When You Lose or Gain Weight, Sell Your Clothes, or Modify Them

I just sold all my pants for $40! It’s so exciting. I spent a lot more on them but since I lost 50 pounds, I’m really not going to fit in them anymore, unless I gain the weight back.

So, away they went. I posted the ad below to Craigslist and Facebook, and ended up reposting it at least three times before I got any interest:

I have lost some weight, and need to downsize my pants.
I would like to trade for similar, in black, dark blue, 
or dark brown,  or jeans, with a waist size of 38 or 36, 
and a length of 29 or 30. 

I would like to trade 1 used pair for 1 used pair, 
or 1 new pair for 3 used pairs.
I have:

NEW Docker Signature Khaki in Black, 40 x 29
NEW Docker Comfort Khaki in Black, 40 x 32
Basic Editions dark blue khakis, 40x30
Original Khaki Company tan khakis, 42x30
Rustler blue jeans, 40x30
Ralph Lauren Chaps white shorts, 42
Docker shorts white, 40
Lands End yellow swim trunks, 42
Brown cargo shorts (some bleach spots) 40
Basic Editions Black Pants 40
Dockers Black Pants 40

I think the key here is to list the sizes. Since they’re all the same size, and there are a couple new ones, the buyer doesn’t need to look through the inventory too much. Also, at $40 he breaks even on the first two pants.

Being “plus size” and short (5’7″ with 30in inseam), it’s hard to find this size, 40×30. you can go to the store and find only one pair of pants. It’s annoying.

Being able to buy a whole stack of pants for a low price is a real convenience for everyone.

The buyer even drove up from far away to get them. I could not be happier. I got back some money I had in the pants, cleared out some space – over 1 cubic foot – and didn’t need to drive anywhere to do it.

I was hoping to get 38×30 pants, but got no offers, so I ended up hitting up the Goodwill to replace pants. I pulled out around a dozen, and after inspecting them, bought six.

They were basic replacements.

The only highlight was a pair of gray corduroy pants. You can’t really find cords too easily nowadays.

If I could just pay $30 and get a stack of pants in the right size, I’d do it.

I wonder if I’ll need to do this if I make it to a 36 inch waist.

Adjusting Old Pants

I have one pair of shorts I really like, and decided to fix them up. These pants look like hell, but I just really like them.

The hack is to use elastic to tighten up the waistband.

With these shorts, I could use a 3″ strip of elastic, and have it pull 4″ of fabric, reducing the waist size. Using two of these, I turned 40s into 38s.

I also fixed up the long johns. For that, I used an entire loop of elastic, and sewed it into the underwear. I tacked them down in four spots, and it worked. More is probably better.

Ebay Auction with Best Offer

How to work with both the auction and best offer features, together. This unusual combination has subtle rules that make it appropriate for some items.

Ebay auctions are simple: you set a starting price, and then hope for bids. The highest bid at the end of the auction period wins.

Ebay auctions have a feature called “Buy it Now” (BIN), which shows the reader you’re willing to end the auction for a specific price. Most listings are made with “Buy it Now”, without an auction – this is basically the same as making a listing in an online store: people pay the BIN price and get the item.

Often, “Best Offer” (BO) is used with “Buy it Now”. This allows you, the seller, to set a price, but show you’re open to accepting a lower price. Sometimes, I’ll submit a “Best Offer” of 10% to 20% below the asking price, and often get the item at that price.

What most people don’t know about is using the “Best Offer” feature with auctions.

If you make a listing for an auction with “Best Offer”, it shows you’re willing to accept an opening offer that will end the auction.

Once live bidding begins, the best offer feature is turned off, and all offers are cancelled.

The rule is simple: the live auction supersedes the secret offers.


I listed an auction catalog of a Marc Newsom piece. I figured someone would pay between $20 and $100 for it. It’s a lot of money for a book, but, he’s a popular figure among people interested in design and luxury products. The item promoted in the book was sold for over $3 million.

So I opened the auction at $15. That was pretty high. Most auctions start at 99 cents. I just wasn’t willing to sell it for $0.99.

I could have put a “Buy it Now”, but chose “Best Offer” instead.

I was willing to end this auction for less than what I’d put as BIN, which would have been $100. I wouldn’t want to set the price too low, because it sends a signal that the item isn’t valuable.

However, think about how this situation feels to the buyer. Their options are to participate in a public bidding war, which can be fun, or to accede to the seller and pay the $100. Once BIN is in effect, it’s almost like a ceiling on the auction, and that’s not fun.

BO is different. BO allows the buyer to exercise their wealth, and terminate the auction with an offer.

BO puts the seller in the position of accepting the high offer, or rejecting it and waiting for the first public bid. BO gives the buyer control of the situation.

Giving some control to the buyer is good.

My goals were simple: to sell the item for a price I found acceptable; to sell the item quickly.

My goal was not to “beat” the buyer, or to force buyers into competing with each other.

Successes and Failures Giving Away Wood

One ad has been up two weeks, and no luck so far. The other freebie went in hours. What are the differences?

The chair was taken quickly. The cut wood has been there for two weeks. I’m the only person taking twigs and wood.

I think emphasizing that the chair was clean helped. Most curbside chairs are pretty gross. This one was picked off the curb, and then reupholstered, using recycled materials. I just had one too many chairs, so gave this away.

The twigs, I suspect, aren’t that relevant to the average person.

I use them in the grill. Basically, you just make charcoal with them. These aren’t that great for charcoal, but you get some time on the flames. You can use the big flames to roast chiles.

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