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?