When we first decided to switch to full-time RV living, our main topic of conversation became what we needed to get rid of and what we wanted to keep. We were “stuff people,” and every glance around the room reminded us of how much we had accumulated separately and together over the years. We were going from living in a 3-bedroom, 2-story house with a big basement to living in a fifth wheel toy hauler, and we knew that meant we had to get rid of everything furniture-related, even our desktop organizers. As time moved on and we looked more closely at our stuff, we started to realize we needed to get rid of a lot more than just furniture. We had furniture, law equipment, movies, books, clothes, craft stuff, shoes, and decorations to offload by our move-out date. To me, that looked like a lot of money we’d spent over the years simply going out the door. I felt a lot of pressure to sell as much of our stuff as I could to try to get back some of the money we’d shelled out.
We had furniture, movies, books, clothes, craft stuff, shoes, and decorations to offload by our move-out date. To me, that looked like a lot of money we’d spent over the years simply going out the door. I felt a lot of pressure to sell as much of our stuff as I could to try to get back some of the money we’d shelled out.
About six weeks before we moved from a medium-sized home to a small home, we began really going through our stuff, knowing we’d have to get rid of most of it to fit into our new tiny home. We tried to keep track of things we wanted to keep vs. things we didn’t want to keep. That list changed drastically as we got closer and closer to the move date, and the requirements for making something “keep-worthy” became more and more stringent.
But, during that time, I began discovering ways we didn’t have to just watch all of that money go out the door, leaving us with nothing to show for it but sore backs. I found awesome websites and apps where I could sell not only furniture, but home decor, books, movies, and clothes. And, with a little patience for the learning curve, it became easy.
So, without further ado, here are a few resources you absolutely should try if you’re downsizing.
One of the first things you should focus on getting rid of when you downsize is your furniture. It’s the bulkiest, most expensive (meaning it sells more slowly), and it’s the hardest to move. And while that may mean you have to sleep on a blow-up mattress and sit on the floor for a few days, it also means you’ll be more likely to get more cash for your efforts.
- OfferUp: This app allows you to post almost anything (basically, anything legal that you don’t need a permit to buy), as long as you include a picture of it. The most popular way to sell furniture on OfferUp is to arrange a pickup by the buyer, in which she or he comes to your house, gives you cash, and leaves with your couch or your weedwacker or whathaveyou. You can set your own price and talk to potential buyers before arranging a pickup so you can get a feel for whether they’re serious or not without ever having to leave the app. The interface is easy to use for posting and, more importantly, easy to use for shoppers. During the time that you’re focused on selling, I recommend allowing push notifications for this app so you can respond to potential buyers right away. (People are more likely to buy if you respond to them quickly.) OfferUp is more shopper-focused than LetGo in that your welcome screen is of listings from other people and just as much screen time is given to the buyer platform as is given to the seller platform. Additionally, OfferUp allows you to sell stuff that you are going to mail to your customers. (More on this later.)
- LetGo: LetGo is similar to OfferUp in that you can post easily and sell quickly. Your buyers are exclusively local (you arrange a pickup). You can also shop and list on their website instead of just using the app. I personally view as a positive feature, especially when you are selling furniture and/or tools or lawn equipment. When you’re using the app, the pictures are small and harder to see. On the laptop/desktop, the screen is a little more spread out and comfortable. LetGo, as opposed to OfferUp, is more seller-centric in that you are prompted more often to sell and the interface is designed to make selling options more prominent. In addition, LetGo is geared toward selling larger household items and doesn’t have specific categories for much outside of appliances and electronics.
- Craigslist: Okay, so using Craigslist to sell your stuff seemed like an obvious option to me, so I almost didn’t include it here because I didn’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence. But some anecdotal research made me realize that Craigslist has a bad reputation because of, well… creeps. So, I’ll just say that most of my experiences with Craigslist have been positive and profitable. That said, it’s important to focus on safety, even if it means losing a sale. It’s always best to use any of these apps if you have someone else around (a significant other, a friend, a roommie, a neighbor) when you arrange the pickups. And, if you can’t arrange for that, either try to meet the person at a well-populated, public place or at least bring the item outside on your own. This goes for selling in person on any of these apps! But, don’t dismiss Craigslist because it’s a huge marketplace and many people are more comfortable using that than they are apps or other newer platforms.
- Facebook marketplace: Disclaimer: I have not used Facebook marketplace as a seller, but we did use it to buy our IKEA couch for our couch cove in our RV (which we ironically bought from a girl who was selling everything and switching to van-life). As a buyer, I found it a little confusing at first because I thought I was only going to see the stuff my existing network wanted to sell. Instead, I saw things from all Facebook users in the area. I saw their profile pictures and location, but nothing else. Other than having a social profile associated with it, it is very similar to Craigslist. So, I wanted to include it on this list because I wish I had tried it and I think it works really well for a lot of people.
