! the best part was when someone would come for the couch and decide they wanted the rug, lamp and coffee table too 🙂 i slept on the floor for a couple weeks, but totally worth it.

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 5:03 am

      Love NYC for this.

  5. @ConfusedJulia on April 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Great article….I’m actually preparing to do this myself once my house sale has gone through (fingers crossed). Not only will it hopefully provide me with some extra trip budget cash but also be a clean break; when I return from travelling I can enjoy buying all new things !

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:03 am

      How’s the house selling going so far? That should provide you with a whole lot of freedom. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been for me if I had a house. It would have taken forever to sell it.

  6. @ConfusedJulia on April 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Great article….I’m actually preparing to do this myself once my house sale has gone through (fingers crossed). Not only will it hopefully provide me with some extra trip budget cash but also be a clean break; when I return from travelling I can enjoy buying all new things !

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 5:03 am

      How’s the house selling going so far? That should provide you with a whole lot of freedom. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been for me if I had a house. It would have taken forever to sell it.

  7. Wandering Trader's Travels on April 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    How’s the minimalist life going for you so far Michael? 🙂 Don’t you miss your “old” life? I’m assuming that you’re having the time of your life without all those things you sold. Gizmos and worldly stuff sometimes keep us from experiencing life as it is 🙂

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:02 am

      I don’t miss any of the old stuff I had. I had far too many things that were just taking up space. Lately the things I ‘want’ have been things that keep my websites growing like paying for a faster server, better camera, etc. I love having less and I tend to get rid of things really quickly.

  8. Wandering Trader's Travels on April 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    How’s the minimalist life going for you so far Michael? 🙂 Don’t you miss your “old” life? I’m assuming that you’re having the time of your life without all those things you sold. Gizmos and worldly stuff sometimes keep us from experiencing life as it is 🙂

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 5:02 am

      I don’t miss any of the old stuff I had. I had far too many things that were just taking up space. Lately the things I ‘want’ have been things that keep my websites growing like paying for a faster server, better camera, etc. I love having less and I tend to get rid of things really quickly.

  9. Katie Going Global on April 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    When posting on Craigslist, did you do separate postings for different items or did you do a single posting with a heading like “moving sale” and then list a bunch of different things in one posting?

    The reason I ask is I started selling stuff off last summer but have hit a total dead end – everything I post lately is getting absolutely zero response and I’m getting a bit frustrated. 🙂 Any tips for an awesome Craiglist posting?

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:59 am

      Separate listings for each item. If you hit a dead-end with Craigslist, you may have to either try another location or try a whole different method of selling.
      The obvious stuff is posting pictures with each thing you sell.
      It helps a lot if you live in or near a big city.

  10. Katie Going Global on April 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    When posting on Craigslist, did you do separate postings for different items or did you do a single posting with a heading like “moving sale” and then list a bunch of different things in one posting?

    The reason I ask is I started selling stuff off last summer but have hit a total dead end – everything I post lately is getting absolutely zero response and I’m getting a bit frustrated. 🙂 Any tips for an awesome Craiglist posting?

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:59 am

      Separate listings for each item. If you hit a dead-end with Craigslist, you may have to either try another location or try a whole different method of selling.
      The obvious stuff is posting pictures with each thing you sell.
      It helps a lot if you live in or near a big city.

  11. Afford Anything on April 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I sold everything — my car, mattress, everything — through Craigslist, listing each item seperately and including a photo on everything. It took almost no time at all, and I got a nice payout for the big-ticket items (like my car and mattress). On the other hand. the smaller items, like books, took a lot of time to list on Amazon and provided very little payback … I’d say selling those small items was a waste of time.

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:57 am

      How many small items were you selling? I sold quite a bit and it seemed to all have added up eventually. I always sold things for about a penny cheaper than anyone else would and it always sold.

  12. Afford Anything on April 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I sold everything — my car, mattress, everything — through Craigslist, listing each item seperately and including a photo on everything. It took almost no time at all, and I got a nice payout for the big-ticket items (like my car and mattress). On the other hand. the smaller items, like books, took a lot of time to list on Amazon and provided very little payback … I’d say selling those small items was a waste of time.

