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Why is Getting Simple So Hard? The Joys of Selling on Craigslist.

Where have you been you ask???  You made such a big deal proclaiming 2011 as The Year of Less, and we haven’t heard anything from you since.  Did you minimalize yourself into nothingness?

I’ve heard the questions about my lack of posts lately and I apologize for not keeping everyone informed.  My wife and I have spent the last few weeks drastically changing our lives.  In January we have:

  • Donated 20 boxes of misc. items, 9 bags of clothes and some furniture items to non-profit organizations.
  • Blessed our friends and family (at least I hope they feel blessed) with some items we no longer needed but hoped would benefit them.
  • Spent countless hours posting items for sale on Craigslist and eBay.
  • Took all non-essential items that we did not sell or donate along with items that we could not part with and put them in storage.  (Do I hear some boos from the crowd?)

Stuffed our vehicles with the items we really needed, cleaned up our apartment and moved out.

Anyone who has ever moved knows the amount of work that is involved, unless you were lucky enough to have a company come in and do all the packing and hauling for you.  We were not so lucky and did the work by ourselves except for some help from my son in moving things to the storage shed.  By the time we drove our cars out of town, my wife and I were exhausted, but we learned some valuable lessons, such as:

    The joys of selling on Craigslist.

    January in Nebraska is not the time to have a yard sale.  Since we needed to lighten our load before moving, we turned to Craigslist. If we hadn’t needed some money from selling our things to help us through this transition period, I’d had rather given away all our stuff then deal with the hassle of selling it on Craigslist.  

    My wife handled all the computer work, wrote the ads, answered the emails with questions about our items, uploaded the pics, etc.  I’m pretty sure she has now removed Craigslist from her toolbar and bookmarks permanently.  No matter how well you described the item you have for sale, someone can always find a question to ask; “What shade of red is it?, Do you think it will match my carpet?”  “How tall is it? How old is it? Will it fit in my car?”  And our favorite questions which run along the line of, “I know you are asking $75 for the barely used exercise bike, but would you take $25 for it?”

    It didn’t take long for Lisa, my wife, to get sick of all the emails and put in the ads that emails would not be answered and to call with questions or to set a time to come and see the items.  Although we did get more calls then, there was less communications for us to deal with and we didn’t have to spend 3 or 4 emails on one person’s questions.

    Next, we decided that we were only going to put items that we were asking $25 or more in our ad.  It just wasn’t worth the time to post, repost, and answer questions about $5 or $10 items.  The People’s City Mission was the beneficiary of this decision as we filled about 20 boxes with these low dollar items and 9 trash bags with clothes and shoes to be donated.

    Probably our biggest frustration was having to sell some items 3 or more times.  People would call and tell us that they think the kid’s table and chairs set we have is just the cutest thing and is just what they need for their daycare center.  Please hold it until I get off work at 5:00 and I’ll be out to pick it up.  Then they would never show up.  This happened a couple of times with this set and we ended up just giving it away.

    Our experience with Craigslist wasn’t all bad.  We did meet some very nice people.  Some people wanted to help us out by buying a lot of stuff from us.  Some people were obviously having a tough time surviving and could only afford real bargain prices.  It was nice to be able to help them by giving them some great prices.  We also had good success selling our higher dollar items, such as our recliner, living room set, bedroom set, dining room table and chairs, etc.

    When all the selling and donating was done, we ended up with what we could fit in our two vehicles and a 10×13 ft. storage shed.  The shed contains items we just couldn’t part with at this time, items we are giving to relatives and friends but were unable to get them delivered at this time, and some more items we plan to sell when the Nebraska weather permits an outdoor sale.

    We may have benefited by reading Sell Your Crap by Adam Baker which contains a 49-page guide to selling on Craigslist. Oh, well, maybe next time.  Oh, yeah!  There won’t be a next time!!!!

    If you have not done so, please join Lisa and I in making 2011 the Year of Less!  Read and sign the Proclamation here and join us as we Buy Less, Own Less and Do Less in 2011.

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