Long ago, I learned that I lack the fortitude or tenacity to ever host another garage sale. So when I looked around my home this past spring and saw a bunch of items I no longer wanted or needed, I decided it was time to try something new: Sell them online!
Whether you’re moving to new digs or just decluttering the home, it’s hard to resist the opportunity to turn your castoffs into cash. And, if the idea of Craigslist also gives you qualms, online consignment groups on Facebook —where you post your wares to local members who then swing by to take a look—are a more sheltered alternative, since only members get to view the goods (translation: fewer randos).
As I began photographing and listing my inventory, my hopes were high … yet I soon found myself in an oddly depressing, albeit comical, vicious circle.
So, to prepare the rest of you for this roller coaster, check out these pics of the stages you’ll endure if you dare to sell your housewares online.
Your heart’s beating a little faster just thinking about that sweet combination of cash in hand and more room in your home. Even though you haven’t touched your stationary bike since the Clinton administration, you’re certain someone out there is going to want to ride this beauty right out of your basement. Maybe you’ll even get multiple offers—your very own bicycle-based bidding war!
You hone your photo-taking skills to the max
We all know the old saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Well, what if it’s worth a thousand dollars? (OK, maybe a couple of hundred?) Surely, if you take the perfect photo from all the right angles, crop out your cat’s litter box and those unsightly carpet stains, you’ll have buyers beating down the door for that old sofa. After all, staging is everything! (Right?)
You use a little poetic license
Want to attract as much interest as possible? You’ll need a description that proves to the public they can’t live without that hand blender you never figured out how to use. But you’re not a copywriter! Looks like it’s time to plagiarize a description from whichever website you purchased that contraption from and hope that’s not illegal.
You post your item, then check your computer and phone every 10 seconds
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! You’ve posted your item and your listing looks so good, if you didn’t already own that outdoor bar cart, you’d be tempted to buy it all over again. Any minute, someone is going to let you know they’re interested. Wait, is this what online dating feels like?
You plan how you’ll spend your windfall
Now that you look at it, that corner will look awfully bare without your kids’ drum set. You should probably get right on Pinterest for ideas on what to put in its place. Bookshelf? Funky ottoman? Exotic plant? Because, why not? You’re about to have oodles of cash coming your way any moment. And also, how else would you pass the time as you wait for would-be buyers to realize this is their chance to raise the next Ringo Starr?
You get your first nibble
OK, you’ve got your first potential buyer. You’re elated! You assure them, yes, this weed whacker is still available. This is going great … until your customer asks more questions than a CIA interrogator. Why are you selling? Will you throw in a can of gasoline and/or an extension cord? Would you be willing to demo it, preferably in their yard? Uh-oh.
You get several more (equally annoying) interested parties
You thought that by joining a local group, you’d avoid the hassle of the packing and shipping. Not so fast. People are interested in that hand-painted toy chest, but they’ll only buy it if you deliver it. Oh, and by the way, they moved out of your town months ago. Oh yeah, and they’d also like to pay half, or maybe a third, of your asking price.
You wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea
After writing to tell 11 potential buyers that, yes, your big inflatable water slide is still available—but, no, you’re not renting a truck to drop it off—you begin to experience self-doubt. You banish all thoughts that resemble, “Time is money,” because you’ve already invested at least six hours in trying to sell something that may, if the stars align, bring in $75. Even though you’re fundamentally and ideologically opposed to it, you’re approaching the point where you’d be happy to see this plastic behemoth upside down in a landfill—so long as it’s out of your backyard.
Finally, a real buyer emerges
After some haggling and hoping you haven’t just welcomed a Craigslist killer into your basement, you sell your foosball table and bask in the splendor of having that cold hard cash in hand. “That wasn’t so hard now, was it?” you tell yourself.
Who knew you’d experience inexplicable feelings of joy, akin to a runner’s high, after watching a father and son leave your driveway with those gently used, left-handed golf clubs? You immediately begin looking around your home for more items to sell. Who needs a stove? It’s summer, after all!