Since I explored how to earn money on the side in my last article I thought I would explore another aspect of making money, that is of course selling articles to make money. My partner in savings N.M. Sotzek is talking about yard sailing so I won’t be discussing this here, but I will be looking how to shift unwanted items and make a little money.
To all our minimalist readers, you may not be able to take away much from this article, but if you are like me you may find you have accumulated a lot of things and need a clear out, or maybe need some extra money for a present or treat. Many people sell things online, its a lot easier to handle than organizing a yard sale, and if you lived in shared accommodation, rural settings or an apartment building yard sales are not an option. Luckily the internet has heard the call and answered in the form of multiple online second hand selling websites. The most common one that comes to mind is Kijiji which sells everything from property to makeup and everything in between. It does however tend to produce pretty non-committal members. Several times I have either inquired about an item or tried to sell something, have received multiple responses and have almost every single one of them fall through. It was this frustration that led me to try physical yard sales, and while I found more success there the amount of work I had to put into prepping and promoting it made it a wash out in the end. Not to mention having to contend with dubious weather, hardliner customers and appropriate pricing the yard sale opened my eyes.
At the recommendation of a friend I downloaded the app Varage Sale (available for cellphones and computers) and put up some old Halloween costumes along with props. What a surprise when the very next day I had distinct interest and sold most of my items. Full disclosure I probably lowballed the price of them but I was more concerned with shifting my items than getting money, I was just happy that I got some money for these things I no longer needed. In fact, I continued to use the app to sell many items I had trouble to sell in other venues to the surprise of my friend who had originally suggested the app to me. I sat down and had a hard think about how I could be so successful with this app where other avenues had let me down, and I came up with a few nuggets of wisdom I hope I can pass on to you fine folks.
Firstly, not all apps are alike. With Kijiji you may get the volume you want, as in your items on sale will reach a wider audience and when you want to shop around you will have plenty of things to browse, however the sites design and volume produce two specific results. One of these is a lack of commitment, since there is such a volume and the prices can be so cheap people can be fickle more often than not. They can change their mind after contacting you, they can be vague about their desired price or pick up specifics and because of the volume it doesn’t matter in the end because there is likely other people selling or buying the same item and they can afford to play you off of others. The second result is that as time goes on and your items are up for sale longer and longer, they will drift further towards the bottom of the list when people search categories. With Kijiji there is no mechanism to keep your items relevant, unless you pay to promote your items, and so you may find yourself seeing your item expire before you can sell it.
With Varage Sale they have refocused the idea of a yard sale and made some improvements on the set up that Kijiji started with. They are a free app but unlike Kijiji you can promote your items free of charge with their ‘Bump’ feature, a button that you can select which will push your item to the top of the search list once every 24 hours. Additionally, they have a feature called ‘Interested.’ People who are seriously interested in an item can indicate this on that item and then you can review it and private message that person to set up the buy. This means that only seriously interested people will make their intentions known, and personally 9 times out of 10 a person who mark an item as ‘interested’ will make contact with you and buy your item. Bonus for me, every person I dealt with automatically came to my home to pick up the item, which as someone who doesn’t drive was so lovely. Of course if strangers coming to your home makes you uncomfortable then of course you are free to make other arrangements, which can work in your favour if you happen to live too far from someone and that deters them from buying your item (which happened to me twice). Be prepared however for people expecting to try on clothing items first before buying, which considering the prices and quality of items on here I think is the least someone could do. A word of warning however, if you put up items for sale that are too cheap that may make the trip out to pick it up not worth it, after all driving for 20 minutes for an item that is $1 would cost more than that in gas and time and therefore make it less attractive.
Varage Sale is of course not the only website that provides a vendor platform, and considering I now have a house full of old junk I don’t need anymore so buckle your seatbelts friends cause I will be exploring as many as I can.
Sell on my people, sell on!