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:57 am

      How many small items were you selling? I sold quite a bit and it seemed to all have added up eventually. I always sold things for about a penny cheaper than anyone else would and it always sold.

  13. camorose on April 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    When I was at home, my mom and grandma gave me all their old books and DVDs to sell on Amazon as well. It helped them clear out their shelves for new things–and since I did all the work, I kept the profit! I also consigned a ton of my clothes in local shops since a lot were basically brand-new–and donated the rest!

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:56 am

      It’s so easy to sell books and DVDs. I loved it. Just need to insert the barcode number and it’s set.

  14. camorose on April 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    When I was at home, my mom and grandma gave me all their old books and DVDs to sell on Amazon as well. It helped them clear out their shelves for new things–and since I did all the work, I kept the profit! I also consigned a ton of my clothes in local shops since a lot were basically brand-new–and donated the rest!

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:56 am

      It’s so easy to sell books and DVDs. I loved it. Just need to insert the barcode number and it’s set.

  15. luna on April 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Craigslist is GOLD for getting rid of anything. Even if you have to give it away for free (last resort, of course!). People really will take anything!!

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:53 am

      Even giving things away for free is not a bad deal. They take it out of the house and transport it out for you. Still a win.

  16. luna on April 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Craigslist is GOLD for getting rid of anything. Even if you have to give it away for free (last resort, of course!). People really will take anything!!

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:53 am

      Even giving things away for free is not a bad deal. They take it out of the house and transport it out for you. Still a win.

  17. TravelnLass on April 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    “It took me approximately six months to sell everything. ” Whew! Good to know I’m not alone – I likewise have 6 months to go (before moving lock, stock ‘n barrel to some g-forsaken rice paddy in Vietnam) and I’ve just begun to go through what I’ll keep (pack, else stuff into a tiny storage locker) vs. what’s got to go one way or another.

    Yes, Craig’s List is great – easy peasy and it’s amazing what folks will pay for my obscure discards. And yes, normally I’d just as soon take most of it to Goodwill, but am finding that it’s amazing how a buck here, 5 there can add up. I’ve taken most all my winter clothes to a consignment shop, and have made a couple hundred already. Next will be the summer clothes. And yes, yes – I see at least a garage sale or two in my future. 😉

    And as you say, the tough part is the stuff (like the car) that can’t be dumped til the last minute. But I think I have a friend who wants it and… will take me to the airport in it before I hand it over! 😉

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:51 am

      It really does add up. I was selling some pretty small useless things but after selling so many of them, it added up to be quite a bit.

  18. TravelnLass on April 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    “It took me approximately six months to sell everything. ” Whew! Good to know I’m not alone – I likewise have 6 months to go (before moving lock, stock ‘n barrel to some g-forsaken rice paddy in Vietnam) and I’ve just begun to go through what I’ll keep (pack, else stuff into a tiny storage locker) vs. what’s got to go one way or another.

    Yes, Craig’s List is great – easy peasy and it’s amazing what folks will pay for my obscure discards. And yes, normally I’d just as soon take most of it to Goodwill, but am finding that it’s amazing how a buck here, 5 there can add up. I’ve taken most all my winter clothes to a consignment shop, and have made a couple hundred already. Next will be the summer clothes. And yes, yes – I see at least a garage sale or two in my future. 😉

    And as you say, the tough part is the stuff (like the car) that can’t be dumped til the last minute. But I think I have a friend who wants it and… will take me to the airport in it before I hand it over! 😉

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:51 am

      It really does add up. I was selling some pretty small useless things but after selling so many of them, it added up to be quite a bit.

  19. Nostrabellafamilia on April 5, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I’m not planning to travel anytime soon but I’m going through some very same scenarios. I am trying to sell most of my stuff that’s just sitting in the attic or garage, save the money for a nice vacation someday. Post like this make me realize how much I have that I really don’t need and just sitting there for years, it also changed my shopping habits, I am asking myself more often “do I really NEED this or that?”. I got sick to my stomach when I watched the TV show “Hoarders”. Craigslist is awesome, sold lots of my stuff through them without having to pay a fee but sometimes I get people that want to bargain down a $5.00 item, or you get emails of people that are interested and then out of nowhere disappear.

