Have you ever looked around your house and thought about all the stuff you don’t use anymore? That old furniture, those books you’ll never read again, the clothes that no longer fit. All that stuff can feel like annoying clutter and trash that you wish you could get rid of.
But what if, instead of trash, you saw opportunity? What if you could turn all those unused items into money-making treasure? The rise of online selling platforms and communities makes it easier than ever to re-sell your unused belongings and earn some extra cash.
Selling used items online does require some effort, but it can be an easy side-hustle that allows you to declutter your life and make a little extra money. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know to successfully turn your trash into online treasure.
Why Sell Your Stuff Online?
Here are some of the key benefits of selling your unwanted items online:
- Make extra money – You can earn extra cash without taking on a second job. Even small items add up over time.
- Declutter your home – Get rid of stuff cluttering up your house while making it worthwhile.
- Keep items out of landfills – Give your unused stuff new life with someone else.
- Learn new skills – Gain experience with selling, marketing, shipping, and more.
- Connect with buyers – Enjoy interacting with members of online selling communities.
What Kinds of Items Sell Well Online?
Almost anything can be sold online these days, but some general categories tend to do better than others:
- Clothing and accessories – Used clothes and shoes, handbags, jewelry, watches, etc.
- Books and media – Books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games.
- Furniture – Tables, chairs, sofas, bed frames, shelves.
- Home decor – Vases, mirrors, wall art, lamps, rugs.
- Sporting goods – Bicycles, golf clubs, skis, tennis racquets.
- Collectibles – Coins, stamps, figurines, vintage items.
- Electronics – Laptops, cameras, phones, TVs, stereos.
- Toys and games – Board games, video games, dolls, action figures.
- Instruments – Guitars, drums, flutes, keyboards.
Almost anything that still has decent value and function can potentially sell. Price and market demand are key factors. Do some research to see what’s selling.
Where to Sell Your Stuff Online
Many great online platforms exist for selling your used goods. Choose one or use multiple options:
As one of the largest and most well-known online selling sites, eBay should be your top consideration. Huge user base, wide range of categories, and an established reputation make it ideal for selling your unused items.
- Massive buyer base
- Low listing fees
- Mature platform with strong reputation
- Fees for sold items can add up
- Interface can be complex for new sellers
Facebook Marketplace allows you to easily sell locally to people in your community. Best for bulky items like furniture.
- Easy peer-to-peer platform
- No listing or selling fees
- Tap into local social network
- No shipping option
- Less seller protection than eBay
- Sale volume lower than dedicated sites
A popular option for selling used clothing and accessories. Browse by brand or join the social shopping experience.
- Made for selling used fashion
- Fun social shopping element
- Lower fees than eBay
- Clothing and accessories only
- Must use mobile app
- Brand saturation more challenging
The classified ads site Craigslist offers a way to sell locally for free. Great for bulky, low-cost items.
- 100% free for personal sellers
- Local pickup makes transactions easy
- Good for large, heavy items
- Dated interface and user experience
- Scam potential and safety concerns
- No shipping options
Sellers can also list their used products directly on Amazon alongside regular new items.
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- Competitive to stand out among major retailers
- Rules and account restrictions
How to Decide Where to Sell Your Items
Choosing the right selling platform depends on several factors:
- Item type – Some sites specialize in certain categories like clothes, books, or electronics.
- Local or national – Local sites like Facebook MP are best for bulky furniture, national for smaller items you can ship.
- Fees – Compare commission, listing, and subscription fees across sites.
- Audience – Consider number of users and how they use the platform.
- Ease of use – Evaluate the seller interface and rules. Some have steeper learning curves.
Take stock of what kinds of items you want to sell and research sites to determine the best home for your wares. You can always use multiple platforms and compare.
How to Effectively Price Your Items
Setting the right selling price is an art and a science. Price too high and get no buyers. Go too low and lose potential profit. Follow these tips to price just right:
- Research sold prices – Search for your exact items or similar ones and see what prices they successfully sold for. This gives you a price floor.
- Factor in fees – Account for all selling fees so you still make a decent profit at your price point after they take their cut.
- Consider condition – Base price on the current condition of the item. Significant wear and tear or defects lower the price. Pristine condition can sometimes fetch higher than original retail.
- Compare active listings – See what others are currently listing similar items for. Undercutting competitors can help drive sales.
- Leave room to negotiate – List at a slightly higher price than you hope to get so you have wiggle room to negotiate with buyers.
- Price psychology – Odd prices like $29.99 seem lower than $30. High prices can signal quality. Use pricing tricks sparingly.
Repricing tools can help you set and automatically adjust prices based on various factors. Dynamic pricing takes the guesswork out of pricing.
How to Write Great Listings
You need compelling listings to showcase your items and convince buyers to take action. Follow these listing writing tips:
- Place your most important keyword first
- Keep it short, clear, and specific
- Use targeted keywords naturally
- Capitalize main words
- Open with a hook – ask a question, use an interesting fact, etc.
- Note product condition, measurements, defects, etc.
- Use bullet points and formatting for easy scanning
- Include relevant keywords throughout naturally
- Close with a call to action
- Use high quality, well-lit photos against a clean background
- Multiple photos from different angles
- Include detail shots of logos, damage, wear, etc.
- Make sure main image shows whole product clearly
- Stick to the pricing plan from your research
- Note if shipping is free or paid by buyer
- Indicate firm or negotiable price
Top Tips for Successfully Selling Your Stuff
Follow this seller advice to maximize your likelihood of making sales:
- Photograph well – Clean, crisp, bright photos attract buyers. Stage in natural light.
- Write detailed descriptions – Be honest about condition and use specifics. Fill the whole space.
