Smart ways to sell your unwanted items

When Mary Potter Kenyon, then 58, was offered a job an hour away from her home in Manchester, Iowa, she knew it was time to reduce her size. Her husband had passed away, only one of her eight children lived with her and she did not like the idea of ​​traveling two hours a day. It was time to move on. He found a two-bedroom house near his new job and put his four-bedroom house up for sale. Then she began the ordination process.

For the next two months, Potter Kenyon sold his furniture and other items on the Facebook Marketplace, made two garden sales, and sold items through grocery stores. When he finished, not only did he have far fewer items to move into his new home, but he also earned more than $ 2,000.

After this experience, Potter Kenyon was inspired to write a book, “Called to Be Creative,” as getting rid of her clutter helped her feel more creative.

Images and descriptions matter

So how can you make money and mess up at the same time? Experts share their tips for selling used items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

“The funny thing about reselling online is that you never know what will interest people. Once you sell a mop,” says Alex Davis, co-creator of a lifestyle blog, “Ryan and Alex Duo Life.”

The saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but people do judge a book by its cover. The same theory applies to the image you use to sell your article; it is important that you take a good one. If the shot is blurry, has a lot of clutter in the bottom, or is not taken at a good angle, then people will go straight ahead and move on to the next item.

Much of the sales process depends on trust, so it is important to be honest in describing any known defects or problems in the article. This will also save you time and buyer time in relation to a possible sale.

Price articles correctly

List everything you can, such as brand, year of purchase, and size or dimensions. You can search for the item on a website like Amazon or Target and use some of the same descriptors they are using. Keywords are important when someone searches for the item, so use words that will appear in a search.

Of course, the price of the item is important, says Andrea Woroch, a nationally recognized family finance expert.

So how do you find the right price? You can search the site where you are going to sell and see the price of similar items. Another good rule of thumb is to put the price of the item at half the price you paid for it when you were new.

Be willing to negotiate

Most people who buy used items are looking for a deal. One way to feel that they have reached an agreement is if they can pay less than the price indicated. With that in mind, you may want to list your price a little higher than what you really want to sell the item for. If you do not want to trade, you can list the item as a firm price.

“Explain in the description if you are firm in price or open to negotiations so as not to waste the time or time of the buyer,” says Woroch.

Items that sell well and those that don’t

Items that sell well may vary by location, but in general, smaller furniture in good condition, such as a table or side table, sells well. Popular electronics and video games can also sell well, along with the home repair tools everyone needs, such as hammers or wrenches.

“Things that can be sold out in stores sell well. During the pandemic, bicycles and camping gear could not be used. That would be a good time to sell these items as everyone was looking to buy and pay for more.” of Woroch.

Clothes can be difficult to sell. “Selling clothes often works best in a garage sale. Or, if you want to sell items online, make it a ‘grab bag’ where someone can grab a whole bag of medium-sized clothes or size 6 shoes. “They have to carry the whole bag, but you get a big discount,” says Davis.

Sell ​​items safely and in frustrating situations

In general, most people who buy used items are honest and just want to buy the item. But there are some people who can cause trouble, be dishonest, or be criminal.

You can find the person in a crowded place, such as a store parking lot with video cameras, to prevent strangers from coming into your home. If you have a negative experience, please report it to the site where you sold your article. And if you experience a criminal interaction, report it to your local police department.

Selling your used items is a great way to make money and get rid of unwanted items at the same time. But there are frustrations that come along with the process. Sometimes people will not show up on time to buy the item. Others will ask many questions, request additional images, and then not purchase the item.

If someone asks you to have the article, you should only do so if they are willing to pay for the article in advance. One way to do this is through PayPal or Venmo. You can also offer this as an option and then leave the item in an agreed place so that you do not have to be at home or interact with the person to make the sale.

“If you can, organize the collection of contactless items. If you have a porch or back garden, use it and ask buyers to put the money under the doormat. Over the years, my husband and I have sold hundreds of items. It keeps things simple, and we’ve never had anyone pay us, “says Davis.

If your items are not sold, donate them

So what do you do with unsold items? You can try listing them “for free” on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You’d be surprised what people are willing to take if it’s free – from a broken grill to a wooden pallet.

You can also donate your items to charities and they will often come to your home to collect them.

This article originally appeared on

Some charities that accept used items:

Vietnam veterans of America

Brother / Big Sister Foundation, Inc.

The International Salvation Army

Habitat for International Humanity

Good will

You can also list your free articles on these sites:

Next door

Offer arrives

Buy nothing

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