Getting started with selling online can seem daunting. There are a number of different places you can sell your stuff, and they’re not all the same. How do you know whether you should sell your stuff on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Craigslist or somewhere else?
What are the worst places to sell your stuff? I haven’t had good experiences with smartphone apps, yard sales, consignment sales and Facebook groups.
Craigslist is free for individual sellers, and eBay is generally cheaper than Amazon or Etsy in terms of seller fees. Each site has its pros and cons, and each is best suited to selling certain types of items.
Before listing anything, you should research prices to make sure the item is worth the time and effort you’ll spend in listing it. For books and CDs, be sure to check both Amazon and eBay.
If you search online for the best ways to sell your stuff, you’ll find scads of people extolling the benefits of selling through one site or another. Keep in mind that these folks likely make a living selling online. They probably supplement that income by writing about their online selling experiences. Making a living selling stuff online is not the same as selling your own excess stuff.
Here’s how to decide where you can sell your stuff most quickly and for the most money.
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What to Sell On EBay
When in doubt, default to eBay for anything you can easily ship. EBay still has millions of active buyers and sellers and charges a lot less in fees than Amazon. You will, however, pay seller fees to eBay as well as a small fee every time you accept a PayPal payment, the standard method of paying for eBay purchases. This still comes out to less than Amazon’s seller fees.
Here’s a list of some of the items you might want to sell on eBay.
- Collectibles, such as sports memorabilia, autographed items, antiques, vintage toys and games and old books.
- High-dollar items which are light and easy to ship, such as tech gadgets, but research on Amazon, too.
- Books, video games, DVD and CD titles that already have a bunch of people selling them on Amazon for a pittance, such as $0.01. I’ve sold XBox 360 games on eBay for $7 or $8 even though Amazon had some sellers asking $1 or $2.
- Toys in very good or excellent condition, provided they’re small enough to ship at a reasonable cost. Naturally, toys sell best during the holiday season. However, certain toys will move at any time of year, such as popular dolls like Baby Alive or American Girl. I listed two nice Baby Alive dolls which my daughters had lost interest in. They sold for $15 and $20 on eBay a few weeks after Christmas.
- Gift cards you can’t use. I’ve tried selling unwanted gift cards to those websites that specialize in buying and reselling gift cards, and eBay is a much better option.
- Books, in lots of three or more in the same series or by the same author. Examples include several books in the Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Warriors, or Bad Kitty series, or a group of books by James Patterson. You can ship books using USPS Media Mail, which is a whole lot cheaper than any other method of shipment. You can’t sell books in groupings on Amazon.
- Designer clothing, shoes and handbags. Some non-designer brands sell pretty well, too. I’ve sold a few pairs of Crocs shoes in excellent condition for $15 to $30 and some gently used Lee pants and jeans for $10.
What to Sell on Amazon
Most books, DVDs and CDs aren’t worth much. However, Amazon makes it super easy to find out if you have anything worth selling. Simply download the Amazon Seller app to your smartphone, then scan all of your unwanted books, CDs and DVDs.
You’ll probably find a few that are selling for several dollars. I wouldn’t list anything for less than $7 or $8, since Amazon’s fees eat up most of the profit on small, cheap items. I’ve sold a few music CDs from my garage for $10 to $20 each.
If you have old tech gadgets, remote controls, video game controllers or power cables for sale, you should research them on both Amazon and eBay. Amazon makes it easier in general to list these sorts of items, with stock photos and descriptions so that you don’t have to take your own photos and write your own descriptions.
However, you can still add your own photo and description to Amazon listings. I recommend doing this if there’s something you want or need to point out about the item. You might also want to do this for a more valuable item to show that your item is in the stated condition.
Consider Amazon as well for items that might take a long time to sell. You can list it for free, then set it and forget it.
You don’t need to keep coming back to relist the item, though you should check periodically to see if others have begun selling similar items at much lower prices. If this happens, you can either lower your price or deactivate your listing so you can list it instead on eBay.
Keep in mind that Amazon places restrictions on many items you might want to sell. If you’re just the average Joe or Jo trying to sell your stuff, you’ll find a number of categories closed to you on Amazon. In addition, Amazon won’t let you list toys for sale near Christmas time.
Amazon reserves certain categories as well as Christmas toy selling for those who pay extra to become Amazon Professional Sellers or who ship their items to Amazon to let them fulfill (at a steep additional cost).
What to Sell on Craigslist
If your city has an active Craigslist presence, it’s a fantastic option for selling items that are too large to ship. Not everything will sell on Craigslist, but some items will sell eventually if you repost them a few times.
Fortunately, you can keep reposting items on Craigslist for free if you’re confident that you just need to find the right buyer. I sold an accessory from an old Honda CR-V on Craigslist last year. It would only fit Honda CR-Vs from certain model years, so I knew it would take awhile to find a buyer.
I started the price at $100 and eventually lowered it to $75. After I had almost forgotten that I had it listed, someone contacted me and bought it for the full asking price of $75.
I’ve also sold a ton of baby and toddler stuff on Craigslist. After having a baby, new parents figure out what they need but don’t have, then they start scouring Craigslist. They also start needing different items as their child grows.
Most baby stuff in great condition listed at a well-researched price should sell quickly. I’ve sold Pack ‘n Plays, baby Bumbos, strollers, baby gates and a host of other baby and toddler items.
Bikes sell well on Craigslist during spring, summer and fall. You can also unload household accessories such as fireplace sets.
I never list anything on Craigslist that’s small and high-value – these are magnets for crooks. In addition, I prefer to list my items for sale on Craigslist during warm weather months so I can meet buyers outside with the item rather than having strangers trailing through my house.
One evening last year, I had three scheduled buyers coming within the span of less than two hours, and pocketed a total of $120 when it was all over.
Make sure you don’t sell anything that’s subject to a recall, which you can research online.
What to Sell on Etsy
If you’ve made items – sewn, knitted, crocheted or otherwise – that you wish to sell, Etsy might be just the place. You can sell both handmade and vintage (more than 20 years old) items on Etsy, which has a large and active buying community. Vintage home decor items seem to do especially well on Etsy, along with unique handmade items.
At last check, you can’t tell what items sell for on Etsy like you can on eBay – one of eBay’s best assets. You can search completed items on eBay to see what sold and for how much, along with what didn’t sell. This is quite valuable in figuring out how to price your items. With Etsy, as with Amazon, the best you can do is see how other sellers price their similar items.
I’ve only sold around 10 items total on Etsy, and they were vintage in nature. I’m sure they sold for much more than they would have on eBay, but they took quite awhile to sell, too. Most of my items are better suited to eBay, Amazon or Craigslist.
Etsy offers fewer buyers, but the buyers seem to be more engaged and more dedicated to purchasing whatever they’re looking for. One buyer told me that she bought my ceramic angel item for a family member who collects angels. She later sent me a message to let me know how much she liked the item and that it was perfect.
Look around your house and storage spaces for vintage home decor items (older than 20 years) that are in excellent shape but nobody ever looks at them anymore. If you’ve been married for more than 20 years, look for barely used or unused wedding gifts.
How do you get rid of your excess stuff? Have you tried eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and/or Etsy to sell your stuff? What has been your experience when you sell your stuff online?
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