Online Tools for Selling Your Treasures

We’ve all heard the adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” But what if your trash really has value and you just don’t need it anymore?

Few of us have the time or energy for a full-scale garage sale. So once you’ve completed that organization overhaul, why not turn to the next generation sale options: Craig’s List or eBay.

Both resources connect sellers to buyers online and offer ease of use and convenience. (Both sites offer foolproof how-to tips for first-time users.) The trick is choosing the best option for your specific needs.

Craig’s List

  • Because the listings are posted by metropolitan region, Craig’s List is your best option for selling or listing locally. You can even target your sale to a specific region of the Chicago area (i.e., North Chicagoland, city of Chicago, etc.).
  • Craig’s List sales are direct seller/buyer transactions. The advantage is there are no additional fees for selling, but you don’t have the recourse and anonymity of eBay.
  • “Big ticket” items like exercise equipment, furniture, baby gear, electronics and event tickets are easier to sell on Craig’s List as most buyers will pick up the item and save you the hassle of shipping.
  • If you’re selling a brand name product, make sure to include it in your headline (e.g., Crate & Barrel dining chairs, Trek bicycle, etc.) and post multiple high-quality photos.
  • Reasonably priced items sell best, and you can usually come up with a good estimate for what your item is worth by perusing like items currently listed for sale. If you are willing to accept less than your asking price, add “OBO” (or best offer) to your listing.
  • Potential buyers will contact you via e-mail. Craig’s List has had issues with scam artists in the past. And while they have put safeguards in place and provide personal safety tips on their website, it’s best to be on your guard. Always be clear about how you want to be paid (cash or cashier’s check).


  • eBay offers a national audience for your wares, so you have a broader universe of potential buyer, but also more competitive sellers. Look at your category and make sure you’re matching other sellers in price, attractive pictures and a clear, concise listing.
  • eBay’s website offers step-by-step instructions and strategies on how to become a seller. They even have a section called “Answer Center” where sellers can answer each other’s questions and offer advice.
  • One significant advantage to eBay is that it offers privacy protection for the seller and provides anonymity. Important if you’re selling something of value or offloading a wedding gift and don’t want the giver to find out!
  • eBay isn’t pure profit. The cost to sell items is determined by where on eBay you sell your item, how you list it, and how much you make. There’s also the hassle of shipping items to the buyer. If you’re going to be a frequent seller, set up an account with UPS or FedEx.
  • As the eBay marketplace has gotten more competitive, many buyers will only bid on items from sellers with impeccable feedback ratings. That makes selling for newcomers a little slower. But if the item is truly valuable, there’s always someone digging online for treasure.

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