Betsy and Warren Talbot lived in a big house and had all the stuff to fill it. With time they started to realize that although their home was full their lives were feeling a bit empty. They didn’t know what they wanted out of life but they knew what they didn’t want – stress, living somewhere they didn’t love and being surrounded by things that were taking more than they were giving. They started ‘getting rid of it,’ which is also the actual title of the book they have written regarding their experience doing it. They ‘got rid of it’ in many creative ways, but one in which I found particularly interesting – Craigslist.
Certainly Craigslist is not a new way to sell no longer needed belongings, but Betsy and Warren made 8000 dollars (8 G’s!!) doing it and used that money as part of what has helped them travel the world for the last two years. Interesting, no?
Betsy and I met while she was in the process of off loading their stuff. She had responded to a request I placed in regards to wanting to speak to people who had decided they would never have children. The piece I did on her was an enormous hit.
A few years later and after a bit of a sabbatical from The Delicious Day for me, I was recently married and moving to my husband’s small town in Spain.
I was not exactly sure what I was going to do with myself and started tinkering with The Delicious Day again. Around the same time, Warren and Betsy had been one year into traveling the world and enjoying the fruits of their ‘getting rid of it’ labors. I wanted to kick off the re-launch of The Delicious Day with their story and travels.
Since the re-launch of The Delicious Day I have interviewed people from all over the world with different messages on how living minimally, counter intuitively, actually results in living far better. As the owner of three boxes of sentimental things, two bags of clothes, two laptops, a loft in Denver and a small kitchen of culinary necessities I feel I have the minimalism gig pretty well optimized, but I am always curious about how and why others do it and did it. I recently bought Betsy and Warren’s book to get the nitty gritty on their getting rid of it journey. Here are some tips from Betsy and Warren’s book Getting Rid of It on how to make serious coin on Craiglist:
1. Let your ad describe not only what you are selling but why you are selling it
Describing your product accurately is a given, but Betsy and Warren took their product descriptions a step further. They also included the story as to why they were selling their stuff – because they were going to travel the world. The result? A great response, they were able to connect with fun people AND they found people liked contributing to a “good cause” which often resulted in them not negotiating very much for a lower price.
2. Don’t lie
Perhaps this is another given, but often in the pursuit of the final sale a difficult one to remember and follow. However, people are coming to see your item based on the description and what they *think* you are selling and dishonesty cannot only lead to bad juju and in the end will likely not only waste their time but yours as well.
3. Pictures are worth 1000 words $8000
The cliché is that pictures are worth a thousand words but you know what else they are worth? 8000 big ones. Warren and Betsy say a picture is a must for many reasons, an important one being “many people only search for items with pictures,” and if you are not including pictures it could be seriously limiting your audience AND your Craiglist earning potential. Pictures also help people understand exactly what they are buying which ensures everyone’s time is used wisely.
4. Have a Plan B (and C)
In reading Getting Rid of It I learned that I was not alone in my past adventures of selling on Craigslist where someone would contact me needing to know every detail of the item’s features, functionality, benefits and history, eager to know exactly where and when we could meet up and then – never show up. This is why Betsy and Warren recommend telling the others who are interested what date you are holding the item for and if the first person does not show up – they are next in line.
5. Let them know if you are providing muscle power
Some items you want to sell something simply because you don’t want to move it, right? Perhaps you are really opposed to the idea of moving it or you don’t mind helping get it out of your house, but either way Betsy and Warren suggest you put whether or not you will be providing muscle power post-sale in your Craigslist ad.
6. Cash Only
It is good to trust and believe in humanity and it is good that the humanity you are trusting pays in cash. Checks can be a bit iffy and if you are doing this to make money, make sure you are getting it.
Betsy and Warren had what they called a staging area where they put all of their items for sale. This is not only a great way to keep your things organized (and you motivated to sell things), but it is also a way to show off other belongings for sale when buyers show up. In Getting Rid of It they note one of their favorite negotiation tactics was to “offer something smaller and harder to sell in addition to the main item while staying firm on the price. For instance when selling a chair offer a small area rug or throw pillows to go with it. The buyer gets more than she asked for, plus you get rid of hard to sell items.”
More about Betsy and Warren at: marriedwithluggage.com