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How to Sell Unwanted Stuff Online and Make More Money

There was a time when I thought I needed to be more organized and spend more time cleaning up the mess around my home. I spent hours every day and week trying to keep up with laundry and dishes, clearing clutter like toys and charging wires, and finding the perfect place for clothing and shoes. All this stuff was consuming my time and keeping me from working on my business, from spending time with my family and from focusing on me and enjoying my hobbies. I finally realized one day that this was the wrong way of thinking: it wasn’t my lack of organizational skills or cleaning skills that was causing clutter, it was the clutter that were causing clutter. What I mean is, I had too many things that were draining my time and creating chaos in my home, in my life and in my mind. After all, when my home is clean, I feel more focused and more motivated to tackle my day, whatever it is that I am working on at the moment–even if it’s just playing with my kids! Clearing that clutter was really important to me. But even if you don’t feel like you have too many things and you just have a few items you want to get rid of you, you may be wondering where you could sell these items to make money and how to make the most money. At least, that’s how you should be thinking because it’s so easy to do once you know where and how to do that.

Trying to figure out where to sell your unwanted items can feel overwhelming given the endless number of listing options and websites available these days. The good news is that I’ve tested a lot of different sites and have successfully sold so many different items, from clothing and high heels to video games and toys to kitchen appliances. I’m here to help you figure that out how to sell your items and how to make even more money on each item.

First, let’s take a look at different sites you can sell your items with the pros and cons of each. I’ve categorized these sites by types of items which you may not have even realized you can sell online!

  • Old Gadgets: These days homes are filled with multiple gadgets from smartphones to Tablets, eReaders and video consoles and games. If you have old electronics laying around, sell them online at Gazelle.com or BuyMyTronics. EXAMPLE: you can get $70 for an iPhone 5C 8GB. Otherwise, trade them in at Target or Amazon for a gift card which can go toward a necessary new purchase you’ve been saving up for! 
  • Gently-Worn Clothes: The average American throws away about 65 pounds of clothing per year. You don’t have to host a garage sale or drive around town looking for a consignment shop to unload unwanted clothing and accessories. Check out ThredUp.com. This consignment site sends you a clear out bag that you fill with gently used women’s and children’s clothing and ship back at no charge. The company will go through your items to figure out what can be sold and what could be donated or returned back to you. You don’t make much per item, but they save you time by doing all the work of taking pictures and posting the items for sale. You can redeem the money you may into your PayPal account, put it towards credit to buy like-new items or request a prepaid gift card. For more expensive clothing or if you simply don’t mind doing the work because you want to earn more per sale, use Poshmark. This site allows you to post pictures of the items you want to sell, from designer clothes to shoes to accessories and haggle with buyers looking for your items. 
  • Unwanted Gift Cards: $300 in gift cards go unused every year. Don’t waste yours! If you received a gift card for a recent celebration like a graduation or a birthday that you don’t plan to use because you either don’t like the retailer or simply don’t need anything from there, swap it for cash at sites like GIftCardGranny.com. The site will pay you up to 92% of the value of that card in cash instead which can be used to more important things like paying down your student loan debt.
  • Wedding/Bridal Dresses: The average cost for a wedding dress is $1,505, according to The Bridal Association of America, and the average bridesmaid dress is $150 per mint.com estimates. You’re NEVER going to wear that bridesmaid or wedding dress again, so sell it online. You can figure out the value of your wedding dress using the calculator on PreOwnedWeddingDress.com – and enter Designer, Style, Date Purchase, Price Paid, Condition to determine a value. Sell bridesmaid and wedding dresses at bridesmaidtrade.com or BravoBride.com. You can even sell wedding decor like table numbers, votives, chalkboard signs and more at WeddingBee.com.
  • College Textbooks: According to the College Board, average college students spend $1,200 on textbooks and supplies. You’re out of school, hooray! Don’t dump those books in the trash though. You can sell them to other students via eBay or use speciality sites like Cash4Books.com and Booscouter.com. Check out Barnes and Nobles through their Text Book Buy Back – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/textbookbuyback/
  • Collectibles: Pawn Online at ThePawnShopper.com by submitting an item directly on the site (with photos), input your zip code and choose which pawnshops will view their item within a certain distance from their zip code. The item is then submitted to the selected pawn shops and the pawn shops respond with a potential loan amount saving the consumer time.

Here’s a look at a few general online resale sites.

