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Money Saving Monday: Sell Your Crap!

On occasion, my frugal lifestyle nets me a modest pile of stuff to sell. Actually, No. UN-frugal-ness is where most of this stuff comes from. These are past purchases I no longer need or want. Things I shouldn’t have bought in the first place. This frugality is in reaction to bad spending. Selling them now, might recoup me some of my sunk costs. Some. If they have more than thrift store value left, selling could be better than the tax write-off donation slip from Goodwill. Or you could end up wasting a bunch of time for stuff you should have purged from your life long ago.

We should all strive NOT to have such piles as this.


A designer handbag. What can I say? It was the time and the place. It failed to permanently replace my trusty, Timbuk2 workhorse. Expensive boots, I thought would fill the need of those lost in a move. They’ve since become manufactured in China, and just aren’t what they used to be. Hardly worn. A cookie jar that’s been bumping around my kitchen, not filled with cookies. Maybe ever. A camera, stolen, replaced, then returned. And some miscellaneous books in need of a more appropriate home. A misfit post-consumer pile, that’s been sitting in Stuff Purgatory for far, far too long.

What’s a lover of stuff to do? How do you turn the detritus of your life into material for a Money Making Monday?

There are options. A mixed bag of them. With pro’s and con’s to be evaluated based on the nature of your stuff.

Use your Network. Put the word out. You’ve got some good crap and it needs to go. Sell to your friends first. Knowing someone who could actually use the stuff, with no selling fees, hassle, or stranger danger, best possible solution.
Downside: Business amongst friends. You might not charge them the same amount you would a nameless schmoe. I ended up giving away some very stylish bookends, and those mostly new boots. To people who do a lot for me, save stuff for me, and in the case of the BFF, have given me mostly new shoes once before.
Money to be made: Not much. Consider it an investment in social capital. If you do actually want/need to make money, just be clear about your expectations.

Craigslist. This is like using your local network, without the friends. Craigslist first, always. Because its free. Because there will be no shipping. Regardless of the item. My stuff is small. In reality, craigslist probably isn’t the best option. Cars, building and garden materials, all the way. Small stuff can get lost in the fray, but there is no harm in trying. Nothing to keep you from posting it again and again, until it does get noticed. Take good pictures. You’ll need these for the next option anyway. Set up a separate email address to send the inquiries to.
Downside: Spam, scams, and patience. Thing probably aren’t going to sell right away. In the meantime you’ll have to deal with nigerian schemes, poorly written money laundering requests, and endless ‘is it still available?’ questions.
Money to be made: Craigslist price is like garage sale plus. There will be no bidding war, unless its in the downward direction. Price it higher than your bargain basement, but not much. Think about all the fees you aren’t paying, and consider yourself lucky. This is where my stuff currently sits. On craigslist waiting for a home. Because I am trying to resist using…

Ebay. It ain’t what it used to be. If you don’t have an established account, with a modest record of sales and positive feedback, I’m not sure I would bother. Find a friend who does and offer them a cut. Otherwise, use those pictures you took for craigslist, sit down on a Sunday morning or afternoon (always on a Sunday) and pour your heart out in the listing. No don’t get all emotional, but do consider every possibility. International shipping? Insurance? Payment methods? Returns? Shipping costs? When is payment expected? What if the item breaks during transit? Think of all those fees you’ll have to pay: for listing, for extra pictures, of the total sale price, to paypal. You’ll have to pay some of those regardless of if you actually get a buyer or not. I’ve sold collectibles and electronics with moderate success.
Downside: Inherent in the process.
Money to be Made: Set your expectations and your listing price low. Both because the fees are lower, and in order to get people bidding. Once I go to the trouble of listing an item, I’d rather it just sell regardless of the price. On occasion, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve also been abjectly disappointed. Ebay is full of professionals these days. There’s more stores and less bargains to be had. I try to set myself apart by stating I am not a ‘power seller’, my pricing is not fixed. This is vintage ebay. A real person and a real auction. It’s not often worth all the hassle to go through this process. But, sometimes it is.

I’m not sure how much my pile of crap will make me. Probably not much. Especially since I gave away those boots. More than it made sitting in my hall closet for the last year. However I dispose of it, that’s a win.

How do you sell your crap? Do you usually make money off of it? Any success stories?