- Price competitively – Optimize pricing after fees. Lower prices move inventory.
- Mention brand names – Call out any notable designers, brands, artists in titles.
- Offer fast shipping – Customers filter search results by fastest shipping options.
- Reply promptly – Answer buyer questions and respond to offers within 24 hours.
- Start with cheaper items – Begin selling lower-value goods to build up positive reviews.
- Learn the platform algorithms – Study how eBay, Amazon, etc. sort and rank listings.
- Analyze competitor listings – See what popular listings for similar items do well.
- ** Focus on buyer benefits** – Emphasize why someone would want to buy your item in your descriptions.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your First Sale
Follow this checklist when prepping your first item to sell online:
- [ ] Photograph from multiple angles in natural light
- [ ] Check for any damage to note in description
- [ ] Research competitive prices, sold prices on your platform
- [ ] Draft titles, description, pricing, shipping details
- [ ] List on chosen platform, review listing for errors
- [ ] Share listing on social media (if allowed)
- [ ] Respond promptly to questions, offers, requests
- [ ] Arrange payment collection/processing
- [ ] Carefully package and ship item (or arrange local pickup)
- [ ] Follow up with buyer to confirm receipt, get feedback
How to Ship Items Sold Online
For platforms without local pickup options, you’ll need to package up and ship any sold items to buyers properly. Here are some tips:
- Choose carrier based on weight – USPS for under a pound, UPS/FedEx for heavier items. Compare rates.
- Know shipping options – First class, priority, parcel, flat rate, etc. Offer economy shipping unless specified.
- Pack well – Use tight boxes, bubble wrap, peanuts. Seal securely. Add padding.
- Print label from site – eBay, Etsy, etc. have integrated shipping labels for convenience.
- Use tracking number – Tracking provides delivery confirmation and shows responsible handling.
- Insure valuables – Insure jewelry, electronics, collectibles during transit for peace of mind.
- Provide fast handling – Ship out the next business day after payment confirmation.
- Use free boxes and supplies – USPS and other carriers provide free boxes and packaging materials to use. Ask at your local post office.
- Add signature requirement – For expensive/valuable items, require a signature upon delivery.
- Keep receipts – Hold onto shipping receipts in case of disputes about packaging and postage.
How to Handle Payment Securely
When selling online, carefully handle payments to avoid issues or scams:
- Accept secure payment methods – PayPal Goods and Services, credit cards through processor on platform. Avoid wire transfers or checks from strangers.
- Never ship before payment – Only ship once payment fully clears to verified account. Checks must fully clear.
- Watch for fraudulent payments – Scammers may send fake PayPal or bad checks. Contact processor if uncertain.
- Keep payment records – Download receipts showing method, amount, date for transaction records.
- Avoid off-platform payments – Only accept payment through the site system for buyer/seller protections.
- Learn to identify scams – Watch for red flags like urgent shipping demands, sob stories, distant buyers.
- Trust your gut – If something seems suspicious, cancel sale. Protect your payment information.
- Report concerns promptly – Notify the platform if you suspect a scam. They can investigate or suspend accounts.
Helpful Tools and Resources for Online Sellers
Take advantage of available tools and communities to make selling faster and easier:
- Repricing tools – RepricerExpress, Sellery, etc. automate competitive pricing.
- Cross-listing tools – Vendoo, ListPerfectly post listings across multiple sites.
- Inventory management – Skubana, Finale Inventory track and organize across platforms.
- Shipping calculators – Calculate postage rates for USPS, UPS, FedEx. Sites like Payhip integrate directly with carriers.
- Mobile apps – Manage listings and orders on the go with eBay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace apps.
- Seller communities – Subreddits like r/flipping connect resellers.
- How-to guides – Review detailed seller tutorials on platforms like eBay Education Hub.
Common Questions and Answers
What should I sell to make the most money?
Focus on sought after electronics, trendy clothes/shoes from popular brands, vintage furniture, and collectibles in great condition. Check sold listings in niches that interest you.
How much does it cost to sell online?
Platform fees vary, but expect to pay 10-20% of the item price in commissions + listing fees around $0.30 – $1 per listing + variable closing fees around 3%. Shipping costs extra.
Do I need a seller account?
Yes, you need to set up an authorized seller account on each platform to list and sell. They are free or cheap to open. Each has requirements around ID verification, bank account, etc.
How should I handle shipping?
Offer fast, reliable shipping with tracking. Make sure packaging is sturdy and secure. Ship within 1-2 business days of receiving payment. Use calculated shipping rates through the platform so correct postage is charged to buyer.
What do I need to photograph products?
Quality well-lit photographs are essential. Use a digital camera, smartphone camera, or scanning app. Shoot against smooth, white backgrounds in natural daylight. Use props if helpful.
What is an eBay store?
You can open an eBay store subscription to gain discounts on Final Value Fees and access to additional seller tools. Basic stores start at $21.95/month. Advanced options exist for high volume sellers.
How do I know if an item will sell?
Research completed/sold listings for similar items on your chosen platforms. See what categories and brands are popular. Current demand and price trends will dictate saleability. Test less valuable items first.
Can I sell used makeup or personal care items?
Most platforms prohibit used makeup, skin, hair products which cannot be sanitized. Check policies. Some unused, unopened products may be permitted but appeal is lower.
Selling your old possessions online is a great way to clear out clutter and earn extra cash without leaving home. With this guide, you have all the knowledge needed to turn the trash and unwanted items around your house into successful sales and profits. Choose your selling platform, create stellar listings, price competitively, handle payments and shipping with care, and you’ll be on your way to online selling success. Happy decluttering and profitable selling!
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