Facebook Marketplace–You don’t have to create a new account if you already have a Facebook account. Simply snap a picture and post it for sale in the Marketplace feed in your area. I like the social feature which makes you feel comfortable when dealing with strangers because you can see if you have any mutual friends or check their profile to know who you are communicating with. This site is especially great to use when selling large items. Think: fitness equipment, appliances, furniture. People are usually willing to come to your home to pick up these items or you could meet at a neutral, public location to stay safe. You can haggle with potential buyers or keep your price strict.

OfferUp and LetGo are two other great options for selling items locally, both of which I’ve used to sell and buy second hand items. eBay is has been my go-to site for many years and I’ve made hundreds of dollars selling everything from clothes to baby goods to electronics on there. The site helps you reach even more potential buyers by selling online and you can expand to international shoppers. They give you the option of selling via an auction — from 3 to 7 day options- to drive the sale price higher or post a “Buy It Now” option which keeps the sale price at a flat rate. Just make sure to figure out the cost of shipping your item to make sure it’s worth it. You may want to pass the shipping charge on to buyers, but if they can find a similar item at another site that offers free shipping, chances are you won’t sell yours. So that’s something to keep in mind.

Now, let’s get into how you can maximize your sale.

To determine your item’s worth, follow these three steps.

  1. Identify the retail value. Look at brand new options versus used options. Keep in mind, something that is hard to find online due to low inventory or because it is no longer made, can be priced higher.
  2. Check the used-sale value. Review sites such as Amazon, Craigslist and eBay and take note of the prices the item sold for or what it is listed for. 
  3. Decide the selling price. Items that are hard to find used will sell quickly as long as it’s priced well. On the flip side, items that are hard to find new but widely available used will be harder to sell so you may need to lower your price to beat the competition. Take a moment to assess the condition of whatever it is you want to sell compared to the listings you have found across these different resale platforms to figure out your final selling price. If your item is rare, you can set your price higher!

Now that you know how much you want to sell your item for and where you are planning to sell, it’s time to post it. Follow these tips to maximize your sale by posting strategically.

  • Take quality photos. Pictures are everything when selling items online so spend time taking quality images. Make sure you have good lighting and put the item against a contrasting background like black shoes against a white backdrop in order to make it easy to see the details. Take pictures from multiple angles including images of the front, back and side of the item as well as any packaging or tags for new items. The more pictures you post, the better and more likely your item is to sell. WHen it comes to name brand items, take images of the name tag or logo so buyers know it is authentic.
  • Keywords matter.  Keywords attract more buyers looking for your item, but it’s important to only use only words or phrases that legitimately pertain to your item since the site may penalize you for spamming with irrelevant keywords and customers may get turned off from your listing.  Use words or phrases potential buyers might type in to search for this item including the product’s manufacturer, item type, size, color, pattern and category.
  • Time it right. When using an auction site to sell your item, be mindful of when you are starting your sale.   Try hard to have your auctions listed and therefore ending when more people are typically shopping online. Prime time to list an item is from 6:00 to 8:00pm PT/ 9:00 to 11:00pmET. Auction sales ending earlier or later could cost you bids and a higher sales price! 
  • Use online payments. If you aren’t already signed up with an online payment service such as PayPal, it’s a good idea to set up an account before listing anything for sales since this is a seamless platform for accepting payments.
  • Lower shipping fees. The lower your postage, the more bidders you will have. eBay helps you calculate how much a shipment will cost based on the estimated package size, destination to where it is being shipped and what other items similar to yours have cost previously. 

Now that you have a general idea of where to sell, how to price and how to make your listing pop, you can get on your way to making money from your unwanted items. If the process still feels a bit overwhelming, break it down into a three day process: take one day to pull items you want to sell, another day to take photos and the last day to post your items for sale.

I can’t wait to hear how much you’ve made selling your items. Make sure to leave comments below!

 

Andrea Woroch

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who regularly contributes to leading national and regional news stories. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Dr. OZ, Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, CNN, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, and been quoted in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Better Homes & Garden and many others. Andrea also enjoys writing articles for various personal finance and lifestyle websites and blogs. Andrea is passionate about sharing ideas and tips to help you live on less without having to sacrifice. She says making a few small tweaks to daily and monthly spending is all you need to do to achieve your dreams within your means. Follow Andrea on Facebook and Twitter for daily savings tips and check back for new videos, magazine stories and blog posts all about saving money!

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