How to Sell Your Stuff: 10 Steps for Beginners

Collector's Community Selling Vintage

Are you cleaning out house, and want to turn all that "stuff" into cash?

If so, you're in the right place!

This article will discuss the entire process of selling your once loved goods and help you navigate the often tricky, and sometimes intimidating world of selling your "stuff"!

 Sell Your Stuff- 10 Steps for Beginners

Step 1. Get Organized

Determine what items you are selling.

Clean them up, and fix whatever is necessary.

Set them aside in an easy to access place. You will need to have them readily available for the next steps. 

Organized Books

If it's a lot of different things, set them aside in an organized manner. Example: Put all the clothes in one pile. Stack all the albums together. Put all the jewelry pieces together with their proper sets, separated by plastic baggies, etc. 

Step 2. Research the Details for Better Descriptions

Gather a pen and paper.

Get online and start with a simple Google search. 

Write down any relevant information about your items.

Make? Model? Serial numbers? Date of manufacture, publication, etc. 

This will vary from item to item, so dive deep to find what you are looking for.

BEWARE! There is a lot of spurious information out there.

It is best to find what you can on a high quality site, and then verify the information in an online forum such as our free Facebook Group, Attic Addicts- Vintage Designers and Collector's Community to further confirm your research.

Asking questions inside of our group may lead you to find more information about your rare item.

We also have a few Pinterest boards dedicated to historical information about your vintage wares that you can find here >>>

The purpose of this step is to gather as much information as possible to write great descriptions for your items!

Step 3: Research a Value

Now that you know everything you can about your items, it's time to educate yourself about what they're worth.

This step can be tricky, because truthfully, value is in the "eye of the beholder", as we discuss in our post How to Value Antiques and Collectibles for Resale.

Coins

However, there are resources like WorthPoint.com available to help you understand what comparable items sold for recently.

It may also be useful to get onto other big marketplace sites like eBay, Etsy, or Amazon and see what other sellers are asking. (Note: asking price does not always mean the item will actually sell for that much! This is why we prefer to see "sold for" prices on WorthPoint.com)

This is valuable information because it helps you "know your market" much better. 

Please read our article How to Value Antiques and Collectibles for Resale to learn more about this step, and remember that a value is ALWAYS just an estimate.

Step 4: Decide on a Platform

The platform you decide to use for selling your items will depend on the type of items you are listing. 

While large general online marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, or Amazon are great for a wide variety of goods, there are other ways to sell, that may be more suitable for your listing.

Take a look at this list below to better understand the most popular platforms, and how they can suit your specific needs. 

ebay

Most Popular Places to Sell Your Stuff Online and in Person

  • Local Consignment Shops or Pawn Shops- Great for high quality household items, baby/kid items, name brand clothing, some vintage goods/antiques, precious metals, tools, sporting goods, musical instruments, collectible goods, jewelry, and furniture. Each shop typically specializes in one of these things or more, so do a local Google search to find a phone number to call and ask what they may accept. They will either pay cash for your items or arrange a percentage split once the item has sold (aka consignment).
  • Yard Sales, Garage Sales, or Flea Markets- Anything goes at these types of sales, but this route is best for when your goal is to move things quickly, without much concern for high profit. You will get to negotiate prices with buyers, and may be able to recuperate some of the cost of your "stuff", but the goal here is to sell out and clear out - in a fast and furious manner! Best for when you have a wide variety of items to sell, and at least a days worth of time to dedicate to hosting the sale. 
  • Craigslist, Letgo, and Facebook Buy and Sell Groups- Anything can be sold on these sites, but they're great to consider for large items like furniture, or musical instruments that you'd prefer to sell locally, rather than ship. It is also a great way to sell items in bulk, like an entire season's worth of outgrown kids clothes for one set price. You will not incur any fees, although meeting with the buyers, or delivering the items will be your responsibility.
  • eBay, Etsy, and Amazon- Best for small, shippable items that are worth spending the extra time carefully listing, and are able to afford the cost of higher selling fees. A great place to offer rare, collectible, or antique items to an extremely large audience. These sites cater to professional and casual sellers. However, professional accounts FAR outperform new accounts that are only selling one or two items. I recommend these sites for professional or part-time sellers.
  • Poshmark- Wonderful for high end, luxury clothing and accessories.
  • Swappa- Specifically designed for selling electronics.
  • BookScouter- Great for selling college textbooks.

