He Says/She Says: Selling Our Stuff

He Says/She Says: Selling Our Stuff

In the He Says/She Says series, we discuss financial-ish topics where we agree to disagree.

I’m not a natural saver. There. It’s out there. But by our second year of marriage, Johnny (and Dave Ramsey) had helped me see the light, and I started to look for ways to pinch pennies where I could. Now, over six years into our marriage, I find it downright satisfying to get a good deal and save some moolah.

But there’s one aspect of saving that I’m still not totally sold on. And that’s the part where we try to sell our old stuff for money. Currently, we need to sell the following:

  • Kitchen table and four chairs (pictured)
  • Coffee table
  • White Apple Macbook
  • Canon Rebel XSi
  • Three of Johnny’s guitars (he currently has six)
  • Several vintage baseball shirts

That’s all I can think of right now, but there may be even more to add to that list. What I’d like to do is just find a bunch of people who need or want those things and give it to them. Or just give it all to Goodwill or something.

How altruistic of me, right? Wrong! I just want it out of our house as soon as possible. I detest clutter. And it’s a pain to sell stuff. AND the money we make off of our old stuff won’t make much of a difference in the long run. I mean, seriously. Let’s just load it up and give it away.

But there’s one teensy weensy problem. Johnny won’t have it. He is insistent on selling our stuff no matter what. And so oftentimes, this girl is stuck with the task of listing it on Craigslist and other classifieds. In his view, it’s all about the mindset — the mindset that working hard to earn money, wherever possible and no matter how insignificant, will make the difference. In his own words, “It’s the little day-to-day financial choices that will affect our finances most in the long run.”

Touche, Johnny. But let’s bring this conversation out of the ideal and into reality — ain’t nobody got time for that! I just want my house free of all this extra stuff pronto. The time I put into it isn’t worth the extra money we’ll make off these items. Please tell me other people understand my logic.

So to which philosophy do you adhere? Are you of the Johnny or Joanna variety? Choose wisely, or risk being in my bad graces forever ;).

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  • Reply Financial Independence August 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I like to sell my things online using Gumtree (like craigslist) but price low to sell quickly. For example, I sold my old xbox360 which I hadn’t used in about 18 months for about half of what I could have got for it if I had been willing to jump through the hoops of having multiple interested parties back out last minute. Instead I had 3 phonecalls within five minutes, and it was picked up within the hour. Sure I probably left some money on the table, but its much better than giving it away and without anywhere near as much hassle as trying to get top dollar.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:03 am

      I’ve never heard of Gumtree. I’ll be giving them a look to ensure all of the those things on our list get sold. 🙂 I’m willing to lose a few bucks if it means getting them sold and out of our house. Best of both worlds.

  • Reply Sabrina @WorkItMsJackson August 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I am with you on this! It’s not that I don’t want to sell our old stuff, it’s that it’s a pain to get it listed and once I decide to get rid of something, I want it gone before I can change my mind about it too. My husband has no problem listing stuff, but sometimes I feel like we don’t have much that’s worth anything significant either. It’s easier and faster to drop it off at Goodwill.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Definitely easier and faster to make a trip to Goodwill. And I love giving back AND getting a write-off… but only after I’ve tried to sell it on Craigslist first. 🙂

  • Reply Carrie August 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Funny you should ask, since there is currently a partially disassembled pool table taking up valuable real estate in our playroom area. And it has been sitting this way for weeks. : ) I don’t want to deal with selling things (yard sales are my worst nightmare), but I do feel bad if things are not given to someone who can use them. I try to give things to Goodwill or offer to a neighbor, etc. Hubs would much rather just throw it in the trash and be done with it.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:10 am

      A pool table seems like an excellent addition to OUR playroom. I think our little girl would have a blast with one. I mean, I might use it once in a while, too, I guess, but I’m mostly thinking about her.

  • Reply J.Mill August 28, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Yes! You’re not alone. My Mr. will spend weeks trying to sell something on Craigslist when I would rather spend 1 week on CL and resort to Goodwill if it doesn’t go in a week. I do give him mad props* for putting all that effort in.

    *do people still say this?

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:11 am

      *I still do, but I wouldn’t count myself as “people,” or at least people that speak today’s talk.

