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  • Writer's pictureEvery Little Thing

Cash from Your Clutter


Blog Post - Making Cash from Your Clutter

Whilst decluttering, you may come across a few items that you feel are too good to put in the 'donate' bag, but are they worth selling and what is the best way to sell them?



is it worth it?


Some people find a lot of success in selling items online - others find it a complete headache!


While it's always good to clear some space and make money simultaneously, selling unwanted items can be very time-consuming.


You have to make sure the effort is worth the return, or it's a false economy. What you make in money may not be worth the investment in selling it.


You have to be realistic about what your items are worth. Just because something was expensive or old doesn't mean you will get a lot for it when selling.


Always do your research first. A good starting point to gauge your items' potential value is to search on eBay for how much similar items have sold for.


You can do this by clicking on 'Advanced Search', entering your item description and then clicking 'Sold Listings'. It tells you what things are actually selling for rather than what sellers are trying to get. Someone can advertise a dress for £60, but the reality might be that it eventually only sold for £6.


Fashion can sell, but it's generally only the quality designer or rare collections that sell well. You can still make some money from good quality items from high street retailers such as Zara, H&M and Whistles, but your profits may be disappointingly small.


Most people, in their mind, want to get back half the price they brought something for, but in reality, goods are rarely worth more than a quarter of the purchase price. For clothes, be prepared to sell for as little as 10% of what you paid for them.


Selling online is not a guaranteed proposition. Just as holding a car boot sale or listing items on a marketplace app is not guaranteed. Just because you have listed an item for sale doesn't mean you will get the price you wanted for it or if it will sell at all.




Valuables and Collectors Items

When selling valuables, you should always be careful and get expert valuations first before deciding the best place to sell and what to price it at. If you think your item might be valuable, it's safest to get a second opinion. Sometimes local auction houses, independent art valuers and even museums will help out or point you in the direction of a relevant specialist.



WHERE TO SELL


It's important to choose the right platform for the type of items you want to sell.



Online Auction Sites


Best for: Higher value items you don't mind posting.


For some people, participating in an online auction seems far too 'high-tech', but auction sites like eBay have made it relatively easy to sell from the comfort of your home. You post a description and photos of your item/s, set a limit for how long you would like to give people to bid on your items, answer any questions, and wait for the bids to hopefully come in. You then need to make sure the item reaches the buyer quickly and safely.


If you have a few more expensive or rarer items, you will get a better chance of selling at a higher price on online auction sites such as eBay, as it has a huge world-wide audience. There are no listing fees for the first 1,000 items per month, but sellers pay a selling fee once their item sells which is usually around 10% of the selling and postage cost. Items can be listed as a fixed price, Buy it Now or auction lasting 1-10 days. They offer a Global Shipping Programme for posting to international buyers.,


When done correctly, it can be very easy; of course, you always run into snags - read on for a few suggestions for making the process as smooth as possible.




Local Marketplace Sites


Best for: Middle value and/or collection-only items.


For selling locally with no charges and postage - try sites and apps such as; Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Selling Groups, Gumtree.com preloved.co.uk, Shpock.com.



These work in a similar to classified ads - you take a photo of your item, upload it with a description and your asking price, and wait for a buyer.


Potential buyers can search by location, and collection in person, so it works well for larger items such as furniture.


If you have bundles of baby clothes and toys to sell, there are often local Mum's groups on Facebook that you can join that will give you the best target audience for your items. There are also specific groups for fashion brands such as Boden, Mint Velvet, Whistles or Lego.


These sites are usually free to sell on, so if you accept cash on collection, all of the sale price is yours.


You do tend to receive lots of offers, haggling and questions on these sites - so its to be prepared for these in advance!





Third Party Sales Sites

There are also specialist sites for selling a range of things like electrical and entertainment items such as phones, Lego, books, gadgets, CD's and DVD's.


Add the product details of your item using the scanner within their app and your phone camera, or by entering the barcode on the app or website. They will then give you an offer price for your items. If you choose to accept, you can then post them (usually free) and once they have been received and have passed quality checks, your payment will be sent.


The price you receive may be lower than selling directly yourself, but you won't have any of the hassle .






For more details about places you can sell specific items, visit the declutter directory.



Car Boot Sales


Best for: Lots of lower-value items.


Sometimes, you just want stuff gone without the hassle of listing and then posting, or having strangers turn up at your door. You can leave with cash in your pocket and hopefully a lot less stuff to take back home.


Car boot sales are a great way to sell lots of things you don't mind selling cheaply, but I wouldn't recommend it for valuables or sentimental items as you are unlikely to get a reasonable price.


For items with a specific audience, look for specialist outlets, like the NCT's 'Nearly New' sales - some charge commission, others charge a set fee for a table or rail, but those proceeds go to a good cause.












INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF MAKING A GOOD SALE



It's all in the detail


When a potential buyer is looking for an item, they will usually only see a short title as a link to your item. You need to quickly catch their attention if you want them to click and find out more. Since your title is generally limited to one line, you need to make it count! If your item is new - say so in the title (you can use acronyms such as NWT - new with tags). Include brand names, and remember the sizing and colour. You want to grab the customer's attention and make your listing easy to find.


Also, don't be afraid to be a bit colourful by adding some personality to your pitch so that your item stands out from the rest.


You also want to make sure you choose a good category to list within. Try to place your item where other similar items can be found - you will benefit from the fact that shoppers are already searching in that category for related products. If you are having difficulty deciding on a category, ask yourself, "Where would I look for this item if I were looking to buy it?".


