Experts say the average person has around $1,000 to $2,000 in unwanted stuff lying around the house. If you are in a pinch, this is one of the first places to start. No investment is involved and you may be able to get your cash today. Today we are talking about how to sell your stuff in three easy steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Subjects
If you are looking to sell your stuff because you need cash fast, I have to warn you this will likely be an emotional process. You need to sell items of value if you want to make any money. Very few people are looking to buy broken garbage. That means you have to consider “the good stuff.”
Your thoughts may immediately go to a few of your favorite things of value, but let’s look for a few less painful things if possible. We all have things lying around taking up space that we don’t necessarily want or use. These are great things to sell for cash.
I love Kathi Lipp’s Kickstart to Clutter Free course, and it’s a great tool for what we are talking about today. Kathi’s course takes you through 14 days of decluttering your home and getting rid of 500 things in the process. You read that correctly – 500! There’s a good possibility a large number of those 500 are going to be worth some value. And, you don’t the stuff anyway. Far less painful than selling your favorite designer handbag to fill your gas tank! Get Kathi’s course for just $5.99 here. (Use code INSIDER to get $3 off.)
Before you get started on your treasure hunt, I want you to designate the corner of one room or your garage for making your pile(s). The less you have to touch your items during this process the better.
My experience and research on selling used goods have been so enlightening. A lot of things I would have previously considered trash actually have value. Carefully consider your clutter. If you are a recovering mystery box junkie like myself, you may have a ton of unopened beauty products filling your bathroom cabinets. While you should never, ever sell used makeup, unopened, unexpired full-size items have value. Box them up and sell them as a lot. This example wouldn’t be suitable for online sale due to shipping costs and restrictions, but you may be able to unload it in a local Facebook Group.
Things like books or clothing, on the other hand, do ship and sell well online. These items need to be in good condition. No rips or stains. When it comes to books, fiction is pretty timeless but things like textbooks or guides may have an expiration date for usefulness. A quick ISBN search on a site like Amazon or Book Scouter will tell you the trade-in or resale value of your books.
Step 2: Set Your Prices
We’ve already identified a few ways to determine the value of items. A quick online search will let you know how much similar items are being sold for online. Remember to look for items sold not just those listed. You can list an item for whatever you would like but that doesn’t mean anyone is going to buy it. Look for the buying price.
Step 3: List Your Items
Now is when the fun really begins. You will first need to determine where you will list your items for sale. Bulky or heavy items are going to be best suited for local classifieds like Facebook Buy/Sell Groups or Craigslist. These places are also great if you are looking to get your cash today. I previously mentioned selling like items (ex. clothing of the same size or season or knick knacks of the same style or genre) as a set, or “lot.” This can save you a ton of time if you need cash fast. You may not be able to get as high of prices as if you piecemeal everything, but sometimes faster is better.
If you can wait a little longer for your money and are willing to pack and ship, there are some awesome places to sell stuff online. I love ThredUp for unloading women’s and children’s clothes and they will pay you upfront for your goods. There is no waiting for them to sell to get your money. A great local alternative to ThredUp is Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange.
When it comes to books, Book Scouter is great for getting the best price. Enter your ISBN and they will show you the offer price for a number of sites. I frequently trade-in used books on Amazon for store credit. It’s not cash, but you can buy almost anything on Amazon. If you need your money today, check out your local bookstores. Hastings, for example, will give you cash or store credit for used books.
You can list almost anything on eBay and they have a ready audience hungry for new auctions. “Lots” of items do well on eBay as do unique, vintage and even replacement parts for household items like vacuums. You will need to pay a small listing fee or commission when your item sells.
You will need to take a few good pictures of your items with your smartphone and write up a good description. I recommend taking all of your pictures at once so you can do all of your listings at once. Don’t waste time jumping back and forth between tasks. Always bulk task when you can.
Make sure to include any flaws. Once posted, wait for inquiries to roll in. Set up a meeting time and get paid. Do not meet at your home. Do not accept anything other than cash. Period. No exceptions.
You can always have a yard sale, of course. For me, I find it’s a little too stressful. You have to worry about the weather, getting a permit, putting it in the newspaper… and then you need to do a whole ‘nother once-over with the items that don’t sell and once again decide whether they are worth selling, donating or trashing. I like to keep it simple and quick.
I’d love to hear how much you have earned from decluttering or if you have any stellar tips on how to sell your stuff.