  20. Nostrabellafamilia on April 5, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I’m not planning to travel anytime soon but I’m going through some very same scenarios. I am trying to sell most of my stuff that’s just sitting in the attic or garage, save the money for a nice vacation someday. Post like this make me realize how much I have that I really don’t need and just sitting there for years, it also changed my shopping habits, I am asking myself more often “do I really NEED this or that?”. I got sick to my stomach when I watched the TV show “Hoarders”. Craigslist is awesome, sold lots of my stuff through them without having to pay a fee but sometimes I get people that want to bargain down a $5.00 item, or you get emails of people that are interested and then out of nowhere disappear.

  21. Uneraisa on April 7, 2011 at 8:21 am

    i have never tried this, but here in Malaysia, i know it’s kinda easy to sell anything. as you said, people do buy just about anything. looking forward to sell off, but certainly not now

  22. Mustaza Mustafa on April 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

    i have never tried this, but here in Malaysia, i know it’s kinda easy to sell anything. as you said, people do buy just about anything. looking forward to sell off, but certainly not now

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:44 am

      Interesting. I’d assume Malaysia has a similar website like Craiglist, right?

  23. Mustaza Mustafa on April 7, 2011 at 9:22 am

    i have never tried this, but here in Malaysia, i know it’s kinda easy to sell anything. as you said, people do buy just about anything. looking forward to sell off, but certainly not now

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:44 am

      Interesting. I’d assume Malaysia has a similar website like Craiglist, right?

  24. Kim on April 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Oh yeah, we are in the process of selling it all and have used all of these sites. Can’t wait for a summertime garage sale. So fun to read about others that have been there. Good work!

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:40 am

      Fun! Good luck.

  25. Kim on April 11, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Oh yeah, we are in the process of selling it all and have used all of these sites. Can’t wait for a summertime garage sale. So fun to read about others that have been there. Good work!

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:40 am

      Fun! Good luck.

  26. Pmonty1 on April 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I’ve done it a few times! And am considering it again. There’s nothing like the freedom you get from paying monthly bills and going where ever the next train takes you!

  27. Pmonty1 on April 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I’ve done it a few times! And am considering it again. There’s nothing like the freedom you get from paying monthly bills and going where ever the next train takes you!

  28. Ian [EagerExistence] on April 13, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I couldnt bring myself to sell everything (it took me 5 years to get it all). So I just rented out my place, furnished. When I get back, I’ll probably be at another stage in my life, and want all new stuff anyway… time will tell.

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 3:03 am

      Heck, that’s a pretty good idea. I may have considered that as well if I had owned the place.

  29. Ian [EagerExistence] on April 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I couldnt bring myself to sell everything (it took me 5 years to get it all). So I just rented out my place, furnished. When I get back, I’ll probably be at another stage in my life, and want all new stuff anyway… time will tell.

    • Michael on April 15, 2011 at 4:03 am

      Heck, that’s a pretty good idea. I may have considered that as well if I had owned the place.

  30. Makiko S on April 18, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I do not own many things but everything in my safe is now with me for traveling. The only disavantage is being from Asia and traveling in Asia is not something cheap.

    Perhaps my next round of travel I should let go whatever left at home.

    • Michael on April 23, 2011 at 12:02 am

      Yeah, I’d imagine that traveling with a currency that’s not as strong can be a bit tougher. Good to hear that hasn’t stopped you and you’re still traveling.

  31. Makiko S on April 18, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I do not own many things but everything in my safe is now with me for traveling. The only disavantage is being from Asia and traveling in Asia is not something cheap.

    Perhaps my next round of travel I should let go whatever left at home.

    • Michael on April 23, 2011 at 1:02 am

      Yeah, I’d imagine that traveling with a currency that’s not as strong can be a bit tougher. Good to hear that hasn’t stopped you and you’re still traveling.

  32. Daniel on December 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Do you do any DJing when you travel? I would imagine it would be a bit difficult to carry the gear about?

  33. Daniel on December 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Do you do any DJing when you travel? I would imagine it would be a bit difficult to carry the gear about?

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