Students take advantage of selling apps

As the trend of minimalism and advancements in technology continue, students are turning to social media and apps to clean out their closets and earn extra cash.

The days of Craigslist and eBay are fading as new apps, such as OfferUp and Letgo, have gained traction with users.

Income for sellers has been steadily trickling in since the initial launches while buyers have been provided with local second-hand items from verified sources. These one-stop-shop apps draw large crowds and cater to diverse groups.

With the Instagram-mirrored homepage of endless product photos to scroll through, users are bound to find a good deal on clothing, dorm furniture or electronics.

Sellers are connected to locals in the area and communicate through the app, which provides verified profiles for extra security.

Janelle Johnson, junior Christian behavioral science major, tried to use the two apps along with her social media to declutter.

“I just want to downsize,” Johnson said. “I collected so much over the last year and I just want to make more space and live a more minimalist lifestyle.”

Since the launch of OfferUp in 2011, the app has seen a steady growth surpassing the sales and user interactions of eBay within the same time period after their launch.

According to OfferUp, users spend an average of 25 minutes a day on the app — the same average usage period for Snapchat and Instagram.

Letgo opened its virtual doors four years later and saw 3 billion messages exchanged in its first two years of operation.

When listing items online, sellers are encouraged to post well-lighted, clear photographs and include a detailed description for a greater chance of messages from potential buyers. Taking the time to create well-curated listings can result in a  paycheck for students looking to clean out their closets.

If the thought of selling to strangers seems risky, other students have turned to their social media accounts to connect with familiar faces.

Julie Phillips, senior Christian behavioral science major, made $850 through another sales app, Poshmark, and $120 through Instagram. Phillips said she has always had positive, safe experiences selling and interacting with  women her age.

She recalled a time selling in which she included a letter to her buyer affirming her value and beauty.

“You can still be a light and bless others even through something as silly as buying and selling apps,” Phillips said. “For a while, it became my mini- mission field — an easy way to encourage or bless others I didn’t know across the states.”

Both apps foster safety and encourage caution but nothing is guaranteed. It is up to the buyer and seller to trust their gut and investigate the other’s profiles before agreeing to meet.

It is recommended to meet at a public place with a friend and never disclose personal addresses when trading. Many police stations host safe-trade zones specifically for the act to help both parties feel at ease.

Safety, dedication and creativity will guide you to a clean closet and extra cash.

About Lauren Shelburne

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