By Emily Harrington
I don’t like anything in our house that doesn’t have a purpose or a place. So, if you don’t get used, you’re beyond repair or overall impractical—you’re gone. My husband has more than once asked, “Where’s XXXX?” and I quickly run and hide or change the subject. Recently my mother-in-law gave my husband bins filled with his old stuff: pictures, pennants, posters, bobbleheads, etc. In this walk down memory lane he unearthed four (old) gaming systems. I immediately thought they were obsolete and should be tossed. After I listened to his nostalgic stories of fond days with the Nintendo GameCube, I encouraged him to part with them.
His “OK” led me back to an old friend I had abandoned long ago after an unfortunate auction with a bridesmaid dress—eBay. I put the gaming systems on eBay. Within 24 hours I had sold all of them thanks to pricing low and offering free shipping. This marketplace is a great option for selling your stuff to a wide audience. It’s relatively safe with the use of PayPal to send and receive money and no face-to-face interactions with buyers/sellers. The downside to eBay is you have to go to the trouble of packaging and mailing your items. After selling the gaming systems I realized this may have not been the best channel to sell these items as some were heavy. I offered free shipping to entice buyers, but ended up paying a quarter of the profits to ship.
Spurred by the excitement of these sales, I decided to sell extra pieces from a patio sectional. This loveseat and coffee table combo obviously wouldn’t be a logistical fit for eBay. I went to yet another old (local) friend—craigslist. The simple, plain website is almost unappealing and I found it was exactly the same as it had been the last time I had been on the site (five years before). This simplicity, however, made it easy to upload pictures and details of the sale. Within a day or so we had a few inquiries (some spam, so beware) and one person who wanted to come see it. Score! This is where it gets sketchy. When you are selling something bulky that you can’t haul around, you most often have to have the potential buyer come to your home. I encourage you to meet elsewhere if at all possible or make sure someone else is with you when they come to your home. They sat and tested the merchandise, they liked it and they went home—without the furniture. Bummer. No sale.
Then, I heard about VarageSale. So, I don’t have Facebook. (I know it’s crazy, I used to have it, but it just put me in a bad mood so I deactivated my account.) With VarageSale you must have a Facebook account so you can be verified by the site administrators. This is a nice safeguard most other online marketplaces don’t have. I set up an no-frills account (without even a picture) for the sole purpose of using VarageSale. VarageSale is an attractive application and easy to use. Large pictures show the items with an area for your price and description. You can even mark “Sale Pending” or “Sold!” on your item and “Praise” others on the site if you had a good experience. Potential buyers can privately message you or message you right below your item for the wheeling and dealing part. And there is a lot of wheeling and dealing. Be ready for some negotiations and if you don’t like negotiating this may not be your selling channel.
Don’t want to sell it yourself? Use a local consignment shop or event, where someone else does most of the work for you. If you want to sell clothing, check out our Chambanamoms Consignment Guide.
You can check out the Champaign County Garage Sale Facebook page.
Three weeks and two price reductions later, I’m happy to report our loveseat/coffee table sold! With space in our garage and extra money in our pockets, I’m now scavenging the house for more “undiscovered money.” Is anyone interested in an “energetic” Australian Shepherd?
Do you know of another way to sell items in Champaign-Urbana? If so, put them in the comments below!
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie that left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job to be a 24/7 mom to a dreamy son. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Oh, and let’s not forget her other son, a degenerate canine named Heppenheimer.