Friday, April 11, 2008

Selling My Stuff

I've made about $100 on Ebay recently-- maybe a bit less when you take out the fees, but not bad. I've been trying to clean out some of my old gadgets-- I'm kind of attached to them, but I hate feeling weighed down by too much stuff, and I can always use more closet space. I love achieving two goals-- more cash and less clutter.
Unfortunately, it's a bit of a nuisance to deal with selling things. It takes time to photograph and list them on Ebay. It takes time to pack them up and ship them. It takes time to answer emails with questions, but I usually describe things in such exhaustive detail that I don't leave too many questions unanswered in the listing itself! I sold one higher-value gadget, and I'll probably try to sell my old computer, but beyond that, I may just bring some stuff to the Salvation Army or one of those recycling drop-offs for old electronics.

Aside from the little stuff I can sell on Ebay, I'm tempted to try to get rid of some larger items. I recently bought a new dining table and chairs (only $300 at!). I'd been wanting something a bit larger, and I needed extra chairs for guests. But now I have to figure out what to do with my old table and chair. I may just keep them to use as a desk, but that will create a whole set of spatial arrangement issues I'm not sure I can deal with! So I'm wondering if I should just sell the table on Craigslist instead.
I'm also having doubts about my bed. I got it last year from Room & Board, and it's very cool-looking, but my bedroom is tiny and I'm wondering if I should have gotten something smaller that didn't have a footboard. If I tried to sell the bed, I doubt I'd get anywhere near what I paid for it, even though it's in like-new condition. Do I want to spend hundreds of dollars basically just for the privilege of changing my mind about a bed? (Or should I just make my mind up about the bed and lie in it?!)
The problem with selling furniture is that you have to be at home for people to come and look at it, and they have to be able to deal with transporting it. And with the bed, I'd also need to find a new one to replace it. I don't think I really want to deal with it right now.

Do you sell stuff you don't want or donate it? Or just decide to live with it? How do you decide? How valuable does something have to be before it's worthwhile for you to sell it?


Anonymous said...

i do whatever i possibly can to avoid carting my stuff to the dump.

Selling stuff on Ebay sounds like too much of a hassle, for the reasons you mentioned. I've tried tag sales, but they dont' seem to give you much return based on all the prep work involved and then sitting around all day.

I mostly give things away to family or Good Will (for a tax write-off). I've also tried freecycle, but again, it becomes much more of a hassle than it's worth when people don't show up for the pickup 3 out of 4 times.

the best bet, i think, is not buying unnecessary stuff to begin with.

leeapeea said...

I prefer Craig's list over Ebay because there are no fees. But most of my stuff is not worth selling once I'm done with it - I generally take decent hand-me-downs or buy second hand, so I end up giving a lot of things away when I can't use them anymore. If it seems to have value (like a gift that's nice but I don't want) I might sell it on Craig's List, but more likely I'll donate it, because my time is valuable, and I won't make enough selling it.

About your bed - have you tried just taking the footboard off? You could stash it the the back of a closet, or even sell it seperately (Craig's List would be best for that, since a lot of designers in NYC utilize it). You can always post the frame to sell at what you bought it at, offer to negotiate, and see what comes up. You might be surprised. If no offers come, you're no worse off (since CL is free).

Good luck!

Esme said...

If things are in good condition I try to sell it first before I donate it. The reason is in the city I live, places like Goodwill and Salvation army are overloaded with donations. I guess more people are donating then people are shopping thrift.

My fear is that they might throw it away and not recycle. So yes I try to sell give it away first, before hitting the donation places.

Anonymous said...

LOVE Room & Board! We bought our bed, side tables, couch and chair, and matching end tables there. Great stuff with style and solid construction, for completely reasonable prices. Love love love.

(Keep the bed. Too much hassle to change to something that you probably won't even like as much, right?)

jenni said...

Clothes, I always donate - I know some people sell clothes and shoes on Ebay, but I just can't be bothered. At the end of every school year, I clean out my closet (gotta get on that soon - it's coming up that time of year again!), and usually dump a garbage bag full of stuff at the local Goodwill.

More valuable stuff, I try to sell through Craigslist and other online forums. My faculty has a listserv, so there's a lot of good sales that are advertised there - I recently bought an IKEA lamp for $10 from a graduating student, which I'll probably re-sell when I graduate.

Anonymous said...

My friends and I usually go through our closets and rooms and then let our friends go through and purchase or take what we don't want. There's nothing better than seeing a shirt that never left my closet on a close friend. That's how we furnished most of our house (we're all recent college graduates) we had friends giving us things they weren't using. I'm thankful for their generosity otherwise we'd probably all be sitting on pizza box chairs and crate end tables. :) PS I really enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

I tend to give stuff away, either at the Free Box for locals, or to friends. I've also given a ton of clothing to my mom because she's about my size and likes my style, so that's always fun.

I'd love to get your opinions on something. I currently live in Taos and will be moving to New York this summer. At first I'm doing a houseswap so I'll just ship minimal stuff (clothes, a few books) before I go in July and hang out in my friend's apartment in Soho until October.

But I'll have to get a permanent place after that, which means moving mid-semester. I'll have to either fly to Taos and ship all my remaining necessities (the rest of my clothes, more books, linens, etc.), fly back to NY, then buy inexpensive bed/dresser/desk/chair/kitchen stuff in NY, basically duplicating what I already own (and will then eventually have to get rid of).

Or do I miss a week of school, fly back to Taos and drive a U-Haul to NY with my furniture and kitchen stuff? What do you think? It's obviously a question of both time and money. I appreciate any and all feedback!

Anonymous said...

Craigslist is great for anything and everything! You may lose some $ on the bed, but if someone comes and picks it up and hauls it out for you, isn't that worth something?
Also, do you know about Freecycle? I think you just post things that you are giving away and people jsut come and get it -- saves a trip to the Salvation Army.
You are right that the problem is being home for people to come and see/get the item but if it helps you reach a goal of getting rid of stuff, it's worth it (sometimes I even forget I'm getting paid, I'm so happy that someone has come to take my stuff -- it's a nice bonus when they hand me cash as well!)

Sicilian said...

I do all of the above. Mostly I would gladly give furniture to people who are in need. I also donate to the Hospice store in my town. Hospice was such a big help to my family during my mother's bout with cancer.

Anonymous said...

I vote all of the above - OR go to a good auctioneer. I got rid of a diningroom table, chairs, some trucks. Basically big, bulky stuff. It doesn't have to be antique. Best part - they move it out of your house for you.

FB @ said...

I sell my stuff on my own FB Closet Selling blog... So no fees at all, only paypal fees

Although I've used Ebay in the past, and Craigslist too.

Alli said...

I have a few ideas for you for getting rid of some things you don't want anymore. Many schools have the not-for-profit status for donations if I am not mistaken.

First, donate to a woman's shelter or homeless shelter.

Second, donate clothes or other props to a drama club or school. I worked at a school and these items would have been appreciated. Call around to schools first to see if they can actually use them.

Third and far more entertaining for the readers and more work for you is to have an "And I mean EXACT" with give aways... Check out this post-

Anonymous said...

I make four piles:

1. Small, high value items to sell on Ebay. Small because they are easier to send.

2. Give away to friends.

3. Donate to the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

4. Throw away.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I am in a tax bracket that makes donating items fairly attractive compared to trying to sell. I don't ever do yard sales or have someone over or in my house that I don't know.

Anny said...

You should try using an eBay trading assistant for the items which have worth but you don't want to photograph, research and package. eBay has a whole section devoted to them and their services.