Monday, February 25, 2008

Selling online to declutter AND make money

I wouldn't exactly describe myself as a "packrat" but I definitely have a tendency to accumulate too much clutter around my house. There are lots of different ways that you can both get rid of the clutter and make a few extra dollars.

First, you can have a garage sale. This is A LOT of work, though. You've got to gather everything you want to sell into your garage so you can price it and sort it. Then you will need to put signs around your neighborhood and/or advertise in your local newspaper. Then you will have to give up at least a Saturday morning to actually hold the sale and deal with people trying to offer you 25 cents for your grandmother's china teacups. Garage sales can be very profitable but it really helps if you have large items for sale and live in a populated area that gets a lot of traffic. I've been very successful with garage sales in the past but now that I really don't have any big ticket items left to sell I haven't bothered with them in a while.

Another option is a "virtual garage sale" on Craig's List. You can list items for sale in your area of the country and have people either call or e-mail you if they are interested in them. Be sure to take good pictures of the item and price it just a little bit higher than the amount you'd like to get so that people can feel like they've gotten a good deal by negotiating. The downside to Craig's List is that you will have strangers coming to your house. Yes, you have that with a garage sale, too, but it seems more personal with Craig's List. Take standard safety precautions if you choose to sell this way. Maybe you can arrange to meet someone at a public location, like a park or a library. I've bought and sold on Craig's List in the past with success. However, be prepared for people to tell you that they are "on the way" to you house only to never show up.

Lastly, I have made lots of money over the years selling on eBay and I used to be a Pampered Chef consultant and when I quit I sold my samples and extra items on eBay. Books I tend to list on because I can leave them there as inventory instead of listing them in auction format and hoping that someone comes along in a week to buy them. Besides Pampered Chef items I have also sold baby clothes, children's toys, and miscellaneous household items on eBay. It started as a way to declutter my home of small items that I could easily ship. Over time I started scouring garage sales and estate sales for things that I could resell for a profit. I think one of my favorite deals was the Suzanne Somers Thigh Master that I bought at a garage sale for $1 and resold a few weeks later on eBay for $25 plus shipping. I have a friend who shops at Goodwill for items to resell and makes extra money for her family. Now that gasoline prices are so high I have to wonder if it's worth it for me to keep going to garage sales on Saturday mornings looking for things to resell. But it's definitely worth it to clean out your house and sell the items on eBay -- no gasoline involved except getting to the post office. And I've heard that you can have your regular mail carrier pick up your packages at your house although I've never tried that myself.

So what are you waiting for?? Start decluttering your house and find places to sell those unwanted items! And if you've gotten a great deal selling something I'd love to hear about it -- just post a comment and share with all of us!!

Check out Money Saving Mom for lots more ideas for Money Making Monday!


Debbie J. said...

Very well written post. I have been doing this since 1-1-08 and have been happy with the results. I have sold on ebay mostly and some in my Etsy Shop. My husband has sold some hand made things for me too. My biggest problem is finding things that people will want to buy on EBay! You never know sometimes what people will like.

LisaMarie said...

I forgot about Etsy! I'm planning to start selling there soon, too. I'm working on some handmade things and plan to open a shop there later this year. I have a few friends who are very successful selling on Etsy and can't wait to try it myself.