January 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
All this stuff arrived in my house in the usual ways, outlived its usefulness, and is now taking up space: clothes that never fit right, reading glasses that no longer magnify enough, coats that don’t fit my fast-growing teens, shoes I never wear, a coffee pot I replaced. While cleaning the house, I started to collect a bag of all this detritus to donate. But then I got tired. And it seemed easier to snap a photo of it with my iPad or smart phone, write a few lines about how awesome the item would be in the right home, attach a bargain price, and list it for sale than to haul it to the car and drive to Goodwill. I could do all that while sitting down. It felt like an act of techno-procrastination at the time. But two weeks later, that junk picked up the tab for a nice lunch with my family. And the money is still rolling in. In fact, that junk is also providing my son with gas money.
EBay recently launched a new app for the iPhone that makes it easy to snap a photo, choose a category, pick a price (it will even help with that) and list your item. In the right light (for the photo), I found I could pull an item out of my closet, list it, and put it back in the closet in just a few minutes. Then all I had to do was wait. When someone buys an item, a few clicks at eBay.com has that label printing and the money coming my way. that old coffee pot paid a credit card bill.
The iPhone app has a spiffy, brand-new version. But there are apps for just about every smart phone.
My son has a horde of old video games and out-of-favor gaming devices cluttering up his room. And now that he is driving, he is always scrounging for gas money. So I handed him the box of DVD movies he watched when he was small, sat him down at Glyde.com and showed him how he could turn all of it into pocket money. He’s not typically big on follow-through so I wasn’t expecting much. But every few days an envelope shows up the mail for him. And he drops a game or DVD into it and drops it in the mail. This feature is why I chose this service for him. I was worried that he’d never get around to the more complicated shipping procedures at eBay and end up making a lot of people angry. He doesn’t need to take photos or write copy either because Glyde does all that for him – as long as the game or movie is in its database. All he has to do is match the sold item to the envelope and mail it. Less clutter and one less teen asking me for cash? Can’t beat that. Glyde offers no mobile apps — though you can access the site from a mobile phone with a browser. But, if you have a kid in need of cash, handing him the chore is easier than an app and teaches him to be self-reliant.
I leave the Craigslist sales to my husband because it involves dealing face-to-face with strangers. But it is the best way to get rid of stuff – no matter how worthless it seems – that’s too big to ship. He loves it. “I can list anything. And if the price is low enough, someone shows up with a truck, hands me cash, and hauls it away. This is often the sort of stuff I once hauled off myself so it is well-worth meeting a few strangers.” In fact we have been impressed with how creative people are: Someone planned to turn our old windows into a greenhouse. Someone else transformed a crumbling breezeway into a shade for a dog run and re-purposed some rotted fencing into a garden element. There are apps for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone so you can even list that old fencing while standing in the yard. Just search for “Craigslist” in your phone’s app marketplace.
Every day my house gets closer to the Zen haven I crave and my bank account gets another zap of cash. What’s not to love about that?