I have a “pile” in my house. Well, ok, I have a lot of piles in my house. But today I’m highlighting one pile in particular. It is a LARGE mass of stuff that my family no longer wants or needs, and that I have been completely unwilling to donate to my local thrift store. And I donate stuff all the time (at least once a month!). So why the reluctance? I’ll tell you why.
Because this stuff MIGHT be worth some money to someone. Maybe. When you are only a (mostly) one income family, tax deductions don’t really help out much. Last year we had over $2,000 worth of donation receipts but still ended up taking the standard deduction over itemizing because it worked out better for us. So unless we’re donating something worth several thousand dollars, we don’t benefit financially from our donations. That doesn’t stop me from taking stuff in regularly, though. But if I believe that an item has value such that the thrift store would ask for $10 or more for it, I’m REALLY reluctant to part ways. I feel like I should find a way to sell the item and get that little bit of money back into the hands of our household.
So I tell myself, “I will sell this on Craigslist or Ebay!”
Here’s the reality, though. In Chattanooga, the Craigslist community is NOT vibrant. There just isn’t a lot of action going on, and I’m finding that people often want to pay garage sale prices rather than Craigslist prices. I have been offered $10 for a table that I listed at $50, for example. People also want curbside service even when you state that the buyer is responsible for picking up the item. I’ve been asked to drive 30 miles from my home to drop off a $10 pillow. Which of course, makes absolutely no sense.
As for Ebay, here’s the deal: I’ve purchased quite a few things from Ebay over the years but I have NEVER sold anything. I know that to be successful with your listing you need to have quite a bit of savvy so that you don’t end up paying someone to take your stuff (people sometimes don’t factor in the true weight of what they will be shipping, including the packaging itself, or the fees that go to Ebay AND to Paypal). Basically, I know enough about Ebay to know that it would be a mistake to just snap a picture of my stuff and list it for 99 cents with free shipping.
So “learn how to sell things on Ebay” has been on my to do list for about 3 years. Seriously. And I haven’t gotten around to it, yet. Meanwhile, my “pile” continues to grow, taking up very valuable space in my small home and making me feel guilty and anxious every time I look at it. I just don’t have the time, and honestly, lack the interest to learn all about how to sell stuff on Ebay. Craigslist is also a big time suck. I’ve sold a few things there, but for the most part, my stuff has languished, with no buyers in sight.
Then I learned about a site called Listia. At first I thought it was just like Ebay and I wasn’t interested at all. But then I researched it a bit further and I realized that it is a way to get rid of your stuff without exchanging money. Through Listia, people accrue points on the site by offering up items to the highest point bidder. You don’t have to offer free shipping for your items, but I’ve noticed that the auctions with free shipping tend to do much better. Then you can use the points you have accrued to bid on other items. Obviously, the goal here shouldn’t be to trade your junk for other junk. But it is a way to find new homes for the things you know will be valued and appreciated by someone, and you get to find your own treasures in the process. Here’s a video that breaks it down for you if you still aren’t clear on how it works:
Why Listia Makes Sense
I finally had a “come to Jesus” meeting with my pile of stuff, and I added up what I thought I could realistically sell everything for on Ebay, Craigslist or a consignment sale. The total was around $250. Now that’s not chump change in my world, but it was really eye-opening to realize how much time and mental energy I have put into trying to sell this stuff and then feeling bad about NOT selling this stuff. It is TOTALLY not worth the $250 I could theoretically earn. Because it will take HOURS AND HOURS and lots of research to be able to successfully sell it all. I’d much rather be doing a million other things with my time AND I’d much rather have the space this pile takes up reclaimed in my house.
With Listia, I can “sell” the items in about 10 days. Boom. Done. Over. And then I can treat myself to something fun with the points! Forget about the money, because the pursuit of money for these items is not working out so well for me. Time to let it go!
Do you have a pile like mine? I want to encourage you to go through it and be very realistic about how much you could actually get for the items. Also think about how much time it is going to take you to be able to sell them. Then ask yourself if it is really worth hanging onto all of this stuff and letting it clutter your home while you try to sell it? If so, more power to you. Maybe you can teach me a few things about how to be a power seller in a city without power buyers! But if you reach the same conclusion that I did, maybe you should give Listia a try. All you have to lose is stuff you don’t want anymore. Listia even starts you out with 500 credits so that you can do a little shopping! And if you sign up using the link above, Listia will give you 100 bonus credits in addition to the 500 everyone is offered. Woo hoo!
This post is brought to you buy the wonderful folks at Listia. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own.