The Marketplace Transformed
In the olden days, people would regularly commute from their local village to the nearest town center to sell their goods. Whether it was leatherworks, wicker ware, or metal crafts, sellers congregated in outdoor marketplaces where buyers could walk through the open air in search of their next procurement. And while such markets have continued since the ages of old, we have made considerable technological leaps, enabling us to visit virtual marketplaces on the internet and send and receive goods anywhere – all from the comfort of a couch!
So, whether it be items you love to make or ones that have fallen out of favor, rather than letting them accumulate dust or tossing them out, exchange them for extra cash because nowadays, everyone can become a shopkeeper with minimal effort.
The Process Of Discovering Through Decluttering
For me, the process of becoming a shopkeeper started through decluttering. You see, every few months, I do a deep clean of the house. During such excavations, I recycle nearly empty containers, clear previously important mail, and, most importantly, sort through old belongings.
Through this process, I inevitably discover items that are no longer of emotional importance or practical need – relics from a bygone era. And while it is better to avoid purchasing unneeded stuff, to err is to be human. Therefore I treat no longer needed goods and remnants of a pre-financially disciplined lifestyle all the same – money to be had.
Once the goods are identified, I hop onto the many online marketplaces on my smartphone, seeing if a used market exists for such things. If not, I donate them to the local Arc & Goodwill. However, if there is, and it makes sense to sell them for extra cents, I will choose the most economical marketplace to recoup my money! I.e., Craigslist for high demand or oversized items, eBay for niche or easy to ship goods, and Etsy for handcrafts. And yes, Amazon is an option too. (Generally, this step should take you no more than five minutes.)
Mr. Clean & Inner Paparazzi
Who likes dirty stuff? No one! Thus, before selling my old goods, I wipe them down to remove dust or dirt that has clung to them. Then, once restored to their former glory in under a minute, I put the items on a white shelf against a white backdrop. Then, I snap photos using my iPhone from various angles with good lighting, and voila! I am ready to move on to the digital phase!
Pro-tip: Think creatively as to where you photograph your items. I often use my kitchen, where there are white walls, shelves, and excellent lighting abound.
Ah, the listing phase. While the most tedious, it takes under five minutes, so hang in there. Plus, it allows you to channel your inner author, expressing your item in a poetic description that will whist the buyer off their feet!
For Craigslist, I input the approximate location where I am willing to meet and a brief but eloquent description of the goods. If I utilize eBay, I find an identical or similar product already for sale and click the “sell one” button on that listing. Then I upload my photos; I mean works of art!
Note: If there are no similar items to yours on eBay, do a manual listing. It adds maybe one to two minutes in total, so don’t fret.
Now before you list your goods, you must decide on a price! If you want to sell them fast, price your goods under market price. However, if you want the most of your previously hard-earned dollars back and can be patient, list the goods for a more reasonable price.
Notably, I always price my goods competitively and sometimes cover the shipping cost, but the latter depends on how much the item is selling for and if I am patient.
The next step is to wait for a buyer. Sometimes your item will sell in under an hour, while other times, it may take weeks. Be patient, and they will come.
Notably, with Craigslist and eBay, be prepared to negotiate the price and receive low offers; this is normal.
Sell & Deliver
Once the price has been settled, drive to meet Craigslist buyers in a well-lit and trafficked area. Remember, safety is paramount, and you don’t want to get robbed! Thus, I regularly meet at my local grocery store, but feel free to use the parking lot at your local police station, too!
For transactions on eBay or Etsy, you will purchase a shipping label through the marketplace and box up your former goods. Then drop them off at the nearest shipping center, and you are done! All you need to do now is wait for the cash to transfer to your account.
Pro-tip: I save a small number of boxes and bubble wrap from online purchases to re-use them for future sales. By doing such, I protect the environment and net a few extra bucks, ca-ching!
Most Recently Sold
Most recently, I sold a pair of leather Ariat cowboy boots, a pair of Clark’s desert boots, a mountain bike seat, and an old commuter bike from 2013. Importantly, these used items were still in demand, and the net sales came to ~$470 for less than 45 minutes, meaning that my time was worth $626/hour!
Thus, never doubt what you can sell, especially when being paid to clean your own home!
But What About Costs & Commissions?
Craigslist is my favorite medium to sell goods on since there are no commissions or shipping costs. However, not all items, such as used leather boots and shoes, have broad appeal. Thus, enter eBay and Etsy.
With eBay and Etsy, you will pay a commission for using their services, but the fees are nominal.
Regarding shipping, make sure it is economical to ship the item. If shipping costs more than the item is worth, it is likely better to donate the good. And while I like to offer free shipping on most goods, use your discretion!
And lastly, don’t buy things you don’t need! It is better to run out of things to sell than to waste money on random purchases that inevitably need to be disposed of through selling or donating.
So, what will you sell? Will it be an old trinket you bought years ago, or perhaps a tool that you needed for a one-off project? Regardless, let me know in the comments below! And remember: by decluttering, you can recover long-lost cash and fund your future goals. Who could argue with that?
As always, have a great day!
Mile High Finance Guy
finance demystified, one mountain at a time