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10 Tips For Selling Stuff Fast (And For More Cash) Online

Rena Philips  |  March 27, 2024

Clear out the items you don't need, and use these tips and tricks to rake in some extra cash for your old and gently used items.

There’s always something about the start of spring that always makes me want to make a fresh start… I want to invest more money for my future. I want to find a new job. And I want to clear things out of my house. Every spring, I take a carload of household goods to a local thrift store – toys and clothes the kids have outgrown, books we’ll never read again, and other things my husband and children won’t miss if they ever even notice they’re gone. I throw away things with too much wear and tear. And I set aside a few items to sell online.  

I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo, who explains in her book, “The Life-Changing Joy of Tidying Up,” that everything in your home should bring you joy. If it no longer does, then get rid of it. I’ll add that if it will bring someone else joy, and you’re in need of some extra cash, you should sell it on your favorite online app or marketplace. After all, one woman’s trash is another woman’s glorious new treasure.

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The electric keyboard that Santa brought my boys six years ago — but that they can still only play the beginning of Star Wars’ “Imperial March” on — sold within a day. The 35mm camera that I lost interest in when stores closed their film developing stations sold within hours. That sewing machine that I never learned to use sold within minutes.

I usually price to sell fast. But I have made hundreds of dollars from large items, too, like baby cribs and area rugs. So, how many people are buying and selling their used goods online? And what can you buy online? Facebook Marketplace reports 1 billion users per month. In Manhattan, you can buy everything from a $300 tiger fish to an $11.5 million townhouse. Auction site eBay has at least 1.7 billion active listings in 2023. Users list vintage books, collectible dolls, and even an RV in North Hollywood, California, for $235,000.

As you may know, there are dozens of other sites to sell your goods. For high-end or professional clothes and accessories, there’s ThredUp, Poshmark and The RealReal, to name a few.  Here are 10 tried and true tips for selling items online:

Decide what to sell and where

Clothes and household goods are among the most popular items sold online. If you have clothes that are name brand, new with a tag (NWT for short), or for kids or babies, give it a try. Same goes for gently used furniture. A general rule of thumb would be to ask yourself if the item is something you would buy.

Mandee Conkle, who promotes community engagement on The Mobile Rundown podcast and website in Alabama, has had success selling clothes, furniture, and large items online.  

“I would use Facebook Marketplace for furniture, clothing and shoes, outdoor items and large items. For more unique items like collectibles, eBay is the way to go.”

Most items are easier to sell on a local site, like Facebook or Craigslist. But if you have something worth a good bit of money, and you’re willing to pay for shipping, your options expand to dozens of sites. Do your research, and learn whether you have to pay a fee to sell.

Give it a fair value

Research what similar items are going for, and price yours accordingly. Think about your goal: Would you rather price it on the cheap side to sell fast, or would you rather put a higher price on it and see if it sells? You can always bring the price down later.

eBay and other sites have tools to help you price your items. eBay recommends that if you’re not sure what to charge, you can always note in the description that you will take the best offer, which allows the buyers to suggest the value.

Clean and prepare your item

If you’re asking people to spend their hard-earned money, the least you can do is clean (and, in the case of clothes, iron) your items. Wipe them down. If they need to be put back together, then do so. Present it well in photographs so it will sell. There’s an old saying about selling used cars that comes to mind here: It should run but it must shine. 

Take great pictures

We live in a visual world, so post pictures that will catch potential buyers’ eyes. “I always make sure I use well lit, good and detailed photos of the items I am looking to sell,” Conkle says. Eliminate clutter in the background and take multiple digital photographs so your buyer can feel like they are getting a good look at the item. Facebook recommends taking your own photos instead of using pictures from a company website.

Be honest in your description

You don’t want to waste your or your buyer’s time, so make sure you describe your item realistically and specifically. “Be as detailed as possible,” Conkle explains. That means give the measurements or size of the item and the age. Name the brand and model. Is it in excellent, good or used condition? If there’s a scratch or tear, mention that and even take a picture of it. Mention if the item is from a smoke-free and/or pet-free home.

Be available to respond to potential buyers fast

Don’t list an item and then take a vacation. “Be responsive to all comments and messages,” Conkle says. Be ready to answer questions from potential buyers. And be ready to meet them that day if they agree to buy it. Make sure you and your buyer agree on the price before deciding to meet up or arranging a pick-up, note tips from Facebook.

Think about when and how to list

Sell items in their season, and consider listing multiple, similar items together.

“For example, list swimwear toward the end of spring and warm coats at the end of fall,” according to Mercari, a website for selling clothes. “Consider selling bundles of clothing in the same size/style, rather than creating individual listings. For instance, photograph 3 pairs of jeans in the same size and sell them together as one listing.”

Know the lingo and community rules

SOH is “sold over hold,” meaning that priority is given to someone commenting “sold” over someone asking questions and thinking about buying. FPPU is “front porch pick up.” Groups that you join to buy and sell likely have their rules spelled out, so read them before posting. Some sites have fees, so also research that before you list.

Beware of scammers

Craigslist reminds its users to never give out financial information, such as a bank account number, and to not accept cashier checks or money orders. The site also notes that if you receive a message from someone who is not local to your area or who is being vague about “the item” you are selling, or if their grammar and spelling is really poor, it might be a scam.

Stay safe

Always, always be safe. Stranger danger is real and we have to trust your gut instincts. If you don’t want to give someone your address to pick up an item, then don’t. You can meet your buyer at a public place and bring a friend along. Some sites allow you to ship. If you get a strange vibe, cancel the sale.  


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