Whether you’re considering selling some of your stuff because you need to downsize (like us), because you need a little extra cash (also like us), or simply because you want to declutter, there is more than one way to eliminate your excess belongings.
When we decided to move into a tiny home, we knew we would have to get rid of a lot. But we didn’t realize how much, and we definitely didn’t realize how much it would be worth.
When we decided to move into a tiny home, we knew we would have to get rid of a lot. But we didn’t realize how much, and we definitely didn’t realize how much it would be worth. I began the downsizing process by walking around the house and letting myself get completely overwhelmed (not a great way to begin). It started to seem like we had to get rid of everything that we had put our time and money into, and it felt like we would be seeing our investments go down the drain. But, as I looked, it dawned on me that a lot of the things we had could be valuable to someone else.
We had furniture, clothing, decor, and lawn and garden equipment. The thought of simply donating it seemed like a lot of work for not much return. So, I decided to think about how to get rid of it in a way that I could capitalise on its value. I decided to sell it.
How to Sell Your Stuff (instead of just giving it away)
First, decide what you want to sell.
As I keep saying, you might be surprised to find out how much of your stuff is worth money to other people. It may not be a lot, but it’s still something. For example, I sold a five-year-old foot stool that had basically been a decoration in the entryway, and I got $15 for it. I also got $5 for a lightly worn Jagermeister tank top that I won on bar trivia night.
This may seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. The nature of the stuff you want to sell will dictate how you sell it. If you have furniture to get rid of, you’ll need to consider the size of it when you decide where and how to list it. If you are selling clothes and small decorative items, you’ll want to think about how much (or how little) money you’re willing to get for the work you put in.
So, that means the first thing you need to do is take stock of what you want to sell.
That way, when you start getting into it, you won’t start down a rabbit hole you weren’t ready for. You’ll know that you have furniture and clothes, and you’ll know that you probably want to sell them in different ways.
Then it’s time to decide how to get rid of it all.
You can sell your stuff online or in person. Some of your options are sort of a mix of online and in person, and each method has drawbacks and benefits. Below is a list of many of your options, and some of the pros and cons of each.
Community Posts & Yard Sales
One of the oldest tricks in the book for selling your stuff is having a yard sale. If you have a yard sale, you can make money faster. It’s a one-shot chance to sell stuff and make money. But, yard sales are notorious for requiring a lot of work, and your success can depend on the weather, your mood, conflicting events, and many other hard-to-predict factors.
As an alternative, you can post in an online community to have a sale that functions like a yard sale but doesn’t require a date and time. Websites and online communities dedicated to connecting people who want to make sales with people who want to buy stuff for cheap are growing in popularity. (Think Craigslist and Facebook.)
These two options are especially good for large items, like furniture, yard equipment, and decor.
- Your customers can see the goods in person.
- You can negotiate prices.
- Your customers will pick up the items they buy.
- It can require a lot of planning.
- People you don’t know will (sometimes frequently) come to your house.
- Some people will ghost you.
You can also bring it to a local brick-and-mortar consignment shop, where they’ll sell your stuff for you. Typically, consignment shops either buy the stuff from you directly, or they send you a check when your items sell. It seems like the most common consignment shops sell clothes and furniture, but some sell decor and other knick knacks.
- You can get rid of your stuff in one trip.
- You can make some money!
- The nearest store’s location could be far from home.
- They may not take everything.
- You may not get paid for months.
Another option is to send your stuff away to some place that will sell it for you. You may not make as much money as you might with in-person consignment or selling it on your own, but it’s usually super easy. You’ll most likely have to pay for shipping, but online consignment companies often put together It also means you don’t have to do much more work than you would if you were taking it to the dump or dropping it off at Goodwill.
- You can get some money.
- You don’t have to do much work!
- It’s fun to see your clothes listed professionally.
- You’ll most likely have to pay for shipping (but online consignment companies often deduct it from your payouts).
- If they don’t take your clothing, you either have to pay for it to be shipped back to you or they donate it, which means you effectively paid to donate your clothes.
You can also post your belongings online for others to buy, making them available to the country at large.
- You can make the most money. (You keep a larger portion of the profits than you would with the other options.)
- It’s fun.
- It’s easy to post.
- You have to make your own posts and descriptions–in other words, it can take a lot of time.
- You have to manage your inventory and upkeep your account.
- You will be constantly tempted to buy new stuff!
- You have to manage shipping (and possibly returns).
Some Things to Consider
If you’re selling your stuff in your local community, you have to find out what price range your community is accustomed to, and what styles and brands they’re into. And, you’ll need to try to figure out whether what you have is useful to your community. For example, if you have a weedwacker to sell, but you live in an area where there are a lot of apartment buildings and not many people have yards, you might need to price that puppy pretty low and/or be willing to deliver. But, if you live in a college town and you have a papasan in great condition, well, you’re golden.
Similarly, when it comes to selling your stuff online, each app, website, or community functions a little bit differently. They all have different terminology, and they do things in a different order. And, they all have their own priorities. For example, eBay encourages bidding because it drives up their earnings. Poshmark encourages community building and visibility because it helps increase sales. Tradesy values high-end designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories. As you use each of these outlets for selling, you’ll learn what they value.
So, should you sell your stuff?
The decision of whether to sell your stuff online should come down to a few different factors: money, work ethic, and time. Ask yourself these questions before you start, and if you can answer “yes” to all of them, then it’s a good idea to sell your stuff.
- Do you want the extra money from selling your stuff more than you want to get rid of the stuff?
- Are you willing to put work into selling your stuff?
- Do you have enough time to take good pictures, write good descriptions, and manage your postings?
I’ve sold tons of stuff online and offline, and (most of the time) I’m glad I started doing it. It has become more of a mentality than a question at this point, and I’ve even bought stuff with the sole purpose of reselling it for a profit.
Have you sold your stuff? Do you have tips for the rest of us or do you want to share your story? Talk about it in the comments! Or, if you know someone who sells their stuff (or maybe should sell their stuff) share this!