My wife and I put our home up for sale a couple months ago and it took a lot of work to get it ready to show. The biggest obstacle wasn’t the cleaning, though we did a lot of that! The biggest chore was decluttering our rooms, closets, basement, cupboards, and everywhere else in our house we had placed our accumulated “Stuff.” We still have too much Stuff, but we have made very good progress at getting rid of the clutter.
Today’s interview is with Adam Baker from Man Vs. Debt. Adam recently released his new eBook, “Sell Your Crap,” and today we talk to him about his motivations for writing the book, why people need to sell their crap, and what they can expect to achieve by doing so.
Who is Adam Baker? Before we go further, I should give you a little more information about Adam and how he is qualified to write this book. Almost two years ago Adam and his wife were fed up with the consumerist lifestyle they had been living and the debt they had accumulated, so they sold almost everything they had, paid off their consumer debt, and together, with their toddler, moved halfway across the world. Everything they owned fit into a couple bags.
The purpose of Adam’s eBook isn’t to convince you to sell everything you own and move halfway around the world. The point is for you to take a few minutes and understand why you have so much Stuff, examine the financial and emotional impact Stuff has on your life, and find a way to sell your crap, make some money, cherish the items which truly bring you joy, and jettison everything else. It’s a radical way of thinking that can change your life, clear your home, and make you some money in the process. And Adam shows you how to do it step by step.
Sell Your Crap! An Interview with Adam Baker
Q Why should people sell their crap?
A Excess clutter sucks. It doesn’t bring the value or joy it once did (or maybe never did). It slowly drains portions of our time, energy, money. Because of this, it restricts our freedom.
The big issue is that most of us don’t fully realize how much it weighs us down. We don’t realize how much some of the crap in our life is holding us back. Once you ditch it though… once you purge it from your life you realize how much lighter you feel. You realize how much more flexible, independent, and free you are WITHOUT all the stuff in your life.
Some people need a massive purge. Others just need to clean out an old closet they’ve been putting off forever. In either, case the benefit of a crap-free life are universal. 🙂
Q You sold almost everything you and your family owned before taking off across the world for an extended life adventure/vacation. What are the emotional aspects of shedding almost all your belongings? Was there anything you regretted selling or realized you couldn’t do without?
A Haha, well I hesitate to call it a vacation! 🙂 It was simply a different version of our life. We led the typical consumerism and debt filled version and then we tried something else!
As far as the emotional aspects, our journey ended up happening in layers. The first wave of crap we cleared was easy, because we had little emotional connection. It was our crappiest crap. You know the stuff I’m talking about. As we continued and attack our belongings a second and third time, it became easier and easier to part with more and more. Partly because we had momentum and partly because we were able to see the items in our life for what they really were – useless.
As it turns out, there wasn’t a single thing we regretted selling. We did keep a few select things. We kept our wedding albums for example in a small box at a family members house. But we limited these possessions to 2-3 things and ditched the rest. We missed family and friends a lot while we traveling, but not one single item. Not ever. That was a fun feeling. 🙂
Q OK, you sold your Stuff. Now what? How do you prevent Stuff from creeping back into your life?
A This is a big concept that lots of people overlook! First and foremost, it’s hard to live in the Western world and completely prevent stuff from creeping back in. It’s the society and the world most of us live in now. Advertising and consumerism are a core part of our lives… to fight back we have to really stay on out toes.
In “Sell Your Crap“, I share three core ways we combat the problem. First, we practice conscious spending as much as possible. The more conscious you can be when buying things the better you can prevent impulsively buying crap! Second, we try and stay organized with what we do keep. Clutter begets more clutter and keeping up with this can naturally help avoid collecting more crap. Lastly, we make it a routine to attack our clutter. Every couple weeks we hunt down and destroy anything that crept in (or, at least we try).
Q How much money do you think the average person can make by selling unused items? How should they use their newly found “wealth?”
A Well, it’s tough to say. We sold well over $1500 worth of random crap, but we had very few items that were really big ticket items. Before we started selling our crap I would have only guessed we had a couple hundred dollars of stuff… Turned out it was closer to $1500!
