The sun is shining, the birds are singing and you’re motivated to empty closets and lighten your load. There is no time like springtime to clear clutter and start anew, but what do you do with all that stuff?
Typically I go in the order of sell, donate/give to friends and recycle/trash. Why not try your hand at picking up extra cash by using a military garage sale group? Our community moves frequently and is often looking to buy.
Selling online can be hit or miss, and these tips will help put your best foot forward.
Sell buyable items. Only sell items in good condition, otherwise consider giving them away or recycling/trashing them. Avoid asking money for something broken beyond repair, stained, or that no longer functions.
Use quality photos. Presentation is key, and that means proper lighting, clear focus, and a backdrop free of stains, crumbs and clutter. Unless offering merchandise as a lot, take separate photos for each item.
Categorize. When creating a photo album, put like items together. For example, have separate folders for women’s clothes, technology and baby toys. Help your shoppers find exactly what they’re interested in.
Be clear. Each item should have a clear description, including brand (if applicable), condition, size, price and pickup information. Leaving any of these blank can frustrate buyers and affect your credibility. Before listing, type up these details and simply and copy and paste to each photo once loaded.
Price low. Buyers want garage sale prices. Unless your item is new with tags, the price needs to be reduced. Ensure that your pricing structure is consistent with that of other items. If you aren’t sure how much to ask, Google the retail price and decrease from there.
Link to like items. Make sure your buyers see all items in a category. On each photo’s description, write “More items available” and paste a link to the remainder of your album.
One group at a time. To prevent confusion over who has dibs on an item, only post to one online group at a time. If after a while you have no luck in group one, remove the listing and post in group two. This simplifies the process and maintains your reputation as a seller.
Time it right. Don’t get lost in the shuffle by posting during dinner or rush hour. Strategically advertise at times that make sense. Moms are more likely to be shopping online during nap and bedtime, and you’ll have far better luck selling swimsuits in July than you would in December.
Be organized. Be responsive to inquiries, dedicate a few days for scheduled pickups and maintain a calendar. Prior to each pickup, send a reminder to the buyer with a confirmation, total price and request exact change. Gather all their items into a bag and list the buyer’s name and price on the outside. This ensures an accurate and efficient exchange.
Play by the rules. Last but not least, be clear on the group rules. Behaviors like excessive posts, repeatedly bumping items, advertising personal businesses, or not handling inquiries fairly, can get you booted by an admin. If you are stationed overseas, follow applicable rules, for example sell only to other DoD ID holders. Be professional and courteous, and you’ll maintain a positive reputation as a seller. You’ll appreciate this option when it’s time to purge again in the near future.
A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazineand has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her on Twitter.
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