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How to Make Money when Moving

Updated on March 5, 2013

Hello readers! I am soon to be moving to a new state. As is the case with any relocation, there will undoubtedly be pains and inconveniences along the way. In addition to high mover costs and the required familial headbutting, another problem I have always encountered when moving is an overabundance of "essentials" that I regret bringing along after I have finally settled into my new abode. Unfortunately, moving the same bins of items "to be sorted" from place to place just becomes an extra large annoyance. It is much easier to do some sorting and selling before the moving trucks arrive.

Remember that quality is more important that quantity. If you are moving, specifically downsizing, you may find that you have an abundance of potential money-making items. This happened in a recent move where closet space went from being an under-appreciated constant to a highly sought after commodity. We had plenty of clothing, some of which was in like new condition, but some of which needed to move to the car rag pile or out the door altogether. If I wanted to sell the extra and squeeze out every penny, I could have tried to convince buyers to ignore a stain or random tear.

Is this your car on moving day?

Don't take up mobile hoarding when you move...
Don't take up mobile hoarding when you move... | Source

I realized that some clothing had to go, and quickly, before the move took place to avoid making the apartment look like a poorly run laundromat. II recognized that just because you have plenty of something, this does not mean each item is worth selling. If you want to get rid of a large valuable item then it is usually good. You will be freeing up plenty of space in the moving truck, and you will get paid well for the privilege. Likewise, if you have small items that you want to get rid of, they can still be useful, even if they are not worth a lot on a per-item basis since they are easy to pack if needed. The mistake many mover/sellers make is that they hold onto large piles of items that are not worth keeping or reselling.

Sometimes donating can still make you money. Moving trucks cost much more than just the gas you put in them. You pay per mile used, per day used, in addition to gas money and insurance. If you are unable to sell an item that is not worth much, sometimes passing it on to another party can actually save you money. You could end up decreasing the number of moving trip trucks needed, and decrease the risk of damaging other goods with an unwieldy appliance that you could do without. Both of which will save you money in moving costs or replacement costs.Once you have decided which items are which selling and which are sending to that big stuff pile in the sky, it is time to decide the best way to sell your non-moving items.

Don't be afraid of the flea markets!

Moving Sale Options

Find the sweet spot for getting rid of your unmovable items. If you need a second moving truck in order move all of your potential sell items, consider how much it will even cost you to get these items in a selling opportunity. Also, if you know that your time can be better used unpacking and organizing your new place, reselling items will likely become an afterthought that may never end up happening. Nothing will be more annoying than finding items you wanted to get rid of at the end of your last move at the beginning of your next one.

I have found that there are two very important dimensions to consider when you are deciding how you want to sell. They are your potential pool of buyers and the maximum profit you can make per item. Basically it is how many people you can get to look at your items, and how much money you could get from those buyers. I have tried three different approaches, and each one has some specific pros and cons. I have looked into selling online, selling at a home yard sale, and selling at a flea market.

Selling Online: This is obviously the best way to get my items in front of the largest audience. I have the potential to sell to someone on the other side of the world, and some of them are willing to pay a pretty penny for items that may not be worth as much to my local buyers. The problem with this selling method is that various transaction costs, and having to deal with multiple middlemen (Such as online portals and the United States Post Office) eat into my profit margin. This makes it difficult to make the money I want for certain items. Especially large items that are difficult to ship.

Yard Sale: Nothing beats being able to sit on the porch with a cold beer while people dig through your unwanted stuff and then hand you money and haul it away. Plus, all of the profit is mine based on prices I am able to set. No auctions to worry about, nothing eating into my profit, and no shipping costs. That being said, there is a huge potential for buyer low balling due to the nature of the business, and there is a buyer pool risk. I could end up breaking my back setting things up, only to have no customers if inclement weather hits or there is just a slow sale day.

Flea Market: The flea market is a fusion of these previous two methods. I can do some work by taking my goods and setting them up, in addition to setting my own prices and having customers come to me. The potential buyer pool is even bigger since I am located at the buying hub of a flea market. However, there is some middleman markup, and transportation costs with this method. Also, there is an even bigger potential for low ball buyers since I am competing with other sellers, and I may be tempted to sacrifice my own profit margin in the name of making the take-home load a little lighter.

Each of these selling methods have various strengths and weaknesses as you can see. While selling online may be convenient, the numerous costs to me make it difficult to sell some types of items. On the other hand, I limit the number of potential buyers and in turn my maximum profit when selling at a flea market or home yard sale. Whenever you try to sell your items, remember that all selling methods are not created equal. Wish me luck in my selling endeavors and good luck in all of yours!


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    • EvanWright profile image

      Evan Wright 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Hi joym7. It definitely helps. My first few moves the removal of excess came after the fact and I ended up moving more. Now I make sure to do it first to save time and make money. Thanks for reading!

    • joym7 profile image

      Joy 4 years ago from United States

      Interesting...I'll consider these when I'll move somewhere :)

    • EvanWright profile image

      Evan Wright 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks Hawaiian! Always good to hear your feedback, and the big move is tomorrow so hopefully I followed my own advice!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I thought it was ingenious how you demonstrated how a practical lifestyle event--moving to another state--provides one with an opportunity to make money. Well written and presented, Evan. By the way, I've done more penny auction listings and am happy to report that they've done quite well. Best wishes with the move!