Before we start decluttering, we need to know what to do with all the great (but no longer great for you) items that will need a new home at the end of the project.
Some items will go in the trash and you’ll wonder why you ever kept them (broken coasters, anyone?). Other items need recycling (such as old batteries), and still others will go to Good Will or your local consignment store.
But what about the “good” stuff that you know would sell quickly if you only had a way to advertise?
This is when you rely on the Internet. Sites like Craigslist and eBay are terrific for disposing of your old junk and making some extra cash.
This is my favorite of the two, mainly because none of the items we sell ever fall into the unusual or highly valuable category. Over the years, we’ve made about $2500 on Craigslist selling everything from a dresser to a box of cords.
There are some things to keep in mind when selling on Craigslist:
- You get what you pay for. Ads are free and there is no online payment to guarantee the transaction until pickup. People are sometimes unreliable, and even when they show up they may decide the item is not for them. Keep in contact with at least 2-3 interested people so you don’t have to repost the ad later. Let #2 and #3 know that you are holding it for someone until X date and if they don’t show or don’t want it you will contact them.
- State “cash only” in the ad. Be very upfront about this and firm. You are selling to someone you don’t know, and an honest face does not necessarily mean honesty where checks are concerned.
- Specify whether you will help them load or not. An older person who buys a large piece of furniture from you may want your help loading. If you can’t do this or don’t want to, make sure you state in the ad that you cannot load so they know to bring help.
- Are you willing to negotiate onsite? Once someone is there to pick up, they will often try for a last-minute bargain. This isn’t necessarily bad, you just need to be prepared. My favorite tactic is to have a “staging area” of all my for-sale items and offer something else in addition to the main item and stay firm on the price (selling a chair – offer a small area rug or throw pillows). Then everyone wins.
- Be honest in your ad description. Not everyone who stops by will actually buy, so don’t waste anyone’s time by claiming something is in excellent condition when it really isn’t, or that it works when it doesn’t. Always include a picture. College students, the newly divorced, newlyweds – many of these people are looking for bargains and don’t mind a little wear and tear, but they certainly don’t want something that is not as advertised.
eBay is a great resource if you have quirky or more valuable items to sell. Maybe your collection of vintage lunchboxes is no longer serving your interests. This is the perfect item to sell on eBay. Or you have a beautiful vase that no longer fits your decor. Anything a collector would look for is perfect for eBay.
eBay is an auction, and your potential buyers have time to bid on your item until closing. You set the minimum bid so that you will never lose money. The flipside is that if your minimum bid is too high your item may not sell.
You will need to set up a Paypal account and register as a seller to be able to post your items, but neither of these are hard to do. If you want to bypass that and have someone do it for you, you can always look for an eBay reseller to do it for you for a percentage of the profits.
The same rules for Craiglist apply to eBay:
- Be clear and honest in your product descriptions and photos.
- Let potential buyers know about delivery (UPS, postal service, pick-up only, etc.)
- Specify payment options. Some eBay sellers take checks, but I don’t recommend it.
- eBay works on a bidding system, but you can also specify a “buy it now” price. This price should be between your minimum bid and what you expect it to sell for. The “buy it now” price is for the convenience of both parties.
If you need more information on how to sell on eBay, click here for a handy downloadable guide ($7 to offset my licensing fees).
Setting Up Your Selling Space
Before you get started with decluttering, consider how you will sell your more valuable items that you no longer wish to keep.
Set up a space in your home to house all your items for sale and consider the “add-on” strategy for buyers. If you sell a bakeware set online you may be able to add utensils or another associated item when the buyer comes to pick up.
With a firm strategy in place, you will be able to easily dispose of your unwanted items and have a little extra cash in your pocket to celebrate your newfound simplicity.