Step 5: Consider the Cost of Selling your Item

If you decide to list your items on a platform which requires shipping, you will need to weigh your items and consider shipping costs. This includes packaging and postage.

You can take your item to the post office to be weighed, and get a postage price, or use an inexpensive postage scale like this one. >>> Click here to view postal scale for sale on Amazon

There will be listing/processing fees on most marketplace sites, so consider these, too.

Wallet

To find out more about each marketplaces site fees, visit the site and view their terms and conditions, which can usually be found in the footer of their website. 

If you are going to be selling your items locally, you don't need to consider fees, or shipping costs, but you should take into account the efforts it will take to get your item from point A to Z.

It is up to you weather you will deliver an item to your buyer, have them pick it up, or meet somewhere in the middle. 

Driving may be required to get the item to your buyer so factor in the price of gas and mileage on your car. 

Step 6. Take Great Pictures (online sales only)

Nothing is more detrimental to the success of your sale, as a poor image in your listing.

They say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this could not be more true when selling an item online.

Although a well written description is essential, the potential buyers should be able to look at the photos and know exactly what they are being offered. 

Use good, natural lighting (preferably outside), with plain, simple backgrounds.

Camera

Eliminate the need for lots of questions from your potential buyers by photographing every angle/side of the item. Include important features such as labels, makers marks, publication dates, and other such details to give the buyer a full understanding of the product.

Nowadays, most smart phone cameras take good enough pictures to use. A simple digital camera will do the trick, as well. 

Strive for high resolution photos, with no blurs, or shadows.

Step 7: List Your Items for Sale

Now that you have decided what to sell, gotten an accurate understanding of the product descriptions, learned more about the fair market value of the item, decided where to sell, considered the cost of shipping and listing, and have taken great pictures, you are now ready to list your item for sale!

Whichever platform you decide to use is your choice, and each one will require a few different bits of information from you.

Typing

However, there is no doubt that whichever platform you use, it will be essential for you to be fair in asking price, accurate and thorough in your description, and include the best possible photos.

Check out this Online Sales Listing Checklist to make sure you have covered everything you need in your listing.

Step 8: Maximize You Listing Exposure

If you have listed your item for sale online, you can always take the initiative to move your item faster by sharing your listing on all your social media accounts.

For example, if you have listed your item for sale on ebay, you can copy the URL from your listing page, and paste it into your Facebook status post. Doing this will share your listing with your friends. 

Another great way to maximize the exposure to your listing is to cross post it into multiple buy and sell Facebook groups. 

Social Networks

Although this step is not necessary, it certainly can help spread the word muh faster about your items for sale.

Craigslist listings can be renewed every 48 hours, so make sure you are checking it's status in the ad list line up, and repost it if it has been bumped down to the 2nd, 3rd, or further page.

If you have posted inside of a Facebook buy and sell group, you can also "bump" that posting to the top of the page once every 24 hours (or as stated in the group rules which you should read upon joining the group) , by simply commenting "bump" in the comments.

Of course, if you are planning to sell your items at a yard sale, advertising the sale before hand is a must. You can find great tips and tricks for having a yard sale in our Pinterest board "Having a Yard Sale Tips". 

Step 9: Finalize the Transaction

Once a buyer has agreed to purchase your item, the job is not quite over..

You still need to go through whatever motions necessary to connect your item with the buyer.

If you are shipping, then you must carefully package and ship the item with proper postage.

If you have agreed to sell the item locally, then meeting the buyer in whatever way you feel most comfortable must happen within a reasonable timeframe.

Money Transaction

Of course there will be a transaction of money, so make sure to be prepared for that by setting up a PayPal Account (for online sales) or using whatever method you choose through the platform your're using.

If meeting locally, and performing the transaction in person, never EVER accept personal checks, money orders, gifts cards, or the like to avoid potential scams. Accept CASH ONLY. 

Step 10: Celebrate Your Sale!

Of course this is completely optional, but it never hurts to give yourself a big "HOORAY!"

Celebrate

The more positive you are about your sale, the better chance you will have success in your future sales! 

Now, Get to Work!

The most important aspect of this whole process is that you take action!

If you have a lot of stuff, the process may seem overwhelming, but I can assure you it is much easier than it seems once you just get going.

Don't put it off until tomorrow, get started now!

Thanks for Reading!

I hope you enjoyed this article!

I'm always interested to hear of other's experiences, so please leave me a comment below, and chime in if you have any tips for selling your stuff!

Take care, as always! - Hallie  ❤️️ 

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