Tips and Tricks: Unburying Yourself from the Weight of Worldly Possessions and Staying on the Good Side of the IRS

AKA: Selling crap to pay for taxes because thanks Trump, instead of a refund this year we get to pay in $581.

As we all know, I am as left leaning as you can get before I keel over on my side. So I really am a big not-fan of Trump for a lot of reasons other than just my own financial situation. But also, my damn taxes, ya jerk! So we don’t have to dip into savings, I’m resolved to pay for the taxes from money earned through selling a bunch of our unwanted stuff.

At our last garage sale, we made, I think, somewhere around $80. So while it’s a good way to offload a bunch of stuff it’s not going to cover the need here, so I’ve stepped into the world of online location-based apps for selling. So the tips and tricks of the day: Selling on Varagesale and Offerup. Also, a recent Craigslist experience.


Craigslist used to be the be all and end all of selling stuff online, right? I’ve sold a lot of furniture over the years on Craigslist which is why when I had a couch on there for 3 weeks without it selling recently I was stymied. It was a wasteland out there, so that was probably my last experience with Craigslist. It’s mostly ads for stores these days, looks like- at least in my town.


Offerup: A friend recommended this app when I complained about the couch not selling. Ease of use was better than Craigslist, and that couch was sold in a day. I find it’s a bit visually jumbled but people have it figured out just fine, I guess. I’ve also sold a couple of patio chairs on that one- same deal- sold in a day. Two thumbs up and has replaced Craigslist for me for larger items, and it really does seems to be more contained to larger items. So far I’ve made $200 from those 2 sales on this app.


Varagesale is my favorite for small things. This one is a bit weird- you have to get approved for entry into the “community” before you can sell anything- this keeps spammers out and ups the safety factor. Some have requirements to be in a facebook group- not a fan of that part, but not all have that requirement. It’s mostly moms on the one in my town, and so there are very few to no weird dudes showing up to buy stuff.

As for what sells on Varagesale:  home decor, kitchen stuff, baby stuff, jewelry, makeup. You read that right- makeup. Ewwww ladies, but also… thank you? My first ever sale on that app? An open thing of mousse for $3. What a time to be alive. I’d never have expected that if I hadn’t researched the site and what was selling first… but glad I did because I made $20 on open makeup I don’t use instead of just trashing it like I normally would. So far I’ve made $129 on this app and it’s all from stuff that fit on top of my dresser- way less volume of goods than a garage sale, and I’ve already made twice as much.

It also includes my favorite part of garage sales- the watching to see what sells first. Like I said, the open container of mousse sold first, while the awesome 4 pairs of earrings for $7 hasn’t had any interest at all. The huge 20″ clock the neighbor gave us has people chomping at the bit to buy, but the stainless steel sippy cup for $3: no interest. People, you know how expensive those are? No one else as concerned about plastic as me? Well okay then.

I can only imagine this ticking so loudly a Poe story should have been written about it.

On both sites there are rules to follow- you have to take first offer, there is a set amount of time you must wait before offering to the next person, and there are some things you can’t sell. That list of prohibited items include: pets, alcohol, drugs, guns, etc. The cartels must have a different app for those.

I strongly recommend  to research the feeds and pricing on stuff that’s selling before posting, and if something doesn’t sell quickly you can “bump” them up so they appear at the top of the feed again or reduce their price and it does the same. I’ve sold a bit more than half of the things I’ve posted, and I only started on Friday.

Another tip- your pictures are vital! Watch the backgrounds, set the filter to “Vivid” on your phone camera, and adjust the light saturation of your pictures after you take them. Crop the pictures closely around the items… it makes a HUGE difference! The amount of terrible iPhone pictures on the sites are the vast majority… if yours is good quality you’re just that much farther ahead. Seriously- there was a lady holding a mirror to sell- while wearing pajama pants and with bare feet, with a cluttered garage as a background, and her toddler taking the picture… which I can tell because the little kid was reflected in the mirror! Come on folks… come on.

Also, they recomend taking cash, but no bills over $20s to cut down on the conterfeit risk.  Which, as 1920s as that sounds to my ear, is an actual thing that happens.

I truly, deeply hate clutter and “stuff”- and so I love this option of getting rid of anything we don’t really need- as well as not having to hold onto it until the volume is enough to justify a garage sale. This way I can sell one or 2 things at a time, and so keep a continuous feed of offloading going. The more you own, the more that owns you after all.

As for the tax thing- including the sale of the couch it puts us at $369 towards the $581 goal… and in fact I’m off to take photos of an ass-ton of kids books and clothing lots right now. Wish me luck and may the hoarders purchases be ever in my favor.

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