Spring cleaning for cash: How to sell your unwanted stuff

Spring cleaning for cash: How to sell your unwanted stuff

Home organizing has become buzzworthy since Netflix debuted Tidying Up, with professional organizer Marie Kondo. But spring cleaning isn’t just trendy—and good for your emotional well-being. It’s good for your wallet, too. You can actually earn cash by selling your old stuff online. Here are some of my favorite platforms to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure.

Sell in person 

Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace

You can sell anything from records to recliners on these platforms. Just post a photograph and description of each item, set (or suggest) your price, and meet your customers to exchange funds for merchandise. The platforms vary in feel and functionality, so see which one appeals to you. Craigslist has been around the longest, and selling there is free for most categories. Listing and selling on Facebook Marketplace is free without exception, plus you get access to its throngs of local Facebook users without having to give out your email or cell phone information, which is required with CraigsList.

Sell and ship

eBay, Mercari

On eBay and Mercari, you can also sell almost anything. These platforms give you access to customers nationwide, and, in some cases, internationally. On eBay, one of the earliest online platforms for person-to-person selling, you can set your selling price or let users bid in an auction. The eBay fee structure is complicated, typically 10% or under and varying by category or type of sale. With Mercari, a Japanese startup making U.S. inroads, you name your price and pay a flat 10% fee for every item sold.

Sell specialty clothing

ThredUp and Poshmark

Both platforms accept women’s, men’s, and kids’ clothing as well as accessories. ThredUp accepts a wide range of brands and is user-friendly. Its traffic jumped 50% on the day Tidying Up premiered, and they’ve had a 55% increase over last year in requests for their postage-paid “cleanout bags,” which you pack with items you want to sell and send back. Make sure to review their list of acceptable items before sending. You can opt to be paid out on a consignment basis when your items sell, or receive an immediate payout, which is a bit lower. ThredUp will donate any items that they don’t accept. (Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading offer similar sell-by-mail services.) If you have mid- to high-end brands to sell, and you’re willing to photograph and post your items yourself, Poshmark is a good option. You earn a bit more, and the platform lets you interact with customers and sellers by listing items during themed online Posh Parties. Poshmark charges the seller $2.95 for each item priced under $15 and 20% for items over $15. Both sites offer some free shipping and/or returns, so they are good places to buy, too.

Tips for selling 

With the exception of ThredUp, all these sites make you responsible for photographing, pricing, and posting your items.

  • Photograph your items in good light, and take a few photos to show multiple angles.
  • Describe your items specifically and concisely.
  • To determine your price, look at comparable items that others are selling.

Build a good reputation on these platforms, and you are more likely to attract new and repeat customers down the road.

  • Reply quickly to inquiries.
  • Ship quickly once an item has sold.
  • Pack carefully and neatly for shipping.
  • Consider adding a personal touch like a note or a little goodie.

I hope you have great luck with your spring cleaning and selling. Leave me a comment to let me know how much you earned!

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