When we moved to Ireland we decided to sell most of our things. There were a few reasons why we did this:
- We couldn’t afford to ship everything. We used these guys to ship a few boxes over from SA to Ireland. It took about 3 months, but it all arrived safely and they were reasonably priced and reliable. Friends also used them to ship to the UK and had zero problems. In hindsight though, I may have not decided to ship everything that we did send over – but that is a whole other post!
- We knew we would be renting a place, and most places in Ireland come furnished. Homes are very small compared to homes back in South Africa. We know of friends who had to rent further out in the suburbs to find a place large enough to store their things.
- It was a chance to declutter, and simplify our lives. We wanted a home that was lock up and go, with minimal upkeep.
We sold almost all of our stuff online. From my wedding dress, to furniture, right down to kitchen utensils and decorative bottles. I have to say you will meet some very interesting people in this process. One guy was 20 years old, and clearly had a shopping problem. His girlfriend came with him and was trying to reason with him why he needed to buy old muffin tins when he didn’t bake. He told me later that when he is bored he drives around picking up things people are selling on Facebook groups.
Here is what I learnt about how to sell stuff online:
I suggest selling on Facebook groups, over OLX and Gumtree. I personally had limited response on Gumtree and OLX, and found a lot of scammers on these channels. On Facebook groups you can check out the buyers’ profiles, see when they joined Facebook (if they joined yesterday, they are probably fake), you can also see if you know any mutual friends. Just know that most people don’t read the full post so you will be repeating yourself. Others like to haggle and offer you next to nothing for your beloved items. You can choose who you sell to, and what price you will accept.
I made it a rule to only accept cash. No EFT; or cheques (didn’t even know people still used those!). This is to limit fraud. One guy on Gumtree said he was on a mining rig and wanting to buy it for his cousin. One google search and I found out he was a scammer, who had a similar story and scammed others out of large amounts of money. Trust your gut, if it smells fishy, you don’t need to sell to that person.
Don’t release your details, unless you are comfortable with the person. Try make sure you arrange pick ups during the day, or when your neighbours’ are home. I always made sure Rob was home with me when someone was coming over.
Take large amounts of money and deposit cash into a bank account immediately. We sold a few of our bigger items like lounge suites, fridge, dish washer etc all in one day and had over R10k in cash. It made me sweat a little, so we took it the nearest ATM to deposit straight away.
Start high and go low if you need to. The truth is you probably won’t get what you paid for things.For some things we made money on, for others we made a loss. Our fridge had broken two months prior to us deciding we were going to move so we bought a great, fancy fridge – we sold it for less than half of what we paid. Next time we need to buy a fridge, I am buying second hand.
Going back to meeting interesting people. We met a family that was clearly struggling. She was interested in buying our old sheets and towels, so that she could sell off to low income families in her neighborhood. She wanted to buy these things off us, but after meeting her and her daughter and husband, I gave her it all for free. She was so appreciative, and I felt good knowing that I had helped her family in the small way that I could.
For the things we knew we couldn’t sell; either broken or old or not worth a lot. We took this to the local hospice charity shop. Two huge car loads we donated. This also made me appreciate that some people’s junk is someone else’s treasure.
The story on how I sold my wedding dress also touched my heart. I sold it online in a Facebook group for 2nd hand wedding dresses. The woman who bought it had bought another dress only to find out that it was the exact same dress as her sister-in-law. She also had been trying to lose some weight, and on a limited budget, couldn’t afford to buy a new dress. I met her online, did a bit of online digging to verify her story and decided on selling her my beloved dress at a fraction of the cost. Truthfully, I had tried everything to sell my dress at a good price. I spent a lot on my dress, more than I care to admit. But I loved my dress, and we saved money on other things for our wedding so that I could have the dress of my dreams. I know so many girls in South Africa who haven’t been successful in selling their wedding dress after their wedding. And I had no where to store it when we left. It would have been worse if it just got ruined and wasted away in a cupboard. So I basically accepted a small fee for someone to pick it up and take it off our hands. She picked up the dress from my mum after I had left the country, she was so happy and grateful – and I hope it made her feel special on her special day.
We decided to sell our cars online too. Although we just broke even on Rob’s car, we sold my car at quite an acceptable offer. We decided to limit the hassle of arranging paperwork and ownership transfers, as well as avoiding fraud and delayed in money reflecting in our bank accounts. We sold our cars through the website called: webuycars.co.za. It was scary how easy it was. We filled in the details of my car first. Within a few hours, we got a call back with an offer. Rob told him we were selling both our cars and he set up a time for a guy to come out and inspect both cars. He came out, looked at both cars and made an offer on both. Within an hour of him leaving thereafter, we got notification from our bank the money was deposited. They came back later and collected the one car from our house, and the other from Rob’s work. It happened so quickly and it really took a lot of the stress off us. Well worth it if you are looking to sell your car quickly.
Have you ever sold anything online? What tips can you offer others trying to sell stuff online?
Unlock the simple life,
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