  • Reply Carla August 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I give things away 99.9% of the time, because 99.9% of the time there’s someone out there who needs those shirts way more than I need $10. Sure, working hard for that money is what will make me rich, but I already work hard for more than enough money. Someone out there is working just as hard or harder, and still can’t scrape enough together for a new shirt. My $10 opportunity cost becomes $10 in the pocket of someone who actually needs it. Usually I’ll just take a bag to Goodwill, but if I can find an organization giving away free clothes or whatever to people who need them, I’ll take that route instead. (The 0.1% is for really expensive, luxury, or specialty items, though. Those are usually worth selling.)

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:17 am

      That’s a really good way to look at things. For most clothing, books and older electronics/appliances, we drop those off at thrift stores. I usually only try to sell clothes that are vintage and of greater worth to some folks that value the style. But otherwise, Joanna has done a good job of brainwashing me into going the thrift store route for everything else.

  • Reply jrm August 28, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I hear you. Perhaps a compromise? I think you can easily sell the macbook, camera and possibly the guitars (I have no idea of guitar value) on craigslist for enough to make it worth your time. Donate the other stuff. Furniture buying and selling on craig’s can be a toss up of “is it really worth it.” At the very least I say donate the table and chairs. There is nothing wrong with them but I just don’t think you’ll get much for them (or at least I couldn’t when I recently tried to sell a decent, non-ugly, non-damaged set recently) and it’ll either go to someone less fortunate or be sold at a thrift store with the proceeds going to someone less fortunate.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:23 am

      I could deal with that. I think part of my aversion to not trying to sell it on Craigslist is that we bought those items off of Craigslist. So my assumption is that someone else wants it, too. That being said, it wouldn’t devastate me to just drop it off at Goodwill. But my inner voices would probably be yelling at me all the way there. 🙂

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone August 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    It’s one thing to post things on ebay, but when it’s furniture and craiglist is involved, it comes down to having creepers coming to your house, and that’s the problem! I don’t want to deal with the creepers.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:30 am

      The creepers definitely make Craigslist less fun. I guess it’s expect much more though from a site called CRAIGSlist. Most Craigs are creepy, right?

  • Reply Emory August 28, 2013 at 9:22 am

    We have the great fortune of knowing many friends and family members who are in the process of moving into their first apartments. Typically when we have something we want gone we put it out on Facebook with a minimal price tag and it is gone within days. Someone out there knows someone who wants it for the price we have to offer. Otherwise it gets donated pronto. I have a family history of hoarding tendencies so I try to avoid this by simply getting rid of stuff before I have time to want to keep it forever.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:32 am

      That’s a great method. One that we haven’t tried yet. And it definitely keeps the Craigslist creepers referenced in the comment above away. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Reply Heather August 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I’m of both minds – I want to make $$, but I hate the clutter!

    I’ll sell things if they are in good condition and I think I can get at least $50 for it. In my budget, that does make a difference (extra debt payment, or something fun!)

    But if it’s going to be less than that, I just give it away.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:35 am

      It would be worth setting a dollar quota. If it’s above, sell, if below, give away. And if it’s listed for more than a couple weeks and doesn’t sell above that amount, poof. Check that out — solving marital disagreements like it ain’t a thing.

  • Reply Mrs PoP August 28, 2013 at 9:49 am

    If it doesn’t sell by a certain date, it’s gone. BTW, anyone want some old kitchen cabinets? They’re departing tomorrow if no one from Craigslist calls. I am shocked, just shocked, that no one wants these awful things!

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:39 am

      I must have subconsciously read your comment, because I just settled on the “sell by” system in the comment above. Smart thinking, Mrs PoP. And no thanks on the cabinets, despite my fixation with awful things.

