Thursday, October 7, 2010

Selling Power

Earlier this week, I dropped my phone, shattering the display glass (prompting my ever-so-tactful husband to sigh and say, "maybe you just shouldn't own fragile things"). After I shot him a steely glare of fury, I decided that instead of paying someone to repair the phone, I would do it myself (in my typical, frugal, DIY way) using a kit I got off the Internet, and instructions via Youtube. I have a good sense of the mechanical, and better-than-average fix-it skills, and the nerds in the video made the repair process look like a breeze, so I really thought I had it in the bag.  But as I was trying to pry the little fragments of broken glass off the phone, I heard an ominous crunch from inside the phone, which portended what I already knew to be true- I had made a bad situation much, much worse.  All of this is to say that I had an unexpected major expense this week in the form of a new cell phone.

In order to offset the cost, and for a fun little goal for myself, I decided I should try to recoup my loss by selling stuff from around the house. Drawing inspiration and advice from my friend Rachel, who has sold more stuff than Ron Popeil, I got out my digital camera, and set to work. Here are the best ways to sell your stuff- even the junk you think is worthless- to easily get some quick cash. Remember, one girl's trash is another girl's brand new iPhone 4. Or something like that.

EBay: I have long been an eBay buyer, but I recently took my first foray into selling. Almost anything you want to sell, you can find a buyer for on eBay. I mostly have sold clothes- anything brand name in good condition will fetch you at least a few bucks- just take flattering photos of the article on a hanger against a white background. Be honest about any flaws, and start the bidding low. I suggest listing a bunch of things all at once- people who like one of your items might check out the others, and you'll save yourself a bunch of trips to the post office when you ship them.

Craig's List: If you live in a fairly metropolitan area, you should list your items on your local Craig's List. I have used Craig's List to sell old furniture and household goods. Again, nice pictures that show the item in a flattering light are a must. Check to see what the going rate is for similar items, and undercut it by a few dollars, and feel free to haggle with buyers. The benefit of this selling method is that the buyer will pick up the item from you (no shipping!), but to be safe, you should meet them at a well-lit, crowded spot, like the coffee shop on your corner. If you are selling something large like a piece of furniture and must let the buyer in your home, make sure there is someone else there at the time- the world is full of freaky people, and one of them might show up at your door under the guise of buying your old boombox. If you have old computers, cell phones, iPods, video games, PDAs or other electronics lying around, wants to buy them from you. They will even send you secure prepaid packaging in which to return it to them, so you don't even have to worry about postage. I sold them an old laptop that was totally dead and a Palm Pilot that I had in the 90s, and they actually gave me money for them. Ironically, they even bought the cell phone I trashed. 

Second Spin: You know how all of your music is on your computer now? But you still have stacks and stacks of old CDs lying around taking up space, don't you? Second Spin will buy your used CDs and DVDs for a decent price. So you can clear out those drawers or shelves of all those ugly plastic cases (and put money there instead).

At Last Resort:  If you have stuff you can't sell, but is still redeemable (i.e. a whole bag of gently-worn Old Navy tank tops), there's still one thing you can do- give it away. Take it to a non-profit thrift shop (try Housing Works in NYC, or the Salvation Army nationwide) and get a receipt so you can deduct the donation from your taxes. It won't technically make you money, but it might save you a bit come April. Plus, it might actually help someone else out, too.

If you have never tried selling things, you'll be amazed at how fun, and oddly addictive, it is. Give it a try- I foresee your closets getting less cramped, and your wallets getting more so.


melinda said...

I hadn't heard of Gazelle before, but it's exactly what we've been looking for! Thanks for the tip!

Jessica said...

I did the exact same thing with my iphone. Shattered the glass, thought "How hard can it be to replace the screen?", did waaay more damage, and ended up buying a new phone.

Good tips on selling things. I use Craigslist a lot, for both buying and selling.

Anonymous said...

Freecycle is another great way to get rid of stuff or get stuff for free.
I also use to get free books or get rid of old ones.

Debbie said...

Thanks for informing me about Gazelle, I've been looking for something like this!

squidravioli said...

You're better off without a cell phone lol! Don't be a slave to technology!

tootie said...

Thanks for the tip on Gazelle. I just sold my old digital camera for a lot more than I thought I'd get!

Bridget ATL said...

"maybe you just shouldn't own fragile things".... sounds like me :) My engagement ring is a 'flat' eternity band because if I had anything sticking up out of the band it would definitely have been broken off by now!