For most household items that you no longer use but that have some useful life remaining, donating them to charitable organization like a homeless shelter or thrift store can be much easier. For your valuable goods, however, you may want to take the time and effort to sell them online.
Here are some tips to help you maximize the sales proceeds for the items you sell:
Before you sell it, look carefully for similar items for sale to determine the fair and reasonable price.
If it is too big to ship, carry or move easily (like an old sofa or a bed) Craigslist.org works great. It is an online local classified advertising that is free for most listings. It is easy to use. (I generally price things low to get someone with a pickup truck to show up quickly with a friend to haul my old stuff away, saving me the trouble.)
Shipping Efficient Items
If your item is small and light enough to ship efficiently, especially if it is unlikely to break in transit, you can try eBay. eBay listings give you national and international reach for things you can ship. What you can ship may surprise you.
There is quite a market for cars on eBay. If your car could be considered rare or collectible, you should certainly consider selling your car on eBay. If your car has graduated to clunker status, just trading it in may be your best bet. You can also list cars for sale on Craigslist.org (cheaper and easier than eBay).
If you’re like me, there are some things that are so big and ugly you’d give them to anyone who’d show up to haul it away. You can list such things at Craigslist.org or Freecycle.org.
Because eBay tracks feedback and allows both buyers and sellers to rate one another, it is a good idea to buy a few things online before you try to sell something so that you can validate your good name. Buy cheap things; pay promptly. Request feedback if none is provided automatically. Give the seller feedback. Then, sell your least valuable things first and work up to something like a car where feedback would be key.
Craigslist is not eBay. There is no feedback mechanism. Do not accept anything other than cold, hard cash as payment from anyone from Craigslist. Ever. Do not hold things for Craigslist buyers; chances are very good you will hold them forever. Tell everyone the same thing — the first one to show up with the cash gets the goods.
Whether you are selling an item on Craigslist or eBay, you need good photos. You can get great photos with a cheap camera if you have great light. Try taking photos with and without flash, inside and outside and then choose the photos with the truest colors and the sharpest focus.
Don’t ever lie about your stuff. The cultural ethic on eBay will punish fibbers harshly. Provide complete and accurate descriptions of your stuff to avoid negative feedback. Remember, on Craigslist, someone who lives in your town will come to your home to give you cash; you’d hate to make a big guy with a pickup truck and a big friend mad because you weren’t honest about your stuff.
You can quickly and easily sell your old stuff online, converting old junk into cash. You can’t retire on the proceeds, but selling old junk for cash sure beats renting a storage unit for it!
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.