No one has ever looked around a freshly decluttered home and thought, I’ve made a terrible mistake, I miss having too much stuff in the corners of every room.
Getting rid of the stuff you don’t need opens up space to live and breathe. It gives your eyes a break and allows the items you love — a painting, a carefully chosen piece of furniture — to take centre stage.
It can also raise a fair bit of cash if you know where to sell your stuff.
While yard sales are still popular, there are loads of e-commerce sites and mobile apps that make selling online easy, and each one has its specialty. With a little effort you can create a more livable home, prevent used items from becoming landfill, join the “circular economy” and make enough to pay some bills.
Look around your home for things you haven’t touched in more than a year, like the sweater that never fit quite right or that sous vide your foodie friend thought you’d use. Don’t forget to go through your garage, shed, or storage locker. That’s where the big-ticket items are.
To get top dollar, it’s important to show your items in their best light. That means a good cleaning whether it’s a blouse or a baby stroller. Dirty pieces automatically turn people off, and this some prep work can go a long way towards getting the best price for your goods.
Another pro tip: take photos against a white background in natural light. The more angles the better, and only use pics that are in focus. The camera on your phone is fine.
When writing your description, use plenty of detail and keep your audience in mind. The more info you squeeze in the more likely you’ll match a buyer’s search terms. “Old-school blue XL Adidas zip-up with white stripes circa 1989” is more likely to get a hit than “Vintage athletic jacket.”
When you’re in “sell your stuff” mode, you’ll come across more than a few options. Many won’t be worth your time, but the ones that are can be lucrative.
If you’re already on Facebook, you’re ready to start selling on Facebook Marketplace. Look for the icon of a blue storefront then click on “Selling.”
Marketplace is vast. You can sell anything from boots to patio furniture to cars using one simple template. Just drag and drop your photos, give your listing a title, set a price, answer a few questions, and write your description.
What makes Facebook Marketplace unique is that it’s free. Facebook doesn’t take a cut and you don’t have to pay a fee to post your items. So how does Facebook make its money? You can buy an ad that will appear in the feeds of people nearby but you don’t have to. Instead, share the listing with your network of Facebook friends for a little DIY marketing.
Facebook Marketplace does not support shipping in Canada so items must be picked up in person. Be safe. Don’t let someone in if you’re home alone.
Yes! The mother of all e-commerce sites, eBay is still going strong after 27 years thanks to its brand recognition and robust platform.
Where Facebook Marketplace caters to local buyers, eBay’s footprint of more than 100 countries means you can reach a massive audience. Have a rare comic book that someone on the other side of the world is looking for? Sell it on eBay. Collectibles are eBay’s strength since so many people go there to research what things are worth. Electronics is a strong category too.
The platform lets you choose between setting a fixed price or allowing the market to decide, auction-style. If you choose the latter, you can set a reserve, which is the lowest amount you’ll accept, or a higher “Buy it Now” price, which ends the auction immediately.
Most items sold through eBay are shipped (eBay helps with this). Local pickup is also possible, saving nearby buyers some money.
Unlike Facebook Marketplace, you pay a percentage of each sale to eBay, which ranges from 6% to 12.9% for most household items depending on category and value.
Clothing is one of the most popular resale items. We gain weight, we lose weight, we have 10 pairs of jeans and only two legs. If you’ve fallen prey to fast fashion or disposable clothing, donate items to charity or sell them on Facebook Marketplace for a few bucks.
But if you’re a fashionista who has spent too much on designer pieces and you need to turn those pieces back into cash, you’ll find buyers who appreciate your good taste and will pay higher prices for it on Poshmark. For reference, brands like Lululemon, Nike, Free People, Zara and Victoria’s Secret are trending on their homepage.
On Poshmark, you set the price you’ll accept for your Gucci purse or Stella McCartney scarf and are asked to share the original price too so buyers can see how much they’re saving. Once your item sells, Poshmark takes its cut — a flat rate of $3.95 for pieces under $20, and 20% on sales of $20 or more.
There’s no easier way to turn multiple items into a wad of cash in a single day.
While e-commerce platforms make online selling easy, it’s okay if you still aren’t comfortable posting or shipping items. Nothing is simpler than having a Sunday shopper standing in your driveway with a teapot in one hand and $5 in the other.
Band together with your neighbours to turn a yard sale into a street sale, put up some posters and you’ll have shoppers coming from all over town. Oh yeah, don't forget to share your yard sale details on Facebook Marketplace -- you'll get way more traffic!
The bonus is that once you’ve gone through the process of decluttering and see how good it feels, you should be less likely to give in to consumerism and buy too much stuff you don’t need all over again.
If you still can’t shake the impulse to spend more than you can afford, it’s worth scheduling a free consultation with a BDO Debt credit counsellor or Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). Together you can figure out the reasons behind the issue and take steps toward financial stability.