You’ve had a huge closet clear out and have a hefty number of items you don’t want anymore. They’re lightly used, brand new, or something pretty niche and was hard to get hold of, maybe even vintage, what do you do with them besides throwing them out or donating them? Try online selling.
If it’s just something on the side and you don’t have TOO MANY items to get rid of, then you won’t need too much hustle. But, if you’re trying to claw out of some debt, or scrape together enough money for (insert item, event, holiday, present, here) you might have to put a little more umph into it. I’ll talk you through my experiences of that and some of the customers you might come across.
(Please note this is specifically about UK/England)
Where can I sell?
This is very hit or miss. I still use this to post things for sale on every once in a while, just in case, but there isn’t a lot of activity there except creepy men. I’ve sold a lot of clothes in my time (I have an impulse buying problem so I have too many clothes all the time) and putting up shoes I’ve worn for sale tends to lead to foot fetishist contacting you. I recommend NOT making your phone number available (I’ve have some really awful experiences with this) and to not meet people in person or let them come to your house. Otherwise, if it is a normal sale and there’s no sign of the buyer being creepy, it’s just like selling on other sites. You can promote your ads for a fee but I don’t think that’s worth it. A good place to advertise a UK version of a yard sale as events do better than sale items I’ve found.
Facebook selling pages / the market place
I’ve used Facebook selling pages for a long time. It’s a good place to sell all kinds of things really cheap or free because the pages are for specific areas. It’s much easier organising people to come and collect, or for you to deliver/meet somewhere in person and it will save you the postage and fees other ways cost. However, there are a lot of time wasters on these pages, people who don’t read the ad fully, and a lot of the buyers don’t seem to understand you? One example is, recently, my mum was contacted about some dresses she had put up for sale and this lady was describing several dresses she wanted but only buy the colour… several of the dresses were the same colour, so my mum asked her to clarify by sending the pictures to her on messenger and then she only sent one picture. She caused a lot of faff for one dress and also wanted it posted. We’ve also found that people will ask loads of questions, agree to a date and time to collect, the day comes and the time goes… they never collect and don’t message. they often won’t respond to any messages you send them from there on either. So be prepared to chase people up constantly. But sometimes you get really great and easy buyers who come and go without issue, or want to buy loads of things you’re selling. The plus side is there are no fees to selling this way. This also tends to be more family related, clothing, furniture, people trying to save some money doing up their house mostly.
This is a younger demographic and is mostly clothes. You can sell anything here but it is mostly known and used to sell clothes and accessories. So if you have trendy clothes you want to sell, this is definitely the place. You can also sell books, I’ve sold some here and I see some bookshops and book selling pages doing reasonably well, it’s hit or miss sometimes and often depends on your following and your ratings. Sadly, Depop takes 10% fee (off the full price including anything you say for postage which sucks) and you have to link your PayPal, which then also takes a fee for using. It’s not often people on this app are nearby so everything needs to be posted. There are a lot of numbers to think about with this app to make sure you’re not going into minus by accident. I use this website to work out how much PayPal take from each purchase. You don’t pay to display, which is good, you only pay when you sell which is a benefit. I’m well versed in postage costs now and know just about what price my packages will be, sometimes the prices do jump up without much warning anywhere around 5p to 10p more. The Royal Mail website is crap and never correct, you can go to your local post office and check with them if you’re unsure or go through the Royal Mail pay for postage system where you put in parcel measurements and weight and you pay to print off a postage label and you can drop them off in the post office if you want a proof of postage stamp or just pop them in the post box if they fit. I suggest listing items separately first, but also list bundle offers. My example is, I have a bundle offer up on my page for bras because they are all the same size, I have them listed on their own but also a listing of them all together. I do warn you though, you will constantly be asked if you will sell lower or for X less because no one really cares that you lose 50% of the money to fees and only end up with £2-£4 at the end anyway, they only care about how much money they are spending and speak to you like you should lower your prices for second-hand items because they are second hand. I even get asked this on brand new items and items that are already dirt cheap. There’s quite a bit of rudeness on Depop but they are mostly really nice people. Depop also has an option to put a video of the item on the listing which I do recommend if you can be bothered. Maximise what you show and what you say about your items to try and limit questions you’re asked. You also get to leave and receive feedback on sales so you can see what other sellers are like before you buy from them and buyers can see the same for you.
(Go check out my Depop, I have lots up for sale! depop.com/amiexdelisle)
There are also other apps like this that may be more suitable for you depending on where you are, who your audience is, and your purpose. Are you a casual seller or is this something you want to make into a real money making scheme. Vinted, ThredUp, Poshmark, are a few others but here are a couple of lists of others with more details by people who know more about them!
I haven’t used eBay in such a long time because I think they stopped doing the free listing once a month. So I’m pretty sure you now have to pay to list items, and also pay when you sell items. They only stay up for a certain amount of time (Depop stays up until you take it down) and you need to be well researched in when the best time to list is. You can do a buy now option, or the auction. Most people use the auction in hopes of there being a bidding war and making more money but it isn’t guaranteed. The most popular auctions start at 99p plus postage, but you don’t have to start them so low if you don’t want to. I’ve also had a lot of awful experiences on eBay with buyers and sellers. I think across the board of selling apps and websites, it’s highly likely you’ll come across a really rude or annoying person because everyone wants a bargain.
Here are some general tips that apply to all sites:
1 – any items you buy online, keep the packaging to wrap items in that you sell. It saves you a bit of money and it’s always good to reuse and recycle things. Buy the wider tape as well, it’s easier to stick the parcels shut vs. usual everyday size tape.
2 – try to get really good pictures/videos of the items you are selling. If it’s furniture, hold up a measuring tape next to it. Clothes need to be laid out flat, put on a hanger in a nice area with good light, or modelled by a person so people can see the item properly. Photo any damage, labels, back/front, every angle and close ups of patterns if they aren’t clear from further away.
3 – if you aren’t sure what price to ask for, think about where you bought it and how much it was new, look up the item on sites to see what it is new or what other people are selling them as second-hand. Even if you don’t want as much as others are selling as, it’s still go to know how much people are selling for. I sold about 6-8 Oasis CDs and some postcard things; I’d bought them on eBay years ago for not a lot and I knew they were probably worth a reasonable amount, but one of the cases was cracked and I mostly just wanted to make a sale and get rid of something I no longer wanted. I had all the songs on my iTunes, I hadn’t used the CDs in years. I sold them for £25 including postage to some guy who kept asking if I was sure I wanted to sell them that cheap. I made someone’s day but also got £20 for some stuff I didn’t want anymore!
So that’s my experience and things I have learned from doing this for YEARS. It’s a good way to make money and prevent items from being thrown away. All for trying to help the environment and my wallet at the same time! Some of these experiences are a little outdated I’m sure and I know there are LOADS of selling apps you could try but I don’t know much about them at all. Let me know some of your experiences with selling or buying second-hand items in these ways!
Here are some of the more annoying experiences I’ve had across the board!
Need some help with parting with your items and tidying your home? Check out this book.
Being a thriftier gamer.