Hosting a yard sale online can be an excellent way to declutter your home and earn some extra cash. Check these tips to get the most out of your online sale. Fall is a great time to clear out some clutter to make room for gifts and other items you may purchase or receive during the holiday season. Before modern technology, and the influx of major social media sites and sales sites like Craigslist and Facebook, people were restricted to traditional yard sales. Now, hosting a yard sale online is pretty simple and can give you access to a larger market for your household items.

Selling items online is an easy way to make a few dollars from stuff you will not be using, however, you can maximize your profits (and increase your chances of a good sale) by following a few simple tips.

Tips for Choosing the Best Items to Sell Online

Many people have a difficult time getting rid of items from their homes even if they have never used it because there is usually some type of emotional attachment. Whether it is the thought of hurting grandma’s feelings because you ditched a sweater set she gave you for Christmas or the thought of losing money on an item you purchased, but never used, emotional attachments often prevent people from properly clearing out the clutter.

Focusing on which items will fetch the best price can help remove some of the emotional attachment. If you have a lot of clutter to clear out, give yourself a limit of how many items you can keep and make strict parameters for what qualifies an object for the “keep” pile.

Items that typically sell well online include:

  • Electronics (televisions, stereos, gaming systems, cell phones, computers)
  • Electronic parts
  • Vehicles (automobiles and recreational)
  • Dolls and Toys
  • Video Games and DVDs
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing

A key thing to remember is that all items should be in good, working condition. There are some exceptions, such as with some electronics and vehicles. You should always let someone know if you are selling for parts. Expect to sell any non-working items for a bargain.

Clothing should be clean and in good repair. There is a huge market for baby clothes and used high-end fashion. Bargain hunters love scoring on name brands. Just inspect each piece to make sure it is free from tears and stains.

Pricing Items to Sell Online

Remember that although you are selling items online, you should use yard sale prices. People purchasing items from the internet (especially used items) will not pay full market for an item, even if it has just been sitting in your closet. You can think of this as losing a little cash or earning back some of your money, the latter makes accepting less a little easier.

To help determine your prices do the following:

  • Look up the brand new market value of the item you want to sell. Compare it with the used price.
  • Check out what people are selling the same item for used. Browse the common auction sites (including Amazon, Craigslist and other local classified sites) and get an estimate for how much people are paying for an item.
  • To figure out your price look at how available your item is. For example, if there are numerous new sewing machines for sale online, but not many used, you may be able to set your price a bit higher. If the online boards are flooded with used machines, you should wait, find another site or set your price lower for a better chance to sell.
  • Do not try to sell at retail prices.
  • Be willing to negotiate a little and mention in the ad that you are willing to negotiate.

Where to post sales online

Selling items online is a little tricky because it can be harder to negotiate. Some sites, like eBay, allow you to auction off an item to ensure you get the best price but competition can be extremely high on these sites and eBay takes a chunk of your profits.

If you want to keep all of your money and up your odds of selling, try a site like Craigslist. This site allows you to post items locally. You do not have to post any personal information (interested buyers will just see a generic email address) and you can negotiate, if necessary, when a buyer contacts you.

Whether you sell on Craigslist, eBay, or another auction site, be careful. Meet in a public place, if possible for your transaction. Furniture and vehicles may necessitate giving out your address for a local pickup. Always have someone home with you and ask for cash to avoid losing an item and the cash too.

Save money on selling your items online by avoiding long-distance sales. You can avoid shipping costs if you sell locally. If this is not possible, consider folding the cost of shipping into the purchase price.

Popular local auction sites include Close5 and the Buy Sell Community.

Donate Unsold Yard Sale Items to Local Charities

If an item does not sell online, this is not a free pass to keep that item. If it is something you have not used in the last 6 months and you are not likely to use it any time soon, get rid of it. You can host a yard sale or donate the item to a local charity.

Many area charities accept gently used clothing, toys and coats for families and children. You may also be able to donate a vehicle, old glasses and reading material. If you cannot get money for an item, you can help someone in need get access to items they may not otherwise be able to get. All donated items should be cleaned and in good condition.

A few local charities to consider include:

Kars4Kids Car Donation
Tel. 415.692.8460

Dress for Success
Tel. 415.362.0034

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library (books and magazines)
Tel. 415.626.7500

San Francisco Ronald McDonald House
Tel. 415.673.0891