Mr. Everyday Dollar is a minimalist. As anyone can attest to when they come over to my pad, it looks like I don’t own much, and that would be a true statement. Okay, I’m not on a mat made from a pizza box, sitting in the middle of my living room watching dust bunnies move across the floor. I do have stuff, nice stuff actually, but not a lot of it.
I have one bookshelf full of books, mostly consisting of my absolute favorites that I re-read from time to time. All other books I check out from the library. In fact, when Mr. Everyday Dollar went to Paris a year ago he took with him a Rick Steves’ Paris travel guide that was checked out from the library. That little book made the journey all the way to Paris and back and was safely returned to the library. And years ago I sold my whole CD collection – yes for pennies on the dollar – and recently sold the majority of my DVDs. I will never purchase CD’s or DVD’s again as I either stream music or videos for free or will buy the digital version if need be.
Let’s talk the kitchen. I sold the majority of my small kitchen appliances. For some reason I ended up with an electric coffee maker, a deep fryer, a bread maker, and not one but two popcorn poppers! All gone.
I find myself regularly going over the things that I own and figuring out if I need them anymore. What makes this easy is that I don’t have a lot of things to go over. I see all the things I own on a regular basis whether they are out in the open or tucked away in a drawer or cabinet. A benefit of living in a sub-1,000 square foot place.
I have no problem taking something I haven’t used in a year and putting it up for sale. My clothes rule is if one year goes by that I do not wear an article I get rid of it. I know what I have worn and what I haven’t worn. But some people use tricks like turning all the hangers the opposite direction at the start of the year or season and then when an item gets worn, turning the hangar to track their wardrobe. For clothes, or anything I own really, if I haven’t worn or used it in one year’s time I will either donate it or sell it. Donating gets you a tax deduction, if you itemize. But selling gets you dollars in your pocket. Usually, if I figure I can get $20 for something I will sell it. Any less than that and I do not think it is worth my time and effort so it gets donated.
Recent experience: I sold an electronic item on eBay. The reason why I did this was because it was somewhat specialized and I assumed there probably wouldn’t be any interest from the local Craigslist.
I forgot how much the whole eBay experience sucks and these are the 5 reasons why!
- The eBay interface for listing items is clunky, non-intuitive, generally horrible. I spent a few minutes taking some nice photos of my item. Then I spent a solid hour getting it listed. It took far too long to list an item.
- eBay charges a 9% fee of the final value! Holy Mr. Everyday Dollar! The more expensive of an item you sell the more you pay. On the $357 item I sold I was on the hook to eBay for $30.60.
- Then good old PayPal gets their cut. 2.9% plus 30 cents. On the buyers $357 transfer to my PayPal account, I was out another $10.65!
- I have to find a box and packing material and spend time getting the item packaged up and ready to go.
- I have to make a special trip to the Post Office and wait in a long line inevitably next to someone that smells an awful lot like cabbage.
And here are the 5 reasons why Craigslist is far superior!
- A simple and easy-to-use interface for listing something. Wham bam, the item is listed in no time.
- People email me and coordinate a day and time convenient for me.
- They make a trip to me, literally come right to my front door, with cash in hand.
- So buyers typically want to negotiate. I don’t mind if they want to, and I am usually willing to dance the dance, but if I don’t want to I’m not out anything. Someone else will come and buy the item.
- I pay no fees to middlemen! Extra dollars in my pocket. Win.
photo credit: CAE II