Garage sales aren't for everyone.
Some people just don't have the time, the inclination or the right location to pull off a successful sale. If you're one of them, here are alternatives for getting rid of your stuff:
- Online sales. EBay has turned plenty of average people into entrepreneurs. Whether you have a few trinkets to sell or an entire house, you might find a buyer here. Even if you have large items such as furniture that you don't want to ship, you can still advertise them to local bidders by specifying that the items are for pickup only.
As long as you're comfortable using a computer, you should be able to learn the basics of selling from the tutorials on the site (www.ebay.com). Posting photos of the item you're selling is important, so a digital camera is a big help. Or take photos on film and have them put on a CD when you get them developed.
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EBay does charge for listing and selling an item, so take that into considering in deciding what's worth selling. Buyers might not bite on items of little value because of the shipping costs. On the other hand, eBay's enormous reach increases your chances of finding the one buyer who wants what you're selling.
To sell books, CDs, movies and video games, check out eBay's sister site, Half.com. Selling there is a little simpler, because you don't have to post a photo. Half.com is not an auction site; rather, the seller just posts an asking price.
Another online option: Craigslist (www.craigslist.org). You can post ads for free here, accompanied by photos. Go to the list that covers your area.
- Classified ads. If you're selling only a few items, advertising in the newspaper is an option. It might be less expensive than you think.
- Charities. Nonprofits that operate thrift stores are usually happy to get donations of used goods such as clothing and household items, as long as those things are in good enough shape to resell.
Some will even pick up furniture, including the Salvation Army. Look in the Yellow Pages under "thrift shops" for organizations to contact.
Although you won't make any money this way, you may be able to claim a federal tax deduction for your donation to a qualifying charity. Be aware, however, that the IRS has tightened its rules and will allow deductions only for clothing and household goods that are in good or better condition. Keep thorough records of what you give -- maybe even photograph the items to document their condition -- and get a receipt.
- Freecycle. This online trading site lets you post items you'd like to give away and request things that you hope others in your area might have available. Only freebies are allowed here. To join, go to www.freecycle.org and click on "Groups" to navigate to the one in your area.
- Municipal pickups. Communities usually have special rules for picking up oversized trash. Some hold special community cleanup days; Akron's is the week of May 21. Call your city or township hall for information.
- 1-800-GOT-JUNK?: This pickup service is an alternative if you have more stuff -- or heavier stuff -- than you can dispose of easily, and your community won't take it away for you. The company sends a truck and will take away any nonhazardous items that two workers can carry or cart on a dolly. It charges by volume.
The company recycles or donates to charity as much as it can, said Mitch Barton, owner of the Akron franchise. The rest goes to a landfill or, in the case of items that require special treatment, to a specialized disposal site.