Spring cleaning has come and gone so it's time to fully clear out some space and sell as much of your junk as you can to get some well-deserved money. Maybe you spent a weekend cleaning out your garage or basement or have been organising and downsizing your closet. Perhaps you want to sell old pieces of furniture or jewellery you have no want or use for anymore. Or maybe you want to get rid of an old car because you are about to upgrade your ride. Whatever the reason, and whatever the items are, they can be sold, and you can make a bit of coin.
Don't let your possessions sit and collect dust in storage somewhere - make some money!
Sure, there are quick and easy ways to sell your stuff and make a quick bit of cash. You could just hop online and sell to the fastest responder, or take advantage of apps and services that buy your items in bulk for cheap and then resell them at a profit, but why would you sell yourself (and your belongings) short? There are plenty of ways to easily sell your stuff yourself, and maximise the value of it as well.
Here are some tips on how to help you get the most out of your junk when it comes time to sell.
Refresh what you can
Have you ever gone through and cleaned out your junk closet, garage, or basement and found items that made you think, 'if only this were in better shape I could get a lot more for it'? Sometimes a little bit of DIY can make a huge difference in value.
It could be that all the item in question needs is a bit of cleaning up. Steam clean furniture like couches, rugs, and ottomans before listing them, and wash any old clothes, towels, or sheets to freshen them up. You could polish old silverware and jewellery to give it that looks-like-new appeal. If you wanted you could even go as far as fixing-up broken items or pieces of furniture to give them a second chance (and reduce the amount of waste you create when cleaning through your junk).
Generally, the less work people have to do to get full use out of the item they're buying, the more they are willing to pay for it. Think about it this way - would you buy an old, beat-up piece of furniture with the paint peeling off for cheap and spend a week or two fixing it up by sanding it, stripping the paint, fixing chips, and repainting it? Or would you rather spend a bit more money upfront to buy something that's already in good enough condition to start using right away? Unless you're particularly into DIY, you probably want to save the hassle and spend the extra bit of money.
That being said, if you are into DIY and you want to fix up your old junk and give it new life so it can fetch a higher market value, here are a few ways to do that:
- Reupholster or recover old cushions, love seats, or sofas
- Add lace to hide scratched or worn-out sofa corners
- Repurpose old clothes into tote bags
- Turn old branded or band t-shirts into throw pillows
- Repaint or re-stain old wooden furniture (but careful not to ruin precious antiques!)
- Repair broken frames or other furniture
The extra bit of effort could pay off in the long run when you realise how much you have upped the value of what you thought was junk. Just don't get tempted to keep it if you're trying to downsize or clear out space - think of the profit!
Find out how much it's worth
There are a few ways to find out how much your items are worth. Check other listings on your selling platform of choice to see what people have sold their similar items for. You can check on eBay to see which auctions recently sold at what price and base yours off theirs, and search in Facebook groups for the item or items you have for sale to see what other people paid for them.
For the more valuable or bigger ticket items for sale, it's better to get them professionally appraised. Items like antique furniture, art, electronics and technical equipment, musical instruments, jewellery and watches, and vehicles fall into this category. Also, keep an eye out for anything that could be considered a collectable item. For some of your items, this process can be done online, but for the most part, you probably will want to do it in person to help make sure your belongings get appraised accurately and will get the right valuation.
When possible, compare multiple sources so you can have peace of mind that you are getting proper appraisal values. Sometimes someone will try and value your item lower than what they actually are worth in an attempt to get you to sell it to them so they can resell it for greater profit. Doing a bit of homework and comparing against more than one source is a good way to avoid this situation.
Determine its condition
Especially when it comes to furniture and electronics, the better condition they are in, the more they will sell for. To reiterate one of the above points, that's why it's a good idea to fix up anything a bit, if possible. For electronics, it might be trickier to bring new life yourself unless you're technologically savvy and know how to repair and upgrade gadgets, but there are places that will advise you on ways to breathe second wind into that old laptop you were going to sell for scrap. It could be worth the upgrades if the added value pays for the repairs, so keep this in mind.
Take good photos
Photos will make or break your listing. Poor quality photos deter people because they could make your items look like they're in worse condition than they actually are, or could even make it harder to see what it is you're actually selling. Skip the blurry photos from your phone you took quickly, and organise everything in an eye-pleasing way. Use good lighting, plain backgrounds, and a good quality camera. Don't underestimate how important these photos are. After all, they are the first look at your items people will get, and you want to make a good impression.
