Ever considered second-hand holiday shopping? I’m not kidding. If you've been thinking about clearing out your crawlspace, now is the time. Bicycles, gaming systems in good working order, and baby gear items in good condition are in high demand this time of year.
If you can sell a few items at a fair price, you can put that money toward other important holiday expenses — like rum and eggnog.
I’ve used Craigslist in the past, but I prefer Kijiji. They both operate in pretty much the same way. Kijiji (pronounced "ka-gee-gee") is owned and operated by eBay. Like Craigslist, it uses the classified ad format of buying and selling items locally. It's FREE to post your ad, there’s no tax and no shipping costs and it's “green.” It really is a Christmas miracle when you find that Wii Gaming system that retails for $250 but since the seller has moved on to Xbox they’re practically giving it away and throwing in all their games, too.
I know my way around the Kijiji network, so here are a few tips to share. Consider this my FREE gift to you.
Include photos. People want to see your goods—so to speak. Make sure photos are clear and show the item from several angles.
Set and post a price. The whole “Or best offer” thing is awkward. Expect that buyers will offer less, so decide ahead of time how low you’re willing to go.
Search your item in other Kijiji ads, on Craiglist and eBay. Factor in the age and condition of the item and what it sold for originally. Use this information to price your item reasonably.
Don’t post any personal information in your add—your name, phone number, or home address.
If you have an email signature attached to your email, remove it when corresponding with potential buyers (I forgot last time and lost sleep over it). Better yet, use your “junk” email address—the generic one you use for entering contests, etc.
Be honest and specific. If the item has a scratch or is missing an accessory, state this in the ad.
Keeps ads short, include all relevant information and spell-check before posting.
Include something like, “If this item is still posted, it is still available. When it is sold, I will remove the ad immediately.” This will lessen the annoying, “Is this item still available?” messages you may receive.
Respond to the first reply to your ad. Set up a date and time for pick up. Then confirm the price. For example, “The price is $45 cash and you’ll be picking it up on Tuesday at 4pm, correct?” Then edit your ad title with the letters PPU. This lets people know that the item is “Pending Pick Up.”
Respond to any other interested buyers with something like, “Thanks for your interest in the Thigh Master. It is currently sold, pending pick up. If the buyer doesn’t show up, I’ll be sure to let you know.”
Remove the ad as soon as the item is absolutely sold.
Safety is important. If you’re uncomfortable giving out your home address, ask to meet at a public place—the mall for example. Do not let buyers into your home. The garage with the door open to the street is a meeting place option. Make sure your spouse or a friend is there with you at pick up.
Check frequently—lots of new ads go up hourly so keep looking. You have to be fast to snap up the good deals.
Purchases are made in cash so hit the ATM on your way to pick up your item and bring exact change.
If you don’t like the item once you see it in person, you have every right to walk away. Politely.
Do not go into a seller’s home. Do your dealings outside. Bring a buddy with you.
Use your generic email addresses for correspondence.
Some might consider secondhand Christmas gifts tacky. I disagree. It's not like you're going to buy your dad a moth-eaten Christmas sweater or give your son a set of Encyclopedia Britannica circa 1978. There are some perfect finds out there—something just right for you at a price that can't be beat. That vintage album that you know your husband would love or that sweet wooden dollhouse that some little girl loved but has outgrown? They're out there waiting for you. I found a guinea pig cage with all the accessories, food, etc. for a fraction of the price I would have paid at the store. This was part of my son's early Christmas gift. I also found a brand new wetsuit for my daughter who freezes in the swimming pool. The seller had ordered the wrong size and couldn't return it so they sold it on Kijiji for peanuts.
Always follow proper Kijiji etiquette and keep safety in mind, and you too can have yourself a Kijiji little Christmas and a Craigslist New Year!