Selling without the hassle
May 14, 2018 8:10 PM   Subscribe

I have a bunch of stuff I want to get rid of. Some of it is obvious donation/trash, but some of it in theory should be sellable (for example, I have almost every video game console ever made in working condition, plus tons of games).

I cannot really handle eBay, however. Between social anxiety and time, dealing with tons of individual buyers, returns, etc sounds like a nightmare (everyone I know who sells on eBay has various horror stories). Craigslist is even more out, for the same reasons. I'd rather just recycle at that point.

There used to be companies that would sell your stuff on eBay/etc for you, for a fee/cut. But those appear to have disappeared (I guess due to eBay ending the valet program). Are there any other options I'm missing? [Search results for this are 90% about Valet, which is gone...] Ideal situation is I can send / drop off a bunch of boxes and get some money for them at some point.
posted by thefoxgod to Shopping (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If you're living in the US, forget ebay unless something is really rare or unique or in demand (like a speciality comic book). Even then, eBay is super scammy nowadays. Local selling through Facebook or Nextdoor is where this stuff goes down.

The good news is that this is way easier because you don't have to mail anything! Here are the steps:

Figure out what you have... A Nintendo wii for example. Go to Facebook marketplace and search for it. Figure out the typical price for it. Then take a photo of yours and list it.
Strangers will message you and you can deal with them when you want.

Arrange a time for them to pick it up when you are already home.

People are way more likely to show up when it is associated with their real identity and they live nearby.

I know that this still requires some human interaction but, again, the transaction effort is less in a lot of ways.

Another option... Hire a neighborhood teen to do this all for you and give them a cut.
posted by k8t at 8:16 PM on May 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

How good is your video game/console collection really? If you have e.g. Vectrex or a 190-in-1 NES cart, no way you will get close to their true value on FB or Nextdoor, not unless you live in a huge market, even then it’s doubtful. Maybe it’s worth the loss of potential revenue to go low hassle, but I’d consider separating the best stuff.

If you live in a decent size city and really want the least hassle, you can probably get 60% or so of eBay prices at a pawn shop if you can haggle a bit. And that’s in cash, same day, hard to beat when you want to liquidate fast and don’t want to spend time or effort getting good prices.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:30 PM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you don't want to do Craigslist or eBay, I'm not sure there's going to be any service you like. Seems that any middleman services that existed don't anymore.

I will say, it's probably worth less money than you think it is. Whenever I look at Craigslist or eBay to see how much a Nintendo 64 or a Commodore 64 is going for, it never really even seems worth taking the photos, listing the item and shipping it. I just give everything to Goodwill. A library might take some stuff too.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:34 PM on May 14, 2018

I thought about trying to sell my stuff when I was purging before moving, but it really wasn't worth the time and effort I would have had to put in to do the work of selling it. Used bookstores are frequently quite picky as to what they will take, ditto used clothing (though I did sell a bit of that). The way I got money for my used stuff was donating it, getting receipts, writing all the stuff down and getting a tax refund.

As for your video games, I have no idea if this would work, but you might want to try asking any local gamer stores if there would be any interest with them or their clientele. If you're going to try to sell stuff it might be easier to just look around your area than deal with the hassles of mail anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:42 PM on May 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do you have car-boot sales/weekend markets nearby? I wanted to sell a bunch of my dad's old tools recently and some other stuff, and I didn't want to go to all the trouble of eBay/Gumtree etc. I hired a stall at a fortnightly market, sold half my stuff, made a few hundred, had a fun morning, donated the rest. It was done and dusted in a day.
posted by Thella at 12:04 AM on May 15, 2018

If you're in the US, you could reach out to the National Video Game Museum in Texas about donating consoles/games.
posted by neushoorn at 1:18 AM on May 15, 2018

eBay in the UK is less of a pain than it used to be. They seem to have improved their handling of problem buyers - I sell a lot of stuff and I've only had one issue, a French buyer who left feedback in French saying I was an escroquerie or 'scam'. A quick mail to eBay support with proof that I had the item and posted it, and the feedback was removed. Literally everyone else I've sold to has been polite, pleasant and reasonable.

Having said that, it depends on the value of your stuff. I tend to sell relatively rare radio gear. Random second-hand books and games, you're better off taking to a charity shop if you don't really need the money. They don't fetch a lot of money online unless they are particularly rare and the hassle of shipping for items making you a dollar or less isn't going to be worth it. You might want to see if you have a second-hand 'retro' game shop that might take some of the games off your hands, too. They are popping up more and more here.

Check out the prices old consoles are getting on eBay and see if it's worth it, but the other stuff should probably just be donated.
posted by winterhill at 3:12 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

From your profile it looks like you're in a major US city, so I'll second jenfullmoon and winterhill in that there's a good chance you can find a used game store that will either directly buy your stuff or take it on consignment. GameStop is the big national chain that deals in used games, but there are some local independent stores in your area.

If this is less "want actual cash money" and more "it seems a waste to just dump this and walk away with nothing" then I'll second the others suggesting you look into donating to charity and taking a tax write-off. Not a tax expert, but generally speaking it seems the "fair market value" allowed for tax purposes is higher (often quite a bit higher) than what you would ever collect for actually selling stuff.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:54 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could MeMail me if you've got PS4 games to get rid of...
posted by Rock Steady at 5:57 AM on May 15, 2018

Insight from a few months spent substitute teaching - donate to a school. Take a tax deduction.
posted by Dotty at 6:31 AM on May 15, 2018

Yeah, it kind of depends on what you're trying to off-load. With consoles, the advice upthread to take it to GameStop or The Exchange or something is solid. Second & Charles or Half-Price Books is a great place to sell books and DVDs and things (honestly they might take consoles as well) if you have one of those near you. Furniture and things are best on FB Marketplace, Craigslist, Nextdoor, or LetGo anymore.

If you've got more upscale clothes and accessories to unload, local consignment stores are good, plus there are online options like ThredUp, Tradesy, and probably some others like that that'll just send you a bag, you put your clothes in it, and they'll take care of the rest.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:56 AM on May 15, 2018

I don’t know how much secondhand games are worth, but I’m doing some serious downsizing and ended up deciding that even my things that are “worth a lot of money” aren’t really worth that much. So I donate pretty much everything now and take my payment in free time and karma.

It can be hard sometimes because it does make me see that I’ve wasted an awful lot of money, but I think that ultimately it will help me to spend less in the future. I’ve already spent this money and at best I can only get back a tiny fraction.
posted by FencingGal at 9:25 AM on May 15, 2018

The tax deduction route only makes sense if your stuff is worth more than the standard deduction, or if the your other deductions are less than the standard, but the addition of the donation would push it over. When we moved we donated hundreds of dollars worth of stuff to Goodwill and it made no difference with respect to our taxes. We wouldn't have had the time to invest in selling it, but maybe you do.
posted by AFABulous at 9:41 AM on May 15, 2018

Yard sale !
posted by pintapicasso at 11:35 AM on May 15, 2018

Thanks everyone! As AFABulous said, tax deduction won't really help as I don't expect to be able to itemize over $24,000 this year. But I'll still prefer charity over trash, of course :)

Looks like best option is just to take the stuff thats not super-cheap to GameStop or similar (and check for any more specialty type stores --- the only ones I know that specialize in old games are in Tokyo but I assume we might have those in LA, good point), and then drop the rest off at GoodWill/etc and let them figure out what they want.

[Actually now that I think about it I might get better money in Tokyo for a few of them, although technically I'd have to deal with customs]
posted by thefoxgod at 3:40 PM on May 22, 2018

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