How to Sell Your Stuff: 7 Easy Steps – LivingMini®

Mini_Side_ViewI make my living as a strategist, so as I look at liquidating my household, I want to have a definite game plan. Here it is:

Step #1: Set a Threshold

Setting a threshold is the linchpin of my strategy.  By “threshold,” I mean I decided at what price level I’m going to invest quality time.  For instance, I divided my stuff into 3 groups:

  • High-end items:  >$300 – major effort
  • Medium-end items: $50-$300 – minor effort
  • Low-end items: <$50  – no effort

Major Effort: Luxury Goods 

I only have a few items in this category, mainly my car (For Sale! 2008 Mini Cooper, 33,000 miles, under warranty = $20,000), my Novara bike, a set of Yahama keyboards, and a vintage, collectors’ item Harman Kardon Stereo.

  • Step #2 – Use an Auction House:  Obviously, I’ll invest the most effort in selling my car, then the stereo (I’m contacting Sotheby’s) because these will bring in the most money. Spending time on appraisals and advertising are for items valued at more than $5,000.
  • Step #3 – List Online at Craig’s List: The keyboards and bike, I’ll take pictures and post on Craig’s List. But really, that’s about it as far as the “major effort” goes for these $300-$500 items. Another advantage is starting early. I can continue to list the items week after week, adjusting the price.

Minor Effort: Furniture

My main selling effort here is to Family & Friends. I put a price list together a few weeks ago and as people come over, I hit ‘em up.

Works pretty well actually. My friend Tammy came over for lunch and left with a set of golf clubs, a tent, a sleeping bag and a promise to pick up my printer / copier / scanner at a later date. 

Two persuasive tactics when selling to Friends & Family:

  • Step #4 – Be Prepared to Barter: Price items reasonably and do deals. For instance, I’m trading my 5-piece bedroom set for 2 months of horseback riding lessons – nice!
  • Step #5 – Designate Fund for Charity: All the money I earn from my liquidation goes to the Go Erin Go! charitable fund. You don’t need to give away all the money, just a portion (say 10%). People are less likely to haggle hard when the money is going to charity.

No Effort: Everything Else

Everything else includes clothes, dishes, bedding, luggage, etc. To me, if I don’t think I can sell it for at least $50, it belongs in this pile. My 2 tactics here:

  • Step #6 – Shy Yard Sale: This idea I got from my friend Delia, who hosted a “shy” yard sale a couple of weeks ago. Basically, she set everything out in her driveway with a jar and put up a sign telling people to pay what they thought the items were worth. Some paid, some took the stuff and ran off, but in the end she made over $150 with very little effort.  
  • Step #7 – Free Cycle: If you live in NYC, you’re used to free cycling, where you put your unwanted stuff out on your stoop for passersby to take. I know someone who only wears free cycled clothing (which is kind of extreme).  In the suburban version, you take your horde to Goodwill and get a tax deduction for the donation. Done.

You don’t need to be overwhelmed by paring down – you just need a game plan.

Now, which of you wants to buy the car?!

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 25th, 2010 and is filed under Hearth.

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