Monday, January 22, 2018

Spring Cleaning Pays

April 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

spring cleaning 1

While most truly welcome the season of spring, many of us try to avoid the task of spring cleaning. But what if slimming down our closets could fatten our wallets?

As seasons change, we want out with the old and in with the new. Instead of throwing out your unwanted clothes, you can sell them. Not at an “everything for a dollar” garage sale, but through sites like eBay and Craigslist.

I have been selling items on eBay for the past seven years and on Craigslist for nearly as long.  Both have their pros and cons; I’m happy to share what I’ve learned about navigating the online marketplace.

While Craigslist’s reputation has tarnished, it is a fantastic avenue for selling used big-ticket items such as appliances, furniture, and cars (I’ve sold all through the site). Craigslist is free and easy to use. All you need is a valid email address to post and manage your ads. You can upload photographs of your item, which help increase chances of a sale. It is quicker and easier to make sales because you are dealing in real time and you are in full control over communicating with potential buyers. You can share your phone number in the body of the ad or be more private and have responses go through an automated email address that Craigslist provides.

Keeping security in mind, I do provide a phone number when selling my items. Not only do I get more responses, I tend to sell the items faster.  However, there are endless scams on Craigslist. If someone responds to your ad and talks about sending money orders or other forms of payment, simply do not respond to them. The best way to avoid these scams is to sell the items as “cash and carry” only.

spring cleaning 2I did not find Craigslist to be a good venue to sell clothing. I tried selling some shoes on there years ago, and the only response I got was from a man who had a foot fetish and wanted to pay me to do things to/with my feet. I will spare you the details of his proposal, but it sufficiently freaked me out enough to never sell clothing items on Craigslist again.

Handbags, jewelry, shoes, and clothing do sell on eBay as you reach a wider audience — the more eyes on your item, the more likely it will sell. It is a little more complex to set up than Craigslist as you need to have both an eBay account and a PayPal account.

High-end items (e.g. Michael Kors and Coach) tend to sell very well on eBay. Items in good condition may sell for about half of what you originally paid for it.  Other items that are not high-end brands can be hit or miss; I often sell them for far less than what I paid, but for more than what they would fetch at a garage sale.

Since you are not usually dealing with a transaction taking place nearby, as on Craigslist, eBay sales take time to package and mail.  You can either have the buyer pay for shipping based on their location, set a flat shipping rate, or offer free shipping. For smaller items such as rings, watches, and jewelry, I have generally offered free shipping. For larger items such as laptops and game systems, I have the buyer pay for shipping based on shipping destination. For other items I usually set a flat shipping fee. I would not recommend allowing your items to be purchased by anyone outside the United States. Higher shipping costs, annoying customs forms, and potential for fraudulent payments are hassles that cut into what you earn.

You must pay a percentage of each sale to eBay and another to PayPal.  If you are a new seller, you often have to wait up to 21 days for PayPal to release the funds to you after a sale. It is a precaution they take to protect buyers, but I did not like having to wait for my money in the beginning.

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so using these sites to sell your unwanted items is a great way to put this saying into practice. Earning extra money while at the same time cleaning out the clutter is rewarding. So is taking the extra cash and treating yourself to something fabulous and new!

By Raven Peterson

was born and raised in Port Jefferson. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States in search of new adventures and culinary delights. Her three favorite things in life are friends, food, and fashion.

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