Selling Online: Your Trash, Someone Else’s Treasure

Don’t underestimate the value of your unwanted items.  While donating is always a good idea, consider selling online.  If you are still feeling charitable, you can always donate part or all of the proceeds.

I have had success using a variety of methods, bringing in hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars by selling online.  With any item, presentation is everything, so a little preparation goes a long way:

  • Clean it, polish it, and try to mend any fixable problems.
  • Display the item in the best way possible.  If you are selling a good amount of clothes, buy a mannequin or partial mannequin.  If you have jewelry, use a good light box or black velvet.
  • Quality and quantity both count, so take many, great well-lit photos in order to make the most money.  iPhones work well so there’s really no need to get another camera.
  • Create an attention grabbing headline with the right amount of detail.  Look at other listings to see what stands out.
  • Research the original marketing text of the item if possible and rephrase it when creating a description.
  • Include accurate measurements.
  • Be sure to describe and show pictures of any flaws right up front.  Buyers will appreciate your honesty and will better understand your pricing.

Selling Online at The RealReal

The RealReal is a great app if you have designer fashion for sale.  Their shoppers are looking for the best names in clothing, purses, shoes, and jewelry for both men and women.  RealReal makes the buying process fun, which equates to higher sales for you.  Be sure to have the best quality photos, including the serial number available, on most luxury items.  To sign up for free and get $25 off your first purchase click here.

Selling Online at Tradesy and Poshmark

Tradesy works well for selling most fashion online.  There are some luxury brands (which do sell quickly) but if you don’t have the most expensive name brands, it’s okay.  Just remember include great photos, descriptions, and measurements and be honest about any flaws.  To sign up for free and get $20 off your first purchase of $50 or more click here.

Poshmark has a similar format.  Check out both and see which one feels more comfortable.  Click here to access Poshmark and use the code “bethsbuys” to get $5 off.

Selling Online at eBay

eBay is the king of online selling for a few reasons.  Your items will be seen by a worldwide audience, and it is very easy to set up an account and sell. One drawback is that there is an insertion fee as well as a selling fee based on a fraction of the actual selling price.  Click here for more info.

Here’s the process:

  • Research:  Spend time researching the actual selling value of your item looking at similar ones on eBay and other resale sites.  Make notes about the description.
  • Shipping:  The main mistake most beginners make is not factoring in shipping costs.  Either mark up the price and include free shipping (buyers love free shipping), or find out exactly what the shipping cost is and add it to your listing.  Unless you are experienced with overseas shipping, you can eliminate buyers from those areas.
  • Auction vs. Buy It Now:  In my opinion Auctions do better unless you are comfortable listing at a very low price.  Start out low to peak interest, and set a reserve price that you can live with.  Even when selling in an Auction I like to list a Buy It Now price that is slightly higher than the actual item’s value.  That way, bidders think they are getting a deal when the actual buying price is lower than the Buy It Now price.  Everyone wins.
  • Pay attention to payment options and how quickly you need to ship an item and adjust accordingly.

While eBay is great for smaller, shippable items, you can sell larger items that need to be picked up locally; however, there are other sites with lower fees for these types of sale items.

Selling Online at Craigslist

Craigslist gets a bad rep because there are scammers and potential safety issues.  Take these into consideration if you decide to use it.  Craigslist offers a blind email address for you, and you don’t have to provide a phone number.  I have used Craigslist successfully for almost 10 years without incident using basic common sense methods, but it’s up to you.

Communication:  The nicer your item is, the more you will get scammers attempting to get information from you.   I always state that items must be purchased in cash, in person, and that scammers will not be tolerated right on my listing.  You will still get attempts from people to give them your phone number or tell you that they are not in town but still want the item.  Anyone who will not pay in cash and in person is most likely a scammer.  Just ignore these emails and don’t engage with them.  Click here for more info from the Craigslist site itself.

Viewing and Selling:  If your item is portable, meeting in a public parking lot is usually best.  Buyers also appreciate this.  If it is a large item, plan to have at least one other person with you and place the item outside or in the garage if possible.  Requests to view are not uncommon, but I never had anyone not buy something once they saw the item.  Use your best judgement on accepting deposits or holding an item until the cash is in hand. Be clear about not accepting personal or cashier checks right up front.

Selling Online at LetGo

LetGo is an app-based online selling tool very similar to Craigslist, so the same rules apply.  Letgo is a little newer and appeals to a younger crowd, so decide on your customer accordingly.

Selling Online at FaceBook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace offers a slightly friendlier venue for selling items because you can click on the potential buyer’s Facebook page.  Not everyone is honest, however, so like with all selling venue, be careful and use common sense when engaging with a buyer.

Amazon – Click here for more info on selling through Amazon.

RealReal  Tradesy


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