Simplifying and Selling Your Stuff Online

Simplifying my life is an on-going project that has been going on for over a year.  I have systematically downsized my belongings, being thoughtful about what I truly need/use/love.  I can honestly say that at this point, I couldn't be happier with my decision.  Though I have let go of hundreds of things, I have yet to regret even one.  Truth me told, I can't even tell you what has all left my house!

In the beginning, it was a huge, overwhelming project.  There was just so much stuff that needed to be relocated.  I cracked under the pressure and my ingenious "yard sale" quickly turned into a free-for-all, followed by several carloads of leftovers to the local thrift shop.  Sure, I could have reaped more financial reward for my belongings (some of them were quite valuable), but I was sick of dealing with them.  I was sick of being responsible for them.  I just wanted them GONE!

Now, over a year into this move toward minimalism, I have a more reasonable number of things to deal with, which means I now have the time, energy and desire to put forth the effort it takes to connect these objects to buyers.  In fact, even with far fewer things I have made much, much more money that I ever did when my house was full to the brim with "valuables".

Here are a few sites that I have used a couple tips to get you started

  • EBAY - this site is great for small things that are easy to ship and rare objects that might have value to a fringe group of collectors.  I've had very good luck with clothes, especially name brand things.  Make sure to calculate your shipping accurately so you don't end up breaking even (it's happened to me more than once!).  When setting a starting price for your things, I would start with your "ideal" price and see if anyone bites.  If a week goes by and no one bids on it, then lower the price just a smidge, and so on until it sells.
  • CRAIGSLIST - this site is good for big things like furniture or anything else that is impractical to ship.  Electronics are good on craigslist, too because people like to be able to see it before committing to the purchase (I bought my very beloved Kindle off CL).  Be warned, setting up times to meet with people and navigating that whole back-and-forth can be a pain in the butt, so make sure the item/value is worth the trouble.
  • Amazon - I like listing books on sites like Amazon (or half.com, an affiliate of Ebay) because my inventory will just sit there and in the meantime I can work on getting around to reading it.  If I don't read the book before it sells, then it was never meant to be.
  • ETSY - I haven't done a whole lot with Etsy because a) I'm not that organized and b) I'm not that creative.  Etsy requires a certain level of marketing, especially with photographing your crafts.  The plus is that listings can remain up there for several months, so its easy to just throw something up there and forget about it.  I've made a few sales, but it remains my least favorite venue (for selling, not buying). 
  • FREECYCLE - sure you aren't making any moolah with this one but it does connect your unwanted things to someone who will actually use it.  And that's better than said object just sitting around your house being cluttery chaos.    

The moral of this story is that simplifying your "inventory" will make any form of online resale a lot more fun and manageable.  Also, give your things a shelf life.  If that sweater doesn't sell in X weeks/months, then off to charity store it will go.  Have fun and enjoy the extra beer money!

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