Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning

It’s not just wiping dirty windows or replacing smoke alarm batteries. I’m convinced stuff breeds in dark corners over the winter months. In spite of my best efforts, yard sales are not a good way to divest. I've tried individual, multi-home, and neighborhood sales with poor results. This, in spite of low prices, clean pieces in good shape, and enthusiastic promotion. We live in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood. So it's not as if people fear for their lives or wallets. It makes no sense.

Frankly, I've done better by lugging stuff and pairing with other people in more trafficked places. One friend lived in a manufactured home park on a corner property, another in an expensive neighborhood, another on a major thoroughfare near a large grocery store. It's all a matter of what people expect to find, where.

Craigslist is another option for clearing clutter, with free listings and photos. We posted yard sale leftovers there and had better than 50% success. Far less hassle than yard sales. CL is good for larger household items in good condition. A posting method I'm considering is to remove a listing after a week and re-post it so that it stays current.

In desperation we’ve done the paid method. We work with an Ebay fellow who charges 30% of the profit and all fees. Yes, a bit steep. But we’re also paying for his track record of positive feedback, photos, write ups, packaging and mailing out. Ebay is better suited for quality pieces that photograph well and are easy to ship. It’s success rate is less than 50%. But we got some surprisingly good results on things that did move. However the fees are killers on non-sellers. To figure if it’s worth it, track like items and see how the bidding goes before listing your own. Some tricks. If you post on Thursday with a ten day span you get the advantage of two weekends. If you hold off, September through November are prime time for giftable items. I image textbooks would be hot just before the school year starts and clothes appropriate to the season.

There are still choices with leftovers. Write up an inventory and give your stuff to the Salvation Army or Goodwill for a tax write off. There are standard tax deduction amounts listed on the Goodwill site .(

If getting cash back is not an issue, offer pieces on freecycle. Or put them out on the curb with a “free” sign, hang out the window, and see how long they stay there until someone picks them up.

Anyway you handle it, your home gets some much needed breathing space.

1 comment:

  1. I came over from The Dollar Stretcher, and like what I read!