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Springtime Cleaning – Turning Your Clutter Into Cash

Springtime Cleaning – Turning Your Clutter Into Cash

By Richard Weijo

Many baby boomers have closets, drawers, and boxes full of no longer used items.

Springtime is a perfect time to clean out these things, hauling no longer used items to Goodwill or other charitable organizations.

From a legacy perspective, there are benefits to getting rid of these unused items.

We fondly want to preserve the items we want to gift to our children, grandchildren, and friends when we are gone.  Unfortunately, all too often they are mixed in drawers and boxes full of all the junk we no longer want.

What would happen if you never got around to cleaning up the unwanted items?  Would your children be able to distinguish what was really important to you?

So let’s get rid of those unwanted items!

What might help motivate you is the opportunity to sell these items rather than just giving them away.  While most of us will give away unwanted clothing, what about the old electronic components, iPhones, hobby equipment, and collectibles (like Betty Boop)?

Have you thought about doing your springtime cleaning on eBay?  Just think of the extra money it could generate for some new projects you might have in mind!

Web sites like eBay or Craigslist may seem intimidating, but they are quite easy to use.  If you never have sold items on the internet, here are a few tips to make the process more manageable:

  • Get your feet wet by selling only a few simple & inexpensive items – Use these first simple things (like a book or small collectible) to learn and practice on a website like eBay. Be honest with buyers that you are new to this experience.  They will help you – they were once new to this experience as well.  Don’t try selling the complicated audio equipment until you have several sales under your belt.
  • Use your smartphone to set-up sales – It’s real important to get several good photos of what you are trying to sell, which can be taken and edited quickly on your smartphone. These pictures can then be easily uploaded into a new sales posting if done on that same smartphone.
  • Be brutally honest about the condition of the item – Buyers have the opportunity to evaluate your performance after the sale. They will be brutal if you promise more than what was delivered, or the may ask you to take it back. Your online performance is accessible to all future buyers.
  • Start your bidding at attractive prices – Remember; you’re trying to get rid of this item. Find out what other similar items sold at, and initiate the bidding below that price.
  • Plan how you will ship your item before you post it – It is important to get an accurate weight for the items you will be shipping. The shipping weight includes any box, envelope, bubble packaging, and the weight of the item you are shipping. The usual practice is for the buyer to pay the actual shipping cost.  Once the buyer has paid, postage can be purchased directly from eBay, or you can handle buying postage separately.
  • Persevere – My wife and I have sold over 75 items on eBay and Craigslist, and I have a pile more to post soon. You may ask, how can you possibly have that many items?  Look around.  Ask yourself how many boxes do you have tucked away in your home?  Once you start, you may be surprised by the total number of items you can find to sell.  After a while, it’s fun selling!

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Richard O. Weijo, PhD, received an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and went on to receive his MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He was an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Richard was also a Senior Analyst at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and his most recent corporate position was as a Manager of market research and Director of customer channels at Portland General Electric. Currently, he is a consultant and a writer. He adores his young granddaughter Elsie, whose birth inspired his book, Our Dreams For Our Children: Creating Legacies That Inspire Each New Generation To Achieve A Brighter Future.