Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
I do have an opinion on this, which is — just give it away. I picked up this attitude when I used to read the American decluttering/cleaning website called Flylady. She advised we just give our stuff to the Goodwill or other charity instead of burdening ourselves with starting a new project/hobby/part-time career of trying to earn back some money on the items we no longer want. . . It’s hard to face the fact that I may have wasted money on these items, but wasting my time in a pursuit that I hate won’t put that right. And I’ll think long and hard before buying stuff in the future that may just add to the clutter cycle. So I say — lesson learned, money has been lost, move on and try to do better in future.
I’ve trimmed Eve’s comments a bit; she definitely isn’t telling others not to sell, just saying it’s not for her. I’ve thought a lot about her comment since then. Is selling on Ebay or Craigslist just cluttering my life with another hobby? Sometimes it feels that way.
Selling on Craigslist has a much higher hassle-factor than selling on Ebay.
Ebay involves taking photos, writing a listing, figuring out what you’ll ship in and how much shipping will cost, waiting for payment, and then shipping. Sometimes people don’t pay, and that can be a real inconvenience. (Also, make sure you thoroughly investigate shipping charges. The quickest way to lose your earnings is to underestimate shipping.)
At first glance, selling on Craigslist seems easier, but successful selling actually takes more time. You have to take photos and write a listing. Easier, so far. Unfortuntely, Craigslist is the land of ridiculous scams, people whose entire correspondence with you will be “Do you still have it?” and people who think they want it, tell you they want it, but really don’t. (On Ebay, these people would be “watchers” and never buyers, but there’s no such mechanism on Craigslist.) Craigslist items frequently need to be re-listed, because your listing can get buried so quickly. Austin, Texas where I live has 300 – 500 new furniture items listed daily, for example. When someone does want to purchase, there can also be bargaining, which a lot of people despise, and of course, the inconvenience of arranging to meet someone at your home or another location. I get around this potential annoyance by rarely agreeing to meet elsewhere. My home is easy to find, I’m not concerned about being robbed, and I figure the item is a bargain enough without me investing extra to go to them. Also, if my item is $10 or less, I’ll just leave it on the porch and instruct the buyer to leave the money under the mat. This method has never gone wrong, and everyone appreciates the increased convenience.
Nonetheless, both avenues have a place. Bulky or heavy items, for example, are better candidates for Craigslist, as are items with enough value to make them worth selling, but not for enough value that people would be willing to buy them and ship them for a price that makes your efforts worthwhile.
Then there’s selling books and CDs on Amazon.com. Without a doubt, this is the easiest listing service available. You can only sell what they’re already selling, and you can’t make sets of things (i.e. 20 CDs from the 1980s), so those are disadvantages, but you don’t take photos, writing the description is easy, and Amazon determines the shipping for you. The big disadvantage is the bite that Amazon takes out of your profits – about $3 per item.
So, circling back to Eve’s comment: Is selling a hobby for me? I guess it is. Am I OK with that? Yes, I am. In my eight months of decluttering (also a hobby), I have shed over 1600 items and I have made $1361.70, which is an average of 80 cents made on every item out. The vast majority of those items have been donated – a blessing to others, as the FlyLady calls it – but those that I have sold have been a blessing to others and to me.
Today’s Declutter Item
These were a great pair of shoes and they got a lot of wear in three years. After walking to work in the rain one day I soon worked out why me sock was getting wet. I checked if they were repairable but it would have cost three times their worth. So unfortunately this pair had to go in the bin.
I am grateful from anything that brings me joy. Below are five things that gave me joy today.
- I got plenty of exercise walking to pick up my car from the mechanic, walking to the store to buy an avocado and then going on my evening walk with Steve.
- Finally doing a few jobs I had been avoiding. It feels good to get them out of the way.
- Receiving a letter from an old friend from America. It was wonderful to hear from her.
- The little things you notice when you walk instead of taking the car.
- I love it when I write a blog and in the process inspire myself.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.