Turning junk into Gold


Do you need cash urgently?

When you need cash where do you go, to the Shylock, bank, chamaa or sacco?

Do you know that the money you need is in your house?

According to research Kenyans could be sitting on a gold mine worth 158B shillings in their homes in form of unused goods in their homes, according to an inventory survey released by Nielsen Kenya in April, 2014

The survey, which was carried out across the country with the exception of North Eastern and Western, saw Nairobi region take the lead in unused goods worth 69B shillings followed closely by Eastern and Central with 26B and 22B respectively.

The value of the unused art collections per capita (per person) is the highest at Ksh. 144,073 followed by furniture at Ksh. 27,765 and Computers/Laptops Ksh. 25,057.

Priscilla Muhiu, Head of Marketing OLX in Kenya, says that when people have a financial need, they would rather ask for a loan from a friend or even a bank. Selling the items they don’t need or don’t use anymore is not top of mind. People need to realize that the items the keep in their homes could be valuable as a source of cash.  Liquidating these personal long-term assets (converting them into cash) could improve their purchasing power while also optimizing these items ‘ value before they are fully depreciated or disposed  as waste.

“If one was to sell every unused good in a full house, they could make enough money to meet their financial needs. In fact, you might even have money to start a business or explore other economic ventures,” she says.”

Country Manager OLX Kenya adds, “We recently conducted a survey to understand the barriers to selling and we found that more than 40% of the respondents didn’t sell because they think that they have nothing to sell. This clearly illustrates that Kenyans don’t think that the things they perceive to be worthless, could be useful to someone else.”

The AC Nielsen research shows that if we had a good turn-over of a fraction of the used items that people are keeping in their homes,  4 things will  happen ;

1)            More money will flow back into our economy , spurring demand for goods and services

2)            People who are selling will be able to  lower their cost of living by being able to  offset the cost of upgrading into a new item with the revenue they will earn by selling the older item

3)            Overall,  other people looking for acquiring goods at lower price points, for example a student who has just gotten her/his first job will be able to  afford high quality  items at lower prices if they buy them used .

4)            Where people don’t have to borrow money at a high-interest, they will make their lives even more cheaper ”

“When I drive around, I see a lot of Balconies full of stuff that could be turned into money. Kenyans need to realize that they are sitting on a gold mine,” Peter adds.

“OLX provides a free platform for consumers to sell the items that they don’t use/need anymore and make some money to meet their financial needs.  It’s really easy and fast to use,” Priscilla adds.

For more information visit: www.olx.co.ke.

So maybe it’s time you went through your stuff. As they say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.


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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]