The Used Toy Business is Bustling around GR

A couple years ago, I accidentally discovered that late fall is the perfect time to sell your old toys. We were getting ready to move and I was in purging mode, going through all my kids’ toys they had outgrown or didn’t play with anymore.

I was also aware that Christmas was coming and we would likely be bringing even more toys into our house. Plus, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have some extra cash to spend on Christmas gifts…

So on a whim, I posted the toys on Craigslist- and sold them all. It turns out there are a lot of parents and grandparents out there looking for inexpensive Christmas gifts and they were happy to take those toys off my hands! It was a win-win for everyone!

I’ve done a bit more selling since then and have learned a few things along the way.

My number one tip: Be honest about the condition of your item.

You don’t want to waste your time or the buyer’s! Also- include photos (the more the better). People want to see what they are buying. If there is any type of defect in an item I am selling, I always include a photo of that as well.

If you are cleaning out your closets and looking to sell your kids’ clothes or toys, you have a number of options.

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7 Ways you can Sell Good Condition Toys around West Michigan

1 – Facebook Garage Sale Sites

  • How it works: Request to join a group in your area and once you are approved, you may begin listing your items. Interested buyers will comment on your post and you contact them via private Facebook message to arrange a meeting to exchange money and items.
  • Items that sell best here: Items in good condition, new or nearly new, brand names
  • Pros: It is easy to post your item on multiple FB Garage Sale sites at once. There is less potential for scammers because you are able to see the identity of the buyer and they can be removed from the site by the admin if there are complaints. Your posts are only visible to members of the group.
  • Cons: You need to know the rules and regulations of each site and how it is run.
  • Tips: Learn the rules and the lingo (POOS, PPU, porch pickup, Int, Next). If you don’t want the hassle of being home for a specific pickup time or prefer not to interact with buyers, porch pickup can be an option. Leave the item on your porch and instruct the buyer where to leave the money. Although there is always a possibility of getting ripped off, it is not a common occurrence, as the identity of the buyer is on the Facebook site.

2 – Craigslist

  • How it works: Create an account and list your items. Buyers will contact you via email and you arrange the details for meeting to exchange money and items.
  • Items that sell best here: In my experience, Craigslist is the best place to sell used toys at low prices ($5 – $15) – especially before Christmas.
  • Pros: People will buy inexpensive toys here- even if they have some defects (as long as you are honest about the condition). Your email address is coded and not visible to others.
  • Cons: There is a higher potential for scammers and no-shows because of the anonymity of buyers. There is little oversight by Craigslist or option for recourse if you have an issue.
  • Tips: Meet in a public place if you don’t want to share your address. If you’re unsure about someone, don’t respond or engage with them.

3 – Nextdoor

  • How it works: Similar to garage sale sites, Nextdoor is a website and app that serves as a social network for your neighborhood. Sign up with the geographical area you live in and then interact with people who live near you, including buying and selling items.
  • Items that sell best here: Just about anything!
  • Pros: You don’t have to go far to exchange your item and money. Everything is within your community. Buyers use real names so they can be identified. Your posts are only visible to members of the group.
  • Cons: Arranging drop off, pick up and money exchange is your responsibility.

4 – eBay

  • How it works: Create an account and list your item. You have the option of listing the item for auction or Buy It Now. If an item is up for auction, it will go to the highest bidder at the end of the auction. If listed as Buy It Now, a buyer can purchase it at the listed price at any time. When the item sells, you are responsible for shipping the item to the buyer (though typically the buyer pays the cost of shipping). eBay takes a small percentage of each sale.
  • Items that sell best here: Due to the auction nature of the site, high demand items sell well, as do brand name, specialty or collector’s items that people would be specifically searching for.
  • Pros: You can reach a very large audience and potentially sell your item for a higher price if you have several bidders. Payment is done online and eBay has a Money Back Guarantee and will help resolve disputes.
  • Cons: People will likely only see your item if they are searching for it. You are responsible for packing and shipping the item.
  • Tips: If you start at a lower auction price, you will get more viewers. The auction format works best for high demand or brand name items that people are searching for. If there are a lot of other listings for the same item you are selling, list it as Buy It Now at a price slightly lower than the other listings.

5 – Resale Stores (Once Upon a Child, Kid to Kid)

  • How it works: Bring your items into the store. The employees will look them over and let you know which items they will purchase from you. Walk out with cash in your pocket!
  • Items that sell best here: Anything in new, nearly new or good used condition.
  • Pros: If the store agrees to purchase it, you receive your money immediately. No need to communicate with buyers or arrange for pickup.
  • Cons: You likely won’t get as much for your item as you would selling directly to a buyer. (I believe they pay about 25-30% of what they will sell it for in the store.)
  • Tips: Make sure clothing is freshly laundered and toys meet current safety standards. I usually set aside clothing throughout the year and at the end of a season, I bring in what I have.

6 – Consignment Stores (Village Kids)

  • How it works: You bring your items into the store and they decide which items they will put up for sale. Once an item sells, you receive a percentage of the sale (usually 40-60%). If your item does not sell after a certain amount of time, it will be returned to you.
  • Items that sell best here: New and nearly new, high-end items
  • Pros: The store does the work of selling, so you don’t have to.
  • Cons: It may take a while to sell your item- or it might not sell at all. You will only receive a percentage of the sale.

7 – Consignment Sales

  • How it works: Consignment sales usually last just one or two days. You generally pay an entry fee, then you price your items and sell them during the sale. The organizers will receive a percentage of your sales.
  • Items that sell best here: Clothing, toys and other children’s items.
  • Pros: Consignment sales are typically very popular events and you can reach a lot of buyers in a short amount of time.
  • Cons: You need to individually price and label each item that you are selling.
  • Tips: Consignment sales are usually only worth selling at if you have a large number of items to sell. If you only have a few items, your profit won’t be much after an entry fee and commission to the organizer.

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