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Ebay – not so much – gave away a brand new Guess purse for $25 and then had to pay all the fees.
Garage Sale – wasn’t going to do it, didn’t think I had enough treasures to bother. The weekend after Labor Day our community has a sale so I hauled it all out there. $600, yes $600 later my garage was nearly empty. Packed the rest of the stuff up and Big Brother and Big Sisters came to get it that Monday.
Craigslist – never sold anything (although we have a motorcyle for sale now). I have bought a used car for my daughter (not too bad of a deal), a used dog (that ended up costing me $1200 since she was pregnant and had to have a c-section 6 days later) & accidentally got involved with a couple who were having relationship troubles. She was looking for someone to work out with at the local YMCA. I needed a workout partner as well. We worked out 3 or 4 times and then she started telling me how her girlfriend didn’t want her working out with me. Yeah I stopped taking her calls.


$600!? Makes me wish I had done that garage sale after all. Thats a haul! nice!

LOL on the craigslist. Used dogs and workout partners with relationship troubles. I’ll stick to trafficking in cookie jars.


good plan :)


I’ve used eBay for stuff I know sells well on eBay. I’ve sold books, decorative items, etc.
I use Craigslist to sell kids stuff (though I’ve really only sold one thing; I haven’t been very diligent here.) I also purchased my ancient Kindle (still works great) and a futon mattress from Craigslist. Almost all transactions went pretty well. No nightmares, anyway.
I haven’t done the yard sale thing; I tried to get my neighborhood to do a community sale last year and I don’t even know if it happened. Another resident took the torch and I never heard anything else. I’ve heard this is the best way to sell young children items; I guess this is one thing yardsalers are typically looking for.
There’s also a huge community consignment sale for kids items that happens at the local fairgrounds twice a year. I’ve sold a lot of old baby clothes that way and picked up some great quality ones at a steal.


Yeah, I think ebay is great as long as you are super selective with what you list. And I wonder how much this stuff varies from region to region. I think big ‘flea market’ style events are more common on the east coast. Some areas do more community wide events. You gotta do your research before jumping into any of it…


What do you think of Etsy shops?


Won’t work for the casual seller. And lots of fees, more paypal charges, etc., They also have limitations on only handmade and/or vintage. You’d really have to have an ‘inventory’ to make it worth your while.

Erica / Northwest Edible Life

I sold a mini fridge to a guy on craigslist. We couldn’t make a meet up work so I left the fridge out and he left cash under my mat. When this stuff works it reaffirms your faith in humanity.
I’m more of a freecycler tho. By the time I want my shit gone – I WANT IT GONE NOW. And I’ve never, personally, had a negative freecycle experience.


Wow. He left the money. That is impressive. I feel all warm and fuzzy when I pass things to people who will actually use them. And I’m totally amazed at what people will buy.

I’ve sold used dog beds on CL. Rope light. Broken stereos. For real.


Haven’t done the yard sale thing. Ever. My folks used to buy storage lockers and resold the loot in garage sales. People wanted to go in our house to buy stuff that wasn’t for sale. They came at weird hours (6 am) and asked questions like, “Is your hair real?” Uh, no, it’s fake hair…

I’ve had very mixed results from Craigslist. I have had numerous people stand me up when they GUARANTEED they wanted what I was selling and even confirmed the night before that they’d come. Still need to sell a 1920’s Tappan gas stove…Any suggestions? I did sell a table on Craiglist.

I tried e-Bay to sell my stove, but the shipping cost put a damper on prospective sales. I’ve also sworn off e-Bay permanently after being burned for $51.00. Oooh, I’m still angry about that….

Guess I’ll try Craigslist again for the stove.


Oh, I would swear off too, if I ever got burned. The new paypal terms leave it wide open to for sellers to get screwed. I am much more cautious now.

The things people ask for at G-Sales. I always find it really, really strange when they show up asking for guns. Seriously? WTF?! Sure let me run inside and get my arsenal so I can peruse it with a total stranger. Pushy buyers. I’ve also witnessed a lady purposefully spill coffee on clothing in order to get it for a cheaper price.

A 1920’s gas stove. Not sure what people would use that for. Could you consign it at a antique mall??


One more word on garage sales.
Had someone steal a ring last year during our Girl Scout garage sale (cheap diamond knockoff) & someone stole a snow globe this year. I had it priced at .50. Guess that was a little too high :)


Laura –

On the stove, you might try looking up your local auction house – the cross section of people who attend auctions is pretty good, so you might find someone who really wants your stove!

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