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Advice & More July 2012

Dollar Sense

Clean Out Your Closets and Make a Few Bucks: Eight Ways to Sell Your Stuff

By Teresa Ambord

Why not try turning some of that stuff into extra cash? Instead of just wondering how, take action. Once you’ve dug into your closets and garage and have items to sell, here are some ideas.

Most every household has stuff that it could do without. Even if spring cleaning is not on your mind, you may be feeling the need more to clear out some space and maybe replenish your wallet. Why not try turning some of that stuff into extra cash? Instead of just wondering how, take action. Once you’ve dug into your closets and garage and have items to sell, here are some ideas.

    1. Garage or yard sale. For maximum impact, combine with neighbors to have a bigger sale that will attract more attention. Most communities have ways that you can advertise such sales for free, in the newspaper and possibly on a local radio station. Neighborhood signs are good, but don’t make the common mistake of wasting your effort with signs that are not easily readable from the street. Sturdy, weatherproof, easy‑to‑read signs are a must. All in all, garage or yard sales are a very efficient and cost‑effective way to sell your stuff.

 

    1. Classified ads. Larger newspapers work, but community newspapers reach a more targeted market. If there is a senior center in your town or professional organizations, find out if they have a newsletter that takes ads. Some newspapers have both print and online editions, giving you more for your money. Online editions often allow you more space.

 

    1. Online ads. You may be able to post your ads for free online, on sites like Craigslist, or ToolzDo.com. ToolzDo requires users to enter a profile, so transactions are not anonymous. You can target your ad to a certain group by finding a bulletin board or message board that takes free or low cost ads. For example, if you want to sell your son’s old trombone, go online and type in Amusical instruments for sale, bulletin board.

 

    1. Consignment stores. Consignment stores will usually net you more money for good quality items than you can get by selling them at a garage or yard sale. The beauty of a consignment
      store is that they do all the work for you, in exchange for a commission. Just be sure to find out the commission rate (some stores charge as much as 60 percent), and other terms. For instance, how long the store will keep your item before it discounts it. You’ll also need a realistic idea of what the item is worth in terms of resale value.

 

    1. Online auctions. The great thing about online auctions like eBay, are that they reach out to global audiences. And, they are set up to provide bidding tools and payments tools. If your attic is full of collectibles that you are tired of collecting, eBay might be the answer. eBay provides a tutorial so you can open an account and learn how to use the system. It’s important to add at least one picture of the item. If you do not have a lot to sell, you may not want to bother with setting up an account. In that case you may want to check with eBay’s Trading Assistant Directory, which is like an online consignment store. Just like a regular consignment store, the seller takes a commission for handling the auctions for you.

 

  1. Traditional auctions. Do you have high‑dollar items like antiques? Artwork? If so you may want to have them appraised and contact an auction house to allow it to handle the sale for you.

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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