Selling your stuff: a quick guide to the online marketplace
We all have too much stuff: whether it’s that pair of jeans from high school that are taking up space in the bottom of your drawer, or the giant kitchen mixer that you don’t use but just can’t bring yourself to throw away, we all have those one or two or fifty items that need to find a new home.
If you think your items are worth something, you might try selling them online, through websites and apps that are designed to help you make your trash someone else’s treasure.
Where to sell
There is no shortage of options when it comes to places you can sell your items. But you want to make sure that you are selling through a site or service that has a reliable reputation and makes it easy for you to sell your items.
eBay: Ah, a classic. eBay has been around since the mid-90s, offering people the chance to sell their unwanted possessions all over the world. eBay is the preferred online selling resource for a lot of people, especially because you don’t have to meet anyone in person – everything is delivered right to your door.
eBay also boasts a wide variety of products, ranging from homemade goods to car engines to hard-to-find collectors items. One caveat: eBay does charge its sellers a fee to make more than 200 posts each month, as well as a percentage of the final value that your item sells for. Items also automatically relist each month, meaning they will count toward your free total unless you take the listing down.
Let Go: This app has risen in popularity over the last few years, and many people find that it is a convenient one-stop-shop for selling their items. The app takes steps to verify and authenticate users, and allows you to communicate over its chat feature so you don’t have to give out any personal information. Let Go also partners with SafeExchangePoint.com, which helps users find safe, public places to meet up to complete the sale. The app also makes it convenient to check messages and the status of your items even if you are out running errands or working.
Craigslist: This website has everything – and we mean everything. With the ability to search for items within a certain radius of your home, Craigslist makes it easy for you to get what you need in a timely manner. However, it’s important to note that Craigslist does not employ a high level of identity authentication, nor do they closely monitor posts for fraud or scams.
This means you will be to be extra diligent in deciding what information to list, where to meet up with buyers, and how you will take payment. The good news is that you will reach a broader audience very quickly, and there is no fee to join. Depending on what you want to sell, you may be charged a low fee to post certain items, like job openings or vehicles for sale.
Facebook Marketplace: Social media has joined in on the virtual garage sale gig, and they do a decent job helping you find what you need in your area. As with the other services we mentioned, Facebook Marketplace can be very successful, but shouldn’t be relied on for steady income. But if you are looking to declutter and make a few bucks, start posting and see what interest you can find.
One advantage of using Facebook Marketplace is that you can post in multiple selling groups at once to increase your chances of selling all of your items. And, of course, Facebook is free to join and the marketplace does not charge any fees. You can also comment on your own post periodically (unless the rules of the group say otherwise) to keep your items at the top of the list for new buyers.
What else do I need to know?
There are a few more tips you’ll want to know before you start selling online…
Always meet in a public place
Safety first – always find a safe or public spot to meet up to sell your items to your buyer. You can even meet in the parking lot of a local police station if that makes you feel better. If you are giving someone your address to pick up an item, only send that info through a private message; don’t add it to the post for everyone to see. Let someone know where you are going to meet your buyer and when you expect to return so they can check in with you once the item is sold.
If you post an item for sale online, you need to be prepared to follow through. This means checking for messages from interested buyers, as well as making sure you make and follow a plan to drop off the items they buy from you. Many websites ask buyers to rate sellers on their level of responsiveness, so answering messages and questions quickly will help build your reputation as a seller.
Take lots of photos
If you want your items to sell quickly, be sure to take some photos to go along with your post to catch the eye of interested buyers. Make these photos as clear and uncluttered as possible to showcase your items and set yourself up for success. Include your asking price and any relevant details with the photos, such as whether your home has pets or how long you have owned/used the item.
Know the rules
Every virtual selling platform will be different, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of each one. Some Facebook groups require you to let potential buyers know if you have posted in more than one group. Or you may need to disclose the type of condition your item is in so people know what they can expect. Review the rules before you make any posts to sell your items so the process can go smoothly and efficiently for all involved.
If you have some extra items around the house that you think can make you a few bucks, there is no harm in finding out! Remember that your safety needs to be a priority, and that the more effort you put into making your post look great, the more likely it is someone will want to buy your items. Happy selling!