5 tips for successfully selling your old stuff

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Clean, ironed and ready to sell

With the Big Trip coming up with alarming speed I’ve been squirreling away money for a while now. I have managed to save about $10,000  in the few months since December. Part of that has come from selling my belongings (although to be fair, most of it has come from good old fashioned saving). I haven’t been successful in getting rid of everything I set out to sell, so I’ve learnt a lot about what to do and what not to do. Here are some tips:

1. Be strategic about where you sell certain things

I have four options; Ebay, a local consignment store, local market/trash and treasure stalls and on ‘for sale’ and ‘buy and sell’ facebook pages.

Ebay is great if you have designer or higher end products that will appeal to a niche audience (for example, living in regional Western Australia, the locals here are unlikely to discern Josh Goot from Camilla and Marc at a trash and treasure market).

I’m very fortunate that my lovely friend Jo does consignment sales at her store and I have made almost $600 from selling clothes there. Her shop is perfect for dresses I want to sell for around the $30-$50 mark. I would never get that much at a market.

I recently made $300 selling my old things at a pre-loved fashion market. I was stoked! At the end of the day I was chatting with other stall holders who were really disappointed at their lack of sales. It was interesting, I had piles and piles of jewellery and pretty much all of it went. The clothes not so much. I think the price point for jewellery (mostly $15 and under) was a lot more attractive to the market goers and I made an effort to display things nicely, with similar items grouped together. Make sure everything is priced before you get there and be prepared to haggle.

Facebook has been a great place to sell homewares and furniture. Most towns and suburbs will have a ‘buy and sell’ facebook page specific to their area, so have a look. I’ve sold a chair, a desk, a mirror and a camera among other things using facebook. Just be careful because this does involve giving your address to strangers.

2. Make your stuff look good

If you’re selling online, make sure your stuff is clean, ironed and photograph it in good light against a neutral background. I would be completely put off buying something if it was covered in cat hair, sitting atop a pile of crumpled clothes with yesterday’s breakfast bowl nearby. I also find it helps to group similar objects together if you’re selling multiple items, for instance I recently got all my silver homewares together and listed them in one go.

At the fashion market, I displayed my jewellery on a white tablecloth, silver grouped with silver, neon with neon, gold with gold etc. A lot of people commented on how eye catching it was and came over to have a look even if they weren’t initially interested in jewellery.

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A local photographer took this snap as I was arranging my jewellery at the market. Excuse the chipped nail polish.

3. Make it easy for buyers

People aren’t going to want to sift through piles of clothes on a table at a market. Buy or borrow a clothes rack and avoid putting things like shoes and bags on the ground where they will be missed completely.

Put dimensions, measurements and detailed descriptions on furniture that you aim to sell online. Be sure to mention if the item you are selling has any marks, scratches or dents.

Make sure you have a float with plenty of small change at the markets. I took a mix of small notes and coins to the value of $80 with me and even this wasn’t enough!

4. Lower your expectations

Unfortunately, you’re never going to get all or even most of your money back on used goods. That’s just the way it is. People are looking for bargains. Most of the clothes I had at the market were probably slightly overpriced, but knowing I had other options to sell them later I wasn’t desperate to get rid of them. One woman bought three items from me (two silk tops and a blazer) and knew she was getting a bargain at the prices I set, another was happy to pay $30 for an almost new parka. Others were only keen to spend $10 and under.

So just be realistic about the prices you set or at least be prepared to go lower. But at the same time, if you are adamant something is worth a certain amount, hold your ground. Otherwise it’s not worth the regret later. I sold an instant film camera recently and was not prepared to go under $50. So I just waited and eventually the right buyer came along. But don’t do this for everything!

5. Sit back and watch the cash fly in

I honestly couldn’t think of a fifth tip… Except that if you are saving for something, put the cash you make straight into the bank to avoid the temptation of spending it. I have a piece of paper pinned to my cubicle at work with my goal $ on it and add to it every time I transfer money into savings. It’s weirdly addictive and keeps me on track.

In a few weeks I will have the ultimate challenge of selling my car… Wish me luck!

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5 Responses to 5 tips for successfully selling your old stuff

  1. Alexis Harris says:

    You’ve done well! I found the Buy & Sell pages and pain in the you know what, but they work. Maybe try a garage sale as well? It’ll take up most of your Sunday but we sold loads of stuff.

  2. Philip Brewin says:

    Hi Tips for selling a car :
    1. Check out similar prices on the web and price it higher than you expect as you can always come down
    2. Present it in a good light with nice pics etc,
    3. Always get contact details of anyone coming to see car including full name etc
    4. Do not allow test drives, unless you drive the car and only let them drive if they provide a copy of their licence, ( aware of case where a test driver said there was a rattle in the back and owner got out to check and car driven away never to be seen again)
    5. Take Andrew with you to meet any one and to come on test drives
    6. Only take cash or a bank cheque and get a deposit first and do not hand over car until funds are in your account
    7. Provide service history if you have it and use it as a selling point
    8. Good Luck
    Philip Brewin

  3. Pingback: How to get the money to quit work and travel | My Bloggable Day

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