How to Conduct a Firesale


In the last three years we have lived in 3 apartments/condos in Irvine, both our parents’ homes, Taiwan, China, Portugal, Austin, and I just arrived at a new place in Portugal.  Moving is not fun and made worse when you have so much stuff.  However, it is great to have friends to help.  Ever since deciding to go to Asia last summer we had to sell our possessions or pay a lot for storage.

To store or not?

As you can see, we had a bunch of furniture and that probably could have been thrown in a $200 a month storage unit.  If we did that last year, it would have sat in there for at least 18 months and cost $3600, or about the value we paid for most of our furniture.  However, we sold it all aside from a bed for $1600.  So it would have only been better to store it if we could have stored it for a short period, but with so much uncertainty we didn’t want to be paying when we may have not even returned to the same location.  It worked out well because it doesn’t look like we’ll end up in the same city we we would have stored it.

How to go about selling

If you know you are going to sell your stuff you are going to want as much time as possible.  If you wait until the last minute you will be forced to sell at whatever price you can get.  So you should begin by listing things on Craigslist and any other marketplace where you may get interest.  We listed our furniture two months before we were set to leave.  The bigger the item the more we wanted to get rid of it because we could store some stuff in our childhood rooms, but not everything.

Someone gave me a call a few hours after I listed it and came over in the afternoon to check out the dining table.  He wanted it and after speaking a bit we learned he was new to town and needed to furnish his apartment that week before his wife and kids moved in.  We told he we had a bunch of other stuff and he ended up buying two dining tables, our couch, and coffee table.  He then went to the bank got cash and called movers.  Meanwhile, another person called and bought our bookshelf which worked out well because they arrived when the movers were their to help us.




We lived in the condo for a month without furniture, but it worked out well because we had cash rather than heavy chunks of wood and leather to worry about.  Giving yourself time is the best you can do when selling something and is probably good advice in general.  So take a look at your surroundings and see if you can’t find something you’d like to sell.

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