Sifting Through Other People’s Junk (Part 4)

Now we get to digitally sift through people’s junk. I really want to explore the simplest way to see what kind of crap people want to get rid of: online marketplaces. Craigslist (Kijiji for you Canadians), Facebook Marketplace, Reverb, Etsy, eBay, forum exchanges, Reddit exchanges, etc. The list could go on and on and on and on. A few of these have become depreciated because of Facebook, but can still be plenty active! My best advice for using these websites is to check often. Most good deals will get scooped up fast.

Old Craig and His List

Craigslist is almost as old as I am. Founded in 1995, it’s been host to an insane amount of sales, rants, and non-platonic encounters. It used to be king of online classifieds, but has largely been pushed aside by Facebook Marketplace, lawsuits, and added fees. Despite competition and court cases, Craigslist ranks pretty high in traffic. One thing I love is that the UI remains largely unchanged. Some may call it “outdated,” but to me it’s effective, easy to use, and pretty decent looking. I’ll take long lists over drop-down menus and nested lists any day.

Old, but good.

I’ve been browsing Craigslist for over a decade at this point. My first, and still primary, turntable was bought off Craigslist my freshman year of college. As you can probably guess by now, I mainly use it for electronics. But it’s been useful for finding cheap furniture and appliance (I miss my espresso machine). Vero Beach isn’t the greatest to lurk Craigslist, but in Miami and Jacksonville it kicked butt.

When smaller businesses liquidate you can often find great deals listed on Craigslist or Facebook. Office furniture and equipment can be had for better than normal prices. During my time at a computer company, I was able to source us some Pelican/SKB type cases for servers on the cheap. It was pretty sweet as we had a trade show coming up and needed a way to transport servers to DC without damaging them.

Craigslist’s decision to charge for auto ads caused many people to migrate to Facebook Marketplace. You used to be able to find just about anything, but now it’s largely just dealerships and scammers. Scammers have been a thing forever, but I mostly just spot them on the jobs/gigs listing nowadays. You can still find plenty of out there postings—one of my favorite recent crazy posts was a $10,000 bionic arm simply titled “amputation.”

Selling the arm or an amputation?

Facebook Marketplace

If you’ve ever used Facebook Marketplace, you know how Jack Nicholson felt in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s absolute insanity: the same arm posted with an even worse description. Unfortunately, the insanely unwieldy Facebook UI has continually gotten worse on marketplace. Using the filters feels like pulling teeth and they often don’t work. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll often find great things for great prices.

There really is a weird assortment of things.
But I really appreciate the variety.

Before Marketplace was really a thing, I remember using various Buy/Sell/Trade (BST), Yard Sales, and Classifieds groups. Virginia Tech had a few, and it was an alternative to thrifting for cheap clothes. These groups still exist and are great for selling specialized stuff (like car parts). I often find myself looking at interesting audio equipment, cars, and furniture.

I’ve found that it’s a good place to sell unwanted junk. Like most people, when I go to declutter, I find myself with a bunch of crap I no longer want. If it’s worth a decent chunk of change, it gets listed (got to make some money some how). Otherwise it’ll get donated. I’ve had pretty good luck selling old TVs and computer equipment. Right now, I’m trying to sell some wheels and have had multiple people flake or just send the mind numbing “IS THIS AVAILABLE?” message.

Occasionally it’s fun to just search through the auto section or misc. You can find some…really weird crap out there that’ll make you question people’s judgement. There are a lot of crappy project cars that people think are worth a mint. Yea.

eBay, Etsy, and Reverb

These three are pretty different from each other, but I’m grouping them together anyways. It’s what the Facebook Marketplace sorting would do. I’ve used eBay since 2007 and have a perfectly normal amount of feedback.

Totally normal.

eBay is really useful for finding collectibles, old audio gear, gun and car parts, and other random stuff. Personally, I love it. I often find better prices there than other online shops like Amazon and get to buy used goods. It’s been a boon for some of my anime and game collecting hobbies on both the collecting and selling sides. I find navigating it easy. One of my favorite aspects of using eBay is that you can stumble into some really rare and out there stuff without ever knowing it exists. Learn how to search and you can find all sorts of hard to find junk without having to leave your house.

Etsy is kind of the definition of sifting through junk. I miss when it was almost all handmade goods, vintage finds, and one of a kind pieces. They still exist, but dropshippers have ruined the website. Everyone sells the same relabeled AliExpress crap with hilarious mark-ups. Of course you can find some cool homemade stuff like knives, cables, and sewn goods, but it requires a lot more effort. I find myself avoiding the site more and more.

Another site I totally don’t spend too much time on is Reverb. Reverb basically fills in the niche for small businesses and individuals who want to offload audio gear, musical instruments, and their associated junk accessories. It’s fun to look through guitars and stereo equipment, but you need to watch out for counterfeiters. There’s a lot of YouTube videos of people selling fake goods.

Reddit, Forums, and other Miscellaneous Places

Last but not least are the stragglers. There are quite a few exchanges on Reddit, ranging from gun accessories (not guns) to audio/video to electronics to basically any hobby. These function a lot like the BST sections of forums. People post want to buy ads and want to sell/trade ads. It’s pretty straight forward.

I got my start with buying and selling used goods on airsoft and video game forums alongside eBay. I don’t use forums as much, but they’re great for really niche goods like wet shaving goods and guns. Discogs is pretty great for albums.

All in all, there is a ton of ways to find junk online. Next up is the final part and we’ll be going over my favorites: Estate Sales and Yard sales. Thanks for reading Part 4 of my series. I’d love it if you checked out Part 1 on flea markets, Part 2 on thrift stores, and Part 3 on pawn shops. Next up is the final part and we’ll be going over my favorites: Estate Sales and Yard sales, I look forward to seeing you there!

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