Recently, esteemed auction house Sotheby announced that it is offering rare, collectible items for bids of up to $160,000. Are they offering rare paintings? Historic artifacts? Jewelry from a celebrity estate? Nope.
Read about it here. If you want to check it out for yourself, they will be on view online or in their NYC location until July 23. Maybe the owners found these ‘gems” in the back of their closet. If you too, want to see if there’s a payday in your closets…or just declutter your space, here are some tips.
Sell Locally on Craigslist
Craigslist is a classified ads website with dozens of local sites that are searchable by neighborhood, and “for sale” sections for everything furniture to video games. Posting ads to Craigslist is free, the ads easy to create and they reach a huge audience. If you want to add photos to your ad, you’ll want to upload the photos to your computer hard drive first, or use photos stored on your iPad. While there are some third-party Craigslist iPad apps, none of them are as easy to use as the website itself. The mobile version of the site makes posting ads with your iPad very simple.
Click here to read instructions for posting to Craigslist. Click here to visit Craigslist worldwide and find the listing for your city. Make sure you read these tips on safety and read this info on avoiding scams – read it twice!
Auction It on eBay
eBay is the granddaddy of online auction sites and can be well worth the effort if you have several relatively valuable items to sell. Learning how to use the site could take a little time, even though eBay walks you through the process. Once you’ve made a sale, you’re responsible for properly packing and shipping items to buyers. eBay will keep a percentage of your takings.
On the plus side, eBay is a good resource for comparison price shopping. Look for items similar to yours to see how much they’re selling for, but remember that just because somebody lists a “treasure” for $1,000 doesn’t mean they’ll get it.
Along with auctions, eBay’s “Buy It Now” button allows you to flat-out sell a variety of goods.
If doing it yourself seems daunting, consider using an eBay service to sell your things. These services are offered by professionals who know how to photograph and ship things correctly, and stand by their work. The 20% to 30% fee they charge could prove worthwhile. To find an eBay service, Google “email consignment” and the name of your city. Click here to read and watch how-tos on eBay; Click here to visit eBay
Give it Away on Freecycle
Freecycle is a non-profit organization of hyperlocal “gifting groups” who communicate via email to recycle goods and keep them out of landfills. According to my cousins, who are avid Freecyclers, you can get rid of almost anything there – old, new, working, not working, weird and ordinary items. Listings here are free. Email blasts are sent daily and categorize items as Offered, Wanted, Taken or Received.
After some initial effort to sign up and learn the rules (you’ll get an email with what you need to know) Freecycle is a wonderful resource that proves that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. After you post your unwanted stuff to Freecycle, you might need to be patient; some people say they want something and then back out. Click here to find a Freecycle group near you…and remember to stay safe.
Safety and Online Selling
When selling – or donating – locally, use common sense regarding your personal security. If you’re meeting a buyer face to face, bring a friend and/or meet in a busy, well-lit public place. If you are selling a larger item and can’t travel, it’s best to arrange to meet buyers in your building lobby, or inside a nearby police station: check this list of police stations that will allow you to conduct business on or near their premises.
In some cases, you might only correspond with a buyer via email or text message before meeting in person, and you won’t really get a sense of who you are dealing with. Be extra cautious under these circumstances and also when selling high-value items.
Not Ready to Sell Online?
If you have good quality clothing or accessories that you want to sell locally, try Googling the name of your city plus consignment stores (eg: “NYC consignment stores”). These stores will sell your stuff and keep a sizeable cut; but in general, they command better prices than you can online.
Want to take the first step and declutter? Read our interview with an organization expert here.
Then let us know in the comments what auction items you’d pay $100,000 for!
Photo: Nike Waffle Racing Flat, Moon Shoe, Size 12.5, 1972, Estimate $110,000 – $160,000. Opening bid $80,000. Photo by Ryann Unruh/UnrohJones.