  • Reply Nicole August 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

    For me, it totally depends on the item. Most items I’d rather just give them away and if I know a friend or family member who could use them, I jump at the chance to pass-it-forward (since we’ve inherited a ton of stuff from family when we first bought our house). I also donate a lot to a consignment shop in my county that benefit’s the hospital (which is a tax write-off!). I’ve never craiglisted anything but I’ve definitely sold a bunch of stuff through Amazon & now with their buy-back programs, even more goes conveniently through there (faster sell = worth more than $$ to me). Gazelle also buys back a lot of electronics which is another fast way to make a few bucks on items you don’t need anymore. My general rule of thumb is if I’m going to put in a lot of effort to sell something (listing/calling/arranging pick-ups) then I better get something decent for my time ($50+) otherwise, I donate it. One thing I never ever do, is trash it.

    • Reply Nicole August 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

      I’m also a fan of freecycle!

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:41 am

      Amazon, Gazelle and Freecycle are awesome suggestions. I’ve never used any of them, but checking them out, they’re clearly a lot simpler than fielding random calls from Craigslist weirdos.

  • Reply Jordann @ My Alternate Life August 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

    As much as I would love to take the time to photograph my crap and list it online, I’m the same as you, no time! Sometimes, just lugging it all to the Salvation Army seems like too much work!

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:42 am

      That’s part of the appeal of listing things on Craigslist — free labor to get the crap out of our place! That’s actually how we got a ton of amazing deals in NYC. People would almost pay YOU to take their pretty nice stuff.

  • Reply Danny C. August 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Every vote for “sell your stuff” should be worth infinity points because Johnny is right and there is no use debating it any further. Craigslist or KSL everything but the shirts, those should be on eBay. You can take a picture and create a post from your phone, for crying out loud. It’s practically passive income. You can eliminate all the stress by being businesslike about the process. Price it to sell, never hold anything for people, and make people work around your schedule. Side note: It’s still not a “fun” activity and we do have a rule that whoever sells the item gets the money, unless it was a car.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Man I love infinity point victories. Thanks for clearing things up for everyone else that didn’t choose correctly. I like the “whoever sells it, keep the cash” system. That would certainly get things on Craigslist/eBay/KSL faster.

  • Reply Kasey @ Debt Perception August 28, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I am need of a kitchen table and would love to get it for free 😀 but I’m siding with Johnny on this one. If I can make any money off items we no longer use, I’m going to try before I give them away for free.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:46 am

      Thumbs up on making some extra dough. And if it doesn’t work out, to Goodwill it goes.

  • Reply Emily @ evolvingPF August 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

    We are moving soon and need to get rid of a bunch of stuff, too. I waver between your two positions. I really want more money, but selling is such a hassle. My husband apparently just wants to procrastinate until we end up moving all the stuff! I think we’ll end up selling the big stuff and giving/throwing away the little stuff.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:49 am

      I procrastinated a little too much on a lot of the stuff on our list and so it got boxed and moved. But procrastinate no more! Everything must go!

  • Reply The Norwegian Girl August 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I do like to sell things that I don´t need, but damn, what a hassle! Some things take for ages to be sold, and then there are the various buyers who insist on this or that. Which means that I´ve got a lot of stuff in the storage room just sitting there, waiting for me to sell it… not sure when that´s happening!

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

      No question it’s a hassle. But as are most things that involve making money. I think that’s why I’m willing (and why it sounds like you’re willing) to give it a good effort. Especially if it means that extra cash can help us afford some extra fun stuff or books that our Baby Girl can chew and drool on.

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup August 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I am in between on these positions. I usually do the research to see how much I can get and if it is worth my time, then I will sell it. If not, then Goodwill it is. Does it have to be black and white? Why can’t we blend?? 🙂

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:52 am

      It can blend. Speaking of which, I think we have a blender to sell, too.

  • Reply Jodi T. August 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I love to sell my good stuff, but it always makes me a little mad because I never get what I think it’s worth.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 12:53 am

      I’m with you, Jodi. I always feel like I let things go for bargains, but the reality usually is that they ONLY reason they’re selling is because they’re priced right.

  • Reply Diane August 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Hate this question~ HATE it! I know I should TRY to sell some of our things, but I don’t want to! I don’t mind donating old clothes and small household items, but I feel I should make an effort to sell the larger, more valuable items.

    My family used to have fairly regular garage sales & make money on them. But circumstances have changed and we no longer live close together or have my mom’s house, which was a great location. I’ve also sold things through online ads. But I’m tired of making the effort.

