- Written by Dr. Lori Verderame Dr. Lori Verderame
When you think of eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane, Facebook Marketplace, Chairish, and other sites for online selling, you probably think about electronics, toys, kitchen items, jewelry, paintings, magazines, clothes, doorknobs, bikes, celebrity autographs, and just about everything — old or new — else!
Working or non-working condition doesn’t even matter when it comes to selling stuff online. Many people are selling online, and I’m showing them how to do it with instructional videos about how to spot a valuable work of art or antique and how to turn something old into something outstanding.
Two things that the recent, albeit horrible, pandemic has accomplished in our culture are making all of us more comfortable with video-conferencing technology, like Zoom, Webex, WhatsApp, and Google Duo, among many, many others.
More of us are talking to our friends and family from home via tablet or smartphone. I’m spending many days each week offering guidance on heirlooms and valuables with video-call appraisals.
The second circumstance the pandemic has prompted is an opportunity to be at home for a long period of time and to clean out the clutter. During this time at home, we’ve descended into our basements, ascended to the attics, looked in the backyard sheds, dug deep into the garages, and unlocked the offsite storage lockers in an effort to sift through all the stuff.
Much of what we have found as we assumed the role of household archaeologists has been a variety of items from lots of different people and places and from all different time periods.
What have we found? We have found stuff that we want to donate, trash, or sell. We ask ourselves, should I trash it? Our sustainable side says, “Can’t someone use it? Where can we donate it? Goodwill? Salvation Army? Church sale? Synagogue auction?”
There are lots of places where we can get rid of our possessions, but what about making a little money from this unwanted stuff? No one gets a great return on a yard sale. The best thing about a yard sale is the space you get in the house from the stuff that went out to the front yard.
The new technological comfort zone that we have all experienced from the coronavirus quarantine and virtual homeschooling has made many of us more at ease with new methods to sell art, antiques, and collectibles online.
So, it’s time to get out your smartphone camera, snap some clear and tightly cropped photos of that old toaster or gently-played-with My Little Pony doll, and watch my instructional YouTube videos about spotting valuables and selling and listing your treasures online.
Most people know that items like paintings, sculptures, antiques, collectibles, and jewelry have value on the secondary or resale market, but did you know that sports cards, non-working electronics, and last year’s clothes also have value in the online marketplace?
Even pieces of other items can have value as craft materials or parts for workshop tinkerers, who will buy such objects. Knitting needles and a bag of yarn that isn’t quite enough for a bedroom afghan can even be sold online. What looks like junk may be saleable.
Even the everyday stuff — like a Tinkerbell pillow sham, that wrong-color foundation makeup that you never returned to the store, or used garden tools — are sold in the online marketplace.
Sure, the prices may not make you rich, but it is still more money than you had when that object was just taking up space in the linen closet or sitting on a shelf in the backyard shed. My mother used to say “pennies make dollars,” and that’s the way you can learn to take something that looks like trash and turn it into cash.
Repurposers — those talented people who can take an outdated bedroom armoire and make it into a trendy coffee station for the kitchen/family room with some chalk paint and new hardware — have been doing this for centuries.
When it comes to selling online, look for quality, and use my tips to start selling for profit.
Dr. Lori Verderame is the award-winning Ph.D. antiques appraiser on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island, about the world’s oldest treasure hunt. Dr. Lori offers free information about antiques appraisals and selling at drloriv.com and youtube.com/drloriv.