Saturday, March 21, 2009

How To Sell What Where, When Selling Used - Part 2

Tip #101 - How to Sell What Where, When Selling Used – Part 2. In the first part of this series we discussed which items sell best on eBay and which are appropriate for Craigslist. Today we will discuss what types of items to sell at yardsales, consignment sales, and consignment stores.

First let’s discuss yardsales. Yardsales are perfect for smaller value items – generally items that are worth under $10. Anything of greater value should be attempted to be sold on Craigslist or on eBay (or similar sites). If you have tried these venues and the item didn’t sell then it may certainly be worth putting out at a yardsale. Generally, however, small value items are the best items to sell at yardsales – the random pots and pans and baking dishes you don’t need anymore, the pillows or pictures that no longer decorate your rooms, games that your children no longer play with or small toys your baby has outgrown. Low-value knick-knacks and odds and ends around your house are also examples of perfect yardsaleable items. Look at yardsales as the best venue for getting rid of a large amount of low-value things in one sitting.

Next let’s talk about seasonal consignment sales. I did a post about seasonal consignment sales here. I have to admit that while I have been shopping at consignment sales for about 5 years, I have never sold things there. But from a shopper's point of view, I do see items at consignment sales that would have done better being sold at other venues. That small Caillou toy being sold at a consignment sale for $1.50 may be a collector’s item worth $30 to the right person on eBay. That Little Tikes slide priced at $20 at a consignment sale may also get you $20 on Craigslist, but you do not have to split the proceeds with anyone. In general, any non-clothing child’s item that has value over $10 should be put on Craigslist first. Valuable collectible toys should go on eBay. Not sure what something is worth? Look up completed selling prices on eBay or check the going asking rate on Craigslist. Then you will be more informed on prices.

So what is good to sell at consignment sale? Clothing is the perfect item to sell at seasonal consignment sales. Buyers love going to these sales to dress their children for the upcoming season. If your clothes are in good condition and are priced right, a good portion of them should sell. Clothes at consignment sales are often priced at 25% to 75% of the original retail cost (depending on name brand and condition). Usually that is more than you will get at a yard sale, even with splitting the proceeds. Small toys and games, lower-priced baby items like crib sheets, bottle warmers, and mobiles also do well at consignment sales. Many sales also accept maternity clothes. Find out what items are acceptable to sell at a consignment sale that you are considering, and base your selling list on that, remembering to consider selling your higher-priced items elsewhere. Hint: find a sale that is well-advertised and well-attended to sell at. Also, look for one that gives you a greater percentage of your money (some do 70-30; others 50-50). Furthermore, if you can, attend a consignment sale before you sell at one to get an idea of what to expect.

Now let's explore consignment stores. There are many different types of consignment stores. There are general consignment stores, furniture consignment stores, clothing consignment stores, and children’s consignment stores, among others. When should you sell your things at consignment stores? Again, if the item is high-value I would consider selling it elsewhere first. Once you've done that, consider a consignment store. If it is kid’s clothing, you can choose a consignment store if it is the wrong season for a kids’ consignment sale. If it is anything else like lamps, or purses or adult clothing, check first with the consignment store for what items they accept. Also find out when they accept items to be consigned–some have specific days, hours, or times of year. Don't forget to ask what percentage of the proceeds you keep for yourself. Like consignment sales, some are 50-50 while others may be more or less. A consignment store is a great option if you want someone to do most of the work for you.

In Real Life – I make it no secret that I sell items on eBay and Craigslist. I make a small income from it that helps our family financially, since I am not working full-time. When I started doing this, I was selling things we owned. I knew to sell our kids’ kitchen on Craigslist since it was too bulky to sell on eBay. And I knew to sell some valuable salt and pepper shakers on eBay where it would get the most watchers. What I didn’t know is that some of the toys that were handed down to me from my sister and brother’s much older children were now collectible! Little Tikes dollhouse toys do quite well on eBay. Who would have known? People sell those for 25 cents at yardsales all of the time. And I’ve seen them at kids’ consignment sales for $1 a piece. Since I have gotten more experienced at selling, I always look things up on eBay first before I put them out at a yardsale. It may surprise you, like it did me, which things are worth money, like a Blue's Clues Thinking pad bought from a consignment sale for $1.50 (worth $20 on eBay). Sure you can make money if you sold it at a consignment sale (about 75 cents after splitting the proceeds), but you can make $15 on eBay (after fees).

On the other hand, I have bought seasons’ worth of clothing for my kids at consignment sales for anywhere from $1 to $5 a piece - items that wouldn't have much value anywhere else. People are making good money selling a large quantity of low-value clothing at consignment sales - probably more than others who are selling similar items at yardsales or still others who are wasting listing fees on eBay only to have the items sit there and not sell. So to make the most out of a sale, figure out which venue is best to sell an item at - eBay, Craigslist, yardsale, consignment sale, or consignment store or somewhere else.

In the last part of this series, we will discuss other less popular options for selling items, donating items, as well as other important points to consider when selling your things.

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