    I’m with you Joanna, I just want the stuff OUT! So my vote is that if Johnny feels compelled to sell the stuff HE should get online & place the ads. Anything that doesn’t sell in 2 weeks should be donated. So sorry, Johnny!

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 1:00 am

      That’s fair. For the most part, we’ve shared selling responsibilities, but I guess it’s only fair that if I want to see the items sold, that it’s my responsibility. And there should definitely be a time limit. I can deal.

  • Reply E.M. August 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I am torn on this one. I don’t like taking the time to try to sell things either (I’ve never used eBay before) and I feel like it can be a waste depending on what you’re trying to get rid of. On the other hand, you never know what you might get if you don’t try! You have some nice things there that could get you quite a bit of money, so in this case I would try and sell it.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Thank you for your vote of confidence, E.M. Sell we will… unless they don’t. And then we’ll go with Joanna’s plan.

  • Reply Tarynkay August 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    It depends- if I know somebody who needs the thing in question, I will give it away. And if it is not worth finding a specific home for (like old clothes or something) I take it to the neighborhood Free Store. Occasionally I will have something specific that no one I know wants, and then I will sell it on Craigslist. Sometimes I will list things on Craigslist for $10 and then when someone shows up, I give it to them for free. I have found that listing things for free means tons of calls and then no one shows up.

    But most of the time, I can find somebody who really needs a new table or chairs or whatever, and then I like to give things away. It makes people happy and helps them out. Most of the time, I find giving things away to be more profitable in the long run- it helps build community, and then when people have stuff that they think I might need, they call and ask. Or they offer free babysitting, which is even better than free stuff.

    You might also find that you can reap more benefit from giving things away if you claim the tax write off. You can claim the deduction for what the thing is worth, while you can only sell it on Craigslist for what someone is willing to pay. Depending on your tax situation, taking stuff to Goodwill and getting a receipt might be more lucrative.

    By the way, what do you guys have against Levar Burton? Geordi can’t comment here?

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 1:11 am

      Well said. And I like the outlook on paying it forward and getting an even greater return. We actually did deduct quite a bit last year with our charitable donations, so the Goodwill write off slips are always a nice perk.

      Nothing against, Levar. My fear is that his mere presence would make our site explode — potentially the entire Internet. So it’s better for everyone if he keeps his awesomeness away from our unworthy site.

  • Reply Katie August 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I’m still willing to take the camera off your hands, if you decide to sell it to a random stranger! 🙂

    (This was me back in March: http://www.ourfreakingbudget.com/getting-the-best-deals-online/#comment-2945)

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 1:16 am

      Unfortunately, that’s the only item on the list that’s kinda/sorta claimed. A friend has been looking for an entry level DSLR body and she’s staked her ground on our Rebel. BUT, should it fall through, you’ll be the first to know — even if you’re a random stranger (which you’re not because we go wayy back… to like March :)).

  • Reply Rob August 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Guys, I’m kinda in both of your camps on this one. If I have an interested party who will buy my stuff then I’ll go that route, unless the offered amount is insulting unrealistic; otherwise often I’ll just donate the stuff to someone who can really use it (like clothes and/or furniture).

    Case in point: recently, through our church grapevine, we heard of a young immigrant couple who were really going through really hard times. He had two high level degrees from his country of origin but so far was unable to find steady employment here, even after having tried for the past 9 months. To top it off they recently just had their first child. Their subsidized apartment had practically no furniture in it. Bottom line – they really appreciated the sofa, matching chair and end tables that we donated to them (as we’re currently redecorating our home). At the same time from others they received other donated furniture (a hide-a-bed, kitchen table and chairs, etc.) . So, in summary, I considered it a win-win story. Tithing is one thing, direct focused giving is another. Each serves its purpose.

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 1:21 am

      That’s a great story. And it certainly makes me want to seek out more opportunities to help others out directly. We’ve had a few opportunities to give knowing that we had a direct impact on someone’s life, and it certainly makes giving that much sweeter. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply EcoCatLady August 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I agree… total PITA (pain in the arse.) However, I’d probably make an exception for something that was really worth money… like over $100.

    You might try selling the Macbook and camera on Amazon. It’s sooooo much easier than eBay for stuff like that because you don’t really have to deal with the description part.

