Tuesday, March 09, 2010

How to get rich from your home, and it's not what you think.

In my last post, I talked about eBay hawking their green bona fides raving about the environmental and economic benefit of selling and buying used. It takes less energy and resources to reuse something that it does to make it new. The old mantra goes with reduce, REUSE, recycle for a reason. eBay is basically playing to our desire to get a little cash for our trash.

I am totally for this, except I tend to be a pack rat, but for different reasons. But I digress, this is a good thing. If you are a typical American living in the suburbs think about how much stuff you have. And think about how many things you can use at any one time. In most cases you might be able to use four items simultaneously and that normally happens when you are cooking. Most of the time most of your stuff just sits there not getting used. It's inert, it's not useful. And a lot of times, that stuff will never get used. It was bought on a hope and a prayer. So common sense suggests that you get rid of it. The easy way is to toss it, another way is to donate it and let Goodwill throw it away for you. (This does happen.)

Another way to give these inert goods some life is to freecycle(tm) it, which is basically good will via email to people who can use it. The theory is that some people will take free things because it is free is actually false since there are things that I have not been able to give away. One of my friends recently held a Freecycle(tm) party, what one member affectionately called a "shit swap" where people brought things they didn't care about to offer to others. It wasn't too bad, I did get rid of a lot of stuff, and I picked up somethings that in all honesty I will probably end up giving away later. But there is hope and a prayer all over again.

So going back to the theme of eBay, there is actually a lot of merit to decluttering your home and earning a little money. You can use this money toward your down payment, or if you want to be really green put it toward more efficient appliances. Whatever, but if you go through everything you own, I bet you there are a lot of things you can convert to cash. The question is how.

Garage Sale: nuff said, but that relies of buyers and sellers matching in time and place.

Craigslist: coordination is a pain but it works. I have bought stuff this way.

eBay; you have to rely not so much on place, but you have to auction something in the same time as your buyers.

So the winner for me is Amazon. It's really easy to list your items, and it's free. So you can list everything without any up front costs. This encourages you to put everything online for sale. Also since you can pull an item if it hasn't sold, you can change your mind in most cases.

If you have a lot of books, CDs and DVDs a great way of listing things is a piece of software called "Delicious Library 2" which will scan the barcodes of these items, look them up on Amazon and list them if you want. How cool is that.

So convert your stuff to cash, be green, be frugal and participate in the secondary economy. But, but, but....won't this kill the economy. Well no, you can spend it on services which are green and help local economies. And keeping it local, is kind of green.

QED. Well not really, but you get the idea.


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