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    Cash for Clutter

    Friday, January 1st, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Frugal Living, Housing, Simplification, Spending

    So you have now identified a few items to sell for your replacement fund. But how do you turn those items into cash and grow your replacement fund? Here are some ideas.

    Pick The Best First
    Set yourself up for success and sell your best items first. This means items with the highest profit and that are the easiest to ship or transport. These are usually books, electronics and other consumer goods.

    Price to Sell Fast
    You have already decided you wouldn’t mind shedding these items, so don’t let price get in the way. It’s easy to get hung up on what a “deal” the buyer is getting. After all, you paid -insert your price here- and it has the -insert some feature here-. The past is the past, so don’t get hung up on the other guy. (Yes, he is probably getting a good deal). Good deals are what drive sales. The fact is, if it wasn’t such a good deal the buyer wouldn’t be knocking at your door. Make your item a great deal and don’t look back.

    Advertise a Few Items at a Time
    Remember to pace yourself. If you have closets full if items to shed, start with just a few. Less than five is ideal. I know it sounds like a slow start but jumping in head first is a great way to drown. On the other hand if you only start with one item and have no success (it doesn’t sell) you may give up too soon. Start with 3 items or so and test the waters. This way you will not be overwhelmed and will have time to ‘learn the ropes’.

    Here are a few methods of selling your stuff:

    Amazon is easy and quick. It is best for consumer electronics, books or other common household items. Amazon requires no technical skills and no customer interaction is necessary. Amazon takes a cut (depends on what you are selling) but also gives you a shipping credit that is typically generous (for books it is usually $4). I have listed books in the evening that all sold before I got up the next morning.

    Ebay is best for less common or more unique items. You can set your own price and shipping terms. The downside is that auctions (the traditional way to sell on eBay) take a lot time (a few days). The buyer can also skip out on you forcing you to start the auction all over again. In addition, listing your item takes more technical skill (upload photos, type out specs, formatting etc). You must write your own details and supply your own photos. eBay fees are very reasonable.

    Local Craigslist.org
    This works great for items that are too expensive or too large to ship (couches, cars, washer/dryers). There are no fees but you will have to post your own photos and description. The downside is that you have to deal with customers. You have to meet them in person to exchange the item for payment. However, I bring smaller items to the office so I don’t have the public coming to my house. You can also meet in your front yard, or at a large parking lot if you really don’t like the idea of someone coming to your home.

    Tip: Don’t use the Craig’s list photo upload. Instead, use another service and embed the photos. Craig’s list forces you to upload images that are very small which doesn’t provide the detailed photos most buyers want.

    Are you hesitant about giving your number to strangers? This is a free tool that assigns you a free number that forwards to your cell phone. It’s a anonymous number that you can use for free.

    Don’t Negotiate
    You may end up lowering your price or accepting a lower price than you want. Swallow your pride and take it. Chances are you aren’t a retail salesperson so don’t pretend you are skilled at it. Take whatever reasonable amount you can bear and say goodbye to one item at a time. By attempting to negotiate you risk getting burnt out and frustrated. And for what? A few extra bucks?

    Talking point: What techniques or practices have you found success with when selling your stuff?

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