Nobody really likes the process of moving because, you start to realize how much stuff you actually have as you start packing everything in boxes, and those boxes are filling up your moving vehicle quickly. You begin finding outdated things, things that you haven’t seen in a long time, or things that constantly crowd your space that you never actually use. So as you start to rid yourself of things you don’t need or want and downsize your life, you again realize that it is a lot harder to get rid of stuff then to accumulate it in your life. By the end of it all, a lot of it either ends up in the dumpster or given away to anyone that will take it off your hands. But did you know there is essentially a market and demand out there for most or all of your unwanted stuff?
In the beginning I had no idea of how to actually turn my old stuff into cash but I have learned throughout the years and have composed a list, to share my knowledge of how to sell stuff online and give you a head start into the world of internet garage sales. If you have the perseverance, and the patience you will turn all that unwanted clutter or outdated products into cash.
Probably, one of the biggest payout methods to get the most money out of your stuff, because you get 100% of the money and do not have to pay enlistment fees or commission fees. Over the years I have had quite success using Craigslist, but I usually only use it for high dollar items, items too big to ship, or my first attempt to get the most money for the item.
There are no fees associated with this method of selling. All you have to do is open up an account, post your item within your geographical area, add descriptions of the item, cost, terms, photos, etc. and that is it. Your item is now broadcasted for the world to see and anyone can go on Craigslist and find your item for sale. Everything is done privately and you do not have to compromise any personal information between the buyer and the seller, if you do not want to.
Now the downsides of using Craigslist are, you will be meeting up with complete strangers and you have no idea who these people are. They might possibly have to come to your house, or need your phone number or name, but of course all or most of this can be avoided if you are smart about it. I would advise you to take extreme caution when doing this and it is always best to meet in a public place and never go alone.
I would have to say after selling hundreds of items on Craigslist I never had any problems or felt threatened in anyway, but I sure did meet some strange people.
One of the strangest encounters I ever had was when I was selling a handsaw for a simple ten dollars. Now the only reason I posted it on Craigslist was because I thought to myself “why not”, even though you could’ve gone to the local hardware store down the street and bought the same saw, brand new for around the same price. To my surprise someone actually answered the ad and I met up with him later that day. Now I decided to meet up with him in the parking lot of the local movie theater and after walking around a little bit, trying to find the guy, he appeared out of nowhere without his car and said to me “you got the saw?” Now this guy was extremely creepy and had that “buffalo bill” style going on with him. I was thinking to myself, maybe I need to wipe off my fingerprints before I give him the saw and why are you buying one off Craigslist, when the hardware store was around the corner?” Did he not want a paper trail? Was he going to use the saw on me?” All of these questions ran through my head, but I really didn’t know, so I went ahead with the sale anyway. After handing over the saw and collecting my ten dollars he disappeared, and I quickly walked to my car to get out of there. Now I do not know why he was actually buying the saw and it probably wasn’t any of my business, but the whole situation was strange and to this day nothing has even come close.
So, I cannot stress this enough, if you are going to be dealing with people on Craigslist be smart about it and always take caution, especially for women. Craigslist is also used internationally, but I have never dealt with it outside of the United States, so using it could be considerably more dangerous if you are a foreigner in a strange land.
Other than that one factor which sounds way worse than it really is, if you are smart about it, Craigslist is great for buying and selling in your local areas.
Most likely you’ve never heard of it unless you or a member of your family has been in the military. I myself never knew it existed until I moved to southern Germany and started working on a military base. It is basically the same concept as Craigslist, but probably a little bit more trustworthy because most of its users are military families and personnel. However, it is open to everyone and you do not have to be associated with the military to use it.
It is also used internationally, but the biggest areas offered are cities that have a huge American Military presence. This is why I have been so successfully using it here in southern Germany.
There are a few things different from Craigslist that you should be aware of when using Bookoo. Unless you sign up to be an unlimited member you only get 10 free listings and you are not allowed to upload pictures with the post. If you want to become an unlimited member it cost 8 dollars a month unless you sign up for multiple months at a time or a recurring monthly plan which discounts you by a dollar, taken out of your account automatically. With the unlimited membership you can post as many items as you want, add up to 5 photos for each item, customer support from a Bookoo representative if needed and a few other added bonuses as well.
I have to say, although I have been successful selling items without adding pictures to the listing, I have had a much more successful selling rate by signing up a month at a time and uploading pictures for the items I wanted to sell. Keep this in mind no matter which selling platform you use, the potential buyer wants the convenience of viewing the item from the comfort of their home, so adding pictures will increase your chances to turn your items into cash.
Another thing that makes Bookoo different from Craigslist is that the site is closed on Sundays. You will not be able to browse or list any items within that 24 hour period. The only thing you are allowed to have access to is your message tab within your existing account. There you can engage in previous conversations with interested buyers and sellers from days prior.
Keep in mind when dealing with potential buyers on Craigslist and Bookoo, people are flaky, unfortunately that is just how it is, so you need to have patience and your item will eventually sell. Make sure you keep re-posting the item every week so it will be added back to the top of the list and not get lost somewhere in the cyber abyss. After an extended amount of time and the item still doesn’t sell, you can try using the next few selling platforms to see if that works. You also need to make sure you do not let people take advantage of you, trying to get something for nothing while haggling, have a set price of the lowest you will take for the item and stand your ground. I will go over haggling extensively in an upcoming post in the future.
