One of the many ways that I was able to pull myself out of financial trouble all those years ago was by selling my items online that I no longer needed or used. It was a great way to build up a positive cash flow since I was struggling to afford basic essentials like groceries.
My hubs and I like to keep the minimalist mentality as much as possible since it saves us so much money. This ends up with us constantly purging our home of things and either selling them off or donating them. We have managed to make our debt snowball accelerate through selling off those unwanted and unneeded items.
If you need to add a little jangle to your pocket, these tips will help you sell your stuff online, better and faster.
What to Do First
Go room by room in your home and quickly gather up items that are no longer used or needed and are still in great condition. Create a pile with these items, pull out your camera or smart phone, and take high quality images of each individual item.
- Use natural light.
- Make sure there is nothing distracting in the background.
- Make sure to take photos of any defects, blemishes, or stains on the items.
Once you have taken your photos, start posting your items for sale on Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook yard sale groups. You need to make your descriptions in your selling posts as informative as possible. Therefore, you need to make sure you know the dimensions and any relevant information in order to provide potential buyers with enough information to make their decisions. If you no longer know the product information, run a search online for the product to find the manufacturer’s website.
Where and How to Sell Online
eBay is probably my favorite place to sell online. Selling on eBay is best for popular items such as Coach purses, limited edition items, direct sales items (like Thirty-One Gifts and Scensty), and really hard to find items. You can even sell off your clothes by “lots” on eBay.
Since you will more than likely have to ship your items, it is best to make sure that they can be shipped in a USPS Flat Rate box. This will make calculating shipping costs easier on you. It is also important that you build a solid and positive reputation on eBay. You start this by making purchases on eBay. If you have never purchased anything eBay, this may not be the best fit for you to sell your items.
eBay Selling Tips:
- Photos: Post two to three high quality photos of the item(s) that you are selling. The more photos the better as potential buyers want to feel as if they have really seen the item. Remember to take any photos of defects, stains, wear, or marks. This keeps you honest and allows the buyer to make an informed decision. I have sold Coach purses with marks on them for almost the full retail price so do not let marks deter you from attempting to sell something (unless the item is truly damaged).
- Rock the Description: Along with taking high quality photos, you need to generate a great informative description. If your item does have an issue, make sure you state what the issue is in detail. Make sure to include your payment and return policies.
- Answer Questions: If a potential buyer asks a question, answer it and answer it quickly. The worst thing you can do is expect your potential buyers to understand your item like you do.
- Shipping: After the item is purchased, wait until you have received payment in full before shipping. You will also want to ship your item as soon as possible after payment is received.
- Feedback: eBay is all about their feedback. Make sure you leave feedback on the buyer’s profile about the transaction.
Craigslist is the go-to-spot for selling large items, especially furniture. My hubs and I have sold everything from double ovens, jet skis, dining room tables, to car tires on Craigslist. Craigslist is best for selling items that you would not want to ship like furniture.
Craigslist Selling Tips:
- Photos: Same as with eBay, you need to take high quality photos of your item and make sure you do not use a stock photo. A stock photo is one that you download from the internet of your item – do not do that unless the item you are selling has never been opened. In that case, make sure to include photos of the packaged item to verify that you actually have possession of the item.
- Rock the Description: Once again, be as informative as possible on what the details of the item are.
- Leave Bargaining Room: When setting your price on Craigslist, set the amount slightly higher than what your target price is in order to leave room for bargaining. Most people who purchase on Craigslist are hagglers. They will only buy something that they can bargain for. As Dave Ramsey says, “every price is negotiable”. For example, if your target price for an item is $300, you may want to start at $450 (depending on the quality of the item and its current condition). If after seven days you notice that no one seems interested in it, lower the price to $425 and relist it. Continue doing this until your post gains engagement. If $300 is your target price and someone offers you $200, it is okay to say “no”. However, keep in mind that if you set your target price too high, it may be difficult to sell your item for that price.
- Research: Make sure you research your item and develop your target price around your research. If you price your item too high, you will have a difficult time selling it. If you price it too low, you will probably sell it easily but you will miss out on profit. We made that mistake with the car tires and lost $250 in potential profit! Research, research, research!
- Be Safe: This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when selling or purchasing from Craigslist – be safe. Meet in a public place with the item(s) and make sure you let a loved one know that you will be meeting at XYZ location at XYZ time to sell your item. If the item is too big for you to bring it with you and they have to come to your home, have someone at home with you. Either make sure your husband, neighbor, or best friend are at home with you. Do meet at your home while you are there alone.
This is one that I am starting to use and it is definitely a great way to sell your items. There are many yard sale group pages on Facebook that you can join. Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations on groups to join in your community.
Facebook Selling Tips
- Photos: With Facebook, it is typically best to only post one high quality photo of the item as if you need to post more than one, you will have to create an album within the group and some groups restrict that.
- Rock the Description: It is best that the description on Facebook be short and to the point. Include relevant information as far as dimensions and any issues with the item. Follow the group’s guidelines for posting descriptions and price, as most groups will require that you post a price – no “name your price” price options.
- “Other” Folder: Facebook messages have an “other” folder where people who are not friends with you messages will sometimes end up. Make sure when you are selling on Facebook that you check your “other” folder often to make sure you do not miss any messages from potential buyers.
- Stay Safe: As with Craigslist, stay safe and only meet in public settings (many group pages have a designated “meeting” place in the community for transactions). If you must meet at your home, make sure you are not home alone with they arrive.
Traditional Yard Sale
Technically, this one is not online but if you have a lot of stuff that needs to be sold, it is best to hold a yard sale. I would probably reserve any high ticket items to be sold on eBay as typically with yard sales, people are trying to get a bargain and will probably attempt to talk you into settling on a much lower price than your target one.
Yard Sale Selling Tips:
- Plan: Plan to have your yard sale when it is warm outside (springtime, late summer, and early fall seem to be best). Give yourself at least a week to prepare for the sale and organize all the items to be sold. The best yard sales are the most organized ones as it makes shopping for items easier on the buyer. Make a list of the items that you are selling and the price that you are selling them for and as you sell your items, mark them off the list and include the price they sold for.
- Advertise: Post your yard sale signs in obvious places around your neighborhood such as around stop signs, the neighborhood entrance, and community center billboard (make sure to check with your HOA that doing this is permitted). You will want to post the sign at least a few days in advance of the sale. You may also want to post about your yard sale on Craigslist and within your community Facebook group (if allowed). The more places you advertise your yard sale the better chance you have of being successful with it.
Take a hard look at what you have in your home. If you do not need, want, or use it anymore it is time to get rid of it. Take ten minutes every day this week and go through closets, cabinets, and other storage areas of your home to gather up items you can sell. Use your extra cash to start the New Year off right by building an emergency fund, paying down debt, or establishing your Christmas fund for next year.
What are your tips for selling online?
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