Decide where to sell
Choosing where to sell your junk is an important step. There are so many web or app-based platforms to choose from, how do you know where to start? Well, if you're trying to maximise the value for your stuff, pick one that is free to use and widely accessible. Plus, picking more popular platforms with mobile apps is more convenient, as you can download the apps directly to your phone and converse with potential buyers all in one place.
As a side note and a pro tip, no matter what platform or method you use to sell your belongings, make sure everything in your advertisements is spelled correctly. Spelling and grammar mistakes on website postings and physical posters can deter people or make it seem confusing or unclear, so don't forget to proofread before hitting that submit button.
eBay is one of the most popular buying and selling platforms on the planet. It's easy to use and to get started right away, but there is an easy tip to maximising the number of people who will see your listings, therefore, upping the chance at selling for a higher value. Optimise your auctions by having them end at a time when most people are online and browsing the website because this is when the top listings are the auctions that are about to end. It's an easy hack to getting a top spot without having to pay a fee. A good time to have your auctions end is between 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm.
There are ways to maximise the eyeballs on your Gumtree listings as well, and without spending money to boost them to the top. Carefully consider how you craft your post - the photo and messaging really counts here, so be clear and concise. Edit and repost your listing often, so it stays at the top of the listings without having to pay a fee. Also, selling in a denser neighbourhood can help drive the worth of your item for sale, if you have the ability to travel to meet someone in a different area. Selling in richer neighbourhoods might fetch your belongings a higher price as well, depending on the need for the item you're trying to sell.
Facebook Marketplace and Groups
Facebook has become a great tool for selling items locally, and it is so easy to use. The Marketplace section on the Facebook app is an equivalent to Gumtree, complete with search functions and other helpful selling features. Simply create a new post, fill out the details of the item for sale, add a location, add some photos and you are good to go. There aren't any fees involved, but you do have to make sure to avoid scammers, so make sure to always meet the person buying from you in a public place and exchange payment at the same time as you give them what they bought.
Facebook Groups are another way to utilise the platform for buy-and-sell purposes. Searching for a local community page, probably including the words 'buy and sell' in the title, will connect you to a group of people in your area who could want what you're selling. You could even find more niche groups, like parent groups for kids stuff, or hobbyists for collectables. Again, no fees involved here, but be diligent about people trying to rip you off.
One downside to using Gumtree and both Facebook selling platforms is most of the time people will try to lowball you. You know what your stuff is worth (you just spent all that time fixing up and appraising all your belongings), so don't cave in to pressure from people underestimating the value of it or give in to those who are trying to rip you off.
One tip to combating people like this is to put the price slightly higher than what you would think, and when people try to lowball you, you can come back with a lower price - but still not lower than what you were planning on selling it for in the first place. This might not always work, but it's always worth a shot.
Car boot sales
Everyone knows the expression 'one man's trash is another man's treasure.' This might be the avenue that involves the most amount of pre-planning and work, but it most likely will pay off for you. Car boot sales are effective ways to sell your items because they are organised community events where the public comes with the intent on purchasing. Whether they are there as professional traders, collectors, vendors looking for items to stock in their own boot sales, or simply people buying used goods in an effort to save cash or reduce waste, there is a captive market of people at car boot sales.
Also, selling your junk at a car boot might cost a bit of money to secure your spot, but if you are not selling literal junk, you are almost guaranteed to have success. Some boot sales don't require a fee to participate, so if you want to maximise every pound, do a bit of searching to find these ones rather than ones that will charge you.
While car boots typically happen in the summer months outdoors, there is a growing number of indoor car boot sales and year-round boot sales. Online boot sale websites have also started popping up if you can't make it to a physical location to sell your goods.
Skip the fees
Unfortunately, car boot sales aren't the only methods of selling that will charge you a fee, whether it's a participation fee, service fee, or transaction fee. If you're using eBay to sell your belongings, you know that PayPal is heavily integrated into their service. PayPal takes a small percentage of the transactions it processes, plus your money could be subject to seemingly random holdings. eBay users might be stuck with it, but if you're using PayPal to receive money from other sellers through different avenues, there are alternatives that are free. One example is Amazon Pay, and it is completely free. No transaction fees, no percentages held, nothing but you and all the money you deserve from your sale.
If you want to get the most amount of money for your items, sometimes you have to play the waiting game a bit longer than you would want to. Hold out against people trying to lowball you, and relist your postings if they don't sell the first time. If you're in no hurry to sell your old junk, why not wait until the right buyer comes along?
If you consider all of the above tips, tricks, and selling methods, you should have no problem selling your old junk for the most amount of money you can. In this day and age, selling old furnishings, clothes, and whatever else has been sitting in your basement or garage for ages has never been easier.