Getting swept up in the decluttering trend advocated by Marie Kondo has an added benefit: You can make a decent amount of money selling your clutter.
But all sales platforms are not alike. Some specialize in selling, say, books — or even wedding dresses. Others specialize in electronics or furniture. Thus, the best place to sell your sofa is probably a bad option when you want to peddle electronics or clothing.
So, how do you get the most cash for your KonMari? You do like the guru suggests and divvy up your possessions by category.
Arts and crafts
If you have truly fine art that you want to sell, you’d be wise to get it appraised and sell it through an auction house, like Sotheby’s. But, if you want to sell the framed posters you got as a co-ed — or have cute crafty things that no longer give you joy — you have a wide array of selling options. Better yet, most of the best sites to sell used art and crafts allow you to list and sell for free.
CraigsList, Letgo, OfferUp and Nextdoor all provide the electronic equivalent of a garage sale, without having to display your life on cardtables. Listing is free. You meet the buyer, collect payment in person, and pay no commission on the sale.
The flip side? These major selling sites are regularly trolled by scammers. These crooks will often try to con you with fake checks or waste your time by having you meet them miles from home. (The theory is that farther the seller drives, the less likely he or she is to walk away from a low-ball offer.)
Best advice: Require cash and only agree to meet buyers who are willing to come to you.
If your recent college graduate left you with a pile of lightly used text books, BookScouter can help find the best place to sell them. The site offers a tool that compares textbook prices by ISBN numbers, the book equivalent of a Social Security number. BookScouter then directs you to the site that offers the most money for that particular text.
Some bloggers maintain that you can use this tool to buy books at bargain prices at other sites and then re-sell them through Bookscouter. But the profit margin on this activity is paltry. If you own text books and just want to get rid of them, that’s another story.
For run-of-the-mill fiction, we recommend Amazon. The giant online retailer already supports a brisk book business. And each time a potential buyer pulls up a title, the site’s buy button turns multiple-choice. Do you want the electronic version, the audio version, a new print version, or a used copy through one of its marketplace re-sellers (i.e. you)?
The catch: Amazon will levy a 99-cent listing fee for each item, plus a 15% referral fee (minimum 30 cents) for each item sold. If you intend to sell more than 40 books, you’d be better off with Amazon’s pro-plan, which costs $40 a month, plus referral fees. Notably, seller fees are lower at eBay. But since many book buyers are pre-programmed to search Amazon first (and often last), we believe the site’s marketing power is worth the extra expense.
Realize that the margin on selling used books is slim, however. You’re usually going to get just $1 to $5, after costs. Unless you have collector’s copies that were, perhaps, signed by popular or historic authors, you’re spending a lot of time to sell, pack and ship items that will pay a minuscule profit. If your books are ordinary, you might want to simply give them to your local library. You won’t get cash, but you could get a tax deduction.
eBay and Poshmark are the stand-outs when it comes to selling clothing and shoes. The reasons: eBay has millions of monthly users and relatively low fees. Specifically, it costs nothing to list up to 50 items a month. If your items sell, the site levies a 10% commission. The site’s only shortcoming is that both individuals and professional retailers actively sell on the site, so it can be hard to make your used goods stand out.
Poshmark, meanwhile, charges more — 20% of the sale price (or $2.95 for items selling for less than $15) but uses your social media presence to boost your listing’s visibility. Presumably, if your friends and contacts buy your stuff, they won’t rip you off, right? Not necessarily. All sale sites have some scammers, who will take your goods and try to not pay for them. This happens on Poshmark too. However, crooks are in the minority, and the site’s social media angle may help make your goods sell.
If, however, you are selling wedding dresses and other formal wear, you’d be smart to focus on the half-dozen sites that specialize in new and used gowns. Top among these is PreOwnedWeddingDresses, which differentiates itself by offering a wedding dress value calculator that can help you figure out a good asking price. It also charges a reasonable $25 listing fee for bridal gowns, which remain listed until they sell. For $5, you can sell flower-girl, bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride dresses, too.
To sell video games or run-of-the-mill electronics, both Amazon and eBay are good choices. (However, Amazon requires prior approval before listing refurbished items and some types of electronics.)
But if you’re selling cell phones and Apple products, specialized sites may be better. More than a dozen sites specialize in selling phones and Apple products, including iPads and Macs. Our favorite of the cell phone specialty sites is Swappa, which allows consumers to sell directly to other consumers. Most of the other sites offer to buy your cell phone for resale and paying the middle-man (or middle site) means that you get less for your phone. That said, selling to a reseller is much like selling your used car to a dealer. You get less, but it requires less work.
A couple of sites — GearTrade and Sideline Swap — specialize in selling sporting goods. While they are not likely to get the traffic of broad-market sellers, such as Craig’s List, they do draw some sports enthusiasts. Enthusiasts might be willing to pay more for your specialized equipment. Neither site is a stand-out, but they also don’t charge listing fees. They only levy commissions on sales. Thus, we’d suggest listing on all of the major free sites, including CraigsList, LetGo and OfferUp, as well as these specialized sites to boost the chance of getting multiple offers.