For anyone who doesn’t know, “money pile” is the term resellers use for the pile of unlisted inventory we have. Some money piles are a single box or Ikea bag, some are literal piles on the floor or a designated chair, and for some, like me, they’re semi-organized totes that, somehow, never seem to empty no matter how much work I do. Most resellers have one, and no, you are not a bad person for having yours.
Money piles build up because we’re busy, or because we get excited about new merchandise and focus on that. It’s totally understandable, and it happens to all of us. It’s the same as starting a new craft instead of finishing the one that’s 90% done. If you’re that rare person that finishes everything you start then this post is not for you. Nor, frankly, am I!
Having a money pile isn’t a bad thing, but eventually, you have to do something with it. I know it’s easy to say, buckle down and list it, but I also know it’s much harder to actually do it. That’s what this post is about. I’m not just going to lecture you six different ways; I want to show you six ways to think differently about your unlisted merchandise. That starts with changing your terminology.
Call It Your Money Pile
“Death pile” is probably the most negative name you can call your unsold inventory. The name implies that it’s where items go to die, and with that mindset, it probably will be. Changing your wording can change your outlook and attitude toward the inventory that is literally waiting to make you money.
The more positive members of the reseller community have stopped calling it their death pile and started calling it their money pile. Injecting that kind of encouragement into your vocabulary can have a serious effect. The ladies at Consignment Chats take it one step farther by calling it their Money Mountain. They say that to remind themselves that mountains are climbable.
In my experience, money piles happen because shopping is a lot more fun than listing. That’s just a universal fact. (If you feel the opposite, please reach out to me, we can be best friends forever!)
But things are only in your money pile because you once loved them. To rekindle that love, why not turn your money pile into a shopping trip. Lay out all your stuff into yes, no and maybe piles like you’re back in the thrift store. “Buy” the best stuff and spend the day listing it. Tomorrow, list your maybe pile. All the pieces that you’re just not excited about anymore, consider sending them to a new home. You can still profit from them, but more importantly, they’ll be far away from you.
Inventory costs you something, even if it sits unlisted for months. It occupies space both in your house, and in your mind. You have to decide how much both are worth to you. If you’re holding on to a vintage 100% silk blazer, maybe that’s worth continuing to keep. But if you are losing space and sleep over a white tank top from Charlotte Russe, maybe the healthiest thing for you to do is let it go.
Think of it like Marie Kondo – does that piece spark joy in you? Are you looking forward to listing it? Will you be happy with the profits from its sale, or would you rather simply be rid of it? You don’t have to keep a piece just because you paid money for it. You also don’t have to keep a piece because you’ve already kept it for so long. Don’t stay invested in a mistake just because you’ve spent a lot of time making it.
Sometimes it’s worth choosing your own happiness over potential profit. If you hate looking at something, there’s probably nothing that can make you love it, so ditch it!
Listing something yourself is usually the way you will make the most money from it, but if you’re starting to fear for the structural integrity of your home, taking items to a consignment store might be a good option. You can still profit from your items, without photographing, measuring, writing descriptions and shipping. As reselling and buying second-hand have grown in popularity, so have the options for sellers like you.
Companies like Haulsale and ThredUP give you the ability to ship clothing right from your own home. They do the work, and you get a portion of the profits. I can tell you from personal experience how nice it feels to watch your money pile be driven away by UPS.
If you do want to tackle your inventory by yourself, there are a lot of ways to make it easier on yourself. Batching your items make them easier to photograph, write descriptions and list.
Often the most efficient way to list is by keeping like with like. Listing a dress, then a tee shirt, then a pair of pants can seem similar because they are all clothing, but they all require different effort and descriptions. It’s much easier physically and mentally to list all your jeans in the same time period. They will all lay about the same whether flat or on a mannequin. The terminology to list them is very similar so after the first few, the listings practically write themselves.
If you’re struggling with a money pile, try batching like with like and tackle a single category in a day. Climbing a money mountain is the same as climbing every other mountain, you take one step at a time. And just like on an icy mountain, sometimes you will slip.
Be Nice to Yourself
You’re not perfect, and neither is your plan. Create the best plan that you can, do what you can to stick to it, but also, forgive yourself when you mess up. Having a money pile is not a sign of weakness. Falling behind is not a sign of laziness. It happens! Success isn’t about always winning; it’s about trying again when you fail.
When you do succeed, remember to reward yourself! I am an unapologetic chocoholic and I use that to get myself through difficult tasks. I hate crossposting, I think it’s super boring, and the least interesting part of my job. So, when I have a big backlog to tackle, I get a bag of peanut M&Ms. Every time I successfully crosspost an item onto a platform, I eat one M&M. I know it’s not the greatest thing to admit, but those M&Ms motivate me more than providing for my daughter’s future. (She’s 3, she can’t read yet. Nobody tell her.)
Mini rewards are a great way to keep yourself going and the best part is, you get to pick them. Find whatever motivates you, and use it. Do you love thrifting? Why not set aside 20% of the profits you earn from anything currently in your money pile? The more you list, the more you get to spend!