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Personal Finance

Retirees, declutter to make a profit

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Nearly 40 million Americans over the age of 50, about 60% of that cohort, say they have too much, according to a survey conducted by Professor David J. Ekerdt of the University of Kansas.

“It’s quite stressful,” especially when you think about the possibility of moving, says Ekerdt, author of Downsizing: Confronting Our Assets Later in Life (Columbia University Press, $ 26). “Almost all subsequent moves will be to smaller neighborhoods. “

Fortunately, a whole cottage industry has sprung up online to help you get rid of your possessions and make a net profit in the process, but forget about eBay. It’s so 90’s. Today most newer websites work with a smartphone app, and different apps are better at selling different things. For example, Decluttr and NextWorth are great for selling electronics, while Mercari, ThredUp, Poshmark, and The RealReal are best for clothing.

To find the app that’s best for you, check out the products and brands people are selling on the site. If the item you want to sell or something very similar is featured, you’ve probably found the right one. Make sure you understand the shipping costs, return policies, and the discount the app takes from your sale. Try out the app to see how easy it is to use and list the items for sale. Some sites do more work for you and others do less.

“It’s all about time versus money,” says Michelle Madhok, online shopping expert and CEO of, a website that tracks deals and trends in fashion. When it comes to selling things, “are you going to style them, photograph them, measure them?” If you do this you will get the most money.

But if you’re the type who prefers someone else to market your items for sale, Decluttr, ThredUp, NextWorth, Poshmark, and The RealReal do the hard work of showcasing and selling your lightly used goods. All you have to do is ship the merchandise in a prepaid box.

Before outsourcing an app to your business, look for a customer service number or chat feature so you know what kind of support to expect if something goes wrong. For any site, make sure you understand the payment and return policies. Stacy Kahn, a 50-year-old education consultant in Potomac, Md., Once asked a buyer to return a Supreme sweater five months after the sale, with a newly created hole. Although Kahn sent photos of the damage, she had to reimburse the sale.

“They’re not there for the salespeople,” Kahn says of app-based sales sites. “They are always going to side with the buyer.”

If your garage and closets are full of lifelong accumulated items, here’s a look at the most popular apps, all free, and what you need to know before you test them out, including how payment works. Some include their share of the sale in your item quotation while others charge a separate commission.

Talk about simple. Simply search on Decluttr for the model and brand of electronics you want to unload. (The app sells a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and portable devices, as well as accessories like video games, DVDs, and CDs.) It isn’t necessary to take and upload photos, navigate an auction or wait for a buyer. . This is why people call Lazy’s eBay Decluttr.

You will get a four week quote and a shipping label for shipping the item (or a multitude of items together) to Decluttr. As soon as the company verifies that your item is in the condition you specified, you are paid. Payment options include PayPal, paper check, direct deposit, or donation to charity.

When selling electronic devices, erase all personal data by performing a hard reset to factory settings and disconnect mobile phones from your wireless plan, also known as unlocking the phone. Unlike some competitors, Decluttr doesn’t promise to wipe your devices, but the company does explain how to do it yourself, and there is a User Help Center if you need customer support.

NextWorth is an app that promises to erase all personal information from your electronic devices before selling it to a buyer. With a few clicks on the NextWorth app or website, you get a quote for selling your device. This price is valid for 30 days and is payable via PayPal or by check. A customer service phone number and email form appear prominently on the website in case you need to contact the company after shipping your device to them.

“Electronics is the easiest thing to sell” because it’s standard, says Madhok. “I just sold an old Apple TV device.”

A good rule of thumb for selling old electronics is that the higher the original purchase price of the item, the better off you will fare in the resale market. That means the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Beats, and Bose brands will make you see green.

The consignment clothing market has exploded online during the economic downturn, as people clean their closets to generate extra cash, but not all clothing sales apps are alike. Some, like ThredUp, favor specific brands and types of clothing, so browse the sites to see where your wardrobe will find the warmest welcome. ThredUp users love activewear like Lululemon and The North Face as well as established brands like Anthropologie and J. Crew. It’s also a great place to sell a huge volume of lightly used children’s clothing, Madhok says.

This is how it works. ThredUp sends you a prepaid shipping bag that you fill with high quality clothing. This means there are no signs of wear, damage or modification, and no missing size tags. Send the clothes through US Postal Service or FedEx, and after you receive your shipping bag, ThredUp tells you what items it wants and how much you will be paid for. Your payment choices are through Stripe or PayPal, or credit to purchase from ThredUp or a range of partner websites.

The downside: You might not get much for your clothes. “They got very picky,” says Madhok. “You throw everything in a bag and ship it to them, but you end up getting $ 5.”

You must also pay for the refused clothes to be returned to you or to request their donation. Since the business does not send out receipts, you will not be able to deduct donations.

For branded clothing and accessories, Madhok swears by The RealReal.

“I’m getting rid of all my ‘Sex in the City’ shoes. They don’t really match my COVID life, ”she says. “RealReal will sell them and you will get 60%. It’s giving up cash for convenience.

The most popular brands on the site are Chanel, Celine, Hermes, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Gucci and Prada. The company will authenticate the item and set a price. Once it sells, you may receive direct deposit, postal check, or credit for purchases.

Unlike previous apps which sold your items for you, Mercari connects buyers and sellers for a range of products featured on the site: clothing, electronics, toys, household items and beauty products. That means more reduction for you, but more work and potentially a risk of fraud.

“Check people’s rankings to make sure they’re used to buying things online,” says Madhok. “I wouldn’t send anything overseas.

To list an item, upload photos and a description of the product. Once someone has purchased it, you must ship it within three days. You need to assess the buyer to create a history for other sellers. After a 10% discount, Mercari pays you instantly to your account (which can be used to make purchases on the site) or by direct deposit with your bank.

The hallmark of this app is social selling. You can comment and share the announcements. Poshmark parties are a powerful vehicle for selling clothes of a certain brand, and parties signal which brands are most in demand. Uploading photos is easy, and many people like to perfect the visual display. A fixed shipping cost for buyers makes it easy.

In contrast, Poshmark charges a 20% commission on sales over $ 15 and takes a $ 2.95 discount on smaller sales. This compares to 10% on Mercari and between 2% and 10% on eBay. Customer service is only done by email, and the harder you work to promote your products, the more sales you secure.

Leah Ingram, 54, a writer from Slippery Rock, Pa., Loves the ease of Poshmark. “It’s the list and pretty much forget about it,” says Ingram, who has been using the app for three years. “Plus, I have app support if there’s a problem with a sale.”

New clothes with tags are at the best prices. Ingram even buys goods from thrift stores and then sells his purchases on Poshmark. She calls it “retail arbitration”.

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