Selling Stuff on Craigslist
WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU NEED A LITTLE EXTRA CASH FOR YOUR TRIP?
Clearance - everything must go! Or at least anything that’ll get a bite on Craigslist or Crossroads. I considered getting a storage unit while I’m away, but at this point in my life, none of my furnishings were worth the money it would take to store them. And there’s something refreshing about clearing out.
Selling furniture and home goods — A few thoughts from my experience using Craigslist:
- It is safe: despite its former seedy reputation, I’ve never felt uncomfortable with any of the interactions I’ve had. Yes, I gave out my cell phone number and personal address, but that basically happens whenever I take a Lyft home. I also sold mostly to women, which put me at ease.
- Have change on hand: $20 is by far the most popular bill I received (thank you ATMs). There were definitely a few times when I didn’t have change and ended up dropping the price.
- Barter beforehand: I was concerned that people would want to negotiate prices in person, which made me a little nervous (generally a pushover on price). But I found that mostly people will ask about price before coming by to pick up - this is great as a seller because you have some flexibility to see what offers roll in. I would say, however, when I’m selling multiple things, I’m happy to adjust prices for people who buy several things at once. Time vs. money.
- Start early: I hate living in limbo, but I would still recommend starting to sell items a few months before your departure. (I started two months in advance.) The nice thing about starting early is you don’t have to cater your schedule to others’ availability; you can coordinate meet-ups at your convenience, and you can find other buyers when people inevitably flake. Also, you can start at a higher price and adjust down with time if you’re not getting interest. The not-so-nice thing about starting early is that you may end up sleeping on an air mattress for a few weeks… Best to stagger your listings so you don’t feel like you’re camping indoors.
- Do due diligence: making a good post on Craigslist should be time consuming. I’ve had pretty good luck attracting buyers by taking quality photos of the items (and pulling professional photos from the internet); including dimensions and details on wear & tear; and comparing to original price. (I’ll even include a link to the brand-new item if it’s still being sold.) I wouldn’t expect to get more than 50% of the price you paid, but it’s nice for people to see they’re getting a ‘deal.’
Selling clothing and accessories — Two good options:
- Crossroads: there are many consignment stores, so even if you don’t have a Crossroads nearby, you should be able to find something similar. The nice things about consignment stores it’s a relatively quick process - you may have to wait in line to have your clothes reviewed, but you get paid out then and there. The difficulty is that these stores only want items that are in season, so it might not be the best fix for a full closet clearance.
- thredUP: I will personally say that I adore thredUP because they’re committed to sustainability and their packages are so friendly (polka dots galore). They do accept clothes of all seasons, so long as they are in good condition. I would definitely recommend ordering a Clean Out kit well in advance — I happened to request during a busy season, so it took a while to get my bag. But once it arrives, you just fill it up and then drop it off for shipping (label is pre-paid). I chose to donate any items not accepted, in part because I didn’t want to hassle with any return shipments while I’m abroad.
Everything else -- when you have no luck on Craigslist or consignment:
Salvation Army and Goodwill are great options to donate. I know it may seem easier to just throw items to the curb or dumpster, but donation facilities help reduce waste by reselling or recycling items. Also, you can also get donation receipts for tax write-offs, which may give you some extra cash later on. People argue over which organization is better, but I have donated to and shopped at both. I will say that Salvation Army has the option to schedule a pick-up, which is convenient. (I believe Goodwill does the same in certain areas, but only for large items or furniture.)
There are certainly other ways to make money as well - freelancing or working part-time, reducing spending, cutting back on subscriptions. For me, selling stuff on Craigslist was an obvious choice as I would be moving out of my apartment and wanted to save on storage costs. But even if you’re not moving, you could earn cash for your clutter. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.