Holiday season perfect time to sell or donate items

Does your son have a Thomas Train set he ignores? Is your daughter’s Radio Flyer wagon gathering dust in the garage? Are you storing golf clubs you never use? Do you have a formal gown you wore once and don’t plan to wear again?

All of these lightly used items — and thousands of others — are in high demand on Craigslist and eBay right now. Buyers are looking to save a few dollars, and sellers are hoping to make a little money. With the economy sloshing around in stagnant water, there is increased activity on resale sites during the holiday season.

If you’re interested in getting unused items out of your home and selling them on Craigslist or eBay, I highly recommend checking out the extremely thorough article “Sell It Now — how to make hundreds of dollars in 37 minutes” by Ramit Sethi. The article is targeted toward eBay, but works just as well for Craigslist. It’s especially helpful if you haven’t ever sold anything on a site like this.

If you aren’t interested in taking the time and energy to sell your lightly used items, now is also a great time to donate them to charity. Remember, charities aren’t dumping grounds for used stuff, so only consider donating goods that are still in excellent condition. Also, give your local charity a call before making a donation to confirm they have a need for your specific items.

9 Comments for “Holiday season perfect time to sell or donate items”

  1. posted by Living the Balanced Life on

    I am definitely collecting a pile of stuff to donate. It is all good stuff, I just don’t want or need it in my space anymore!

  2. posted by Sue on

    The 37 minutes to get rich on ebay article is incredibly misleading. I am an experienced ebay seller, so I know what I’m talking about.

    I will say that the article has great information on how to properly market your item.

    But the time estimates for listing are wrong wrong wrong. 5 minutes to research an unfamiliar item? Okay, maybe, if it’s something simple, like the shoes in the article. But something rare, vintage, or uncommon may take a lot more time. The article completely missed the fact that you should research closed listings on ebay and only pay attention to items that actually sold. It’s easy to get misled by the listings with high prices that don’t sell, and there are many of those out there.

    15 minutes to take the photos, edit the photos, and draft the item description? Yes, if it’s simple or something you have sold before. But if you are brand new to this, it’s going to take longer. I’ll spend 15 minutes on the photos and editing, sometimes. And crafting a proper listing takes more than the 5 minutes alloted. The item needs to be described accurately yet concisely. Descriptions should be proof-read carefully.

    And here’s what got me – the final section, “Fulfillment”. The author alloted a whole 10 minutes to post-auction tasks!?! Really? It takes a whole lot more time than that. You need to send an invoice to the buyer, print the shipping label and packing slip, package the item properly, then go to the post office. I think a lot of people are surprised at how much work there is after an item sells.

    The article went into so much detail about listing your item, and totally skipped over how to make sure your item gets to its destination intact.

  3. posted by Kari on

    We have a load ready to go the the charity shop this weekend; I never thought of it as a timely thing, but now I am really motivated to get it out of the house and on to someone else who may want for themselves or as gifts.

  4. posted by Lusule on

    Don’t forget Freecycle as well ( – it’s a great way to get rid of unwanted stuff and for people on a budget eg when setting up a new home or welcoming a new addition to the family.

    The idea is, the item is advertised on your local network and given away for free, provided the recipient deals with collection. No hassle, no postage costs, no packaging. Literately ‘I have an item I don’t want, first dibs gets it.’ In return, one day when you find yourself in need the network is there for you. Goods are often a bit battered and bruised, but they’re free.

  5. posted by renee on

    Every year I use the Christmas holiday to clean out my daughter’s toys and clothes. This is a process we do together, from them choosing the items to dropping off the items at the Dept of Fam Services or the dog warden. Every year we dig through bedroom, bathroom, and linen closets and end up finding items still new in packaging. We also amend our donations with a few bought items that the girls choose. Knowing the linens, toys and clothes go to people (or pets) who need them and care for them makes purging a welcome task for the kids. We also do this at Easter as a prerequisite mandated by the easter bunny.
    I second Lusule’s suggestion of freecycle: I just parted with 2 artifical trees that have been sitting in my barn and a box of christmas decorations that my girls have outgrown.

  6. posted by Richard on

    I have over 5000 eBay sales under my belt and I agree with Sue – this article is totally misleading… and might end up costing folks nice money.

    there is an entry discussing the concept of pricing shipping cost. The author dismisses the question by saying to use FREE SHIPPING. Well, that`s fine and dandy when you ship locally , something like a Cd. which cost like 2$ to ship.. but for bulkier items , shipping fees can eat a nice chunk of your profit.

    the question was not about “eating the fees” the question was how do I calculate shipping.

    Go to site and use the calculators. Educate yourself. And yes, you need an accurate scale, and boxes of all sized ans shape, and tape, and bubblewrap and packing peanuts, and enveloppes and well, you get the idea.

    CRAIGSLIST works great. If you price your items at a fair price, they will sell. You’ll always get mail from bottom feeders, that wants everything for 1$, but if you are patient, you’ll get sales.

  7. posted by Amanda on

    I am going to send this entry to my sister. Her children have outgrown (mentally and physically) many of the hundreds of toys she has in her home.

  8. posted by [email protected] on

    And it is also a perfect time to sort through what can be regifted.

    Not to everyone’s taste, I know, but it can be a real win-win solution.

    I have an underbed box with great condition “baby and bigger” clothes saved from my regular purges of outgrown clothes. Due to wrong seasons, too much, or buried, or whatever, I’ve never had a shortage of gifts for new parents.

    I also have a box of “emergency kid gifts” – many are perfect finds from charity shops or our unloved gifts

  9. posted by genie on

    I like most of your post, but the part about only donating items to charities that are in “excellent” condition I think is a bit off of the mark. People who shop at thrift stores are expecting used items and a bit of damage usually comes with the territory. I know – I shop there! What might be trash to you, say an old vase with a slight chip or a little stain, might be easily repairable to another person. You just never know. They might want to spray paint the item or re-use it in a fashion that you’ve never considered.

    Also, clothes with stains and that are torn are still wanted. They are sold to companies that make them into rags. Really.

    Yes, there are some things that you shouldn’t take – anything that is heavily soiled and can’t be cleaned (cat pee soaked mattresses for example). But generally, thrift stores are happy to get most anything.

    Also, another place to get rid of stuff – at the end of your driveway. Put a “free” sign on it and watch in amazement as people take it away. I just got an old wooden box with a lid that way, it’s a wonderful kitty cat home for our cat!

    Or, if you have a lot, have a yard sale only make everything for free. In this economy, people will be amazed at your generosity.

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