    Also, for the guitars, if I were you I’d look for a good independent music store that might be willing to sell them on consignment or something like that. It would be soooo much easier. Trust me, you do NOT want to deal with shipping a guitar!

    • Reply Johnny August 29, 2013 at 1:26 am

      I’m loving the Amazon idea. And you’re right about guitar shipping. If Craigslist doesn’t work out on those, consignment they go. Good tips as usual, cat friend.

  • Reply Chris August 29, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Logically, I would sell it. If I had the extra space in my house to store it without feeling like I’m on the show Hoarders. But if I am cramped in my house…forget it I’m with Joanna. Take it out back and put that Macbook out of its misery. I HATE clutter. I hate disorder.

  • Reply Michelle's Finance Journal August 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I never sold anything online, but I’m trying to sell my husband’s leather jacket on Craigslist. I think unless I can get at least $100 net profit, it’s too much of a hassle to try to sell it online for me.

  • Reply Anesha August 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Totally siding with Johnny on this one. You’ve got some serious money making stuff there….
    (All Modest estimates given)
    Table/Chairs $200
    Apple Computer…no clue…at least $300
    Cannon Rebel ( we bought a used DSLR camera for $500)
    Guitars (depending on type) at LEAST $125 each- $375
    I have no idea about the shirts…so we’ll say $30

    That is modestly over $1k in money to be made. There is a lot I could do with an extra $1k.

    We sell and buy a lot off of Craigslist. My husband had a truck bed cover (truck and model specific, so it was an item that someone needed to be looking for and it was not easy to sell). He put that bad boy on craigslist and got no repsonse. I put it on craigslist with a funny post “Get my nagging wife off my back!!” (I never nagged about the cover but it got folks attention.) Sold it within 2 weeks with $250 bones in my hand. SO worth it. It paid for the spray in bed liner he wanted.
    The funny part was the responses I got from the ad. Since it was written from the husbands prospective a lot of guys were complaining to my email about their nagging wives. So we got some entertainment out of it too.

    P.S. Joanna, if you win the arugment and just want to give it away…just give me a shout lol. I’ll even pay for shipping!!

    • Reply Johnny September 16, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      I’ll have you know after this post (and the wonderful comments like yours) we’ve sold most of the above listed items. We went a little lower than we initially wanted on a few things, but that was our compromise.

  • Reply Julie August 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve had good luck bringing clothes to a consignment shop. Anything they don’t take, I donate, and anything that doesn’t sell, I donate. I typically end up with some cash in my pocket from the store and then a nice little tax deductions from the donations. And, it’s out of my house while it’s being consigned!

    I’m planning on taking our unneeded/unwanted Baby Girl’s stuff to a local re-sell store. They pay cash on the spot and anything else — gone-zo to Goodwill or a battered women’s shelter.

    On the other hand, we do have some potentially valuable items sitting in our garage waiting to be eBayed. They’ve been there for too long, but I feel they’re likely worth too much to just donate.

  • Reply Tara @ Streets Ahead Living September 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Growing up, we never had garage sales because my dad didn’t “believe” in them… it was funny. We ended up giving all my clothes away to younger cousins of mine and all my toys and things to charity.

    I have an interesting view on selling things myself now… things that have value I will sell but all my books selling for 1 cent on Amazon I just give away. Same thing with any appliances or furniture that doesn’t sell on Craigslist within a week. After that point, it’s time to get rid of it.

  • Reply Jamie September 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    If I were you, I would *definitely* try to sell the items you have. Maybe you want to set a time limit, but those items definitely have value.

    I use eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon depending on what it is I’m selling, and I’ve had good luck with all. True, there are some things that don’t sell, and then I’ll donate, but I’ve sold some items of furniture and books before for more than I paid for them (and it didn’t take long, either). It’s true that selling is more of a pain than just carting it off to a thrift store, but I like the thrill of getting the extra cash. 🙂

    • Reply Johnny September 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      You and me both Jamie. In fact, usually the only reason I ever have cash in my wallet is because of something I sold weeks or months ago. Ain’t nothing like a good ol’ fashioned person-to-person cash transaction.

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