reselling pic front sparkly shirt

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Welcome back, home lovers!  Today I present, “reselling online for extra cash: an in-depth look at cashing in on the crap that’s cluttering your treasured home.”

Let’s clear it up right now: why are we talking about reselling on a real estate blog? 

Twofold:

  1. Reselling makes money, and your house costs money. 
  2. Clearing stuff from your house makes it easier to renovate.

Please hear me out on how and why to resell to improve your life! 

Many people resell for various reasons, most notably “extra cash.”  While it’s possible to be a full-time reseller like those crazies on Youtube, my experience has been that reselling is a handy part time adventure in which a person can make some extra dough. 

I anticipate that you’ll appreciate extra cash if you’re, say, saving up for a down payment on a house or getting out of student loan debt.  Don’t knock it ’til ya try it, kids, so let’s get this show on the road!


My background reselling online for extra cash

My experience

I personally have been reselling online since 2013.  As of the day I write this post, that makes 8 years!  Wowzah! 

I have also worked as a print model in e-commerce, aka online catalogs.  You know those headless models on overstock.com?  I was once one of those headless models.  (Models get paid less if our face isn’t involved.  Now you will notice every headless body part in the advertisements you consume.  You’re welcome.).

Noreen headless model 1
look Mom, no face!

How it started

My reselling habit started innocently enough.  It was eBay, of course, the gateway drug for online resellers. 

My mom had come across a few “vintage” cookbooks – think a 20 page Pillsbury cookie pamphlet from 1975 – and I said, “well, it would be a real pity to throw them away… why don’t I see if I can sell them on eBay?” 

Sure enough, a handful of them sold.  It wasn’t much – $5 here or $10 there… but I was hooked! 

I wanted to sell those silly cookbooks for 4 reasons:

  1. I hate throwing stuff out (much to my husband’s dismay).
  2. It’s sad to see things go to waste. 
  3. I get a kick out of seeing someone get something they want at a bargain
  4. Simultaneously, it tidied my house

To me, reselling is an “everyone wins” proposition.  Sources say that it’s also beneficial for the environment to shop used – a sweet fringe benefit!   

How it’s going

Since that innocent beginning back in 2013, I’ve sold thousands of dollars of stuff.  A quick mental tally of my eBay + Poshmark + Craigslist + Mercari sales lends itself to the $4.5k mark.  Not bad for a cute side hustle, amiright? 

What have I sold for all these years?

Now that I think of it… I’m not sure, exactly.  It’s just been random things I don’t need anymore.  Things like bridesmaid dresses, “vintage” toys like My Magic Diary (bless my soul it still worked), Irish dance accessories from my colorful career, unused froufrou candles, hubby’s engineering text books, cocktail dresses, mini fridges, and entire sets of kitchen cabinets (twice!).  I’ve sold sports memorabilia and lightly worn shoes, shelves, cabinets, wool coats, cell phones, and computers.  I’ve flipped items from yard sales and thrift stores and pawned off extra materials from house projects. 

Folks, I don’t even think I’m that good at this… I just think it’s fun!  YAHOO! 

Below I will detail how I have sold all of these these things, plus tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way so that you can do the same!  

Just imagine… a tidier house, and extra cash in your pocket. 

Come to the dark side. 


The differences between reselling platforms

Ebay is not the same as Poshmark is not the same as Mercari is not the same as Facebook marketplace is not the same as Craiglist. 

Where to begin? Let’s start reselling online for extra cash with my gateway drug, eBay.


eBay

What it is:

The O.G. online reselling hub, eBay has been around since 1995. I highly doubt you haven’t heard of eBay, but just in case: eBay is an online auction website where people can bid on items for sale. 

Best for:

Books, electronics, small housewares, clothing, accessories. 

For your safety:

When you print a label, your address will show as the Return.  If you plan on selling online often, I highly recommend renting a PO box to use as your return address to give you a layer of insulation from the crazies.  Maybe I watched too much Castle back in the day, but better safe than sorry. 

Considerations:

Shipping: On eBay, the seller provides package weight and dimensions in order to get the right shipping costs when the buyer punches in their zip code.  I usually do not offer free shipping unless the item is high in price.  I have been burned in the past by under estimating how much a product weighed, so do yourself a favor and don’t guess!  Priority mail takes a lot of the guesswork out of shipping.  You can print labels from home, which is extremely convenient. 

Money: Ebay takes about a 10% cut.  They recently switched to a convoluted version of taking 10%… but it’s still about 10%.  There are listing fees if you have a large number of listings, but that’s usually when you get above 100 listings.  (This number changes regularly, but that’s a reasonable estimate). 

