There’s nothing more satisfying than having a good clear-out – emptying your wardrobes, cupboards, and that drawer full of random crap. But rather than chucking out what you don’t want, consider giving it to a new home, instead. It’s better for the planet (and your bank balance).
You can sell you stuff on a number of popular sites and apps but when I asked Twitter, people said some worked better than others, depending on what you have to flog. Larger household items are great for Facebook, they said, while clothes and smaller accessories are better sold on eBay. These were the two most popular selling sites people mentioned
What do you need to know about them if you’re a newbie, then? Here, we’ll go through the pros and cons of the most popular selling platforms, plus details on what they’re best at selling.
Jenny Keefe, who works at MoneySavingExpert, also warns: “If you’re flogging your own unwanted stuff such as cast-off clothing or a second-hand stereo, there’s no tax to pay. But become a trader, make or buy goods with the intention of selling them, and it is taxable after you earn £1,000.”
You can sell anything on eBay – furniture, electronics, clothes, gadgets. The majority of listings are auction-based (and many will know the thrill of a last-minute bidding war), but ‘buy it now’ options are increasingly popular.
“With 185 million buyers worldwide, the mass audience is its main selling point,” says Keefe of MSE. “It’s a doddle to use and especially good for selling things that you can post easily.”
It does come with fees, though. When your item sells, you pay about 10% of the final transaction value, including taxes and postage. It’s called the “final value fee”. There are “insertion fees”, too – but you receive a number of free listings each month so you can quite easily work it so you never end up paying this.
“Many complain about these fees,” says Keefe, “however, I’m a bit obsessed by eBay’s ‘sell for £1 max’ promos, which it runs roughly every other weekend. When you list an item over these promo periods, the final value fee for it is capped at £1. I only sell on eBay on those weekends – take advantage of these promos and eBay beats many other platforms on fees.
If someone’s unhappy with an item, they say it’s damaged, or they no longer want it – many eBayers say the platform will always “side with the buyer “as they do not wish to discourage buyers from using eBay”. However, there is a formal resolution centre if you’re unhappy with any transaction.
Pros: sheer number of users; you can sell anything; there’s a resolution centre if something happens.
Cons: seller fees; you have to post the item (unless you find a buyer who happens to be local); and some say eBay sides with the buyer.
Gumtree is a national site filled with classified ads, with everything from jobs to properties, and random camping equipment. It’s free for private sellers to post ads in the “for sale” section of the site. You might find larger items sell better on Gumtree, and that the response to your listings aren’t as high as eBay.
Jasmine Birtles, founder of MoneyMagpie.com, says it’s a good place to sell bulky items like furniture or garden projects. You have access to local buyers – “a lot of them” – and they’re more willing to come and pick the item up. “I have sold TVs, cupboards and other furniture on Gumtree successfully,” she says. “I always insist on cash and it has to be in my hand before the item is given away.
“Gumtree is also excellent for selling cars – it’s the largest UK platform for individuals to sell their motors – and has the extra advantage that it is free. Again, I have sold cars this way, but it’s important to know what you’re doing if you buy a car through this platform.”
Pros: good for larger, bulky items; no fees.
Cons: some report a lower response rate on Gumtree than other sites like eBay and Facebook.
Practical tips for selling your stuff
1. Take clear, bright photos so people know exactly what they’re getting
2. Give dimensions and measurements in the listing – people like this detail
3. Try to be as descriptive as possible about what people are getting, so there isn’t any disappointment
4. Be clear if there are marks, scuffs, or breakages on the item you are selling
5. Mark clearly if it is brand new with tags (BNWT) as this will appeal to many.
Buying and selling groups on Facebook in your local area – as well as Facebook Marketplace, the platform’s dedicated selling space – are increasingly popular.
“They’re a great way to earn cash flogging unwanted stuff,” says Keefe, “and they’re especially good for bulky items, as buyers collect in person paying cash in hand. This also means bearing in mind current lockdown rules wherever you are.”
Some say home accessories and furniture sell better on Facebook Marketplace than clothes – but you can put anything up there and see if there’s interest. And you can cross post what you sell on Marketplace with your local buying and selling groups to get maximum reach.
There are no fees, so the profit is all yours! And people enjoy the fact you don’t have to post – although some may respond to your listing asking you to do so.
“Most Facebook sales are local, you won’t have access to the wider audience you get with a site such as eBay,” adds Keefe. “That said, when we crunched sold prices for 20 items, from trainers to Nutribullets, we found Facebook beat eBay for 14 out of 20 items, once fees were factored in.”
Pros: No fees; no trips to the post office; no lengthy sign-ups (if you’re on Facebook already).
Cons: People might ask you to post anyway; and some can be time-wasters.
Depop is the place to go to sell your clothes, with Keefe calling it a “cross between eBay and Instagram”. The fashion marketplace is a great place to sell vintage clothes. she says. “Think 1990s Blur T-shirts and 1980s Laura Ashley dresses. If you’re clever you might spot bootsale goodies and flip them for profit.”
Clothes can sell faster if you ‘tag’ listings with keywords, Keefe suggests, such as 90s, rave and Y2K, for example. But some sellers get frustrated by how many Depop buyers try to haggle. “Of course, there’s no need to accept a lowball offer if you don’t want to. The downside’s the fees – it takes its 10% cut directly from your PayPal account or card before paying the remainder of the money to you. You then post items directly to buyers.”
Pros: great place to sell clothes; lots of buyers’ interest.
Cons: people try to haggle; there are fees to pay.
These are not going ahead right now due to Covid, but Birtles said car boot sales are great ways for pulling in quick cash for mostly, low price and low-grade items. “These are the things that you would probably be able to sell on eBay, but it would be likely to be too much hassle for the money,” she says.
“Certain things do very well at boot-sales: perfume (including half-empty bottles) and up-market cosmetics (even used ones), food (many people sell homemade cakes and jams), gadgets, vintage stuff, collectors items (NatWest piggies, barbie dolls, Elvis memorabilia) and some homeware. Clothes, shoes, books and CDs/DVDs can be slower to sell unless they are special. It’s not a good idea to take valuable items to a boot sale.”
You won’t get the proper price, but for a “quick and dirty way to dejunk and get some cash-money in your pocket, you can’t beat it,” says Birtles.
Pros: sell a lot in one go; cash in hand; no fees.
Cons: finding and booking a boot sale; not suitable during Covid.
The best of the rest
These sites may be less known – and so not as commonly used – but they could be worth it if you’re looking for new avenues to sell your stuff.
Vintage Cash Cow is an online platform to sell your old stuff, with a vintage feel. The items accepted are in any condition – even if they’re broken and damaged. It upcycles and resells the products it buys. Order a free selling pack, choose a collection option, then wait to find out how much your stuff is worth.
Vinted is a secondhand online community that allows its users to sell, buy, and swap clothing and accessories. It’s all done on the Vinted app, and you can list and sell with no fees so you get 100% profit.