Cash from Clutter, Part 2

Following on from De-cluttering for Profit Part 1, here is the second batch of Tanya’s  tips for turning your excess baggage into clean, crisp cash.  If you enjoy this guest post, you can catch up with Tanya regularly at her blog, Dans Le Townhouse.

Selling Online

There are many online marketplaces to sell your goods. Ebay is an excellent way to sell valuable or unusual goods—especially if your target market is small (like collectors of rare Bakelite combs, for example). Other items, like electronics or furniture, can easily be sold using free and local online classifieds. Try Kijiji (Canada) or Craigslist (international) and implement these tips:

1. Take a good picture.   A picture is worth a thousand words. Take clear photos, in natural light. Take close ups of any important details (like markings/brand names). Try to style your items because, like any retailer, you want your buyer to desire you item. Dress up a piece of furniture and put clothes on a dummy, if you can.

The photo on the left makes my bed look much more desirable than the one on the right. This would be a better choice were I to list my headboard for sale.

2. Provide a thorough description.
Give potential buyers key information: size, colour, condition, etc. The more information, the better. When you come up with a title for your ad, use key descriptive phrases so people using a search feature can find your ad easily: “Brand new purple size L cashmere sweater” or “Pair of mid-century teak side tables”. You don’t want buyers interested in what you are selling to miss your ad.

3. Meet in a public place. If you are selling something large that requires interested parties come to your home, only give your address to serious buyers—people who call for more info or ask  pecific questions. Do not invite a buyer to your home when you are alone and try to pick a time when your neighborhood is busy. It is terrible we have to be so vigilant, but it is better to be safe. If you are selling something smaller, try to meet in a public place like a mall or coffee shop.

4. Search the “wanted” ads. Years ago I listed a set of car tires for sale and weeks passed, with no interest. My husband started perusing the “wanted” ads and found a want ad for the exact product we were selling. We contacted the interested party and sold our tires the very next day. It took a bit of extra legwork, but the end result was worth it!

5. Advertise the finality of your price. Are you flexible on your price? You might want to include the phrase “or best offer”. Unwilling to haggle? Then state, “price firm”. If you’ve done research to determine the price, you might consider telling buyers where to look for pricing, so they can be comfortable knowing they are not being overcharged.

Yard Sales

A yard sale or garage sale (also called a tag sale) is a great way to sell smaller, less valuable merchandise like children’s games, kitchenware, books—even furniture. I am yard sale obsessed  and, with my family, I have held dozens of sales. I have figured out a few tricks along the way:

1. Advertise your sale. Where legal, post signs on community billboards, lamps posts and even using the free online classifieds. Specify the date, time, location and key items (ex. “Lots of children’s clothes”). Put these up a few days in advance so dedicated yard-sale attendees will know to flag your address. On the day of your sale, make sure there are signs guiding traffic to your house – even arrows with the words “yard sale” will do the trick.

Image: Nola Buck

2. Clean, organize, and price.   A yard sale done right is a bit of work, but ask yourself: would you buy a dirty item out of a jumbled box of stuff? Clean all of your items, group them by theme on tables and price as many goods as you can. You will likely have some folks haggle prices with you, and having a price tag will keep you from feeling flustered because you have a starting point — and some folks will just pay the amount asked.

3. Be safe. Again, safety is a concern. Lock the doors to your home, and try to host a yard sale with friends and family. Do not let anyone use your washroom — some people might ask and this can sometimes be a ploy to rob you. Direct them to the nearest coffee shop or gas station. Also, keep your money on your person.

4. Invite the neighborhood. The more sales in one area, the more traffic you will generate. Invite your neighbors in on the fun, or have your friends and family bring their goods to your home. Large yard sales draw bigger crowds.

5. Supplies & miscellaneous. For added convenience, stockpile bags, wrapping material or boxes for folks to bring them goods home in. Start the day with a “float” and count on people paying for a $2.00 item with a twenty dollar bill. As mentioned, keep your cash on you, or station someone at a table with a cashbox. If you are hosting a sale with family, use coloured stickers to keep track of which items belong to whom.

Although just a small sampling of suggestions, I hope my advice will help you cross another item from your “to-do” list—and earn you top dollar for your unwanted goods. Happy selling!

Thank you, Tanya, for a wonderful guide for newbie sellers, and timely advice as we all do some spring de-cluttering!  If you would like friendly, confidential Professional Organizing help to turn chaos into calm, contact me to take the first step toward a sorted, stylish space.

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2 Responses to Cash from Clutter, Part 2

  1. We have managed to sell several things on Craigslist, and we’ve learned that sooooo many people who respond and say they will *definitely* be there at such and such a time with cash in hand are maybe 50/50 in terms of whether they actually show up. (Is this just an LA thing? Are people elsewhere more reliable?)

    But I haven’t yet mustered the guts to do eBay, and in a condo, a garage sale is a bit tougher. One day, though!

    postmodern hostess

  2. Dana@Mid2Mod says:

    Great post! I take for granted that everyone knows how to use eBay, CL and how to have yard sales, but I’m frequently surprised by people who have never done any of these things. I know many of them would be thrilled to find a how-to like this.

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