Downsizing In A Pandemic

Recently I decided I needed to do some spring cleaning. A few weeks ago, I was spring cleaning my computer, but why not continue in my home?

There are all sorts of books on how you go about doing this goal to get your home organized. After all, you just have to search the word downsizing on Amazon and then sort it by reviews. (You can find my search HERE) Over the years, I’ve tried the Marie Kondo approach, and today I found a few other books I’m going to read.

But back to what I’ve done.

One of my recent complaints is that I have things in my home that I know my sons aren’t going to want and I hate the thought of them just being put in the trash. I know I can donate things but I like to sell things as well. (I guess I get that from my dad because he was a salesman his entire career). So here are some of the things I’ve done to downsize, and I’ve made a bit of money along the way.

For me selling this way is a bit of a game. I’ve decided I’m going to sell items and see if I can gather enough money to purchase a tent that I saw for my minivan. I noticed today that they are out of stock on Amazon, so I may have to source from somewhere else.

MOGICS Carsule

In the past, I would have just had a yard sale of the things I’ve found, but because of the pandemic, that’s not an option. If I haven’t mentioned before, my family use to have a community yard sale every year on the May long weekend at my parents ‘ lake lot. All the family and friends would bring their things to sell, and people thought of it as a tradition. I even recall when my dad stopped having the yard sales that neighbors would stop and say how much they missed them. It wasn’t so much about the selling, but it was the getting together and just trading stuff.

So what can you sell? Well, you’d be surprised, so whether you ultimately decide to sell on eBay or not, let eBay be your guide as to what to sells. Don’t let your own thinking discourage you because you’d be amazed at the things people collect. Once, I bought a bag of odds and ends at an auction (oh yes, I do auctions too ), and in the bag was a pair of eyeglasses. At the time, I thought, “well, that’s garbage,” but before I threw it away, I search on eBay and found that people collected those types of glasses and so I ended up selling them for $35, and I also sold an old razor for $40 from that same bag and that was just the beginning. That was cool because I’d only paid $10 for the bag, and those were the first two things sold out of the bag. (See I said it was a game to me).

eBay is also helpful for decided on a fair price. Now anyone can ask whatever they’d like for something but the important thing is what would people actually pay. So here’s another trick from eBay. On the left-hand side of eBay, you can filter your search. Keep scrolling way down until you get to “Show only” and then” “completed and sold items” and click those checkboxes. Now your search is only going to show you items that have sold recently and what people were willing to pay. Note that this is showing the price of the item and the shipping. The shipping is what it would have cost you to get it to your location, but still, someone paid the item price and shipping, so you can usually charge more than the sold price if you are selling locally.

I sold this Black Friday Magazine for $20

Now we know what we’re selling and how much we will charge, but how are we going to sell it? Here are the things that I’ve done.

  1. If you are on Facebook, then you can sell on Marketplace. You’ll find the icon in the center of the Facebook screen. I discovered that adding something can be easy if you use the Facebook app on your phone. Click on the item title, and then, using the microphone, you can use talk to text and give the name of the item your selling. Adding the description is easy using the talk-to-text as well. Be sure to describe all the important features, dimensions, it’s condition as to whether it’s good or just like new. Be sure to mention if you prefer porch pick-up and whether you accept transfers and what part of town you live in. Once you’ve recorded the description, you can edit it and then add tags. Decide on your price and post. After your item is on for about a week, you’ll have to repost if you haven’t sold it by then. At that point, you may want to consider dropping your price.

2. Set up a store on Etsy. This was easy for me as I already have a Shop the Hound Esty store. Etsy is only for vintage or handmade and created items, so there is a limit as to what you can post there.

Setting up an Etsy store is relatively simple, and the fees are minimal. On the free store, to create a listing, you are charged a per item of $0.25 each, and then you pay 5% on your sale. You can learn more about setting up a store HERE. There are two plans. I currently use the free version, but there is a paid monthly program as well. The paid program gives you 15 listings per month included in the cost, and a 50% of that you get back in advertising value. I may consider upgrading my store in the future, but I get a fair amount of traffic just on the free.

3. eBay is another online way of selling. I’ve sold on eBay for years; however, it’s become more difficult in more recent years. I was always on the site, but a few years ago, they made it so I could only post on I’m not sure why but there doesn’t seem to be the visibility that I use to get, so things don’t seem to sell. So I don’t sell very often on there anymore. If you have had a better eBay experience (and you’re from Canada), I’d love to hear suggestions about what I might be doing wrong.

My eBay funds go to my PayPal account, which many people already have set up. This way, the money can be kept for future purchases that accept PayPal, or you can also set up PayPal to deposit into your bank account. There is no fee to set up an item on eBay (unless you list more than 250 items), but they do take a percentage of your sale, which is 12.55%.

Like Facebook, both Etsy and eBay items can be set up through the selling app, and using the voice-to-text feature is simple, as I mentioned earlier. Setting up through the apps in all cases is great for adding photos as you can either take a photo when you’re adding the item or access the photos from your phone. If you set up items from your computer, you have to be able to get access your photos.

Etsy and eBay also require that you put in the dimensions of your items so that a correct fee can be charged for shipping as the customer agrees to the shipping fee and the cost of your item. Unless you offer FREE shipping and then you’d have to adjust your item pricing accordingly.

4. Set up a Shopify Store. Again this wasn’t really a challenge as I already had my store, Shop the Hound. To set up a store, there are various plans from basic at $29 US all the way to $299. How it differs from Etsy is that the money you make is your own. So once you pay the fee for the store each month, anything you make is yours.

Not everyone will set up a store unless you decide this might be your new hobby and for me, this is just an extension of what I already do. You might think this sounds like a bunch of work but I find it fun. I don’t post tons of items at the same time, I just post a few each day. Slowly I’m sorting and downsizing a bit at a time and I’m halfway to my tent in just over a week.

So what can you sell?

P.S. I put some of the things I find on my store at Shop the Hound and on my Etsy Store by the same name. Not everything I put in the stores are from my family some are treasures I find along the way.

Note: my goal is to get my “poop in a group” and I have a Facebook group called that. If you’d like to join you can do so HERE. Be sure to answer the questions when you join otherwise you won’t be admitted.

Note: The post above contains affiliate links. This means I make a small percentage of the sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. This is a supplement to my income so I can continue  to support The DNA Angel Project and to make donations to the Alzheimer’s’ Society

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