As for item cost, you pick the price!  You can set to a bidding structure, a buy it now, or a fixed price.  You can also accept a “best offer” in recent years, which is pretty slick and convenient. 

Reviews: Bad reviews are bad.  Good reviews are good.  You want the gold star, here, folks.  Buyers look at these things.  You also will benefit from taking time to review your buyers.  Ebay rewards community participation, so keep your ducks in a row and you’ll be on your way. 


Craigslist:

What it is:

Also founded in 1995, Craigslist is the ultimate online classified ad site.  Famous for missed connections and some seriously creepy dating posts, good ol’ Craigslist still produces when it comes to local pickup items for sale. 

Best for:

Big stuff that you wouldn’t easily ship.

I personally have sold several crazy things on Craigslist.  I like it for large items like appliances, free scrap pickup, and entire kitchens. 

Yes, you read that right.  I sold an entire kitchen’s worth of cabinets.

Twice.

People came to my house and removed kitchen cabinets from the walls.

And gave me money for it. 

Gosh life is great. 

The secret here was to say, “$1,000 if you want it removed, but $500 if you remove it yourself.” 

You better believe the buyers brought their drills and hacked away at the cabinets to save themselves $500.  Meanwhile, I kicked back and marveled at the idea that they were doing my demo for me and I was still making $500 cash. 

Everybody wins. 

For your safety:

Do not do these things:

  • give out your pickup location until you have a confirmed pickup day/time.
  • meet someone in a parking lot, backwoods, or alleyway for a pickup.
  • leave your phone number in your listing or your email signature.
  • text the person that is buying from you.
  • type in your home address as the pickup location on your listing. 

Considerations:

Shipping: Please don’t do that.

Money: You set the cost and terms.  I recommend using “cash and carry only” or “venmo on the spot” if you don’t want cash.  In Covid times, people often do contactless pickup, and just hope the buyer is honest enough that they’ll leave your $$ in the mailbox. 

Reviews: Luckily, with Craigslist, people usually just pay and walk away.  Every so often, if an item doesn’t work or they’re a real PITA, people can get back in touch and complain, and it’s up to you how to deal with it.  For the most part, it’s pretty chill.  After all, it’s Craigslist, the wild west of reselling!

1st floor kitchen cabinets
sold these bad boys on Cragslist!

Facebook Marketplace

What it is:

A Craigslist spinoff brought to you by Zuckerberg & co.

Best for:

Furniture, household goods, stuff that’s hard to ship, and “free” items!

Safety tips:

See above – all the same as Craigslist

Considerations:

People who send the generic “Is this still available” are usually not as likely to show up as people who say things like “hi” and “interested in xyz item, can pick up today.” Use your gut judgement – if something seems weird, it probably is.

Money: same as Craigslist – choose your own adventure.

Reviews: also doesn’t apply – which is nice!

Some folks like the reassurance of a FB profile to check out if someone seems creepy or not. I find it helpful, but not a be-all-end-all. I once had a shopper inquiring about a filing cabinet whose location was listed as that of a war-torn country in the Middle East. After inquiring, he turned out to be a totally non-threatening, super nice guy, totally safe, and located a town away in Jersey. Do what you’re comfortable with!


Poshmark

What it is:

A “social commerce marketplace” founded in 2011.  In other words… it’s an app.  Think a shopping app meets a social media platform.  You can share, like and comment on item listings. 

On Poshmark, you can also acquire followers and follow others.  They have a “stories” feature, just like Facebook and Instagram.  Why do these things matter?  Because the algorithm rewards participation.  The more you share your items and others’ items, the more shoppers will see your items. 

Best for:

Women’s clothing and accessories

Safety Tips:

Like eBay, I feel safer with a PO box return address instead of my home address.  Also, don’t meet anyone in person or give out your email address.  If it seems weird… it probably is. 

Considerations:

Shipping: Poshmark is a real gem here.  They email you a .pdf of the shipping label, and you print it at home.  Done!  The company, as of 2021, has an agreement with the USPS.  Everything ships Priority.  Unless you are selling a really heavy item, it’s standard across the board.  Very little effort required. 

Money: Poshmark is a real dud here.  They take a 20% cut.  Womp womp.  Factor this in to your listing prices!  Buyers can also make an offer – it’s up to you if you want to take it or not. 

Reviews: Buyers can leave up to five stars.  You don’t get paid unless the buyer “accepts” your item (as in, it arrived in a timely fashion, appears as listed, etc.).


Mercari

What it is:

An app as of 2013, it’s an online marketplace for sellers and buyers.  Mercari is very similar to Poshmark, but it has less of the social feel and more of a get-to-the-point of buying & selling.  Apparently it started out as a Japanese retailer, who knew?

Best for:

Kids’ items & clothing, men’s & women’s clothing

Safety Tips:

As with eBay and Poshmark, I highly recommend using a PO box for your return address.

Considerations:

Shipping: Mercari offers more options for shipping – you can use USPS, UPS, or FedEx.  It is imperative that you know the weight of your item.  In 2021 they also introduced a Mercari door-to-door delivery service.  I have not tried it so I cannot comment on it. 

Money: Mercari takes 10%.  That’s it!  You can elect to include shipping or make the buyer pay for shipping, and price accordingly. 

Reviews: Your earnings are not released until both you and the buyer review the purchase. 

Want to sell on Mercari? Click here for my link to get $10 off your first order + $20 when you make your first $100 selling!


Photos are everything

When reselling online for extra cash, good pictures are essential!  I’m not saying you need a fancy camera – simple phone pics will do – but here are some basics that you would be wise to include:

  1.  Front, side, back, and a detail.  This is the basic tenet of e-commerce, and I offer you my many sweaty hours spent at crammed NYC print shoots changing clothes every 5 minutes for 8 hours straight to bring you this advice.  (Why, no, I’m not burnt out at all, thank you for asking.).
    Whatever you’re selling – clothing, furniture, books – take a picture of the front, one of the back, and one of a detail.  If it has more details, take more pictures.  This will help your buyer shop like they’re in person. 
  2. The tag, brand, or ISBN for books. This will help the buyer understand the item is legit and furthermore save you time from answering their questions about it. 
  3. Light it right!  Do not put your item in front of a light.  Rather, put your back to the light and your item in front of you.  Behold, the difference. 

Details help

Whether you’re listing clothing or furniture, highlighting details will help you sell faster. You’ll also employ less effort by anticipating your buyers’ questions in advance.

For clothing, always list measurements if you can – length, bust (or “pit to pit”), waist, hip. If you can’t accurately measure these things, post a screen shot of the brand’s size chart. Most buyers know their size in their favorite brands.

vintage jeans poshmark listing
One of my Poshmark listings. Note the detailed measurements (…and that awful quarter round job in our old kitchen!).

For furniture, measurements are crucial! Height, width, length. You also might note if something will fit in the average car or not. We have sold several doors and have warned people that they should bring a car and/or muscles that can pick it up.

Also, being that this is the used marketplace – always, always list flaws in the product. No one likes to deal with a return, whether you’re buying or selling. Often, people will forgive a small stain or button missing – but only if you tell them about it and shave a few bucks off the price, noting in the item description, “price reflects.”

Ah! Speaking of price…


Price it right

Time for hot cocoa with grandma and a rousing game of Plinko!  The price betta be right, baby! 

The fun part of online selling is that you get to name your price. 

The annoying part of online selling is that you get to name your price. 

Some things to consider:

Look at sold listings

The first step I recommend when reselling online for extra cash is to look at the “sold” listings of your item.  Selling a pair of jeans from the Gap?  Search for the item on your chosen platform, then find the annoyingly small button that says “sold items” to see what people have recently spent on similar listings. 

You might be surprised to find that your beanie babies are worth $5, or delighted to learn that a used J. Crew peacoat found for $5 at a yard sale is worth a whopping $90. Use this info to price your item accordingly. 

Price it a little high

On one hand, it’s good to ask about 10-15% more than what you want for your item. 

This allows some leeway for buyers to make an offer and feel like they’re getting a deal, while you end up with just about the amount of money you want.  (Kind of like BBB and their famous 20% off coupon. Their original prices are just 20% higher than other retailers. Coincidence? I think not.)

Price it a little low

On the other hand, it’s good to ask a bit less than what it’s likely worth.  This will push the product out of your house faster. 

Check your platform

You also must consider your selling platform’s fees.  Like a good talent agent, they generally take between 10% – 20% off the top.

Bids and offers

Shoppers are looking for a deal, and sometimes they are pretty cutthroat about it. 

Trying to wrap your head around it? I recommend that you remember why you are selling – is it to make the highest dollar possible?  Or is it to clean out your house with a fringe benefit of extra moolah?

My tactic: more often than not, I accept reasonable offers. My goal is to make extra dough and keep my house clean. Quibbling over the internet for an extra dollar is usually not worth the effort.

You call the shots, just do your thing and list it, baby! Remember, money in beats money out!


Conclusion

WHEW that was a lot of info-dump for my fellow resellers out there. 

With a little know-how and a few extra minutes on the weekends, you can get in the game of reselling online for extra cash. 

Where will you spend it?  What products will you offer?  Let me know if you try this, and how your journey goes! 


reselling online clean out pin 3