Not like the other selling platforms where anything goes, Etsy is more for selling your handcrafted and vintage items. After signing up for a free account, you have the ability to setup and maintain your own store. Each item added to your store cost a $0.20 listing fee and it is good for four months or until the item sells out. This is not an auction site like Ebay or a place of haggling like Bookoo and Craigslist. All prices are locked in to the original price that you choose in the beginning and you can also set extra fees to cover the costs of shipping and handling. Once your item sells, you will be notified via email and then you can follow the shipping instructions from there. Be aware that Etsy does take 3.5% commission on the total amount (includes shipping) of the item sold. I have had some great success selling old coins, straight razors, eye glasses, pocket watches and some other one of a kind rare vintage items.
I believe the most effective way because it gives you the biggest payout method on a large scale of items. People will pretty much buy anything these days and eBay is definitely the place to do it. I have sold anything from used bicycle shorts to books to computer parts, depending on the condition of the items. I usually use eBay for smaller items that I know would have little success on sites, such as Craigslist, or items that I simply could not sell anywhere else. What makes eBay different is you have the option of setting a fixed price per item or take your chances auctioning off the item to see how much money you could actually make off it. I personally like the auctioning option because whenever I am unsure of how much I should be selling in item for, it’s always exciting to see the end results, especially when they exceeded my expectations.
The Fixed Price Option
Not the greatest because you eliminate that chance of making more off the item than originally wanted. On the other hand, since the product has a fixed price, you will never get less than expected, which is always a risk you take with the auction style option. Most of the time eBay has a set $0.30 listing fee for 30 days on each item posted with a fixed price, but sometimes they do run monthly promotions for sellers, giving them free listings offers. I haven’t had as much success selling items this way, but the option is always available.
The Auctioning Option
As stated before, I believe this is the best option because you can make more money on your item and instead of getting charged a listing fee for each item, eBay gives you 50 free listings per calendar month. Than anything over that has a $0.30 fee per item. One thing that is also nice that eBay does is, if your item sells you are actually credited back that $0.30 (Fixed and Auctioning), so you are really only paying for items that do not sell. Every listing is given a week maximum for most auctions, but does have the option to shorten the auctioning time, if a week is not ideal.
Like Etsy the process of listing your item for sale is simple. You add item specifics, details and pictures, than you set your prices, select your shipping options and that is it. Your item is now being broadcasted to the world and you will be soon on your way to making that extra income.
Once the item sells eBay takes a 10% commission cut from the total amount of the final sale (includes shipping) which starts to add up after a lot of items are sold, but to me it is worth it because using eBay you are pretty much guaranteed to make money off your items. One other thing you need to be aware of, although there are other limited alternatives, PayPal is really only the option you have in order to get paid from your items sold. And by doing this, PayPal will also take another 3% commission fee plus $0.30 per transaction off your total sale.
Some of the benefits from using selling platforms like Etsy and Ebay are, not only do you get to broadcast your item to the world, you never have to physically deal with the customer on a first hand basis, making it safer in the long run. You also can easily printout all the shipping labels from the comfort of your own home and simply drop the items off at the post office or shipping company the next day. One thing I do want to mention is that the more items you start to sell, the better understanding you will have when it comes to shipping. In the beginning my expenses would cut into my profits because I didn’t really have any idea how much my item would actually cost to ship until it was time to package it up. After a while I started to get better at estimating and my profits increased. So be patient, learn from your mistakes and you will start to see better profits in the future.
There are more ways out there that you can try, to grab that extra dollar from some of your old stuff. Some ideas include garage sales, pawn shops and word of mouth within your circle of friends/co-workers. You could also try Amazon, I know they have a selling platform similar to eBay without the auctions, but I have never tried this method out. I am also sure there are multiple other ways that I have no clue about, that are just waiting to be discovered. The possibilities are endless and where there is a drive, it will always give a payout in the end. But after you have exhausted all of your options and you still cannot get rid of some of your things, you can always donate it to a facility within your community and have the assured confidence to know that someone will be blessed by your generosity. I have always felt that I would rather donate my item to someone who really needed it, rather than be cheated by someone with a selfish spirit, wanting something for nothing.
Benefits and Reasons to Sell
- Less clutter equals less stress
- Extra income for other things you might need or want
- Upgrading Outdated Products
- Freedom; stuff weighs you down in life
- Moving or can’t take it with you
It’s been six years now since I sold everything I owned, picked up and left to explore the world, and I have so much more freedom because of it. If I ever ran into things I needed, it was always provided in one way or another, so I have always tried not to stress myself about anything like that. I literally only have two suitcases and two backpacks to my name and I can honestly say, I have never been happier. Stuff weighs you down and in the end we need to ask ourselves, do we really need it?
If you have any questions or would like to share other ways of selling your unwanted items, I encourage you to please leave a comment below, so we can learn from each other.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase from the website, I will receive an affiliate commission.