You've probably heard the saying "One mans trash is another mans treasure" and this is definitely the case when it comes to all that unwanted stuff hiding in cupboards, lofts and garages. An Ebay survey (2020) found the average UK home was sitting on £2600 worth of unwanted items - there's definitely money to be made from moving on items that you no longer need.
The Declutter Habit
When our children were young we lived in a tiny house so we got into the habit of sorting through the things that we'd either outgrown, didn't need or no longer loved and decided to let them go rather than clutter up our living space.
Lots of people don't manage to get in to the habit of moving things on, they're too busy juggling work and family life so decluttering falls off the end of the to do list... I understand not everyone enjoys a good sort out as much as I do! But that Ebay survey may be just the motivation you need to kick start a Marie Kondo style tidy up in your home and making you clutter count.
Making Money From Your Clutter
If you’re looking to make some money from your clutter there are several ways you can sell your items:
* Through an auction site (Ebay, Depop, Vinted)
* Trade in app/website (Ziffit, Music Magpie)
* Through a Facebook group or Facebook Marketplace.
HOWEVER… before you make an ‘Ebay pile’ be realistic about whether you have the time and motivation to list your items. Give yourself a time limit (2 weeks) to take photos, list and sell everything and if they don’t sell pop them in a bag and take them to a charity shop. You’ve done the hard work deciding to let the items go so don’t let the clutter filter back into your home.
I Sold £13,500 worth of stuff I didn't want anymore on Ebay!
I’ve been selling on Ebay since 2004 and was recently amazed to see on my EBay Seller Dashboard that my sales total to date was almost £13,500.
That's an average of £800 a year from selling stuff we no longer wanted and the best bit is, if you're careful about managing your 'costs', you don't feel the impact of either Ebay fees or postage costs.
Top Tips for Selling on EBay
If you're planning to sell some of your unwanted items on an auction site like Ebay I've pulled together some of my top tips to help you get started.
Research your item on Ebay:
Always do a bit of research to find out what items have actually sold for - you can find this by searching for your item and selecting "Advanced Search – Completed Items".
This will help you decide whether it’s worth the effort of taking photos, listing and posting the item.
Be aware of EBay Fees:
As a private seller you can list up to 1000 items a month for free however EBay takes a commission of 10% of the selling and postage price of the item – so if you item sells at £100 + £6 postage you will pay Ebay £10.60.
I recommend waiting to list your items on one of EBays '£1 Listing Fee Weekend' promotions which run frequently and will maximise your sales profit as EBay cap their fees at a £1. Selling your item for £100 plus £6 postage during the promotion will cost you £1 (£9.60 less than Ebay standard fee).
Choose the best time to list:
You may find that some items are more in demand at different times in the year, for example:
Toys and video games will always sell well in the run up to Christmas.
Summer clothes will sell better in April-June than at the end of the Summer
Build up your EBay Profile:
Buyers are more likely to trust you as a seller if you have good reviews on your Ebay profile, especially if you are selling more expensive items. If you don’t already have a profile it may be worth signing up and buying a few everyday basic items (which you need and will use) to get some feedback before you start listing your items.
Research the Keywords you use to list your items:
When you write the title of your listing think about the best way to describe the item and the words that people may type in when searching for it.
Try and include as many of these as possible – so instead of “pink coat” try “pink girls padded toddler coat aged 3-4 Marks & Spencer jacket”.
Calculate the Postage cost when you list the item:
Buyers pay for postage on Ebay so always make sure you list your item with the correct postage cost by using Ebays integrated postage estimator.
I always recommend weighing/measuring your item and packaging and using the estimator so you don't end up having to pay more than you've charged for postage.
Try Collection Only if you don’t want to post:
If you have big, bulky or fragile items that you don’t want to post then try listing as Collection Only - if the buyer wants the item they will travel for it.
We’ve sold a playframe that the buyer dismantled from our garden and a cd rack that someone drove from Essex to Winchester for (it matched the John Lewis item they had bought 10 years previously!)
Always Be Honest in your descriptions:
You can sell damaged items as long as you are honest in your descriptions. Highlight any issues and let potential buyers know they can ask questions or request further photos – you’ll be surprised what sells!
Items that sell well on Ebay:
Branded items – always name the Brand if there is one – it will be a keyword people search for and will probably sell for more than a generic item (think Levi jeans rather than jeans).
New items, items with labels still attached or in boxes tend to sell for a higher price than those without.
Bundles of childrens clothes, toys, video games sell well. Make sure you itemise the items and their condition so that the buyer knows what they are bidding on.
If you're still unsure about selling on an auction site then an easier route for a 'guaranteed' selling price on your item is to use a Trade In App.
Selling Through Trade In Apps These sites will give you valuation based on the items condition. If you’re happy with this valuation you then package the item up and send it directly to the company (usually free post). Once the item has been received and checked you’ll receive payment either via Paypal or straight into your bank account.
My favourite trade in apps are:
Ziffit: for books, cds, dvds. A recent client made £68 from trading in her books – 4 heavy boxes were collected from her home completely free of charge!
We Buy Books: As above (I check valuations on both and go with the highest).
Music Magpie: great for trading in tech (games consoles, laptops), cameras and phones. I always check the valuations against other sites like Mazuma Mobile. My old Iphone 7 Plus had a higher value (£106) on Mazuma Mobile and the money was in my bank account 2 days after it was posted (I loved how I received text message to keep me updated on how my trade was being processed).
Selling On Facebook
If you prefer to keep things local and are happy for people to come to your door to pick up items then local Facebook pages or Facebook Marketplace can also be a great way to move on low value items. There are no fees but you may have to manage a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with questions and people enquiring and then letting you down.
If you're selling higher priced items I would recommend being paid through Paypal before collection as a safety precaution.
I recently sold a pressure cooker that had sat in the cupboard for more than a year for £30 – it was sold with 2 hours of being listed and collected the next day which is a great solution for moving things out of your home quickly.
Where to Donate items that you can't sell
Remember that your clutter and discarded items may be something that someone else would love to own so make sure you Make Your Clutter Count by looking at my Resource page for ideas on where to donate items.
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I’m Sue, a professional organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire. I work remotely or in-person to help busy people declutter, organise and simplify their homes or offices so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life. For a no-obligation chat about how I can help, please get in touch.
m: 07740 782575