You did a great job of whittling down your unwanted items. Well done! Let us imagine you have a few cast-offs that are not auction-worthy but you think you could sell online. How do you determine whether it is worth the effort? Here are some questions to help you gain clarity.
Can I Do This Safely?
Are you willing to take the recommended safety precautions when selling to strangers? Nothing is more valuable than your safety. If you cannot sell safely, please do not entertain the idea. If you have a plan and have read literature regarding safe selling procedures, advance to the next question.
Am I Comfortable with Technology?
This is an important question. I find the online process easy enough to occasionally sell some of my cast-offs. Since the early days of Craigslist, I have enjoyed meeting buyers, hearing their stories, and making easy spending money. I am also comfortable with technology. Otherwise, I would find the process too frustrating to be worthwhile. I have worked with many individuals selling for the first time, only to discover that the process is overwhelming and time-consuming, even with my help. So, your first order of business is to decide whether you are comfortable enough with technology to give it a shot. If so, excellent, proceed to the next question.
Do I Have the Time?
What type of demands do you have on your time? Do you care for children or grandchildren? Do you have a household to manage, including home repair? Do you have hobbies that take up most of your free time?
Selling will likely take much longer than anticipated the first few times you post. We must also factor in time for back and forth with potential buyers. This used to be a cut-and-dry process, but I have noticed that the “flake factor” has exponentially increased in the last few years. You have to allow time for multiple rounds of communication with various individuals. To be safe, also allow extra padding for those who suddenly drop off contact.
This new dynamic means that I am now more picky about what I take time to post. I donate 99.9% of items I tire of or swap out to make space for a new purchase.
Honestly weigh selling projects against other goals and deliverables in your life. Then, you can avoid feeling bad about spending time on a process that might not get the expected results. You will also feel better when an item sells.
Am I Willing To Repost if Needed?
Sometimes, items are quite popular, particularly if sold at the right time. I recently sold an entire camp set-up because I knew when to post for maximum exposure. I was able to sell it to someone attending a unique event for the first time. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge, explaining why each item was helpful, and sending my multi-page Excel document that I had updated after each year of attendance. Often, though, the process takes longer. Sometimes, I am unsure whether an item has a viable market, and it takes additional time to repost ads.
Am I Willing to Stick to a Deadline?
I have sold many of my cast-offs over the years. I have also been unsuccessful in selling other items over the years. I need to stick with a game plan to make sure the process is short. If the item does not sell after a specified time, I donate, recycle, or trash it as needed. If you think you will be tempted to keep the item indefinitely, you are better off donating it immediately. Things that languish in corners can zap the motivation needed to continue decluttering.
Is There a Market for My Item?
A common refrain from professional organizers is that “no one values our stuff as much as we do.” It is a great rule to live by. There will be exceptions, but our confidence can lead us astray. We might look on ebay.com and think, “Awesome! This camera is selling for $300!” The key is to filter the results by “Sold.” We might find multiple posts asking $300 but only selling for $5 to $10. Conversely, we might be pleasantly surprised to find that others have sold their items recently for a tidy sum.
Did you answer a resounding “Yes!” to the questions above? If so, congratulations; you are now ready to sell your item and will hopefully enjoy the process as I have over the years. Stay tuned; next up, I will demonstrate how to sell your items online!
Author: Judith Dold
Musings from yours truly about all things organizing.