How to Sell Your Stuff | Guide to Selling | Sell Your Stuff | Ebay | Craigslist | Facebook Selling | Garage Sale

This is the twenty-second day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge. To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.

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We’ve made it to the home stretch–the last full week of this 31 day challenge! Our first week we focused on taking care of our basic needs, since hunger & boredom are the two main causes of mindless spending. Our second week we focused on cleaning and organizing our homes, learning to enjoy the space that we are in rather than to try to escape it. Last week we started to look at the things we have in a new light, embracing our creativity and making new things out of old. This week our goal is to capitalize on our resources, both financial and emotional.

It’s gonna rock!

Today we are going to focus on selling stuff we no longer need. There are plenty of different options available for selling things, from eBay to Craigslist to Facebook to the good old fashioned garage sale. Over the years, I have tried all four of these different options, with varying degrees of success. In fact, just this month alone I made over $500 selling by selling stuff I no longer need! Today I am going to give you the rundown on what works and what doesn’t, and when to use each of these options.

1. Selling on eBay

How to Sell Your Stuff

When to use eBay:   eBay is your best bet for selling popular brand name items (Coach, UGG, etc.) that are in very good or excellent condition, or high value items that are specialized & hard to find. It is free to list items on eBay but you will have to pay a commission if your item sells. Because you will most likely need to ship your item, I also recommend only selling items that can fit into a USPS flat rate box. It is difficult to sell anything on eBay if you haven’t established a reputation, so if you have never bought anything on eBay before, this probably isn’t the best option.

Guide to Selling

eBay Selling Tips:

  • Take good pictures-for the best shots, use indirect daylight (not bright sun) and NO FLASH! Make sure the background is pleasant and non-distracting, and take pictures from every angle.
  • Choose the right category for your item-try to be as specific as possible so that potential buyers will be able to find your listing.
  • Write a good description-be sure to mention the brand name in the title, along with the condition. Be as specific about the details as possible. If you are stuck for what to write, look up similar items that are currently selling well for inspiration.
  • Make sure your item fits in the box before listing.  I always keep a few medium & large size USPS flat rate boxes on hand (they are free at the post office).
  • Charge the USPS flat rate fee for shipping.  This way there are no questions about shipping and no surprises at the end.
  • Answer buyer questions quickly-once your auction is live, be sure to pay attention to any questions that come in (always check your junk folder too!) and answer them clearly and honestly right away. If it is a question about item specifics then it is a good idea to post your answer publicly so that other potential buyers can see the answer as well.
  • Wait for payment before shipping-most buyers will pay quickly but never ship an item until you have received your payment! You can easily send an invoice to remind buyers to pay.
  • Ship your item as soon as possible–as soon as you’ve been paid, make an effort to ship out your item. eBay makes this process very simple–you can actually pay for shipping and print your label at home. If you already have the box then all you have to do is tape it up, slap on the pre-paid label, & let your mail carrier pick it up or drop it off at the nearest post office!
  • Give feedback–be sure to write a positive note on your buyer’s feedback page. They will hopefully then return the favor so that you can have even more successful sales in the future!

2. Selling on Craigslist

Sell Your Stuff

When to use Craigslist:  Craigslist is a great option for selling furniture, toys, & household items that you wouldn’t want to bother with shipping. It is definitely more popular in some areas then others–I had way more success selling on Craigslist in the Seattle area than I do in Southwest Florida–but since it is free to list your items, there is really no reason not to try!

Craigslist Selling Tips:

  • Take good pictures-for the best shots, use indirect daylight (not bright sun) and NO FLASH! Make sure the background is pleasant and non-distracting, and take pictures from every angle.
  • Write a good description-be sure to mention the brand name in the title, along with the condition. Be as specific about the details as possible. If you are stuck for what to write, look up similar items that are currently selling well for inspiration.
  • Don’t set your price too high. We’d all like to think our stuff is worth close to what we paid, but the sad truth is that used stuff isn’t worth all that much. Do a search for your item to find out what other people are asking. If your price is significantly higher, don’t expect any calls.
  •  Leave room for bargaining.  Decide on the lowest price you are willing to accept for an item, then price your item 10-20% higher (while keeping in mind that you don’t want to ask too much)
  • Don’t be afraid to say no to an offer. If someone offers you less than you think your item is worth, don’t be afraid to hold out for more money. Craigslist is free and you can list your item as many times as you want (within the CL guidelines.)  Determine whether it is more important to get rid of an item quickly or to get your full asking price.
  • Don’t over list your item! Follow the Craigslist rules or you will be flagged and ALL your listings will be removed. Each region is slightly different, but as a general rule you can post any given item once every 7 days.
  • Consider bundling like items.  Selling a lot of toys or clothing is easier and faster than trying to sell them all individually.
  • Stay safe.  Meet in a neutral public location or make sure you will not be home alone if someone is coming to see an item.

3. Selling on Facebook

Sell your stuff on Ebay

When to use Facebook:  Facebook is free and super easy so there is really no reason not to try Facebook first. Join a local selling group–they have them in almost every city these days–then snap a picture and list a price (follow the same tips as Craigslist above.)  If you can’t find a group join, you may want to ask around to see if any of your local friends have heard of one, or you can simply post your item on your own Facebook wall. If it doesn’t sell you can always try Craigslist or eBay.

4. Holding a Garage Sale

Garage Sale

When to throw a garage sale:  If you have a LOT of stuff to sell and you live in a great neighborhood for garage sales (close to a main street, lots of drive-by traffic, etc.), then a garage sale might be a good option. For most people, however, I think spending your time and effort getting the best prices for your higher-value items on Craigslist or Ebay, then simply donating the rest is probably a better use of your energy.

Garage Sale Selling Tips:

  • Join forces-convince some friends or neighbors to join you and hold a multi-family sale. You’ll get a lot more interest and have an easier time promoting your sale.
  • Promote your sale-advertise on Craigslist, take out a classified ad, & post a notice on Facebook. Put up LOTS of signs all over your neighborhood with CLEAR directions on how to find your house.
  • Be prepared-borrow tables to hold your stuff & price everything the day before. Label your items well. Have plenty of change available. Be sure to have an outlet available for testing electronic items.
  • Be willing to bargain-garage sale shoppers will want to make offers. It is okay to start out firm and get more flexible as the day goes on.
  • Have a plan for the leftover items-don’t just let them sit in your garage! Either list remaining items on Craigslist/Facebook/eBay or deliver them to Goodwill.

Today your assignment is to start selling the stuff you no longer need. Take a long, hard, honest look at the things you have and pick a few things you are ready to part with. You can use this worksheet to keep track of your items as you sell them.

Downloadable selling worksheet

{Get your Selling Worksheet here}

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How do you get rid of the things you no longer need? Do you sell it? Give it away? Do you have any tips to share?

{Go to Day 23}

How to Sell Your Stuff | Guide to Selling | Sell Your Stuff | Ebay | Craigslist | Facebook Selling | Garage Sale