Cash for Clutter: How to Make Money Selling Your Stuff Online

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Want to make a little fun money while spring cleaning? Here’s everything you need to know about how to sell things online successfully.

You have too many things in your house. It’s nothing personal. Everyone has a houseful of things they don’t need.  

Don’t feel bad about that. According to at least one survey, some 48 percent of respondents said their house is full of items they didn’t need or use. Some even admitted to not being able to enjoy rooms in their home because of clutter. 

Furthermore, Americans have roughly 300,000 items in their homes (ranging from forks to couches). Even though the U.S. only accounts for about 3.1 percent of all children in the world, Americans buy more children’s toys than any other country. 

But clutter is an opportunity disguised as a problem if you how to sell things online. It’s also our No. 1 way to help get you savings started.

Get ready for a crash course on how to turn that stuff you don’t need into cash. 

Location, Location, Location — Lesson No. 1 on How to Sell Things Online

It helps to think of the internet as an enormous, accessible, and easily-traveled world.

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Because the internet is expansive, it can still be hard to figure out where you’re going. That’ what makes the location on the internet so important. 

Here are a few things to know about online sales platforms:

  • People are there to buy things
  • People are looking for a deal
  • Each person has their own rules when buying something
  • Most shoppers prefer to buy local 

Now, let’s talk about those locations. 

Online classified popped up almost immediately once personal computers and internet access. In 1995, Craigslist got started giving people access to one of the first major online marketplaces. 

The site hasn’t changed much since then and is now one of the most visited sites on the web. 

Because of its age, Craigslist has an older user base that expects better deals than users of other platforms. One of the more popular sections of the various city-focused sites is the free section. 

Facebook might end up taking over the world one day. In 2016, it launched Facebook Market place to keep you from leaving to buy and sell things secondhand. The traffic and use of Facebook Marketplace is unclear, but a few inferences can give a pretty good idea of its scale. 

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Facebook has 1.56 billion daily active users and 2.5 billion monthly active users, according to the company’s latest public financial statements. Its PR team asserts that 1 in 3 users have used Facebook Marketplace to buy or sell stuff. 

Mobile apps galore have popped up in the last few years. LetGo has used TV ads galore to drive around 75 million downloads for its app. 

Lesson No. 2: Pick One or Pick’em All

Think long and hard about how you would like the sale flow to work to get the right site for you. Nearly all the online marketplace sites and apps are great to use on mobile devices. Craigslist is the odd site out and does not have its own mobile application. 

To make the most out of what you have, try posting on several sites. It gives you more potential buyers to sell to. After some success and some struggles, you will have an idea on which sites lead to which sales. This will help you know which to focus on and which to drop. 

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Lesson No. 3: Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good

Make your stuff look the best that it can without deceiving people about its utility. 

The first thing you need to do is clean your stuff. Make sure it doesn’t look like it belongs in the trash. 

Next, make sure that your stuff works the way it should. If the item doesn’t work and you can’t fix it, let the buyer know when listing the item.  

Make sure not to spend any more than you can recover through a sale when you fix something. It makes no sense to spend $10 fixing something that’s going to sell for $5.

Follow the example of professional advertisers and take high-quality, engaging photos. With most applications, you can just snap and post. Take a minute to make sure everything is clear and bright. Use a dedicated camera if your cell phone doesn’t take good photos. Bad photos will kill your ad’s success. 

Write a simple and honest product description. Providing more detail will attract customers. 

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Lesson No. 4: Delivery Day

Figure out if you want to sell your item locally or if you’re willing to ship it. 

Sometimes this is not an issue with items like furniture. Unless a buyer is willing to give top dollar for you to deliver, it might unavoidable to have people come pick stuff up from you. Some buyers don’t want to travel, so if you need buyers to pick up the item it could take longer to sell it.  

Factor in if shipping an item is worth it to you based on pricing, or if you think people would pay extra to have an item sent to them through a courier service or the U.S. Postal Service. 

To make the most money, it helps to narrow the focus down to areas you can easily drive to. That means no shipping fees and, often, cash in hand immediately. 

Lesson No. 5: The Price Is… Right?

Turn on your FB stalker mode and look at everyone that’s selling similar items. Looking at other ads will give you an idea on what people are willing to pay. 

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Always start with what looks like the average and then ask yourself two questions: do I want to sell this quickly and move on, or do I want to spend some time on this and get the most cash I can? For the former, start at or just below what’s average. For the latter, price your item higher than average and slowly work your way down with reposts of the same item until it sells. 

Remember, you only need to convince one person that your item is worth the price you list to make a sale. 

Rise Up and Own It!

Decluttering your space is a great first step in bringing more order into your life. Even if you think you have it all together, getting value out of things you don’t use anymore is enriching in more ways than one. Now that you know how to sell things online, you can make extra money and free up space in your home. 

Find us on social media to keep up with other helpful tidbits, like these five easy tips for Millennials and their retirements. 

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