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The Differences Between Craigslist, Ebay, Garage Sales & Consignment

Posted: 05/10/12 3:00 PM (Modified: 05/10/12 3:00 PM)

So you've cleaned out your closets and now have bags and bags of stuff to sell. The big question now is, where are you going to sell your stuff? I think a lot of people make the mistake of picking one place and sticking with it. If you do a little research, you'll find some items might sell better at a garage sale while others sell better on Ebay. Today, I'm going to break it down and show you how each one is a little different than the other. Then next time, be sure to think before you sell.

Ebay vs. Craigslist

Ebay: I'm sure if you've been on the internet for long, you have likely sold or bought something on Ebay. Back in the day, I had my own Ebay selling business and thought of myself as an Ebay rock star. However, I learned really quick that Ebay has a HUGE audience. This can be great for sales but it all depends on what you are selling. A quick search on Ebay might reveal that your oh-so-unique item isn't unique after all or at least it is not unique when you consider the mass audience of Ebay.

If you have a collection or something that will take a special kind of person to buy, then Ebay is great because you'll reach a much larger group of people. However, if you are selling your kid's old shoes then you'll be competing with millions of other shoes which means your profits will be far less than they would have been if you sold on Craigslist or even a garage sale.

Craigslist: Just like Ebay only local. Again, you're likely to get more money selling this way if you have an item that is hot in your particular location. Always, always think of your audience. With Craigslist though, you will have to meet the person in real life so keep safety at #1. I always meet at gas stations or other public locations and I always have someone else with me just to be safe.

Honestly, I have made much more money off Craigslist by selling my kids toys, clothing, etc. However, when I had big collections to sell like my grandmother's Precious Moments collection, I did much better on Ebay where there are more collectors.

Garage Sale vs. Consignment

Garage Sale: I'm a huge supporter of the garage sale. Why? Because I'm a bargain hunter and I like to dig for weird things and only pay .25 for them too. Many garage sale shoppers are just like me, they're looking for bargains.

If you just want to get rid of your stuff or if your child's clothing, toys or other items are used and not in perfect condition then a garage sale is the way to go. It's quick cash which is always good and you can get away with selling just about anything. Just remember, it's a garage sale so don't overprice your items. Also be sure to organize and clean your items if you actually expect them to sell at all.

Consignment: First, check out this recent article about 3 Ways to Make the Most Money When Selling Consignment. Consignment is a step above garage sales and some consignment stores can be several steps above garage sales. Consignment is great when your items look good or are name brand. Let's say you spent $100 on a pair of shoes and you don't want to sell them for $2 in a garage sale, take them to your nearest consignment store or event and you'll land much bigger profits.

If your child's clothing is in decent condition and the toys are clean and in completed sets then try out the Just Between Friends Sale. The folks shopping the sale will get higher quality products from your great stash and you'll land higher profits. It's a win-win!

The next time you clean out your closests for some extra cash, be sure to research before you sell and find the best place for your goods. Changing it up a bit and trying something new could get you more money than you ever expected!

What is your expereince? Tell us your tips!


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May 10, 2012 05:07 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Be very careful when using Craigs List. If possible, meet the buyer at a public place rather than at your home where safety may become an issue.

Be very careful about eBay's commissions and charges for selling items.

Regarding consignment stores, make sure you document what you consign. I know of one consignment store that is not ethical so you need to make sure they sign for your items and won't give them to "charity" (aka a friend or themselves) because of a supposed flaw.

May 10, 2012 08:58 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I've been buying and selling on eBay for years, but they are really making it hard for sellers. They even charge fees based on the shipping rate now! However, it is a necessary "evil" because they have such a huge audience.
I've actually had great experiences on Craigslist both buying and selling. Sometimes you can get a feel of what the person is like you are dealing with, but just be on alert for safety sake. I've met some of the nicest folks that way.
I said I would never do another garage sale because it is so much work and folks don't like to walk down a long driveway to get to our garage; therefore, it just wasn't worth doing another one. If you have a visible space, you would probably do quite well.
Consignment stores and sales are another issue. I don't do the stores anymore because they didn't want to pay hardly anything. I am now very selective with c. sales. The biggest one in my area is not ethical at all and has probably been pocketing money for years, but how do you prove it? I have found one I LOVE owned by two women who are wonderful and they provide a full account of every item. Love them so much I volunteer just to help them out. They are that nice!

May 11, 2012 11:03 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

You didn't mentioned the buy and sell facebook audience. I have joined many local facebook groups and have sold and bought from them.

May 16, 2012 01:14 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Of course it's a good idea to have someone besides yourself with you when a stranger comes over but remember that people are often just as afraid of buying from you then you are afraid of them. Thousands of people sell stuff on craigslist every day without an issue because most people are friendly. Don't get too worked up about it.

And by the way, if you want some really good tips for selling on craigslist then check out the site mycraigslistadvisor.com

May 20, 2012 08:11 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Thanks for the ideas!

Jun 11, 2012 11:16 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Interesting what you're saying about eBay vs. Craigslist. Personally I've used eBay most myself, but you are totally right; it depends on the item you're selling. Regardless of where you sell your items online is to make sure you price it right. If you don't want to spend a lot of time doing the research yourself, you should check out this new startup called Statricks. It is a pricing tool where you get price reports and fair market values for almost all used goods, like a Kelley Blue Book but for all used goods. With this tool you know what you should price your items for – or you know you don’t overpay when buying something.
It's worth checking out!

May 7, 2014 07:00 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I love shoes from all styles puts a smile on my face & feet.

Nov 9, 2014 11:22 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Should I go the consignment route because we have a ton of almost or new clothes for young girls?

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