I’ve sold hundreds and hundreds of items on eBay, gumtree and Facebook buy, swap and sell pages. This week alone I’ve sold an iPad, two mobile phones, a keyboard stand, a paddle pool, a projector screen and a guitar case. This week is busier than usual because it’s school holidays and I’ve got some free time, and I’m also selling things for a local non profit I’m involved with. But… one thing remains – the saying one mans junk is another mans treasure is never more true that in our culture where we’re becoming more conscious of recycling and reusing items in our homes.
My brother-in-laws family own their towns’ local tip in QLD and the stories of things people pay to dispose of are both amazing and disappointing. He once bought home a children’s electric car which was in perfect working order and gave their kids hours of fun driving around the backyard. The reason it was thrown away? The original owners child no longer used it. Nothing wrong with it, could have been given away or sold, but instead it ended up being taken to the tip. What a waste! My kids still talk about the cool kids car they got to drive when they visited their cousins.
I sell things online for 2 simple reasons.
Firstly, it’s environmentally responsible. It takes a lot of consumable energy to produce the things we fill our homes with. Couches, TVs, electronics, toys, clothes… these all require resources to create. And when we throw them out, for the most part they sit idly in land fill. However, the act of passing on items we no longer need to someone who will use it saves landfill from being flooded with items which still work but are no longer new and shiny. It’s also environmentally responsible to purchase your items second hand wherever possible.
Secondly, it’s fiscally responsible. The money you make selling an item offsets the initial purchase price, reducing your overall outlay on items. If your time is more valuable to you than bothering to sell items, then give them away. Give them to a friend, neighbour or your local op-shop. The flip side of the same coin is that it’s also fiscally responsible to buy items secondhand where you can. Saving money or making some extra money by buying and selling second hand can help ease the financial pressure your family is under. The good news too is that usually the money you make selling something you own isn’t declarable income so it’s tax free. (Speak to your accountant for personalised information).
So if you’re interested in being either environmentally or financially responsible by buying and selling second hand, what are your best options?
I use several methods dependant on what it is I’m selling, one of these may work for you or you may find a different market to sell in.
eBay: I’ve been using eBay to buy and sell for over 10 years. The benefit is you have a national audience and you can usually find anything you need. The downside is that their fees can add up if you’re selling items of value. Make sure you factor in selling fees or postage fees when making a transaction to see if it’s still good value for you.
Gumtree: I’ve only used Gumtree about a dozen times, so I’m no expert; but I’ve found it good for selling large items (garden materials, building materials, large household items). Gumtree has no fees which is a bonus, but has less reach than eBay so you may be missing out on potential buyers.
Facebook Marketplace: recently this has been my preferred method of selling household items that require local pick up. Again, no fees associated but unlike eBay and Gumtree, it’s currently unregulated which means on more than one occasion I’ve had buyers pull out at the last minute or say they’ll turn up to pick up an item and never show. I do like this platform from a community point of view – I’ve met some great people in our local area and enjoy the local connection.
Market or Garage Sale: if you’re downsizing or doing a huge declutter you may find that filling the car and booking a spot at a local market might be a quicker way of selling your possessions. Alternatively you may choose to host a garage sale, which in order to do well requires planning and advertising. I’ve not found either of these methods particularly successful with my style of selling but others have reported they work for them.
So if you’ve been inspired, give online selling a go and make yourself some extra pocket money. If you’re not sure where to start, have a look around the house and see if there are things you no longer use – or make sure you watch my weekly declutter videos via my Facebook page and I’ll give you weekly tips on what you can declutter.
Enjoy the Freedom!