Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Whine: Selling Shit

I hate, hate, hate selling shit.

I've moved a lot of times in the last 10 years and many of those moves were large enough that I had to get rid of a lot (or all) of my furniture and belongings. In the past, I've sold them, which has always resulted in way more aggravation than it was worth.

For example, when I moved out of my dorm after my third year of med school (I was essentially a nomad during fourth year, in which most of my belongings were in my car), I needed to get rid of all my furniture by the end of the month. I sent out an email to the rest of the med school and these were some of the replies I got:

"I would like to have the bookcase and the boom box if they aren't already taken. Can we work something out for $30 for both, that is all the money I have in my wallet and for the rest of the summer."

If I had only $30 for the entire summer, I might save a little bit for food...

"if the bookcase less than 2 ft wide, i'll totally take it. how about $13? the only reason im asking is b/c ive been looking online for the bookshelves, and they're basically around $10-$15 for that size."

I love when people try to bargain me down a dollar or two. I accepted the discounted offer and actually sort of wished I had charged her less because she paid for the damn thing in quarters.

This was my favorite of all of them:

"how tall is the bookcase? and if i'm not there over the summer would you have any way to keep it for me?"

This after I just sent out an email saying I was selling all my stuff because I was moving. Doesn't storing a fucking bookcase for you all summer sort of defeat the purpose of this? What an idiot.

And finally:

"Fizzy-- I would NEVER buy your stuff."

(My friends decided to take that opportunity to tease me with a bunch of fake emails.)

I did end up selling most of my stuff, but it was totally not worth the aggravation. But I didn't learn my lesson and when I had to relocate far away again at the end of residency, I decided to try to sell my furniture on craigslist.

Selling furniture on craigslist was one of the most stressful things ever. People would demand to know absolutely everything about an item down to the last detail, they often wouldn't show up when they said they would, and many of them didn't have a way to get the furniture out of the apartment. Overall, for everything we owned, I made about $800, which was entirely not worth it. Putting that in perspective, I spend that much on about a week of daycare.

Recently I was moving again and had a bunch of stuff I wanted to get rid of. I cleared a bunch of toys out of my daughter's room and we had a mini garage sale at the playground. After three hours, we made a grand total of...... $6! And I got to spend an hour having some little boy pick up every toy in the box and explain to me what it did.

After that lovely experience, I decided to offer our other unwanted items for free and donated the rest. Maybe I could have made $50 or so, but that amount of money just so isn't worth it to me.


  1. People have told me that I should really sell my books on Craigslist rather than just put them in a box on the street (we're talking fiction here, not med school books). Of course this was in the pre-kindle era, but still.

    I thought about the math involved with this. Even if I sold the book for $5, and managed to get the person to pay for shipping, I would STILL have had to take the time to make the transaction, lug the book to school, and stand in line at the post-office from hell for 30 minutes to mail each book (this was also the days before pre-paid envelopes, but even with pre-paid envelopes, I still feel like it wouldn't really be worth it).

    Furniture -- NO FREAKING WAY. It's just going out on the street.

  2. My sister does carport sales a lot, but I gave up. Now we just give it all to charity and take the tax write-off. Much less stressful.

  3. When i was a broke undergrad/med student, any money i could get was worth the hassle (the first new piece of furniture i ever owned was in second year of residency. it was an Ikea bookshelf and i felt so indulgent getting it!). but now, it's totally not worth the pain of selling my stuff online. My last move, I donated the furniture to a charitable organization. You have to pay for them to come and pick it up, but they give you a tax receipt for the furniture and the pick-up rate which you can write off your taxes, so it actually ends up not being too bad...

  4. I'm jealous you had stuff worth selling in med school. lol

  5. I always end up giving tons of stuff away when I move.

    Craigslist has taught me to never underestimate the willingness of people to take free stuff of any kind.