By George Kamel
August 13 is apparently National Garage Sale Day. I don’t know who invented it, but more power to them. We live in modern times though, and selling your unwanted stuff online can be way more profitable.
So, if you’re not feeling like posting up in the heat from the crack of dawn until the last straggling thrifters stop showing up, let’s explore your online options. There are plenty of selling sites and apps that can turn your old stuff into someone else’s treasure. Here’s how to do it the right way.
How to Get Started Selling Stuff Online
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The process is simple, but there are a few things you’ll need to prep and decide before you start rolling in the dough.
- First, gather the stuff you want to sell and make sure it’s in good condition. Double-check that your gadgets work, clothes don’t have major rips or stains, shoes don’t have holes, and bikes and home items are clean and repaired. The cleaner and newer it looks, the higher the chance of selling.
- Next, take clear, well-lit pictures of your items.
- Then, decide if you’d rather complete sales by meeting buyers at a public place or shipping items from the post office. There’s no right or wrong way—just do what’s convenient for you.
Where to Sell Stuff Online
Here are a few of my favorite resale sites in no particular order:
- Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is free (thanks, Zuck), and on top of that, you can list your items in local buy/sell groups to expand your reach. With local pickup and shipping options, people can find and buy your listings from just about anywhere—and you can vet them before meeting.
- eBay: eBay is awesome for selling collectible items, electronics and vintage or antique pieces—like the Beanie Babies stuffed under the bed. With auction and Buy Now options, you choose how buyers purchase your goods. Heads up: There are some fees with eBay, so read the fine print and list wisely, my friends.
- ThredUP: ThredUP is a consignment style site where you mail them your items, then they do all the work and give you a cut of the sale. My wife loves ThredUP because she can pack up a giant box of old clothes (and by old, I mean last season, which is apparently already out of style), and it conveniently gets picked up from your front door.
- Decluttr: Decluttr is a fast and free way to sell cell phones, tech, CDs, DVDs and games. The website uses a price generator for listings so you can turn old gadgets into new dollars—and purge your junk drawer of dusty, early generation iPods while you’re at it.
- Mercari: Mercari helps millions of people across the U.S. buy and sell just about anything. With options for prepaid shipping labels and profits added right to your account, this app makes selling clothes, beauty items, shoes and household stuff super easy.
Now, wherever you end up selling your stuff, remember two important words: safety first. Scammers want to take advantage you, so make sure you take precautions. Examine buyer profiles, question details that don’t add up, never mail a product without getting paid first, and meet at a safe, public place. Also, never share your personal information with strangers. Instead, communicate through the app or selling website—not your cell phone or email.
How to Make More Money with Your Online Sales
Creating a post to sell your old stuff is a lot like making a dating profile. With so many fish in the sea—or coffee tables on the Internet—you need to make your posts stand out. Here are some of the best ways to spice up your listing and get a buyer’s attention.
- Add keywords to your posts and include a good description. This is important! Describe your items with keywords that people will search for. If you’re selling a living room rug, describe it as an area rug, throw rug, rectangle rug, oriental rug or carpet—and you can even describe the color or brand name. This way people find your listing under a few different searches.
- Use bright, clear pictures. You don’t need a fancy camera to take good pictures of stuff you’re selling. Your cell phone will be fine. Make sure your pictures are clear and well-lit, and don’t include a distracting background.
- Price pieces to sell and be ready to negotiate. Search for stuff like yours to see how other people priced the item. Asking too much money can turn buyers off, but too little means you’re leaving money on the table. And remember: Your stuff is only worth whatever someone’s willing to pay, so be open to best offers.
So,how good does it feel to make a few extra bucks and create more space in your home? Pretty darn good! It’s time to count up your cash, do a victory dance, and put that money where it needs to go. If you’re not quite sure how to spend it, try out a zero-based budget. Whether you’re working on paying off debt, investing for retirement, or even just saving up for next Christmas, your budget gives every dollar a job to do.
* George Kamel is a personal finance expert with a countercultural approach to money. He’s the host of The Fine Print podcast and The EntreLeadership Podcast on the Ramsey Network. Since 2013, George has served at Ramsey Solutions, where his goal is to help people spend less, save more, and avoid consumer traps so they can make the most of their money. Follow George on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or find out more about him online at ramseysolutions.com/personalities.