The Experiment Continues: Stewarding Stuff in Q2

Stuff. It surrounds me… though less than it did last quarter. I’ve continued to make progress getting stuff out of my house.

At the beginning of the year, I started an experiment to get stuff out of my house. My initial goal was to sell it and learn about the various platforms.

My goal shifted this quarter to focus more on ensuring I got my stuff to a new proper home. It would be incredibly easy to fill up our trash and the car a few times to Goodwill, but I don’t want to do that. I currently own this stuff and I feel it is my duty to get it to its proper place. If it still has life, I want someone to use it. If it needs to be disposed of, I want to do that properly.

This quarter was less about the experiment and more about the result. I knew the apps and sites I could use, but much of this quarter’s output had no monetary value. I was challenged to find proper ways to get things to the correct places.

Places I used

Local – Large or Unique items.

  • Craigslist
  • OfferUp
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Curb in front of my house
  • Local Recycling Center

Online – Easily shippable items

  • Poshmark
  • eBay

Where I SOLD

Since this was the second quarter, my records aren’t as good. I kept posting items anywhere and everywhere, but I didn’t keep track as to whether what sold this quarter was first posted this quarter or last quarter. Sold is sold as far as I was concerned.

Poshmark

  • Sold : 8 // Last Quarter: 10

I sold 2 fewer items in Q2, but I made nearly $20 more. I don’t have any tricks for getting more money out of each sale, other than put up more expensive items! I’m not aggressive with the price drops, so that may help too. That could also be leading to fewer sales.

eBay

  • Sold: 3 // Last Quarter: 1

Yay 3 sales! I still have no idea what I’m doing on eBay, but I’m happy to have an additional market to sell my wares. My sales were split between Buy it Now and Auctions. For these, I require payment immediately. Unfortunately for me, I accepted an offer on a 4th item mid-June. Offers aren’t required to pay immediately and I’m still waiting on payment. I opened a case in eBay because Hey Guy! Dont say you’ll buy my stuff and not pay! I even gave the guy a deal! How Rude. I’m soured on the Offer function.

Where I Gave Away

Curb

There is this fancy place at the end of your driveway where you can put stuff and it’ll disappear! I had an old solid wood desk to get rid of – not a nice one – and I was under a deadline. Hubs cleaned up the garage and the crappy old desk the previous owner left in our house had to go ASAP. I had 1 week until Trash Day or it was going with the trash. (I know. Wood – in the trash?? He can be a real monster sometimes.)

I posted an ad on Craigslist, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace. With Midwest summer weather and living on a quiet street, I waited for nibbles before I put it out on the curb. The next morning, I got an email from my neighbor across the street saying she nabbed it, she loves it and she can’t wait to fix it up. Turns out a quiet street doesn’t matter when my trash is literally my neighbor’s treasure.

Local Recycling Center

Also in the garage clean out, I had to find a home for 2 vacuums: One non-functioning old canister vac and a broken shop vac. My area has a recycling location where I can drop off certain items free of charge. I kinda knew this place existed, but had never used it. It was so easy! They even unloaded my car for me while I ran inside and scanned my license (Local residents only). I’m excited to keep future items out of the garbage heap and recycle or repurpose them now that I’ve confirmed this place exists.

Overall

The Second Quarter was incredibly productive in terms of volume moved out of my space. By nixing a desk and 2 vacuums, I have so much extra room! A deadline made all the difference getting the big stuff out. I’m happy to have more space, less stuff and more money.

Do you sell secondhand? Do you put in the time to find new homes for the things you no longer use? Or are you a Goodwill and done type of person?

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An Experiment: How I sold my stuff on the internet in Q1

Stuff. It surrounds me.

It never felt like that much. Primarily because it was always spread around. Some was at my mom’s house. Some was at my dad’s. Then some was away with me at college.

When I moved into an apartment with Hubs, it got more scattered. We both had things, yes, but we left a lot behind. My mom still had some. My dad still had some. He left some stuff behind at his parent’s place. He had a bunch in their garage. We didn’t have a garage at our apartment, so we never took more than we could handle.

Then we bought a house, with a garage. Officially an adult, my parents jumped on the opportunity to get my crap out of their house. Every visit home involved a tour of some new nook or cranny that had my stuff.

  • A dress my grandpa bought me when I was in elementary school?  I loved that dress. But it can find a new home.
  • A suade-ish faux fur coat from high school?: 1)What the heck was I thinking? but 2) Yes, that can leave my life.

Hubs’ parents also joined in. They wanted their full garage back. They remodeled the basement and were happy to use that as an opportunity to bring boxes over.

For the first time ever, all our stuff is in one place.

I knew there would be a filtering process as we rearranged and found new homes for things. Try this or try that, things shuffled around the house. We’ve been in our house over a year now and we are settled in.  Our settling has made it incredibly clear that we own too many things we don’t use and don’t plan to use.

Get this out of my house!

To find the most effective way to gently shove my treasures out, I took the opportunity to learn new platforms and refresh my knowledge on old ones. I love experiments, comparing. This was perfect.

The nature of shipping makes certain avenues better than others. I had a desk to sell. Shipping that would be impossible. For that, I was willing to deal with the local market hassle of meeting up and exchanging cash in person. I also had clothes and small items to sell. Those are perfect to ship. The easier I felt something was to ship, the less I felt it was worth it to try to meet up with people to exchange. Online/nationwide shipping also opens up a much larger marketplace. Yay online!

Websites/Apps I tried

Local – Large or Unique items.

  • Craigslist
  • LetGo
  • OfferUp
  • Facebook Marketplace

Online – Easily shippable items

  • Poshmark
  • eBay
  • (Notably not Amazon – I’ve sold on Amazon in the past. It is great for things with a barcode, but I didn’t have any of that to sell this round.)

