Best of selling stuff online

Elise and I bought our current house six years ago. John & Christine moved out of their rental house and into their first house in Austin around the same time. During our mutual moves, I got John’s L-shaped desk on permanent loan until he needed it back. He was helping me out by furnishing our home office. I was helping him out by providing free storage until he needed the desk and accompanying cabinets. Last week, John needed his office furniture back. So that was our excuse to go out and get new office furniture. Getting new office furniture meant that we had to paint the office again. Painting the office meant that we had to move most everything out of the office. Moving everything meant that I found a bunch of stuff to get rid of.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I sold something on eBay. I don’t think I’ll ever sell anything on eBay again. eBay’s a pain in the ass. Listing a single item takes too long in that you have to fill out so many forms, then you have to pay a listing fee, final value fee (at least I did the last time I sold something) and then you have to deal with potential buyer questions and, worst of all, shipping. When you factor in all of the above, it’s not worth the time to sell a single item every once in a while on eBay.

If I have something that I need to sell these days, I’ll approach my immediate personal network first (friends, neighbors, etc.) If I don’t get a quick response, I’ll take 5 minutes and snap a few good photos and write a good, honest description of the item I’m selling and post it on craigslist. Austin has a fantastic craiglist community and I’ve had a great overall experience both buying and selling there.

When we were cleaning out the office, I found a couple old hard drives and a wireless router that I’d been hoarding for years. I decided to take photos of them with my phone and sell them. Here are the items I listed:

$15 Seagate 120GB ATA hard drive
$15 Maxtor 160GB SATA hard drive
$10 Netgear 802.11g wireless router

And then the craigslist community turned into one that nearly rivals eBay’s. I’ve had people email me who want me to take detailed photos of one of the hard drives. One gentleman emailed me and asked for my home phone number so we could run a series of tests on the wireless router. I had to bite my lip and not respond immediately. I took Elise’s advice and politely wrote the gentleman back and stated: “you have my money back guarantee that the router works.

The moral of the story: spend your spare time reading the “Best of craigslist” and just horde your junk. You’ll be happier that way.

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