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Column: Easy money for retirees

Sometimes, after you’ve done a thorough spring cleaning you find items that even a homeless shelter wouldn’t want.
Shelley Civkin is a retired communications officer at the Richmond Public Library. File photo

Sometimes, after you’ve done a thorough spring cleaning you find items that even a homeless shelter wouldn’t want. For instance a wedding dress, wedding shoes, a leg massage implement or a slinky black dress you should have gotten rid of two decades ago (bad on me).

I usually try to give clothing that I’m no longer using to homeless shelters where they can enjoy a whole new life. But there always seems to be random items I find, hidden in a cabinet below the TV, or high up on a shelf somewhere that I’m sure no one is ever going to want. Wrong. Like the saying goes: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” So, when a friend told me how her daughter disposes of things for fast cash, I was intrigued. Unbeknownst to me, there’s something called Facebook Marketplace. It’s available on iPhones, iPads, Android mobile devices and even just on your computer’s web browser.

Anyway, Facebook Marketplace is a site within Facebook where you can buy and sell just about anything. (Personally, I find it more user friendly than Craigslist). So, I decided to try it out. To find Marketplace go to Facebook and, on the left hand side or at the bottom of the page is an icon that looks like a little house. Click on that and follow the prompts. If you can’t find the icon, you can even search for “Facebook Marketplace” and it will pop up. Once you’re there, it’s very intuitive, but if you’re having trouble, get on YouTube and see how it’s done.

Anyway, my first “for sale” post was a Himalayan pink salt candle holder that somebody gave me 20 years ago. I entered a price, description and location of where I would meet prospective buyers. Within 30 minutes, someone messaged me saying they wanted to buy it. We met at Blenz for less than 10 seconds – she got her candle holder and I got my cash. Easy peasy. Then I went wild. I started posting shoes, costume jewelry, secret book safes I made and a bunch of other stuff. Don’t get too excited though…sometimes it takes a while to sell things.

While it’s easy and fun to use Facebook Marketplace, I have two caveats – when it asks you where you want to post your “ad,” choose “Marketplace.” If you choose “Your Profile” your ad will show up on your Facebook page. If you want all your FB friends to see it, no problem. The second caveat is this: always meet prospective buyers in a public place, preferably in daylight. Better to be safe than sorry. And always opt for “cash only” payment.

If you’re wondering why I’m doing this…well, it’s not like I’m an impoverished retiree, living in a 200-square foot basement apartment, eating cat food or anything. I just figure why not make some extra money on stuff I’m no longer using. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot of fun.