I tried to give each platform an honest equal shot. I used the same pictures for everything. I used very similar descriptions. Some platforms want you to be wordy and some want you to get to the point. Quick flip through apps like LetGo, Facebook and OfferUp seem to want you to get to the point, so I did. I provided more detail on Poshmark, eBay & Craigslist. I don’t necessarily think that more detail is better, but if they provided a large space, I tried to fill it with what I could. It helps to fit the user experience: E.g. I find it odd when the platform provides a small space and people write novels or if there is a large space for detail and people say 2 words.

I started uploading my wares around Christmas, but nothing sold until after the New Year. For clean lines, here is what I accomplished in the First Quarter 2018.

The Results!

Overall

  • 75 items posted
  • 14 items sold
  • 6 people wasting my time.

Craigslist

  • 2 item posted
  • 0 items sold
  • 0 people trying to mess with me.

LetGo

  • 12 items posted
  • 0 items sold.
  • 5 people seemingly deliberately trying to mess with me and waste my time

OfferUp

  • 12 items posted
  • 2 items sold – A Desk (Large) and a pair of shoes (unique)
  • 1 person who totally deliberately wasted my time. I was GHOSTED!

Facebook Marketplace

  • 12 items posted
  • 0 items sold
  • 0 people trying to mess with me. I had a few nibbles, but no serious interest.

Poshmark

  • 64 items posted
  • 10 items sold – Clothing & shoes.
  • 0 people trying to mess with me. – I don’t consider comments “wasting my time” even though I’ve yet to have someone comment who then purchased an item.

eBay

  • 9 items posted
  • 2 items sold – A pair of shoes and a bag.
  • 0 people trying to mess with me.

The big winners are Poshmark, eBay and OfferUp. By selling local with OfferUp, I unloaded much larger, more expensive items. Poshmark and eBay have been a semi-steady stream of smaller sales.

I don’t plan to put more up on LetGo. There are too many people playing games. I’ll keep up what I have, but I’ve learned not to get my hopes up when someone is interested and asks to meet. I plan to use Craigslist, Facebook and OfferUp for any larger items, but will use Poshmark and eBay as my main sources.

With all of the items, I never put my hope in any single one of the platforms to be the only place I sold. OfferUp, LetGo, Facebook and eBay tell you how many people looked at your item. There was a drastic difference between the number of views I got on one platform versus another, even though I was using the exact same pictures. Simply put, people look for different things on different platforms. Often, I’ve been surprised by what sells where.

I feel like I’ve run out of my own things to sell, but I’m sure that’s a lie. There is always more stuff to uncover. I do plan to tap into Hubs’ items, specifically clothes, to see what I can unload.  We’ll see what I can sell next Quarter!

Do you sell secondhand? Do you use any platforms I’ve missed?

Looking ahead…

The first 28 years of my life came with easily definable goals. Most of them were school related.

I started school when I was 3. From there, I was continuously in school until I graduated college. I graduated in December of 2009 so I had a whole 9 months off before I started law school in August of 2010. I graduated law school in May of 2013, but then I transitioned to studying for the bar exam. I took the bar exam in August 2013. From then until March 27, 2015, my main goal was to pay off my student loans. I had 23 years of education and I was looking forward to doing something else. I felt that so long as I had these loans, I was defined by my education.

Today, my life is free from formal schooling. I’m not in school, just out of school or paying for school.

This is a time of transition.

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last 9 months. I keep reading, absorbing and applying what I can to my life.

The unfortunate truth is that I don’t know what I want right now. 

I’ve found a few things that feel good, but nothing has captured my attention, work ethic or drive like a traditional learning environment. I’m really good at school, and nothing has stepped in to fill that void.

With a void to fill, I’ve been trying several things. I’ve thrown a lot of things at the wall to see what sticks. Nothing has stuck, but a few things have been sticky. Warm gummy bears, so to speak. Here are a few things I’ve been dabbling in.

Assessing stuff with purpose and keeping what’s important.

aka Minimalism, Intentional stuff keeping or using the Kon Mari method

I have an unhealthy relationship with stuff. My grandpa was a real Hoarder. My mom, traumatized by his behavior, would prefer to own nothing. Living with both of them growing up, my relationship with stuff is not a good one. For an extra bonus of fun, I hate throwing stuff away.

Those factors came together to impact my current collection of stuff. I don’t have a lot, but what I do have, I either have a strong emotional attachment to or I can’t get myself to throw it away. I’ve got a lot of work to do in this area. Thankfully, I plan to move this year so it’s a perfect opportunity to evaluate my stuff.

(Every time I write or say the word Stuff, I think of this clip. )

Starting FIREs

Having my financial poop in a group has inspired me to look toward my financial future. If Hubs and I keep up this saving pace, FIRE is on the table. No, the table isn’t on FIRE, but (F)inancial (I)ndependence (R)etire (E)arly.

I’ve been playing  around with my saving and investment strategies. Things look good. Perhaps 10 years good. However, I don’t want to sit around for 10 years to hold my breath. I want to optimize for FIRE and effectively forget about it for the next 9 years.

Crafts of all kinds: Sewing, knitting, coloring! Oh My!

I taught myself to sew using a sewing machine! I made an adorable rice heating pad to keep warm at work. I knit my sister a pair of mittens and I spent some quality time coloring with my Momma. I’ve enjoyed all my crafty time, but it hasn’t sparked me like it normally does.

Coloring accident

Coloring accident

(Yes, I’ve learned that colored pencils are far superior to crayons.)

Perhaps I’m putting too much pressure on myself. There is no reason I can’t simply be me right now. Whatever it is, I hope this ho hum phase passes soon.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a rut? What got you out of it? Any words of advice?