Small Household Items: Decor, Kitchen Supplies, Books, DVDs, Dishes, etc.
This category can be a little more catch-all. For us, it included small wall decor items that weighed less than five pounds, kitchen stuff, books, DVDs, dishes, and other decor. You can send items that weigh more than five pounds in the mail, but it’s hard to sell it quickly because you have to charge more in order to accommodate for shipping. So, here’s a little bit more about how these websites and apps can help you sell your stuff online.
- Mercari: This has been one of my favorite apps since I first began using it. It gives sellers a lot of freedom and, while its user interface isn’t perfect, it does have a lot of options. To use it, you list an item with pictures and details, then choose a shipping amount. When someone buys something, they pay through Mercari and you ship it to them. Once they get it and accept it, Mercari subtracts a fee (currently 10%) and you get paid through the app. Because there are multiple shipping options, you can choose the one that you think will make you the most money.
- eBay: I’ve had the best luck selling small, used electronics (like laptops) on eBay. Every electronic item I’ve listed has sold, and I’ve just started selling clothes on eBay as well. Selling on eBay can be a little more time-consuming than using simple apps like Mercari, but your audience is massive. Your pool of potential buyers on eBay is huge and hungry, whereas people seem to shop a little more casually on Mercari.
- OfferUp: As I stated above, OfferUp is a great app. It also allows you to ship items and use their platform as a seller. I recently learned about this option, so I honestly don’t have much to say about it, but I wanted to share it with you as an option.
Selling clothes was so surprisingly fun and easy, I decided to make a side hustle out of it. I have sold all of the sellable clothes I had from when we were downsizing the first time, but ended up buying more just so I could resell them… not sure if that counts as downsizing.
- Swap.com: Full disclosure: using Swap is not my favorite way to sell clothes, but it is my favorite way to pass along clothes quickly. I’ve put it first on the list because, when you’re downsizing, Swap is your girl. Swap will literally sell your clothes for you. All you have to do is request a bag or find a big one of your own, pick out what clothes you want to sell, then send it in with their pre-paid label. They deduct the amount of the prepaid label from your profits, but you can still make pretty decent money. I sent in a bag of popular, but not high-end brands (Old Navy, Danskin, Mossimo, etc.) and I made $58 after the shipping cost was taken out. And, the items they did not list for sale, they donated (which is what I was going to do anyway.)
- ThredUP: ThredUp is similar in design to Swap, but with better marketing. They also take better pictures and it seems to me like they charge more for more items. When I used them, I had a pretty crappy experience and didn’t make much money at all. However, they were my first experience with online consignment and I learned a lot from the things they did that I didn’t like. In addition, I ordered something from them and it turned out to have a factory defect so I had to return it. They seemed to have straightened out some since then, and I intend to try them again soon. That said, when Swap has a huge delay (which they usually do), ThredUP is a much quicker choice for getting your money.
- Poshmark: Poshmark is set up like a mix between a social media platform and a game. You can follow people, share listings, and talk to other users with the platform. They used to only be an app, but they added the listing capability to the website, which has made multi-platform listing much easier. But, I digress. Poshmark is a DIY consignment shop app/website that gives you access to a pretty big audience and lots of tips and tricks. However, their selling fees are a little high (20% of sales of $15 or higher, and a flat rate of $2.95 for sales under $15), and they charge $6.95 flat rate shipping that the buyer pays. In other words, if you sell a top for $5, you make $2.05 even though the buyer pays $11.95).
- Mercari: On Mercari, you can sell that same top for $12 and you’ll make around $6 after shipping. However, Mercari is a little harder to sell on because it doesn’t have the social component or as many users.
- Vinted: Vinted is similar to Mercari in that it is simply a listing platform and does not have a social component. Vinted’s pricing structure, however, is completely different. They don’t charge the seller any fees. Instead, the buyer pays a processing fee and the shipping fee. Sellers get exactly what is paid for the item. As a seller, that is nice because it makes it easier to decide the price. However, their platform is difficult and sales are slower. I enjoyed using Vinted for a while, but eventually gave up. That said, I had the most fun shopping on Vinted. I think it attracts a little bit of a different group since they are a French company.
- Tradesy: Tradesy was the first consignment site I used. They’re one of the older consignment sites that has been around for a while. They are geared toward higher-end items, but they edit your cover photo for you and delete the background. However, customers will generally pay more for an item on Tradesy than they will on other sites. You can also choose the shipping option with which Tradesy will send you a branded box, making your item look more official.
- eBay: Selling clothes on eBay can be time-consuming, but as I stated above, the eBay market is the largest of them all. The seller fees end up being lower for clothing sales (about 13%), but listing isn’t nearly as quick as it is on Mercari, Poshmark, and even Vinted. If you have a lot of clothes, eBay may quickly wear you out.
I wish you luck on your downsizing journey!