Your Old Stuff: How to Sell It Online

Last week, we asked an organization expert for tips on how how to declutter our homes. (Read that article here.)

This week, we’ll look at how to get rid of the stuff that you have finally convinced yourself you can live without. Unless your neighborhood still has store bulletin boards, your best bet is online.


Sell Locally on Craigslist 


Craigslist is a classified ads website with dozens of local sites that are searchable by neighborhood, and “for sale” sections for everything furniture to video games. Posting ads to Craigslist is free, the ads easy to create and they reach a huge audience. If you want to add photos to your ad, you’ll want to upload the photos to your computer hard drive first, or use photos stored on your iPad and

While there are some third-party Craigslist iPad apps, none of them are as easy to use as the website itself. The mobile version of the site makes posting ads with your iPad very simple.

Click here to read instructions for posting to Craigslist
Click here to watch a 1-minute how-to video on posting to Craigslist.
(You might have to sign up for a free account on Grovo to watch this video)

 Click here to visit Craigslist and here to go straight to Craigslist NYC


Auction It on eBay 


eBay is the granddaddy of online auction sites and can be well worth the effort if you have several relatively valuable items to sell. Learning how to use the site could take a little time, even though eBay walks you through the process.  Once you’ve made a sale, you’re responsible for properly packing and shipping items to buyers. And while your first 50 listings are free, eBay will keep a percentage of your takings.

On the plus side, eBay is a good resource for comparison price shopping. Look for items similar to yours to see how much they’re selling for, but remember that just because somebody lists a “treasure” for $1,000 doesn’t mean they’ll get it.

Along with auctions, eBay’s “Buy It Now” button allows you to flat-out sell a variety of goods.

If doing it yourself seems daunting, consider using an eBay service to sell your things. These services are offered by professionals who know how to photograph and ship things correctly, and stand by their work. The 20% to 30% fee they charge could prove worthwhile. To find an eBay service, Google “email consignment” and the name of your city.

Click here to read and watch how-tos on eBay

Click here to visit eBay


Sell Books and More on Amazon 


Amazon began as an online bookstore in 1995 and has grown into an international e-commerce store where people shop from the comfort of their homes for just about anything. Private sellers are welcome to sell items, new or used, through their individual selling plan, which does entail some fees.

As an Amazon seller, you need accurate descriptions and good photos, and you must communicate well with potential buyers. Just like on eBay, seeing what’s already listed there can help you price your items for sale.

Amazon’s free app has a scanner built right into it; scanning a book’s barcode gives you current on-the-spot sales details , including how many books (new and used) are for sale, the item’s  rating (i.e., 4 out of 5 stars), and other books by the same author. You can also list your items for sale right from the app.

Click here to visit Amazon


Give it Away on Freecycle 


Freecycle is a non-profit organization of hyperlocal “gifting groups” who communicate via email to recycle goods and keep them out of landfills.  According to my cousins, who are avid Freecyclers, you can get rid of almost anything there – old, new, working, not working, weird and ordinary items.

Listings here are free. Email blasts are sent daily and categorize items as Offered, Wanted, Taken or Received.

After some initial effort to sign up and learn the rules (you’ll get an email with everything you need to know) Freecycle is a wonderful resource. Sara Getzkin, Professional Organizer and President of Hands On! Organizing, got rid of an unusual homeopathic book set written in India belonging to her father. My cousins have disposed of worms, shoulder pads, fishing weights and out-of-date electronics. One person’s trash truly is another’s treasure.

After you post your unwanted stuff to Freecycle, you might need to be patient; some people say they want something and then back out. On the flip side, my cousins have met very nice people through their transactions. Just be sure not to clutter your home again with all the free stuff you’ll see in the Freecycle emails!

Click here to find a Freecycle group near you


Safety and Online Selling


When selling locally, use common sense regarding your personal security.  If you’re meeting a buyer face to face, bring a friend and/or meet in a busy, well-lit public place.  If you are selling a larger item and can’t travel, it’s best to arrange to meet buyers in your building lobby.

In some cases, you might only correspond with a buyer via email or text message before meeting in person, and you won’t really get a sense of who you are dealing with. Be extra cautious under these circumstances and also when selling high-value items.


Not Ready to Sell Online?


If you have good quality clothing or accessories that you want to sell locally, try Googling the name of your city plus consignment stores (eg: “NYC consignment stores”). These stores will sell your stuff and keep a sizeable cut; but in general, they command better prices than you can online.

What has your experience been selling on these sites? Are there other sites you like?

  • William

    You can also try to sell to your friends via your social network. There are a few apps out in the mobile apps world. (e.g. Carousell, offerUp, @CasualSell)

    I like CasualSell because you can use it as a classifieds sell or a professional online shop. Plus, it has an integrated payment system for me to easily get paid.

  • MShawcfp

    Nicely done Linda. In the end, we have way too much “stuff.” It’s only an asset when you want it. Otherwise, it’s a liability! Be sure you know what is in that storage unit…

  • carlar

    All great ideas! I’ve had good luck with both craigslist and eBay. Although I’ve had a lot of no shows with craigslist responders, it’s still a good way to get rid of stuff. I will look

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