Occasionally, it’s time to get rid of some stuff.
There was a time when all you could do was take it all to Goodwill and come home empty-handed, or give up a Saturday and let your treasures go for pennies. But one of the miracles of the Internet age is that it’s easy to find people all over the world who will love your stuff -- and pay top dollar for it.
“You wouldn’t think that a lot of people would want to buy your kids’ used shoes,” says Tara Wilkerson. “I was just going to throw some away, and a friend of mine said, ‘No, you should list those!’”
Wilkerson, a Fayetteville mother of three, has had great success unloading her children’s hand-me-downs on eBay. She started listing them last year.
“I told a friend that I had all these nice clothes that the children had grown out of, and I didn’t know what to do with them,” she says. “She said that she sells her kids’ old clothes on eBay and she explained how it works.”
Hard-to-find boutique brands and high-end retail names like Gymboree do especially well, says Wilkerson. She has shipped them to customers in California, Texas, New Jersey and Maine.
One eBay customer was in Wilkerson’s own neighborhood.
“I e-mailed her and said, ‘There’s no sense in paying $5 for me to ship this when I can just drive it over to you,’” she says. “So that’s what I did. And that was the first thing she’d ever bought on eBay.”
Wilkerson says she typically goes from having nothing listed for weeks at a time to selling dozens of outfits in a month.
“I don’t sell enough to consider it income or anything,” she says. “But it’s good play money.”
Another Fayetteville mom, Amy Lovato, goes a bit further with her online sales. In addition to castoffs from her two children, she lists various yard sale finds that intrigue her.
“Once I found a set of military manuals from the 1970s at a yard sale,” she says. “I thought if I could get them for 25 cents each, someone out there would pay five dollars for them. So I got them, and they ended up selling for more than 20 dollars.”
Lovato’s eBay experience began when she was planning her wedding six years ago. An eBay search turned up “something blue”— a jeweled tiara at a bargain price. After her children were born, she returned to eBay as a seller.
“It’s something I can work on when the kids are napping,” she says. “It’s a way to get some of the money back that you’ve spent on things without sitting in the hot sun and waiting for someone to come along and see what a treasure you have.”
Like Wilkerson, Lovato says her main merchandise is kids’ clothes from sought-after brands. She uses her profits to buy more clothes for the kids, which — like her customers — she buys second-hand.
“Kids go through clothes so fast that you’re not really buying them, you’re just renting them,” she says. “So it just makes sense to spend as little on them as you can, and get as much back out of them as you can. When I do buy things new, I know that I can resell them later and get some of that money back.”
Both women say that listing items online is easy once you get the hang of it.
“It’s time-consuming at first,” says Wilkerson. “But once you’ve done the initial setup and learned your way around, it’s really easy to keep track of.”
“Write detailed descriptions and take really good photos,” says Lovato. “It’s a little bit of work but it’s worth it.”
Sell to the World
eBay: The mother of online reselling sites. Shoppers can outbid one another for bargains, or get instant gratification with the “Buy It Now” option. Listing on eBay puts your items in front of millions of potential buyers, but there is a fee for each listing — whether it sells or not.
Half.com: This site specializes in the resale of books, music, DVDs and video
games. Just enter the UPC or ISBN code, and it automatically lists the item with a description, as well as a recommended price — about 50 percent of retail for items in good condition.
Amazon.com: List just about any item with this mega-retailer, and the site will
offer it as a cheaper alternative for shoppers looking to buy it new. Amazon handles the payments (taking a small cut) and forwards the profits to you.
Keep it Local
MySpace: There’s a group for every interest on MySpace, including a bulletin board in which Fayetteville-area MySpacers can list items for sale or request items they’d like to buy.
Craigslist: You can buy or sell anything on this classified listing site, which has separate listings for more than 400 cities worldwide. Categories include farm and garden supplies, toys and games — even a “free” category for the things you can’t seem to sell. (http://fayetteville.craigslist.org)
Virtual Yard Sale: This locally focused Yahoo Group has folks posting everything from Army gear to stereo equipment to free kittens.