Getting ready for Christmas. I think it’s time to start shopping then!

So, it’s that time of year again, and last night I had a bit of a shock. I popped into a friends house as I needed to borrow a drill. We got talking about Christmas and he told me that he’d just finished his Christmas shopping.

Yes, finished. I’ve only done a tiny bit myself, and the pressure to get everything in the Black Friday sales was a bit too much. So, if I’m honest, I’ve not really started. I’m the guy walking around and frowning at people putting up their decorations. It’s no-where near Christmas. Not yet. Not really.

Wait… hang on, I do this every year don’t I? I always think that Christmas is ages away and then it creeps up on me. Not only that, but if you’re buying for kids, you’ll find that older toys might still be there, in their boxes.

If you’re in the same boat, then you might want to do a bit of decluttering first. It’s something I did when I was a kid – we had to “make room” for the new Christmas presents. Those lightly-used toys, board games and books can make good money at this time of year and – despite us now “only weeks” from Christmas, you’ve still got time to whack it onto a marketplace app, sell it and post it off. In reality, of course, we’re not only selling old toys, we’re actually making some cash for new gifts.

The smartphone is great for doing this and they really speed the selling process up. I’ve done this over the weekend with my son – we get together, get all the toys out he wants to “send away” and I take photos on the phone for each one. There’s apps like Shpock, Gumtree, Vinted, letgo, Depop, VarageSale, Etsy, Wallapop and – of course – eBay. People can also use Facebook too. The smartphone has a camera for snapping the item, the GPS so that you can define your local area, a data connection to push it all onto the web and an on-screen keyboard so that you can put some details about the product that you want to sell. There’s a stack more selling apps out there but don’t forget to also check out other apps which give you the ability to send the stuff after you’ve sold it. The traditional method of taking boxes to the Post Office is now perhaps a little old-fashioned.

There’s lots of parcel companies and couriers available through app stories and they’ll let you find the cheapest provider. They’ll also let you send parcels from local stores and track the parcel, so you know that the person you’re sending your item too has received it. You don’t always have to have a printer.

So now your smartphone becomes a delivery system too.