Make sure that your description is as clear and detailed as possible. The general rule of thumb is the more information, the better. Include things like model numbers and measurements. People don't want to have to contact you to see what size it is or if the attachments come with it, or if it has any marks. You will save yourself a lot of time and effort over the long run by being upfront with information and having to answer fewer questions.


Anticipate any questions buyers may have and include them in the description. What would you want to know if you were thinking of purchasing an item?


Remember, the goal is not just to make money; it's also to make the process as easy as possible for yourself.




Timing is important


Everything has a season, so target customers when they are primed to buy. You're not going to get the best price for that expensive winter coat if you are trying to sell it during a heatwave in July. Box it up and put it in storage until the winter. If you want to sell toys, could you wait until November when people are looking to buy Christmas presents? When are people looking for paddling pools or prom dresses?



Condition is Everything


Make sure that whatever you are selling is clean, in good repair/working order and with all parts present (screws, attachments, buttons, leads) and include original packaging, manuals or certificates of authenticity if possible. Higher-value items in their original packaging usually sell for a little bit more.


Be Honest


In today's climate, people are weary of incomplete descriptions because it feels as though the seller may be trying to pull something over them. Be honest and upfront about the age of the item, its features and imperfections.


Whether selling online or in person, always describe items accurately and honestly - it will only lead to stress later if you don't!


Take good quality photos.


When you sell an item in person (such as at a car boot sale), potential buyers benefit from personal interaction. However, the internet keeps buyers at a distance. The only way of evaluating an item is through your description and photos.


Taking good photos is vital when selling online. Potential buyers aren't able to interact with the item - see it up close, touch it, handle it and examine it thoroughly. The only method they have to evaluate a potential purchase is your description and the photos. Think of all the times you've scrolled past something or dismissed it because you couldn't see it properly.


Invest a bit of time taking photographs in good light from lots of different angles, and include 'close-ups' of any important features, small parts or defects.


With clothes, make sure the item isn't creased and put it on a nice coat hanger (or mannequin if you have one). Then hang it on a picture hook on your wall or against a blank background. Do not put it on the floor or your bed. Items must look loved and well taken care of.


Try to photograph items on a neutral background, so the focus is on what you are trying to sell.


Taking the time to get some good photos can mean the difference between a good profit and a waste of time.



Pricing and Payment

Online auctions usually offer a couple of different options for pricing your items. You may choose the traditional auction format where you set a starting price, allow people to bid in discrete increments and sell to the highest bidder when the auction ends. However, if you have a valuable item, you may want to set a reserve price - a minimum amount you will accept for an item (if the reserve is not met, you are not obligated to sell). Or, you can offer customers the option to buy your item for a set price from the start of the auction. The bidder could either go through the normal auction process and risk losing out to another buyer or can choose the 'buy it now' option and pay your set price.


Postage


You will need to consider (before listing) how you will get your item to the buyer. Will you post it, or will they need to come and collect it from you? Will you offer worldwide postage?


Find out how much the postage is going to cost you. You need to make sure your costs are covered.


Make sure you indicate the shipping method in your description.


Include postage insurance to ensure you are covered in case your item goes missing or gets damaged before it reaches the buyer.


Sell Ethically


If you are planning to sell an item where safety may be a factor (such as a child's car seat or a car-related device), always ensure that it is working as new and that nothing is missing or broken. It's also a good idea to do a Google search to make sure that the product hasn't been recalled or had any safety warnings applied to it - especially if it's been stored in a loft or garage for a while. If in doubt about any safety aspect of an item - recycle wherever possible or throw it out.



Selling Terms and Conditions

Read the terms and conditions of each site or service carefully before using so you're clear on what you can and cannot sell and what fees you will pay.


Will there be a fee to list your item regardless of whether your item sells or not? What's the commission %? Are there any other fees?


It's also worth finding out what protection the auction site, app, or seller offers you in the case of a dishonest buyer. Payment methods such as PayPal offer some protection if things go wrong, but do read up on their current rules and regulations. For instance, if a buyer buys by PayPal and then collects in person, the seller is no longer covered by PayPal's Seller Protection Scheme.


Know your rights and responsibilities before you sign on.



Safety First

Always put your safety first when selling to (or buying from) stranger. If meeting in person to collect, could you arrange to meet in a public space? Avoid giving out too many personal details and times when your in or out of your home.




Always be courteous, observe the rules for that site and give honest feedback where relevant.




enlist some help if needed

If you've not mastered selling online, could you ask a friend who enjoys selling online to sell on your behalf and then share the profits? It's easy to make mistakes on eBay if you don't know what you're doing. I've known people who have accidentally listed expensive items as 'Buy It Now' listings and have sold at £0.99 😳

There are companies that will sell items on your behalf on eBay (including stuffyousell.co.uk, sellforyou.co.uk or auctionfairies.co.uk ). They usually take around 30% commission.



KEEP ORGANISED at home


If you're new to online selling - start with a few bits to begin with to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Keep 'Sale' items in a dedicated space, and make sure you have packaging and postage materials to hand.


You can end up with bags of clothing and household items cluttering your home for weeks while you wait for a sale.


You'll need packing ready to send out your items once sold, so keep this all together to make postage easier.


Give yourself a deadline for which items must be sold; once that time is up, and they haven't sold - donate them instead. 















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