My living room bedroom, family room, and bedrooms were recently so overflowing with books that I used them as furniture, stacked them in baskets, stored them two-deep on bookshelves, and stacked them on every available surface. My house felt cluttered and it was a drag to dust. I didn’t even want a lot of these books anymore. Even the kids were done with many of the books crowding their rooms. And I did not want to invest in more bookshelves to get them sorted out. Charity? Ouch. They were expensive to acquire.

“We could open a used book store!” I said to my husband one Sunday. “I’ve been in bookstores with a worse collection.”

And that’s when it hit me.

I went to Amazon.com and clicked on a link (It reads “Sell Your Stuff) I’d seen but assumed was for official retail types. It asked me to enter the book (video, game movie, whatever) title or ISBN number. Then it brought up an image of books that matched so I could choose the right one, asked me to describe its condition, and set a price. (It even told me what other copies were selling for so I could price to sell if I wanted to.)

Amazon does take a commission for this easy-to-set-up storefront . If I’m selling my book/game/movie for $12, for example, it takes $4. But all I have to do is list it and wait. I get an email with instructions on what to do the minute my books sells and I don’t have to buy real estate, sit in a dusty shop, or quit my job. Amazon even collects the payment and credits it to my credit or debit card. When an item sells, I just ship the goods off to my buyer. It was actually fun. Now I become a used bookseller whenever the mood to clean, collect cash, and go—briefly—into retail takes me.

Since Amazon doesn’t allow a huge margin for shipping costs, I’m careful not to spend too much on shipping, though. Media mail or parcel post is the cheapest way to ship.(Though there are rules about what can travel this way.) I go to USPS.com and click on Calculate Postage to figure out how much postage to put on the package. (The rules are explained here too.) For more premium methods, you can print postage from USPS.com. But not for Media Mail. So I keep stamps on hand. When I was selling a lot of books, I got an account at Stamps.com, which let me print media mail (and other) postage to nifty labels. But it costs $15 a month so it isn’t worth it unless your house has started to attract browsers.

I made a decent chunk of change selling my books, saved myself the cost of buying bookshelves, and still gave the that didn’t sell to charity. My house is much easier to clean and dust. I got new shoes out of the deal and still banked some cash. In all, I consider it a succesful yard sale. Especially since I never hauled anything to the yard.

Thanks for joining me for another Frugal Friday!

 

 

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