I’ve been looking at Facebook Marketplace lately. “MSM” and “Vintage” are the new key words. Not only that, but people charge top dollar for it. A ton looks like junk to me.
Listen up, guy… if you built that table yourself, it’s not really “mid century.” It’s “in the style of…” but that’s an argument better left for Antiques Roadshow. My observation is the price–people are selling their junk for top prices–sometimes even more than new items.
At first, I yelled at the listings. “Seriously?” Then, I changed my tune. The stuff’s selling, so who’s the fool here?
Selling vintage, “pre-owned,” and “gently used” stuff to a new crowd is big bucks.
Many listings are selling at hefty prices. Take note. Old stuff is in demand–the quality’s better, the clean/minimal styles are back, and now, especially, many people want to avoid boutique store prices. People want it for all those reasons. “They don’t make it like they used to!” That’s true–and it’s an opportunity for you.
It’s never been a better time to get rid of all the stuff you got from your grandmother’s house. This stuff is hot. I just saw a “the 50’s called, they want their sofa back” brand new custom couch in “apple green” in a furniture store. It’s so popular, there’s a nine-week backorder. Just to be clear, that’s the green that reserved for old people when burnt orange and yellow took the 70’s by storm. It’s back with a vengeance.
When I saw mustard jackets and flare jeans hit the runways this fall, I felt a little regret for getting rid of all my old stuff. I stand by decluttering, but… if you ignored all the Broke Teacher advice to “get rid of it–you can buy another” you’re sitting on a gold mine, my friend. Dig deep into that storage room, bin, drawer, or dry basement.
Proclaim it all, “Vintage” “Mid-century Modern,” “classic,” “rustic,” or “farmhouse chic” Then sell it at double the price. Thrift and Marketplace your way to extra space and financial freedom.
Vintage things people love
- That old end table your great aunt gave you?
- The quilt you’ll never use.
- The brown knit afghan?
It’s all in demand.
If you’re over forty, know this: there’s a whole generation that’s never been oppressed by a 70’s wallpaper pattern. They don’t know what a “vintage phone table” is because… they’ve never experienced a rotary phone. To them, this stuff is cutting edge cool.
If you’re younger and just starting to chip away at your school loans (and for many people here here, doing so with your teaching salary), you’re Generation Thrift–the expert. You know a flee market find when you see one. You’re the master of the Buy Nothing Group, the garage sale, and a Friend of the Flip. This is your golden hour. Time to say “yes” to those everyone else’s Swedish Death Cleaning and make some serious cash.
You don’t have to sell it all–you could decorate for pennies instead. My point is this–new trends often start with someone raiding their grandparents attic. Now the whole world’s suddenly got to buy a baby blue Kitchenaid mixer and burnt yellow Pyrex bowls. That’s good for you. Don’t pass up the opportunity to market your “needs to go” junk with the latest trend names. And definitely don’t forget to double the price.
Today, I challenge you to find your outdated stuff and sell it online using all the great buzzwords, or use it yourself to redecorate for pennies, with style.
Where to sell your “vintage” stuff
Sell it online–Craigslist, Marketplace locally or another market like eBay, Mercari, or Poshmark Home if you’ll be willing to ship. Here, we’ve got a lively “end of driveway” market, too. Mark the prices on the items, and leave some way for people to pay–a Paypal or Venmo code or a little honor box will work.
Great photos and copy matter!
The better your description and photos, the quicker the sale and better the price. Take great pictures and create a story around the item. Declare it “vintage,” “one of a kind” “trending” “mid-century modern,” “a timeless/classic” piece that MUST be snapped up now or “art.”
For questionable pieces, create a use for the item–the more creative, the better. “This is a great basket for fruit.” “These shelves will look great in your home office.” Bonus points (and a higher sale price!) for taking the time to style it and photograph it in great light, or coming up with a creative and innovative use. This only takes a few seconds, but makes all the difference.
If you don’t believe me, go to eBay and Facebook Marketplace and search for a category of goods. Then, notice which you gravitate toward. Many equivalent listings have quite a range in price points but the professional flippers and auctioneers (look at their sales records) all take the extra time on their photography and listings.
Fix it or leave it, that’s the question?
It used to be that a true antique would lose its value if restored. That’s still true, but some items are gaining ground as “upcycled” “good for the environment” “repurposed” or “sturdy.” Then of course, there’s always “art” or better yet, “an original” or “one of a kind” in this category of “vintage,” too. So, don’t be afraid to enjoy a good craft or restoration project before unloading your old furniture or clutter. Old stuff has a timeless quality people want–they may not want the stains and quarter century of abuse, though.
Make things beautiful again, then sell them. It’s a fun hobby that done right can pay for itself or more.
Photo: R.D. Smith on Unsplash