Summer Money-Making Scenarios: Part Two

This post comes from one of the smartest monkeys I know (Smart Monkey is a term my family uses for the most clever of human beings) that being my sister Juli.  Juli has spent over 10 years making Yard Sales, eBay, and Consignments into quite a lucrative process.  Grab a pencil and take some notes, you’ve got money just sitting around the house…

MAKE MONEY by clearing the clutter in your home

Look around your house.  There’s stuff that’s worth some money just sitting around, collecting dust.  You could use that money and you’re not using that stuff.  Go through your house room by room and really consider what you love and what you use.  Your beautiful, unloved things could make someone else very happy. Some things that sell well second-hand include:

·        Baby clothes, furniture, toys and gear

·        Children’s clothes, furniture, and toys

·        Designer women’s clothing and accessories

·        Furniture and decorative items, especially vintage

Next, consider how to sell your stuff.  Yard sales are the old standby, and they’re a great way to unload a bunch of stuff pretty quickly, but you might make more money on individual items by listing them online or consigning them with a local bricks and mortar shop.  eBay is your best bet for small, expensive or collectible items since it has such a wide audience your stuff will get the most exposure.  Craigslist may be more convenient to sell heavy items like furniture or bikes locally.  Consignment stores work well for all of the above, bearing in mind that you share a percentage of the sale with the store.

eBay is an online auction site with a huge number of users.  They charge a small fee to initially list your item and then a percentage of the final sales price.  Spending some time researching what your item might sell for and how to best list your item is well worth the effort.  *Tip: Look up your item to see the description and how much it sells for new, then post that link on your listing to give buyers an idea of the item’s value.  Take a great photo that includes the entire item in the best light possible to show as much detail as you can.  Clothes photograph best on a mannequin or hanger, and nearly all items look best with a neutral background like a white sheet or black velvet scrap to contrast with the subject.  eBay includes one photo in the initial listing fee and you pay for each additional photo, which may be worth it if the item is very valuable and you want to show more detail.  Write your listing in simple sentences or as a bullet-pointed list, keeping the description very honest, detailed, and neutral.  Be sure to point out any flaws since your buyer will eventually see them and dealing with unhappy long-distance buyers is not fun.  Determine in advance how you will ship your item and if you are willing to ship internationally.  USPS’s Priority Mail is very convenient—the packing materials are free, there is a set price for each size package, and they arrive in 2 days.  Larger items may be less expensive shipped via FedEx or UPS.

When your item is listed, it’s much quicker to list similar items since eBay will save your settings.  Don’t forget to mention for bidders to check your other listings and offer to combine items to save shipping if they buy more than one item for you.  Consider opening a free PayPal (www.paypal.com) account so buyers can easily pay you electronically.  eBay owns PayPal, so it’s extremely easy to use with their listings for both buying and selling.  Allowing buyers to mail you a check, even a bank check, can be risky and time-consuming.  Check your email regularly when you have items up for auction because bidders may be emailing you questions and you want to be prompt so you don’t lose a sale. 

When the auction ends, email your buyer immediately congratulating them on winning and requesting payment so you can ship the item promptly.  Request verification of their shipping address and ask them to reply with any questions they may have.  When you receive notification from PayPal or your bank that the buyer’s payment has cleared, ship the item promptly.  Package items carefully so they arrive in good condition, and a thank you note is always appreciated.  Don’t forget to leave feedback on your buyer on the eBay site and send the buyer an email letting them know you’ve shipped their item and when they should expect to receive it.  You’re done!  Money in the bank, baby!

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