How to sell your stuff

mum at work on laptop in coffee shop

mum at work on laptop in coffee shopFrom the kids’ long-forgotten toys to your old clothes and furniture, selling your old items can often feel like just another item on the to-do list, but when you can make money – why put it off? Find out how to get the most for your efforts…


How to sell online

If you’re short on time and want to sell items from the comfort of your own sofa then get online.

There’s no bigger shop window than eBay. Before you start selling you will need to create an eBay account and a PayPal account so buyers can pay you swiftly. Remember that when selling items on this or any other auction site, you pay a ‘seller’s fee’ – but more often than not it’s worth it.

Also try Gumtree, which allows users to post free classified adverts. The website is split into regions – and can be a handy tool if you’re selling a large item and you want to get rid of it quickly!

To increase your profits when selling online…

  • Include a few good-quality pictures of your items, showing them in their best light, to enhance eBay listings.
  • If using eBay, begin the auction at the lowest amount you’re willing to accept. Often more people are likely to bid on items if they think there’s a chance they will get it on the cheap – and then hopefully there will be a bidding war.
  • Give as much information as possible – people want to know what they’re getting. Likewise list any wear and tear on your gear – you don’t want to sell an item only to find the buyer wants a refund.
  • Consider what people will be typing into the website search bar when looking for an item like yours. For example, if selling the kids’ now unwanted Sleeping Beauty DVD then make sure you include words such as ‘Disney’ in the title of your auction.
  • If you are using a timed auction to sell, make sure your selling period goes across a weekend to get the most bidders, and time your auction to finish in the evening.
  • Bundle low-quality items together so buyers think they are getting good value – one worn size 12 top is not as attractive as 10 of them!
  • Widen your market and be prepared to sell to overseas buyers.

Selling locally

Contact local newspapers or classified ad publications. While there’s sometimes a cost involved, you will attract enthusiasts willing to pay that little bit more – and you can filter offers to accept the best deal.

If you’ve got a lot of items which you would like to sell quickly, then car boot sales / nearly new sales can be very effective. With the items right in front of them, browsers can quickly turn to buyers – but they do expect a bargain so be prepared to lower your prices.

To increase your profits when selling locally…

  • Be realistic – Don’t think about what you paid for something, but what you can get for it. You may want £500 for your old telly, but is that likely? Look around at what other people are charging for similar products.
  • Sell at the right time. It’s no good selling winter coats in April – keep it until September and try again.
  • Display the items on your stall clearly so passers-by (and potential customers) can see what’s on offer.
  • Keep pricing simple and at rounded numbers, and bundle items together to give customers better value.
  • Have special offers – if you make a bold sign offering ‘buy two toys, get one free’, you will be far more likely to sell your unwanted items and, more importantly, your stall will stand out from the rest.
  • If items aren’t selling, be prepared to lower your prices or declare ‘any offers welcome’. Remember something is better than nothing!