How to Sell Your Stuff Online and Make Bank
It's fun to imagine that our cluttered closets and jam-packed garages are filled with items people would pay good money for. Turns out, that fantasy is not so far-fetched. When my sister and I left our shared apartment for separate, smaller places last summer, we hopped on the internet, selling sofas, desks, appliances, clothing, art, and books to friends and strangers. In the end, I earned nearly $3,500.
Selling belongings online or IRL isn’t just a great way to declutter and avoid landfill waste—it’s also big business. Partly spurred by the trend of bypassing fast fashion (and retail prices), the resale market is valued at a whopping $28 billion, and that figure is expected to more than double by 2024, according to a report from ThredUp, an online resale store. The RealReal, a luxury consignment site, has seen a 36 percent increase in first-time buyers during Covid-19. All of this is to say: There’s never been a better time to sell your stuff. Here are the best places to sell clothes, furniture, tech, and more online.
How to Sell on Poshmark
Best For: Mass-market clothing and accessories, from brands like Madewell, Target, and Coach.
How It Works: Take pictures of your items through the Poshmark app, set your prices, and post to your “closet.” Once a buyer bites, you have seven days to print out the prepaid shipping label, pack up the items, and drop them off at the post office.
Your Cut: You get 80 percent of sales over $15; anything under that, and Poshmark takes $2.95. A Coach bag I recently sold for $150 earned me $120.
Use It: If you’re tired of being turned down at your local consignment store and don’t mind managing sales from your phone or computer. You also need a printer and packing supplies.
How to Sell on eBay
Best For: Memorabilia, from comic books to stamps to records.
How It Works: Post up to 12 photos of your item and name your price. (eBay reportedly has more than 1 billion active listings, so you’ll have to be competitive.) Browsers can purchase your item immediately or offer the amount they’d like to pay.
Your Cut: Depending on the item, eBay takes about 2 to 12 percent of sales.
Use It: To clear out your old baseball cards and figurine collections.
How to Sell on Amazon or Phobio
Best For: Used cellphones, laptops, and other electronics.
How It Works: With Amazon, you send in your electronic item (home security device, Bluetooth speaker) and the company determines its worth. With Phobio, a trade-in company that accepts smartphones and computers, you fill out an online form with info about the device and its condition. Phobio then gives you a quote for its trade-in value and sends you a shipping kit. If the item is too old to earn you money, Phobio will recycle it upon request.
Your Cut: Amazon offers site credit, and Phobio emails an Apple gift card. The amount varies. A Google Pixel 3 recently scored me a $90 Apple gift card through Phobio.
Use It: To clear out your graveyard of unused electronics.
How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist
Best For: Literally anything— furniture, electronics, used wedding decor.
How It Works: Take pictures and upload your listing to Facebook Marketplace. From there, potential buyers can message you to haggle or ask about pickup or shipping.
Your Cut: 100 percent of the price, in whatever form you want to be paid. Most people opt for cash, Venmo, or PayPal.
Use It: If you have the patience to scroll through dozens of “Is this still available?” messages. Everyone, even serious buyers, will ask that question. Kat Steck of Los Angeles (@thejunkyardjournals on Instagram), who sold $3,000 worth of stuff on Facebook Marketplace last summer, replies with this: “Yes, it’s available, but I have a lot of inquiries. When would you like to pick it up?” That wording creates a sense of urgency and helps you determine who’s actually interested in buying—and who’s just browsing.
How to Sell on The RealReal
Best For: Designer handbags and clothing. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel top the list of best-selling brands on The Real Real.
How It Works: Make a virtual consignment appointment with a luxury manager, who will let you know which items they’ll take. The company sends you a prepaid shipping label or has a messenger pick up your goods. All items are inspected for wear and tear; any that don’t pass muster are mailed back to you free of charge.
Your Cut: You get 40 percent of items priced $145 and below, 50 percent of items priced from $146 to $195, and 55 percent of items priced from $196 to $1,500. Once you sell more than $1,500 worth of stuff on the site, you enter higher tiers and earn more. And commission works differently for some high-value items, like certain types of jewelry and handbags. A pair of Warby Parker sunglasses I consigned was listed at $64—I made $25.60 from the sale.
Use It: If you need to clean out your closet fast and prefer a hands-off approach. Most items sell within 30 days of being listed.
How to Sell on Kaiyo or AptDeco
Best For: Vintage and mass-market furniture (West Elm and Restoration Hardware sell especially well on Kaiyo) in the New York City and Philadelphia areas. AptDeco plans to expand nationally within the next two years.
How It Works: With AptDeco, take pictures of the piece you want to sell and create your post; Kaiyo does the posting for you. Staffers from Kaiyo or AptDeco come over and take the furniture off your hands—at no cost to you.
Your Cut: On Kaiyo, you get 60 percent of listings over $3,000, but just 10 percent of listings $99 or less. That’s only if the item sells—a chair I gave to Kaiyo last June has yet to find a new home, so I haven’t seen a cent. On the plus side, it’s out of my apartment, and if it never sells (which the company says is very rare), it will be donated. AptDeco charges a fee of 25 to 38 percent of the sale price.
Use It: When you’re moving and don’t have the time or energy to go back and forth with buyers on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
How to Sell on Instagram
Best For: Curated items, from fashion to housewares.
How It Works: Make an account that’s just for selling items, usually within a category (think: vintage furniture or clothing). Whoever messages or comments first gets dibs.
Your Cut: All of it, via whatever payment method you prefer, minus shipping if necessary.
Use It: If you’ve got a dedicated social media following and love the thrill of a quick sale. Just remember you have to arrange for pickup or shipping. Girl, don’t be that flake!