I’ve heard stories from readers and know people I featured in Sell Your Crap that have sold thousands and thousands of dollars of crap that built up over years. Here’s the thing though… whether you make $100 or $10,000 you are still getting value back out of stuff that is currently sucking value from you. You are freeing up time and energy, too, and it’s hard to put a price on that.
Q Should people try to maximize their income when selling items, or just focus on getting rid of Stuff?
A It depends on the person’s situation and their values. It’s all about income vs. time. In general, the more time you spend individually listing and selling items the more profit you can make. That’s fairly obvious. Finding the balance, though, is not.
Our technique is to set “thresholds”. For example, if an item is selling for less than $20 on eBay, we personally don’t usually list it. If a book is selling for less than $5 on Amazon… same story. We are clear about this BEFORE we start the process, which helps save time and prevent making excuses.
Depending on your situation, you may want/need to spend time listing many more items individually. There are still dozens of ways to save time doing this! For some people, though, it’s more important to get everything GONE. In this case, they would only list a handful of the most valuable items and use techniques to sell or donate large amount of everyday items in their life.
Q What are your thoughts on digitizing as much of your movie and CD collection as possible and selling the discs? Good idea, or borderline piracy?
A I personally don’t consider this a bad thing, especially if you legitimately purchased it in the first place. Obviously, if you are sharing this content, I think you are crossing some lines. I’m not sure legally what’s allowed and what isn’t, but I think it’s a smart strategy if used with the right intentions.
Q How do I part with something that I “treasure?” For example, should I sell my Fender Telecaster? What about my Gibson Les Paul? They are beautiful axes, but I don’t play them often.
A First, you’ve got to realize that you *choose* to place any emotional value into that item. Your Fender isn’t born with emotional value. It’s given it when you first buy it, when you play it at a famous concert, or when you carry it around for 10 years. Knowing that *you* placed the emotional value into, let’s you know that *you* can choose to remove it – place it elsewhere.
One of my main point in Sell Your Crap is that you’ve got to be honest whether this possession is adding joy, value, or purpose to your life. If it is… fantastic! Treasure it! However, if you aren’t playing these instruments, you probably no longer derive the same value or joy you once did. In this case, they slowly creep into the “crap” category of things. They slowly start to take time, space, and mental energy, without giving much in return.
One technique is to find a way to preserve the beauty or memory and still detach yourself from the actual items. Lots of people take pictures of their sentimental items and save them digitally before getting rid of the item. In this case, maybe you could get creative and record a video of yourself playing the well-crafted axe one last time. Save the video and pass along the instrument to someone who can get it’s true value out of it! 🙂
Q One final question: What is your response to: “OK, we get it, sell all the crap we have, declutter, be emotionally free, get money, yada, yada…Why should I buy the book?”
A Well, like anything… if you are motivated, currently taking action, and know how to maximize your money while selling on eBay, craigslist, and Amazon… you *don’t* need any help. You don’t need a guide. You don’t need help!
However, this isn’t the case for the far majority of people. You have a busy life, family, friends, and your passions. You don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of everything yourself. You’ve likely tried to get a grasp on your clutter for years, but not broken through.
These guides will get you into action. They provide both the how and the why. They will not only motivate you, but show you the exact step-by-step process to various online and offline platforms to sell your crap. They will save you hours and hours of time and make you much more money than doing it on your own.
I know this because we did it ourselves and these guides are already helping everyday people from all walks of life do that same. I’m so convinced you’ll take action that I’m offering a $100 Effectiveness Guarantee. This means simply that if you don’t take action and don’t turn at least $100 of your useless crap into cash… just ask for a refund. No questions and no hoops. I’m serious.
This isn’t some late night scam. It’s 4 guides of over 320+ pages and 110+ screenshots. I poured months of my life and energy into creating this guide to help people. It’s a genuine product by a real person. 🙂
Editor’s Note: Adam’s book is available in two versions, both of which feature the $100 Effectiveness Guarantee. You can visit Adam’s site for more information about each edition: