A tried and true way to make money is to sell things you already own. But the increasingly wide variety of sales platforms may leave you with questions about where to sell. And some sites are definitely better than others — particularly when trying to sell specific goods, such as clothing, rare books and electronics.
Here’s our alphabetical guide to where to sell what you own, whether it’s toys, furniture or jewelry.
Abe Books is a national retailer that specializes in books that are rare, classic, first editions and manuscripts signed by the author (or a famous contemporary). It also sells vintage magazines, comic books and art.
If you have truly valuable and rare books of any type, this is a great place to list them. A 1965 paperback edition of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, for instance, is listed on the site for $665. These books are well used and only a collector would know that they shouldn’t be sold at a garage sale for 50 cents apiece. But that’s exactly the type of buyer that goes to Abe Books.
However, selling fees can be stiff. To sell anything, you must pay at least a $25 membership fee. Sales are also subject to commissions and credit card processing fees.
Craigslist is swamped with fraudsters who will try to buy your stuff with fake checks. It’s also rife with bargain hunters, who want everything for free or a ludicrously low price. And yet, it remains a great place to sell a used car.
After all, it’s the nation’s largest classified advertising site, which pulls in plenty of legitimate buyers, as well as the crooks. And determining the right price to ask for a car is easy. Simply go to KBB.com and plug in your car’s year, make, model and condition. The site will provide a relatively narrow price range for selling to a dealership or to a private party. Using Craigslist in combination with KBB gives you the best of all worlds — pricing confidence and a vibrant local market teeming with buyers. KBB also makes “instant cash offers” for sellers willing to plug in their car’s vehicle identification number. So you have an easy fallback.
If a Craigslist buyer is willing to pay as much as or more than KBB recommends, you may have a deal. But be smart. Sellers should require cash-only purchases and meet in a public place — possibly your repair shop. Don’t let go of your keys without payment.
Clothing, shoes and purses
There are plenty of sites that offer to sell your fashion — from clothing, shoes and purses to belts, wallets and watches. However, the site that stands out to our readers is Poshmark. It invites sellers to create a “closet” and connect it to your social media accounts. This allows you to advertise your inventory widely to followers who like your style. Site fees are 20%. But Poshmark provides the shipping label, so the cost is not out of line.
Dozens of sites also would like to entice you to sell them your old iPhone, Mac, Android phone or laptop. However, only one of these sites — Swappa — allows you to negotiate directly with buyers. The rest of the sites act as middlemen, buying from you and selling later at a profit. By knocking out the middleman, the seller gets more, even when the buyer pays less. It’s an economic win-win, but it does require a bit more time and effort than selling to an intermediary. So, if you value your time, use Swappa only for more valuable items, such as late-model iPhones and Macs.
Furniture, expensive and big-ticket items
Amazon and EBay, which sell everything from bobbleheads to heavy machinery, draw hundreds of millions of shoppers each month, making them ideal sites to sell expensive products, such as perfume, designer makeup and big-ticket items that are likely to have limited local interest.
EBay is particularly attractive since its fees are straightforward — 10% — and the site at least attempts to stamp out “seller extortion.” That’s when buyers make false claims about products to get a discount or freebies.
Amazon’s fees are widely variable — anywhere from 8% to 45%, depending on what you’re selling. So it may make sense to compare selling costs for your particular product before you commit to either site.
You can sell small household items, such as coffee makers, paperbacks, videos and kids’ toys, at a garage sale. Or you can do the online equivalent and list it for sale on Nextdoor. This social media site allows neighbors to communicate about lost dogs and crime. But it also lets you list personal items for sale for free.
Two sites are worth mentioning if you want to sell jewelry: Worthy markets itself as a great place for the divorced and jilted to sell expensive engagement and wedding rings via auction. However, because many of the site’s buyers appear to be professional buyers, Worthy may do better at selling the stone in your ring rather than the ring itself. One of the consistent complaints that sellers have is that the site will ask whether it can take the stone out of your jewelry to have it graded, and that sometimes ruins the setting.
Meanwhile, Circa Jewels offers to buy luxury watches, diamond rings, bracelets, brooches, etc. The company buys these items for resale, so it doesn’t take a fee or commission. But it’s going to offer you less than it expects to receive. So don’t expect to get as much as you think the item is worth.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.