In case you didn’t know, I am a HUGE advocate for selling the stuff inside your home that you don’t need and putting that cash toward debt of other financial goals.
Americans have more stuff than we could possible need. I read a statistic recently that said that we buy 30% of the world's stuff. If you need some cash fast, selling your things online or on Facebook Marketplace or in a yard sale will help you make money in a few days.
But I've heard from a lot of you that your stuff just doesn't move like you want it to. So I'm going to help you troubleshoot that situation.
1. Make sure you're actually charging a fair price for your stuff.
Unless that item is highly collectible and really sought after, you're not going to make as much as you spent on that item. Sixty-five percent is a good place to start. So charge 65% of what you paid for that item.
2. Look at where you want to sell and see what similar items have sold for.
Look on eBay's complete listing (that means an item that sold) and see what that person got for it and what kind of condition it was in.
Look on Mercari or Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace and see what items are actually moving for.
Also, your area is going to depend on that. I might be able to sell something higher in my area than you are in yours.
I know that sometimes baby gear can fluctuate in price. Bicycles. That sort of thing. So you really need to keep that in mind.
3. Make sure you're taking good photographs of it.
If you are taking a photo of something in the back of your garage that's poorly lit and it's dirty, you're not going to sell it. Take the stuff outside. Wipe it down; clean it up. Take a picture of it in natural light.
If you have clothing items, lie them flat on the floor or hang them in front of a white background. Take a picture of them. Take it from different angles.
Photograph the defects. Photograph the unique things about that item.
Don't just lay them on the floor and take a picture where I can see your feet (that's gross; I'm not going to buy it). Put some effort into your photographs.
You don't have to have a fancy camera. You can just use your phone. But put forth the effort to make it look nice.
Now that doesn't mean to hide flaws. You need to always be honest and not be shady. But make your items look good. So make sure it's in good condition. You're not going to get top dollar for items that are damaged, scratched, broken and dirty.
4. Know where to sell it.
I have found — after years of selling — that not every place is equal.
For example, you used to be able to move clothing and handbags on eBay, but that's just not the case anymore. And eBay has gotten harder to use. Their app is kind of clunky, outdated and it's not user-friendly. I would use eBay for rare and hard-to-find items like toys, books and records, or technology. You can sell your broken cell phone or laptop on there.
I would use Poshmark and Mercari for selling clothing — Poshmark for higher-end items and Mercari for everyday (like Old Navy, Target, those sort of things). A tip on Poshmark: You can actually bundle items. If you see someone that's selling, like, three dresses from Nordstrom, you can ask them to bundle those items and maybe give you a little bit of a discount. I personally do that on mine — if you ever want to buy something from me, make me an offer.
Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are the go-to (in my opinion) for selling larger items and furniture, that sort of thing. Because you don't want to pay to ship that across the country. You can move a nice piece of furniture on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
You can also sell stuff via Amazon. If you have games, gaming system, DVDs, books, that sort of thing, you can actually ship them to Amazon's warehouse and they will take care of the shipping for you. And the payment is really easy because it is through Amazon.
5. Focus on your descriptions.
Put as much detail in there as possible — what the item is, what it is made out of, where it was made, what condition it's in, was your house pet-free and smoke-free.
You want clear and concise writing. You want lots of questions answered before they are ever asked — so lots of details in there.
You want it free from grammatical and spelling errors. You want to come across as professional, like you know what you're doing.
I got a comment recently that said that the person got annoyed because so many people were asking questions about what they were selling. One, that is part of the deal. That is part of it. You are selling something, so you are in the customer service business whether you like it or not. And, two, that may be a sign that your description is kind of crappy and you need to rewrite it.
6. You need eyeballs in front of your listings.
If you are selling on Craigslist, make sure to post a link to all your other listings. Make sure that you go in and edit it periodically so people can see it.
Same thing with Facebook Marketplace. Edit your posts frequently so it gets bumped back up.
7. Make sure to be smart.
If you are selling physical items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, make sure that you meet in a public location, like a police department or library parking lot. Be safe about what you do. If it feels like a scam, it probably is one.