Normally I share a link to a article, but today’s article is a craigslist post. Those don’t stick around long, so I’ll share the contents of the post (below and in featured image above.)
A heads up to anyone considering purchasing from the person using the keyword “decluttering.” They have no interest in actually selling as they are unresponsive for large periods of time. After finally working out a time to meet, they did not provide address until 10 mins before the time to meet and stated that if I could not buy, they had someone else interested.
For all of the requirements necessary to buy from this person…text, no change, pick up only, etc etc etc, you would think they would be a bit easier to work with.
Don’t waste your time.
Typical posts from this person include the following lines:
***Type ( decluttering) in the Craigslist search bar to see my other items.***
Cash only. Correct change, as I don’t keep cash on hand.
This craigslist post highlights a person that is decluttering, but isn’t effective at getting the items sold. If you are doing a major decluttering, selling the items may not be the best way to get rid of them. Selling is time consuming and slow. When you have to take time from your decluttering sessions to sell items, you lose the momentum of your decluttering effort. Your focus has to shift from “I don’t value this item and want it out of my house” to “this item has value and I’m going to get some money for it.”
There is a mental conflict happening. The item has no value to you, and you wouldn’t re-buy this item today. Yet you assume that it will have value to someone else. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but the real problem is the conflict in how you are perceiving your stuff.
It’s important for you to recognize that all the stuff you have decluttered holds no value to you. You received value from this stuff in the past through the use of it, but now that you are getting rid of it, it no longer holds any value to you. Sometimes it’s easier to donate all of it, especially the smaller, less expensive items.
If you decide you want to sell some decluttered items on craigslist, follow these tips:
- Focus on big ticket items, that are worth the work involved to sell them. Things like furniture, appliances, and newer electronics. Consider that the average craigslist sale will take 30 to 60 minutes of effort on your part, including cleaning it up, taking photos, writing it up, posting the add, answering calls and emails, and meeting people for the sale.
- Price it to sell. You aren’t selling gold bars, you are selling the junk that you don’t want any more. Price it as the junk it is. Unless the item is highly desirable (most of the time it isn’t) always price it at less than half the price when new. The lower you price it, the faster it will be out of your house for good. Remember, you are not getting into retail, you are getting rid of the stuff you don’t want. The focus should be on getting it out of the house, not on maximizing profits.
- Be available. Don’t post your craigslist ad right before you leave for vacation. The best time would be just before you have a couple of days off. That way you have time to field emails and calls and have maximum availability to meet the buyers for the sale.
- Have change. If you price something for $75, make sure you have $5 for change when they hand you four 20s.
- Include detailed pictures in good lighting. A picture is worth a thousand words. Good pictures will help the buyer to know exactly what you are selling. Take pictures from multiple angles, and do you best to get accurate colors.
- Call out any defects or damage. If the item is damaged, be sure to mention this in the ad. It will save the buyer time if they are looking for something in perfect condition. You may also want to take a photo of the damage to include in the ad.
- Good, bad, good. When writing the description, start with the good, then mention the bad, and end with more good. Here is an example from one of my recent ads:Papasan chair with cushion and pillow. The chair was a light color and we painted it brown to better match our other furniture. The cushion is green.We’ve been using it as patio furniture. It’s under a covered patio, but does occasionally get wet from rain. It’s still good shape, and there are no tears in the cushion. If you are looking for a papasan for your patio or pool deck, then this is the one for you. Only $20.I started with all the basic details. Then I mentioned the bad — it was used outside and occasionally got wet. Finally, I closed with the good — It’s in good shape with no tears, and if you are looking for a papasan for your patio or pool deck, then this one is for you.
- Keywords. Make sure you include any words people might use when searching for your item. For example, if you are selling a couch, you might also call it a sofa somewhere in your description. Also include the brand or store it was bought from if relevant to your ad. Mention the colors and the materials, even if the pictures make these things obvious. If someone is searching for a “black leather couch”, and your ad just says “couch”, they may never find your ad. Consider alternate spellings. My neighborhood is Hunter’s Creek, but people often leave out the apostrophe when searching, so I use “Hunter’s Creek” and “Hunters Creek” in my ad.
- Include a link to the retailer. When possible, you should include a link to the same item on the retailers website. This will help the buyer read reviews, find measurements and other details you may not have included in your ad, and will also allow them to see the original price so they can see the value your discounted price.
- Include details for the purchase. I always like to end my ads with this — Cash only. Sale goes to the first person that can pick it up at my home. Contact me through craigslist and I’ll reply by email or by phone if you leave your number. Including these details makes it very clear that I am not holding the items for two weeks while you ask your mother-in-law if she wants to buy it. It also gets people moving when they fear you might sell it to someone else that can pick it up sooner. In practice, I will typically hold an item for a day or so for the first person to contact me, but including the disclaimer in the ad, makes it easier for me to move on if I don’t get much response from the first buyer. Most people know how to contact you on craigslist, but by including the instructions, they know how you’ll be responding to them. Lastly, and this isn’t mentioned in the ad, but is along the same lines, I never give out my address until I confirm a pickup time with the buyer. I typically sell out of my house as it’s easier, but I don’t want people showing up unexpectedly, and for safety reasons I don’t want people to know when I won’t be home. For example, if I sent my address to someone and then they came back asking when they could pick it up, and I tell them after 5:00, they would assume I’m not home before then and could target my home for burglary. To add to that, I never say “I’m at work” or I won’t be home until”, rather I say “I’m available at this time.”
I want to emphasize how important it is to price the items to sell. The goal is to have someone pay you to take the items out of your home. These items have zero value to you, so any money earned is a win. Price it to sell, price it to sell, price it to sell. I think you get the idea.
There is a wealth of information on selling things on craigslist floating around the internet. Certainly read through some of that as well if you want more tips, but keep in mind that most of that will be focused on selling for profit rather than selling to declutter. You may be getting tired of hearing it, but I’m going to say it again, “Your only goal is to get someone to pay you to remove items from your home.” The real benefit to selling on craigslist is that someone will come to your home and remove the clutter for you, the money they pay you to do this is a bonus.
Do you have any additional tips for selling decluttered items on craigslist? We’d love to hear them. You can share in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.