Recently I’ve been doing some cleaning around the house and thinking about how to unload some of the stuff we’ve acquired over the years. I have a ton of junk that’s just taking up space in closets, on bookshelves, in basement rooms, etc. Fortunately, with the power of the Internets, it’s actually quite easy to sell the stuff you don’t need. Here are my favorites:
Everyone knows the school store is the worst place to sell a textbook but there are easier and better alternatives. First, I’d check the bulletin boards of your school, both online and offline. By selling it through the bulletin boards you save on shipping and selling fees. My online favorites are Amazon.com and half.com because you can list in minutes once you setup a Marketplace account. Then, you can enter the ISBN number (the numbers underneath the bar code), product quality, sale price and Amazon will set up the rest for you. For the convenience you do pay a price, Amazon.com takes a 15% commission on the sale price, so try offline first.
I’ve always said that eBay is the prime place for anything that can be considered a commodity. A commodity is a DVD, watches, a car part, or any number of items in which one of them is is essentially interchangeable with another. What you get with one particular I Am Legend DVD is going to essentially be the same as any other, minus different scratches and the like. For items like that, eBay is king. eBay is king because they have useful tools to help in the listing process of commodity goods and because you get access to a huge buying community. Commodity goods also ship well, which means that geography isn’t a liability as it is with furniture.
Used clothes are always difficult to sell but if it’s a particularly unique piece then you can always try local consignment shops. If it’s a suit, consider snapping a few photos, getting the dimensions, and listing it on eBay. In college my friend used to buy suits from Goodwills in affluent neighborhoods and sell them on eBay for a tidy profit, so it’s certainly possible. In general though you’ll probably get a better return donating them and taking the tax deduction.
Furniture & Other Large Items
Craigslist baby. Furniture (and other large items) is often big, difficult to ship and transport, so you’ll want to keep the buyer in the same geographic area. eBay isn’t a good option since shipping will make something too expensive. You can often find a major city Craigslist site near you but expect a lot of false positives. I recently gave away a dishwasher and had many false positives (and it was for free!). If you do have a weaker piece of furniture or a larger item that you don’t think you can sell and you don’t think Goodwill/Salvation Army will accept as a donation, giving it away on Craigslist is a good alternative to the dump or recycling facility. (large items can include basically anything heavy like tools, appliances, etc.)
There you go, four major clutter categories and the places you can unload the loot you’ve acquired all those years.