WINTER. In most places of the country that winter brings upon a dark time. Cold, snow, wind and most importantly a LACK of garage sales! How should you combat this? Craigslist is one choice. If you don’t know what Craigslist is… 1) pick up the rock that you live underneath and 2) it’s basically an “informal eBay” with no fees where people can barter goods (or services —> eww… ). Everyone knows of the famous story of the guy that turned a paperclip into a house on Craiglist. While this may be a little extreme, there are many good ideas to be had with all different types of stuff. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Figure Collection, iPods, a trumpet, Fisher Price toys, Nerf guns. Got ’em all on the Craig, but they are stories for another day.
Here are a couple tips if you are looking to buy and resell using Craigslist:
- Be patient. Be diligent. – If you are in a big city the number of posts on Craigslist can be absolutely staggering. Look around and use keywords like “collection” or “lot”. This will help narrow down the number of searchable results and it may include items that you might otherwise overlook.
- Research. ALWAYS. – Craigslist gives you a luxury that other sources of inventory like garage sales and flea markets don’t. You usually know exactly what you’re getting on Craigslist and you’re also sitting in front of a computer with the internet. Use the internet. If you are buying something in bulk and don’t know “exactly” what is included make sure to email the seller to see what you’re going to be paying $75 for. Become an expert on the items through diligent research. A perfect example is some Fisher Price Imaginext toys that I bought on Craigslist last month for $75. The guy didn’t have everything that was included listed out, but after meeting with him and seeing what I was getting I knew the values of the toys that I was looking at easily exceeded the $75 I was paying him.
- Always meet in public places. ALWAYS! – Let me be the first to tell you I have not followed my own advice on this in the past, but I’m very serious when I say you need to be careful when dealing with people you don’t know on Craigslist (AKA Stranger Danger). If you take the neccessary precautions to meet in a busy Walmart parking lot in the light of the day instead of a dark alley at midnight, it will obviously be a benefit to you. I’ll get off my soapbox, but in all seriousness, you need to be careful and be mindful of your surrondings. Strangers shouldn’t be coming to your house to look at $5,000 diamond earrings that you posted on Craigslist – that’s just asking for trouble.
- If it seems too good to be true than it probably is…
In summary, Craigslist is a very viable option to buy and resell items just like garage sales. It gives you an added luxury of being able to research and take fewer chances than at garage sales. At the same time, buyers on Craigslist are usually more knowledgable about the value of things they have when comparing to some garage sales. Keeping that in mind – you gotta be careful to NOT OVERPAY!