I am a regular stuff sorter, and have also mastered the art of selling our cast-offs and turning our trash to cash. In the last two years I’ve made over $2000 by selling things just on craigslist! Stuff I haven’t ever thought of again and don’t miss!! There is such a huge market for used items these days, with eBay, craigslist and the hundreds of thrift and consignment stores that regularly accept pre-owned anything! But, knowing how to get started, and what to sell where can be a challenge.
When a good friend emailed me a month or so ago for some tips to selling her de-junked goods, I thought I’d make the information I shared with her available. So, here it is, in an easy to look at, easy to use, practical flow chart. Because who doesn’t love to follow a flow chart?! Download the chart for free HERE. Right around now, just before the Holidays, is great time to get started organizing and selling (because a lot of people are buying!)
Let me briefly walk you through it and explain a couple of tips.
Start at the star, with an item in hand.
Ask yourself “Do I love this? Do I use it (at least once in the last 12 months)? Do I want to preserve it for my posterity?” If the answer to any of those three questions is YES then KEEP IT! If the answer to all of those questions is NO then move down the line to GET RID OF IT.
Is the item in good condition? If NO, throw it away or recycle/repurpose it. If YES, move on.
Is it worth YOUR TIME to photograph and sell this item? Be honest with yourself. Your hour may be more valuable than the $10 that old toaster might fetch. If NO it’s not worth it, simply take it to Goodwill and be done. If YES it is worth it, then move on.
Is your item designer :recognizable brand-especially for clothes/shoes
a collectible: like Dave’s Yankees vs Red Sox chess game
an oddity: like a jelly-bean shaped cake pan
or expensive: like jewelry
if YES, move on.
If NO, your item is not specialty, then craigslist is the place for you. People usually search craigslist with wide open search terms like “blender” or “couch” so more general items do well. I have successfully sold from cameras to cars to curtain-rods on craigslist. Now, a couple tips for craigslist: First, list your price with a little bartering in mind. Most people, myself included, will offer at least a little bit less than the asking price when buying from craigslist. Second, if you aren’t contacted WITHIN ONE DAY (I wait only 3-4 hours) then LOWER the PRICE! People are on craigslist all day and all night looking for stuff. If your add goes unnoticed, and you are serious about selling it, be flexible and realistic about what it’s worth. Remember, these things are generally pre-owned!! Even if they are still in the box, people are looking for a deal. Third, make sure you are clear about how to contact you. If you prefer email, they can click on the hidden email address and it will get to you. If you want text or calls, leave your number. I always put “serious inquires only. cash only” at the bottom of my craigslist adds. That helps to weed out the creepers.
Okay, back to the flow chart. If YES your item is specialty, is it also small enough to ship?
If YES, then eBay is the place for this item.
Let’s chat about eBay for a second.
Because people are usually searching eBay with something very specific in mind, in my experience, small specialty items do well there. They will also go for more cash on eBay, where the bid war can drive the price. No one is searching craigslist for a Yankees chess set, but on eBay it sold for over $12.00, which isn’t a ton, but I thought was hilarious! I also once bought a pair of new Marc Jacobs ballet flats on eBay for $70.00 (of course they shipped straight from the factory in China where they may or may not have been snuck home in someone’s purse…) Three years later, I sold the SAME flats, now pre-owned for $75.00 on eBay!! I started the bidding at $9.99 and they were bid up to higher than my purchase price. That would not have happened on craigslist. Two other eBay tips: First, start the bidding low and let the bid war bid it up. People are more likely to bid on a lower start price. Second, make sure you photograph the tags of authentic designer items, because you’ll always get the question.
Okay, back to flowy. If NO the item is not small enough to ship, you’ll want to sell it on craigslist where you have local pick-up. Make sure you list the dimensions of larger furniture items so people can assess their transportation options. We once fit a dresser in a lady’s Rav4 that fit with literally 0.5″ on each side. It was awesome.
One last word about photos for selling things: Make sure the item is clean, and place it in an open area with good light. Outside is fine. Try to photograph ONLY the item without a lot of stuff around it.
Great. Do you feel ready to organize and sell? Good luck!