What's the best way to turn my stuff into cash?
December 21, 2005 12:48 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to sell my stuff? I am a college student with a very small bank account. I'm home on break, and see all this crap sitting around in my old room. Help me turn it into money.

I don't mind spending time doing this, as long I can get my money fairly soon. I know people sell pretty much everything on ebay, but how do I make sure I sell my crap to the people who don't think it's crap and actually want it? Help me maximize my income and get rid of all the extra things I don't need. Also, what are some things I can sell for a significant amount ($10 or more) that I might not think of selling normally?
posted by kyleg to Work & Money (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Craigslist was pretty much invented for the type of thing you're talking about. If they don't have craigslist in your area you could have a garage sale post-xmas. Although, it's unlikely that people are going to be in the mood for getting more stuff after they finish opening their presents. But then never underestimate the need for people to accumulate crap.
posted by quadog at 12:55 AM on December 21, 2005

I forgot to mention Craigslist. It's not in my immediate area, and in the closest metro served, it's pretty under-used, based on my experiences browsing it.
posted by kyleg at 1:05 AM on December 21, 2005

Err - Ebay?
posted by DrtyBlvd at 1:22 AM on December 21, 2005

Look for similar items on ebay. See how much they're selling for (you can also look at finished auctions). Follow Matt from X-Entertainment's advice: "write a good description". The man managed to sell the most USELESS crap for decent cash.
posted by antifuse at 3:15 AM on December 21, 2005

Yard sale?
posted by Carol Anne at 4:32 AM on December 21, 2005

In my area we have a free local newspapery-thing that comes each Tuesday and you can sell your stuff (and also offer prayer to St Jude the Novena)(which is another question just waiting be be asked) and put the $$ in your pocket

my point being is that local people read the local papers and you can turn your stuff out relatively quickly. You can buy these ads for around 5-10 dollars depending on how many words/lines you use. Get creative and always include your email address in the ad for more immediate responses.

I advertised something for sale on Craigslist once and all I got were Nigerian fraud scheme emails.
posted by Makebusy7 at 6:09 AM on December 21, 2005

The man managed to sell the most USELESS crap for decent cash.

I second this. I know eBay might seem to be an obvious and simple answer, but I was in your position a few years ago when I moved out of my apartment into my husband's house. There were things in the apartment that I had dragged around for years, that I wasn't even going to bother giving to goodwill, let alone listing, but an eBay savvy friend convinced me that someone, somewhere would want it. I sold 90 percent of my stuff and made over 1,000 dollars on stuff that would have otherwise been in a dumpster. Try it, at least for a few things. Like antifuse said, you'd be surprised.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 6:29 AM on December 21, 2005

I've sold a number of books, DVDs and VHS tapes on Amazon for a nice chunk of cash. It is pretty easy to become a seller and you can make a good profit if you have some out of circulation movies, books or CD's.

I also have sold a lot on Ebay.

I like both of them.

It might be easier to give you advice if we knew what kind of "crap" you want to sell.
posted by Julnyes at 7:35 AM on December 21, 2005

If you have things like books, dvds, or cds that you don't want, I would try amazon marketplace or half.com. For other things, what everyone else says.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 9:17 AM on December 21, 2005

posted by k8t at 9:45 AM on December 21, 2005

I suppose there are probably much better sites to tell you how to sell things on ebay for good money, but:

- Take large, detailed photos of the actual item. Don't lift a stock photo of the thing from some google image search. People like to see the actual thing they are going to buy.
- Make sure the images are well lit and get the item from every angle.
- Describe every aspect of the item, however trivial. Some aspect that you might find irrelevent might be some person's keyword search.
- Post in the correct and appropriate category.
- Be up front and very clear about how much you want for shipping, where you will ship to, and so on.
- Be very clear about how potential buyers should contact you with questions before the end of the auction, and make sure that there are absolutely no misunderstandings about what is included, what isn't, and so on.
- Even though they're evil, you will amost certainly have to accept paypal - preferably the credit card option (which comes with fees of approx $0.30 plus 3% or so)
posted by Rhomboid at 10:37 AM on December 21, 2005

Thanks for the responses so far. To clarify some, I have a ton of cds and books that I want to get rid of, as well as some miscellaneous toys and knick-knacks. I've noticed that lots of five or more cds tend to sell better on ebay than individual titles. I'm hoping there's somebody out there who can help me figure out the best way to package and sell them. Also, I was wondering if ebay will bring a significantly higher profit than selling in the local classifieds or to used book and record stores.
posted by kyleg at 2:04 PM on December 21, 2005

People will buy ANYTHING on ebay. They'll pay huge amounts of money for it, too, if you do the following things:
  • Photograph it really well. Borrow a hi-res digital camera if you can.
  • Process the photograph for composition, size, and light levels. If you can't, find someone with photoshop who can.
  • Make sure the photograph is really good. This is so important it bears repeating.
  • The text should be enthusiastic, free of grammar and spelling errors, and well-written.
  • At least 50% of the sentences in your text should end with exclamation marks. This drives the price up. Why, I have no idea.
  • At least 50% of your sentences should end with exclamation marks! This drives the price up! Why, I have no idea! Now, how much would you pay!!?! Isn't this WILD!?!?!
  • Repeat the cogent points a couple times so that people don't miss them.
  • Take some time to figure out the ebay listing system so you're not getting raped with initial value and final value costs.
  • Do 3-day listings on a Friday or 10 day listings on a Friday. People look at ebay on the weekend.
  • Repeat the cogent points a couple times so that people don't miss them!
  • You're charging for SHIPPING AND HANDLING, not just shipping. Decide the minimum you'd want the thing to sell for to feel like a break-even, then decide the minimum profit you'd like to make. Figure out what it'll cost to ship, including packaging, tape, and postage/shipping fees. Now list it for the break-even amount, and add (shipping cost + minimum desired profit) and that's your shipping + handling fee. Bear in mind that profit you make off shipping isn't subject to final value fees.
  • PROFIT!!!! This is the best answer ever! You can hardly help but flag it!

posted by ikkyu2 at 9:27 PM on December 21, 2005

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