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Selling Your Discards Online

As you clean out, you may discover a few items that are actually worth something (it’s not all junk!) If you’re too impatient for consignment and don’t have the energy for a yard sale, try selling your stuff online — either through a free listing like Craigslist or an auction like Ebay.

Describing Your Product

Checkmark-Iconstart with an attention-grabbing title for your product

Xmark-Iconinclude any brand names or model numbers

Checkmark-Icondescribe the condition of the item in positive terms — emphasize “new” and “like new” items

Xmark-Iconinclude a link to the manufacturer webpage for that product

Checkmark-Iconinclude a link to other sites selling the product for a similar or higher price

Xmark-Iconbe honest about any flaws, damage, or wear

Checkmark-Iconprovide as much description as necessary — size, color, fabric, style, construction, etc.

Xmark-Iconthere’s usually no text limit or a generous limit — the more information the better

Checkmark-Icondescribe any customization or special features not normally included with that product

Xmark-Iconindicate an item’s gender (men’s, women’s, kid’s) when appropriate

Checkmark-Iconinclude photos and close-up’s of features and “minor damage”

Xmark-Iconplace your item in a category with other similar items

Getting The Most Out Of Free Online Listings

Checkmark-Icontry free services like Craigslist and Kijiji before paying for a listing

Xmark-Iconthese services are like online newspaper classifieds — targeting local buyers

Checkmark-Iconeliminates any concern about shipping the product — you can insist on local pick-up

Xmark-Iconprotects your contact information — responses to the ad come to you anonymously

Checkmark-Iconyou decide who to meet with to show the item, when, and where

Xmark-Iconno formal bidding process — you negotiate back and forth with all buyers until you find an offer you like

Checkmark-Iconlisting expires after 2 weeks, but you can always relist

How The Ebay Bidding Process Works

Xmark-Iconmore like a traditional “auction” setting and less like a classified ad

Checkmark-Iconyou decide on a starting price — the opening bid on your item

Xmark-Iconyou also set the bidding increments — minimum of 50 cents, $1, $5, etc.

Checkmark-Icondetermine if you want the item not to sell below a “reserve” price — minimum you will accept

Xmark-Iconset a time limit for how long you want the bid to be open

Checkmark-Iconyou do not hand-pick the buyer — the item goes to the highest bidder at end of auction

Xmark-Iconif no one meets your reserve price, the item does not sell

Checkmark-Iconyou can also set a “buy now” option that skips auction process

Xmark-Iconwith “buy now”, the purchaser can buy immediately for a pre-determined price

Checkmark-Iconyou pay a fee for your listing, even if the item doesn’t sell

Xmark-Iconif the item does sell, you pay a percentage commission, as well

Shipping Your Order To A Winning Bidder

Checkmark-Iconbest if you let bidders know the shipping method and cost up front

Xmark-Iconchoose flat rate shipping or find shipping cost to farthest point from you in the country

Checkmark-Iconindicate that shipping may be higher for overseas bidders

Xmark-Iconlet bidders know if insurance on the package is included or costs more

Checkmark-Iconpack the product well and insure it — you will be responsible if it arrives damaged

Xmark-Iconinclude delivery confirmation so you know it was delivered properly

Ways To Protect Your Interests

Checkmark-Iconask up front what the auction service’s fees are

Xmark-Iconalso find out what protections you have from the service

Checkmark-Iconsee how you are covered in case of a dishonest buyer

Xmark-Iconknow your rights and responsibilities before signing on

Checkmark-Iconchoose an escrow service to handle payments

Xmark-Iconthey receive cash payment from buyer and hold until delivery

Checkmark-Iconavoid problems with bounced checks and bad credit cards

Xmark-Iconchoose an escrow recommended by your auction service

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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