The art of selling used stuff quickly and painlessly
We are saving up for a trip to the East Coast this summer to visit my husband’s family and introduce them to our nine- month-old son for the first time. So, last week I combed through the house looking for items to sell on UsedVictoria.com in hopes of making some extra cash and simultaneously early spring clean our house! It amazed me what I managed to dig up.
As well, I stumbled upon my original Nintendo system with 6 games that I remember I held on to, thinking “I will definitely play that again one day!” That was 10 years ago and I’ve been lugging this system around with me with each move since I was 18. (okay so that’s a lie…guess I’ve been lugging it for 14 years!)
I even found an old pair of rollerblades from when I was 16 that I know I will never use again; this is a very good thing as I never actually figured out how to stop in those things! They only bring back not-so-fond memories of scraped knees and the feeling of utter terror as I barrelled down hills praying that a speeding car wouldn’t meet me at the bottom. Luckily I only met with a few parked cars instead! I apologize to those people who found dents in their car hoods that looked suspiciously like a human torso.
My husband and I have the same argument every time I try to sell things…he tells me there is NO WAY I will ever get any money for some of my items and I tell him that I most certainly will. As the old saying goes, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure…for the right price.” (I added “for the right price.”)
And this is one of the main rules of my system on how to sell things quickly: Always price things cheap so they will sell quickly because people always like to buy things when they know they are getting a good deal. I see some people asking ridiculously high prices on items that maybe have sentimental value to them or they paid a lot of money for 10 years ago but these items will not sell quickly or possibly ever! I mean, I understand that the 1975 polyester suit was worn by your son to his prom and it cost you a fortune back then but this doesn’t mean you can sell it for $100 today! Do some research and find out what your item is actually worth and then price it lower.
For instance, I did a little research and it turned out that the Nintendo system and games I found are actually considered collector items these days and so they were probably worth about $80. But I knew that if I posted it for this price, I wouldn’t be giving anyone a good deal, plus I may have to deal with fanatic collectors who would spend 10 minutes scrutinizing over the Super Mario 3 box to make sure it didn’t have any rips or flaws. (I actually found out that an original Nintendo game in the box sold for over $12,000 last year….the game itself was worth $3000 but the box was worth $9000! Come on — it’s cardboard, people!) So, I posted it for $40 and sure enough, within 2 hours I had over 10 people emailing me for it and it was sold and out of my house by the end of the day.
My other very important rule is “If it’s under $20, it goes on the porch!” This means that if I am selling a used item for $20 or under, I will simply email the person my address, put the item on our front porch and ask them to leave the money in our mailbox if they decide to take it. And don’t worry, I’ve done this dozens of times and people have always left the money. I think it’s human nature to generally be honest, or at least paranoid that they’ll be caught if they don’t pay up. Plus, the major advantage to this rule is that it weeds out…ummm…let’s call them the “eccentric” people! You usually can tell who these people are by their initial email or phone call and my advice is always go with your gut instinct…if they seem “eccentric,” they probably are, so send them to the porch.
I didn’t abide by my own rule last week and it bit me in the tooshie! As I mentioned earlier, I was selling four interior doors cheap and soon enough someone emailed me asking to see them. By the initial email, I was a bit wary but decided to call her to make an appointment because I really wanted these doors gone. We chatted a bit and she said she could come over right away. So, I gave her my address and asked, “So, I’ll see you in about 15-20 minutes then?” She replied, “Well, actually it will probably be about an hour as I’m taking the bus.” The bus???? How in the world was she planning on taking these 4 very heavy doors on the bus? Before I could reply, she’d hung up and was on her way.
She arrived with a friend/door consultant at her side to help figure out if the doors would work. I find out very quickly that she never actually showed my used ad to this door expert beforehand because if she had, he would have been aware that they were the wrong size and that 2 of the doors had some damage (which is why I was selling them so cheap!) I ended up being cornered in the basement, unable to escape the 10 minute fight that ensued between them over whether to buy the doors. It was like being a child trapped in a room with your two bitter divorced parents! Needless to say, they did not purchase the doors and l was left feeling confused, angry and possibly in need of therapy.
Regardless of these sometimes stressful interactions, selling your used items can be a great way of making some extra money, as well as a way to clear out your house of unwanted things. Plus, it feels good to know that these objects are being reused rather than dumped in the landfill. Just remember, if you want that item gone quickly and don’t want to find yourself stuck in a basement losing your sanity, try following my rules and hopefully you’ll make some extra cash! I know there are many of you out there with some good Used site “eccentric” stories so please feel free to share them. They may benefit other sellers out there plus they’ll just give us all a good laugh!
Coupon Tip of the Week: Keep your eyes peeled for great deals and coupons for cleaning supplies right now. March is when everyone starts thinking of spring cleaning so there are plenty of good sales plus great coupons. Combine those two and you may end up getting your cleaing supplies for free or at least very cheap. And they don’t expire for a long time, so you can easily stock up.