Purge To Revamp Your Bag: Identifying the Gear You’ll Actually Use and Want

A camera back is filled with gear.

Spring is a popular time to do some deep cleaning. While we typically think of spring cleaning in terms of our homes, our camera kits could also benefit from some decluttering from time to time.

Full disclosure: This article is brought to you by MPB.

Most of us tend to collect photography equipment indefinitely. Gear we don’t use very often (or at all) may get shoved in the back of a closet, collecting dust. But there’s not much sense in keeping stuff around that isn’t getting used, and that’s especially true with electronics. A better alternative is to sell or trade in that gear. Then, you can use the money to purchase something that you actually need (or maybe just want).

While you could sell the gear on your own, that means dealing with flaky people from online marketplaces and constant low-ball offers (no, I won’t take $20 for this $400 item). The easier method is to sell to an online reseller, such as MPB, which is the largest global platform to buy, sell, and trade used photography and videography gear. You simply fill out some basic information to get an instant quote, mail in your gear with shipping covered by MPB, and get paid within a few days of them receiving it.

Plastic bins are filled with photography gear.

Evaluate Your Existing Kit

As with any effective spring cleaning, the first step to clearing out your unwanted gear is to verify what you even have. It helps to get everything out and lay it on the floor or a table to get a better picture of your current kit. If you want to be really organized, perhaps for insurance reasons, create a list or spreadsheet of at least all your big-ticket pieces of gear (lenses, lights, cameras, etc.). As a bonus, during this process, you may even rediscover some piece of equipment that you forgot you had and can actually put it to use again.

When deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, it’s helpful to consider when you last used that particular item. If it’s been a while since you picked it up, it’s probably better off earning you cash to put towards something you will use. For example, I have an older DSLR in my closet that hasn’t been used for a few years now, so it’s probably time to bite the bullet and get rid of it. Broadly speaking, if it’s been more than a year, you’re probably safe parting ways with it.

Now is also a great time to evaluate the quality of the gear you use all the time and whether you are ready for any upgrades. Maybe you have a kit lens that you use regularly, but the quality is starting to hold you back. Or you bought a cheap tripod when you started but need something a bit more stable these days.

Consider What You May Need or Want

Selling your older, infrequently used gear is a cost-effective way to acquire something new. So, while going through what you have, you should also put some thought into gaps in your kit bag. What would be beneficial to add to your collection? Part of evaluating what you may need or want comes down to assessing your goals. It’s best to try to think ahead as opposed to picking up what may be trendy at that time, or you may find yourself spending money that will only end up back in your closet collecting dust like the stuff you just got rid of.

When planning out what equipment you’ll need for the next few years, it helps to do some goal planning and ask yourself simple questions. Where do you want your photography or videography to go? What do you hope to be capturing in the next few years? What is holding you back right now? If you’ve recently become interested in videography, it could be time to invest in a gimbal. Perhaps you’ve been frustrated with your action shots because your current camera isn’t very quick. Or, maybe you really want to get focused on wildlife photography, so a long telephoto lens would be helpful.

By putting serious thought into what you want out of the medium, you can better assess what gear will help you get there. You don’t need to pick everything up right now, but having a picture of where you want to get will make it easier to get there.

Buy Used To Get More Back for Your Buck

While selling some used gear will certainly help you make money to spend on new things, buying new equipment is expensive. Purchasing used photography gear can be a great way to stretch what you can afford, making it easier to pick up what you need without breaking the bank. MPB specifically offers prices, on average, one-third less than new. Those savings are especially helpful if you need a few things right off the bat. It recirculates over 485,000 cameras, lenses, and accessories each year, so you’ll likely be able to find what you need.

While some may worry about purchasing used equipment, MPB has trained specialists who inspect everything that comes in to verify its condition. Plus, it all comes with a six-month warranty, so you don’t have to worry about it not working as soon as it arrives. The trade-in program also makes it extremely straightforward. If what you’re selling is worth more than what you’re buying, they will simply send the extra amount directly to your bank account within a few days.

Be Smart About Your Kit

It’s no secret that photography equipment is expensive. It can take a long time to build up your dream kit. Through that process, though, most of us end up with stuff that doesn’t actually get used. That collection of unused stuff could be because we bit on trends, changed our mindset and goals, or things simply became outdated. By regularly assessing what is in your bag (and closet) and getting rid of things that are taking up space, we can make room — and money — for what will be useful and valuable.

Full disclosure: This article is brought to you by MPB.