Decluttering our homes isn’t exactly the most exciting of tasks. However, done properly, it can be quite therapeutic and may have the added bonus of making some money.
Don’t over-face yourself. If you’ve not decluttered for a while and have cupboards and drawers that no longer close without a lot of pushing and shoving, then take it slowly. If you make it too much of a chore, you will likely soon get fed up and give up. Spending just 15 minutes a day, perhaps just sorting one shelf of a cupboard, each time, will make a big difference, over time.
Having a system for what you’re going to do with each item you sort, will help the process. When I declutter I use four boxes marked Keep, Sell, Charity and Skip. If you find it difficult to decide, have a fifth box, called ‘Undecided’ to review later but don’t use this one as an excuse not to properly sort. Sometimes you do need to make hard decisions. ‘Keep’ items go back in the cupboard. ‘Charity’ items go to a local charity shop. ‘Skip’ items go to my local recycling centre. For ‘Sell’ items, I have a number of options…
eBay used to dominate the market regarding selling second-hand items, online. They are still a major player but there are many alternatives now. I’ve used eBay for many years and still do but Amazon Marketplace, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are established, viable alternatives that all have their pros and cons compared to eBay.
When you sell on eBay you are tapping into a potential 187 million global customers. eBay is great for high-priced and designer items. Small lower cost items are also a good option. For larger items, postage costs can eat too heavily into profits to make them worthwhile.
eBay provides an excellent rating system, based on customer feedback and you can read sellers’ reviews. They also provide an efficient support team that will deal with any issues.
You have two options when selling, either sell using an auction or on a fixed price basis. There are also options on the time period you wish your listing to run. Commonly, auctions run for 7 days and fixed price listings for 30 days.
In the UK, eBay charges private sellers a 35p listing fee. However, this is waived for your first 1000 listings each month. If your item sells you will be charged a final value fee of 10% of the total transaction cost, capped at £250.
Amazon has around 300 million global customers and sells many products. A large part of its offering is products sold by ‘marketplace’ sellers. These are third parties, including private individuals selling used items at a cheaper price than new ones direct from Amazon.
You can find just about anything for sale here. Items such as used books, CDs and mobile phones are particularly popular.
You can sign up for a free Basic seller account on Amazon and list your own used items on a pay-as-you-go basis. In the UK, Amazon charges 75p per sale plus a referral fee, which is a percentage of the selling price, this varies depending on the category. Monthly subscription plans are available for higher volume sellers which waives the standard charge fee. Overall, it can be one of the more expensive ways to sell, depending on your plan. However, you would expect Amazon’s reach and great customer service to carry a premium.
One disadvantage is your listing will be directly comparable with other sellers, selling the same item. This limits what you can charge, particularly on popular items.
Gumtree is free to use and a good option for selling used items, locally. It’s perfect for selling larger, low-value items that wouldn’t be cost-effective to post. Items are sold on a fixed price basis but be prepared for buyers to haggle.
You can pay extra for optimised tools, such as bumping your advert to the top of search results but this isn’t necessary. If your item hasn’t sold after 30 days your ad will expire. You then need to relist your item which you can do for free.
I’ve sold many items on Gumtree, from bike racks to furniture to broken dishwashers. It’s a great option for a garage clearance.
Facebook Marketplace works similar to Gumtree and there are no fees. Adverts are usually aimed at a local audience and buyers collect in person. Items are sold on a fixed price basis but be prepared for buyers to haggle.
There are likely to be dedicated, local Facebook groups in your area, for individuals to buy and sell, whatever they have to offer.
There is some accountability in the fact you can see the profile of the person you are dealing with, assuming it’s genuine.
So which should you use? There is no definitive answer. Different people will give different views based on their own experiences. Amazon and eBay give you access to the most potential customers. However, when you factor in their fees, plus post and packaging charges, you may make more money selling locally at a lower price.
Personally, I use eBay for small or high-value items. In general, that means, items I can send as a Royal Mail Large Letter or Small Parcel. For everything else, I usually use Gumtree.
Decluttering is just one of those jobs we all have to do from time to time. Doing it regularly can make it much less of an ordeal. Selling some of what you no longer want, acts as a great incentive to get the job done. When you have finished you will have a tidy house and be able to treat yourself to something you really want, with your extra earnings. You could also think of how best to use the reclaimed space. Improving your home doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
If whatever reason you can’t sell certain items, consider donating them to a charity shop or try to recycle them.
To help make the most of the money you earn, consider using a Budgeting App.
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