In my perpetual bid to rid our house of clutter, I did a major sweep of our storage room a few weeks ago. The room had become so packed that it was hard to even open the door! Yes, the Babies R Us warehouse was starting to cause a problem.
So, I decided it was time for a major purge. Two bouncy seats, a swing, a jumpy, an infant play gym, a pack ‘n play, a cosleeper… the list went on and on.
We could have had a garage sale, but frankly, my garage isn’t much better than the storage room and I didn’t think I could face clearing that out as well. (I’ll get there… eventually…) And, given the prices that I expect to get at a garage sale, I figured I could do better on Craiglist.
In just under two weeks, I managed to get my asking price on every single item I listed. My house is a bit clearer, and I’m a couple hundred dollars richer. Win -win!
Based on that successful experience, here are my five tips for making some extra cash by selling your stuff on Craigslist.
1. Clean It Up
Before I even listed a single item, I cleaned everything thoroughly. The fabric parts I laundered and line-dried, the plastic bits, I scrubbed with a Clorox wipe. I noted any scratches or other defects, and then did my best to make sure these used-with-love items looked as good as possible.
2. Shoot Some Nice Pictures
You don’t have to be Ansel Adams to sell stuff on Craigslist, but it is worth waiting for good light to shoot your pics. And please, whatever else you do, make sure that the background isn’t a cluttery mess.
It’s true that Craigslist shrinks your images – and they will look a bit pixelated. But blurry cell phone pics? Horrible lighting? Visible dirt and dog hair? Ick!
This might be over the top, but I even took a few moments to edit my pictures, cropping out unnecessary background and brightening less than ideal images.
3. Write Well
No, it’s not a feature article, but I still tried to make my Craigslist descriptions as appealing as possible. Strike a conversational, but not overly familiar, tone.
Don’t apologize for your items – they are USED after all – but make sure to note anything that is less than perfect. And if you’re listing multiple items, be sure to create an easy to remember hashtag, so viewers can search for the rest of your goodies as well.
Here’s an example:
Priced to sell, since I am on a decluttering spree!
This excellent used condition Tiny Love Super Deluxe Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym sells for $50+ on Amazon and BRU.
The mat and arches are both in excellent condition – no stains or tears – and we have all the animals.
My daughter *loved* hanging out on this mat when she was a newborn.
Email is the best way to reach me, but you can also try XXX-XXX-XXXX.
(Find other items up for sale by searching #babygearsale)
4. Set the Price Right
I asked $10 for the above gymini – and I got it. No haggling whatsoever. Barring one insanely low-ball offer (I was selling a baby bath for $5 and the emailer asked if I’d consider $2 – uh, no!), I was pleasantly surprised that no one even tried to negotiate. I guess that’s a sign that I did indeed set the price right!
Take a moment or two to “research” similar items on your city’s Craigslist. It doesn’t matter if in some other city, you could sell the gymini for $20 – you’re in your city. I searched for similar terms, and scanned the prices. I set mine in the lowest range, without being absurdly low – as I think that signals “defective product”.
If what you are selling is so unique that no one else on Craigslist is listing it, you might want to consider going to eBay instead.
5. Be Available
Make it a point to quickly respond to emails and/or calls as long as the item is available. If you don’t want to deal with emails and calls over Shabbat, don’t list your items on Friday afternoon!
Once an item was pending pick-up (PPU in Craigslist speak), I created an auto responder to let emailers know that I’d get back to them if the item wasn’t picked up. As soon as something sold, I deleted the listing – that way I avoided frustrating potential buyers (and myself, with incessant emails I’d feel guilty for not responding to).
I’ve still got mountains of baby clothes and a number of miscellaneous household items that I plan to list in the coming weeks. Once everything is sold, I’m going to go shopping – we need a new couch and some dressers for our boys’ room. How cool would it be if we could fund the whole thing by selling our cast-offs?!
Have you had success earning extra cash by selling on Craigslist or eBay – or at garage sales and consignment sales? Share your best tips in the comments section!
(This post originally appeared on Kosher on a Budget in 2011.)