I’m old-fashioned. After I purge my house of what I no longer wear or need each spring, I itemize it and give it away to Goodwill in exchange for a tax write-off.
But these days, cash in the bank now can be more attractive than a tax break later. Fortunately, the Internet has made it easier than ever to sell unwanted wares. So before you toss out or donate yours, consider these cool new online marketplaces…
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has said before that the best way to save on clothes is to sell the clothes you no longer wear. ThredUP makes it easy to sell clothing your kids have outgrown. They send you a postage-paid bag that you stuff with clothes and send back to them. Then they sell it for you – and give you part of the profit via PayPal or “store” credit.
- Advantage: You don’t even have to leave home. After you stuff a bag with clothes, you can leave it at your doorstep for your mail carrier or UPS to pick up.
- Downside: ThredUP only accepts and sells kids clothes. They also have high standards: They only want clothing that’s less than 2 years old, “in gently used to new condition,” and made by certain manufacturers. (For example, thredUP won’t accept lower-end brands sold at big-box stores like Walmart and Target, and they pay the most for name-brand clothing from stores like The Gap.)
This relatively new site claims to be the easiest way to sell anything – they say it takes less than 60 seconds to put physical or digital items up for sale. It’s like a streamlined version of eBay combined with the marketing power of social media. TinyPay is integrated with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, making it easy for you to alert your friends and followers about the items you’ve put up for sale.
- Advantage: Because it’s so new, using TinyPay is completely free right now: “No monthly fees. No listing fees. No sales fees.” All they want is your feedback.
- Downside: TinyPay doesn’t seem to have any glaring downsides, but note that a seller’s success is connected to their social media prowess. So if you only have a few dozen Facebook friends or aren’t a big tweeter, you won’t have as many people to easily market your wares to.
This beta site is designed to work like Craigslist, except 85 percent of the proceeds of what you sell or buy go to a charity of your choice. Like TinyPay, KarmaGoat is integrated with social networks to help you spread the word about the items you’ve put up for sale.
- Advantage: What sets KarmaGoat apart from other online marketplaces is the charity element. Although if you’re into good karma, keep in mind that there are Ways to Donate Online Without Spending an Extra Dime.
- Downside: Like Craigslist, KarmaGoat connects you with local buyers, so you must meet up with them before you can unload your unwanted goods. Not to mention that you don’t get money or a tax write-off for the items you unload. If you have the time to itemize your donations, the financially wiser and equally charitable option would be to donate your unwanted goods directly to an IRS-approved charity.
Keepio’s motto is “aficionados unite.” If you’re selling something you’re not just a fan of but fanatical about – whether it’s baseball cards or video games – this new site is designed for you. “Keepio is a place to catalog what you own, and share, buy, and sell among your friends – but also anyone,” explains CEO Dave Durand in their promotional video. In other words, Keepio connects you with other people who share similar collections and obsessions so you can sell to, buy from, and talk amongst like-minded people.
- Advantage: Keepio is more than an online marketplace. It’s like its own social network. You may be the only person you know who collects coffee mugs, but there are other people who share that obsession, and Keepio connects you with them. It reminds me of Quirky.com (which I told you about in 12 Top-Rated Shopping Sites You Never Heard of). The two sites are meant for completely different audiences, but both revolutionize the online marketplace concept by extending the reach of niche sellers.
- Downside: Unless your spring-cleaning clutter is a collectible or appeals to a particular niche market, Keepio won’t be of much use to you.
I once hurled an expensive curio from an ex into a lake. It felt good and instantaneously removed the reminder from my life, but I probably could have made some money if I’d known how to sell such a thing back then. Today, there’s NeverLikedItAnyway. This marketplace helps the dumped sell “offensive items” and helps the rest of us find “break-up bargains.” They even encourage sellers to tell the story behind the items they’re selling.
- Advantage: Much of NeverLikedItAnyway’s inventory is jewelry, including engagement rings and wedding bands. If you’re comfortable buying jewelry online, you can score unique finds at half their retail price.
- Downside: If there’s not a heart-breaking tale behind your spring-cleaning clutter, NeverLikedItAnyway won’t be of much use to you as a seller.
Have you tried any of these sites? Or others like them? Leave a comment to let us know about your experience. And for more ways to turn clutter into cash, check out The Best Site to Sell Your Old iPhone or Other Gadgets and 5 Best Websites for Turning Junk Into Cash.
Karla Bowsher runs our Deals page and covers consumer, retail, and health issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].
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