Turning Trash into Treasure

Guest blogger Chris DiGiovanna is President of Trader Chris Consignments, Inc. in Pittsboro, NC. He has been active in buying/selling online for the last 12 years and is an eBay Powerseller. Visit his website at www.traderchris.biz.

Most people realize that at some point in their lives, they have too much stuff.  There are a number of different ways to deal with this. You can have a garage sale, donate items to your local thrift shop, or simply drag it out to the curb and leave it for someone else, be it a neighbor or the garbage collector. These suggestions require the least amount of effort, but also produce the least amount of return on your original investment.

Today, hundreds of millions of people are connected by one of the most widespread communications tools that ever existed – the internet. Not only is the internet a vast information resource, it’s also great for selling almost anything. With it, I’m going to show you a few basic strategies for turning some of that stuff you’ve accumulated over the years into money.

Step 1 – Separate the items to donate from the items to sell. Items that sell well secondhand include wood/metal furniture, collectibles, coins, new/gently used clothing, certain books (1st edition / signed), newer electronics (3 years or newer), and brand name jewelry.  If it’s something that you would consider buying secondhand, then generally someone else would, too. Anything that doesn’t qualify should be donated or thrown away.

Trash or Treasure?

Step 2 – Pick a sales venue. Ebay and Craigslist are two of the most widespread and popular ways to sell items. Craigslist is my preferred sales venue for large or heavy items, since it connects local buyers and sellers so there’s no need to ship items. Ebay is great for small to medium-sized items, especially anything that is collectible. If you’re not sure which website to pick, try searching for your item on either website to see if it’s the proper venue for sale.

Step 3 – List the item(s).  You’ll want to take pictures from multiple angles of each item, especially of any unique features such as signatures, ornate details, and any flaws on the item. The description that accompanies the pictures should state what the item is, model number (if applicable), dimensions, and anything else that is relevant to the sell.  Finally, if you intend to ship the item, you will need to estimate the size & weight of the box in which it will ship.

Step 4 – Close the sale. If you receive a local inquiry, the buyers will want to inspect the item(s) before purchasing. Being straightforward and as honest as possible regarding the condition of the item will make the sale go smoothly. Checks or cash tend to be the preferred payment for Craigslist sales.  Most eBay sales are electronic and handled by their payment company, Paypal. Within 1-2 days of payment, pack and ship the item to the winning bidder.

There are additional things that you will learn as you sell items online. The best teacher is experience. With just a little time and effort, you too can start turning some of your trash into treasure.

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