Boosting the Moving Fund

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When we moved to Portugal, we had to have a huge clear-out, as everyone does unless they wish to spend a fortune shipping clutter to their new home!

Back when we were in the process of moving, I had intended to write a post on how we had gone about selling the items we weren’t going to ship. I didn’t get round to it then, so as part of


my mission to provide more posts to help those in the process of moving to Portugal, here are some tips to help you offload your unwanted items.

Starting with the most obvious: Ebay. By the time we arrived in Portugal, we had sold around 800 items though our ebay account. Ebay can be wonderful and infuriating in equal measure. One of the best things about ebay is you can, by using the “completed listings” feature on “advanced search,” get a pretty good idea of what your items will sell for by taking an average from the last few times that item was sold.

Ebay is great for selling certain things: electrical and computer bits, video games, DVDs and musical instruments tend to consistently sell for what they are worth. Other things are less successful. Since Ebay stopped allowing people to charge postage for books, there is little point in trying to sell those via Ebay. Similarly, we sold some furniture towards the end, and this went for upsettingly low values.

Having said that, where Ebay does come in handy in terms of furniture is when you stipulate in the listing that the buyer will have to dismantle the item to take it away. We managed to get rid of our king size bed, which we would never have managed to get down the stairs had the buyer not come to take it to pieces. Although it sold for less than it was worth, the fact we saved ourselves a day of work taking the thing to bits was a very fair trade.

On the subject of stipulating certain things in the listings, this brings us to the part where ebay becomes infuriating. The majority of buyers are good and honest people, but there does seem to be an inherent inability to read specific details. If you say “collection has to be on Monday or Tuesday,” you can be sure at least three people will ask to collect on Sunday and Wednesday. One of those three people is likely to actually turn up at your house on Sunday or Wednesday and then send you an email asking why you weren’t there. It is best to assume a “idiot factor” of 1 idiot for each 20 items sold.

For people with plenty of time, Amazon Marketplace is a good bet for books and CDs in good condition as they tend to fetch better prices than Ebay.

Onto car-booting. Car boot sales are tremendous fun and great for getting rid of the lower-value items that aren’t worth putting up on Ebay – provided you can resist the temptation to go home with more crap than you arrived with.

Car Boot Sales - Fun
Car Boot Sales - Fun

Nobody expects to go to a car boot sale and pay a lot for ANYTHING, so they are not the place to take high value items, though we did have success with some obscure kitchen gadgets. Also surprisingly successful were any power adaptors and cables – people seemed to snap them up, and clothes go well too.

Car-boot sales also give you the opportunity to meet some of the world’s more unusual people, including a strange man who strolled the stalls stroking a glove puppet, and another who claimed to be allergic to “digital waves,” and was pleased to buy a tatty old analogue cordless phone from our stall. Unfortunately he then used “interference from digital waves” as his excuse to try to walk away from our stall without paying.

It is worth mentioning that VHS videos do not seem to be wanted by ANYONE. Your best bet for those is to drop them off in a charity shop and then leg it before they realise they are VHS videos are try to give them back!

Finally, don’t overlook friends and family when offloading your treasures. We set aside our dining room for everything we were getting rid off and insisted everyone to visit our house had a good look around our “shop.” You do end up giving a few bits away but you also find that several items people are happy to give you money for things.

Our final tip: when you reach the final stages where people are collecting ebay items, buying things from you directly, and handing you money at car boot sales, make sure all the money goes into the moving fund, and not straight into the wallet or purse!

(Ebay photo credit

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Hello,

    Interesting to hear how you de-cluttered before your move – thanks for sharing that. Just wondered how you moved the stuff you wanted to take with you? And have you found yourselves re-buying much that you sold in the UK? We also wondered if you needed different electrical items due to plugs/ voltage?

    Sounds like despite a few ups and downs you are both settling in well there, which is good to see having followed your blog since the start.

  2. Hi There,

    Thank you for being a long-term reader!

    We shipped our stuff with a Chelmsford-based company called Algarve Removals, who we were very happy with at both ends. It cost approx £100 per cubic metre.

    Electrical good from the UK are fine with 3 to 2 pin adaptors, not sure about items from elsewhere.

    We’ve not really needed to re-buy anything. We brought a lot of kitchen stuff with us (am very attached to my pots and pans.)

    Just asked my wife and she mentioned…..coat hangers – we threw loads out as they were bulky and then ended up having to buy loads here!

    Best wishes, Ben

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