How to clear clutter and make money online

Professional organizers say that they best way to clear your clutter is to sort it into 3 piles – keep it, toss it, or donate it.  But consider adding a fourth pile – sell it!  Your trash may be someone else’s treasure.   If it’s no longer of use to you, someone else may be looking for it and be willing to pay you big bucks for it. 

If you can’t have a yard sale, there are a few different types of online selling tools you can use. 

Auction sites like eBay, eBid, and Quibids let you post your item with a picture, and description over a specified period of time and potential buyers place bids.  At the end of the time period the highest bidder wins. The cost for this service is usually a percentage of the selling price that gets charged to your credit card from the auction site itself.   Services like PayPal let you accept payments securely and instantaneously for a nominal fee.

If you have a lot of things to sell, you may want to build your own e-store. Online e-store sites such as Shopify, Etsy, Amazon and eBay let you post and sell your items for a price that you specify.  Essentially, you set up your own store page that their customers can search and purchase from.  The cost may be a monthly or yearly fee as well as a percentage of your sale.  So make sure you read all the fine print.   

Then there are local classified sites like Craig’s List, Kijiji, and Facebook Sale Groups that let you post your items for free.  You specify the price and your location, a buyer contacts you to discuss the details like payment, shipping or meeting if you happen to be in the same area, then you ship it and get paid.

Tips for selling online:

  1. Do your research.  Find similar items online and compare.  Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s worth something.   What you think may be worth something may actually be worthless.   Items like Royal Doulton figurines that used to sell for hundreds of dollars, now sell for around $50.
  2. Don’t be greedy.  Don’t set the price too high.  Remember, if you are selling this because you no longer want or need it.  If getting rid of it is your primary goal, then making a bit of cash is just a bonus.  You want it to sell so post it at a fair price.    
  3. Attract buyers.  Name your post with a clear title, making sure the name of the item is stated with a brief description.  Use all the characters allowed so you can put as many search terms in the title as possible.  Post a few different photos, showing it from different angles, so potential customers can easily see the condition of the item.  Your full description should give as much information as possible listing the dimensions, brand, condition, and any providence, if known. 
  4. Be honest!  Trying to misrepresent an item or hide a flaw only hurts your reputation.  To keep sellers honest, online sites post ratings and reviews from past customers.  Too many bad reviews and no one will buy from you. 
  5. Be ship shape.  Make sure that you know how much it’s going to cost to ship the item to the purchaser, and that you let them know they are responsible for paying this amount.  There are many online tools from your post office or favourite courier service to help you calculate this.  Make sure you get paid before you ship the item and then send the buyer a tracking number once you have shipped.
  6. Read the fine print. Make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you to sell your item on the site you choose and any conditions.  Typically fees will end up costing you 20-25% of your selling price.

Good luck and happy selling!