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One Day at a Time: Selling pre-loved items

As a couple of my recent posts have mentioned selling (or giving items away for free) online, I thought I'd give some tips on how to do this.

Day 6: Selling pre-loved items


Here's my step-by-step guide to selling, or giving away, items online:

  1. Choose which items you'd like to sell, and which you'd like to give away (e.g. if it cost you a lot to buy, and is in new condition, you may prefer to sell it).

  2. Look at other listings to get an idea of how much people are asking for similar items - if you put it on too high you won't get any offers.

  3. Make sure each item is clean and dry.

4. Take photographs of the item:

  1. Details: make sure you have enough light to see the item in detail, and try to avoid shadows or reflections when taking photos.

  2. Function: take photos of different sides of the item, so the buyer gets a full idea of what the item looks like and functions (e.g. for clothes, show the zips/buttons and any tags) - see photos above for examples.

  3. Flaws: take photos of any flaws (e.g. a hole, tear, stain, or any breaks).

  4. Consider how you will describe each item, include the following:

  5. What it is (e.g. the title of the book, the name of the toy, the type of clothing)

  6. Size: For clothes, give the size and fit (or age if it's for children); for books or paper items, where size is relevant (e.g. colouring books), say if it's A3, A4, or A5; for other things where size is relevant (e.g. furniture) give measurements in metres and cm, or feet and inches (height, width, depth).

  7. Colour: give the colour(s) of the item in the title - photographs are not always a realistic representation of colour.

  8. Materials: what is it made from? (e.g. if clothes, is it cotton, wool, silk? Get the info from the label).

  9. Use: if it's not clear what the item is for, explain (e.g. it's a blender with extra attachments for whisking; or, e.g., it's a thermal mug which keeps things hot for 4 hours). If it doesn't work as it did when you bought it, explain.

  10. Flaws: If it's broken or has any marks or tears, explain what they are.

Photo on the right: Example 1: the doll has a small blue pen mark next to her eye.


Example 2: the book has a small tear on the cover.


These are fairly minor flaws, and many people will still buy these items. However, some people want items that look new, without flaws like this. If you hide them when selling, you may get negative feedback on your profile - which makes it harder to sell other items in future.


In my experience, there are now many people buying items to upcycle them (paint, re-cover, use them for a different purpose), therefore, as long as you explain that something is broken or has flaws, it helps the buyer make their choice.


6. Choose your selling (or giving away) platform. There are many different ones, so you don't have to use one I suggest - these are just the ones I've used:

Freecycle.org: This is a free website where you can set up an account to give away items for free (Offers posts), or ask for items (Wanted posts), in your local area. When you set up your account, it will ask you which town you want to post in.


Facebook Marketplace: If you have a Facebook account, you can sell or give away items in the general 'Marketplace' (which means your posts can be seen by anyone); or you can join local area Facebook groups to sell or give away items to people who live near you. When searching for groups, if you want to give stuff away for free, try searching for your local town names and the word 'freebay' (or the words 'free' and 'swap'). If you want to sell items, try searching for your local town names and the words 'buy' and 'sell'. There are no selling fees. It's up to you whether you ask for cash, bank transfer or PayPal payments (note: PayPal charges a fee on money you receive for selling items). Be careful when arranging collections or drop offs - make sure people pay first (or on collection if cash), and do not give them your full address until you know they're on their way to you.

Here's an example of a recent item I posted on Facebook Marketplace to sell:


Ebay: You have to pay fees to sell items on this website (and if buyers are paying via PayPal, there are fees on there too) - bear this in mind when deciding on how much to charge. Have a look at their information on selling fees, and tips on selling, by clicking on this link. You can choose to sell with 'collection only', or to post items to people. Make sure you check the actual cost of selling your item including packaging - once you know the weight (in grams or kg) and size, look up the prices on the Royal Mail Click & Drop website.


The Olio app enables you to share 2nd hand items for free (or sell homemade items) with people in your local area. Download the app to your smartphone and register to share items. It's free to use, and there are a few different categories:

Free: post on here about 'food' or 'non-food' items you want to give away.

Borrow: post on here about household items you're happy to lend to others.

Made: post on here about items you've made (food or crafts) that you'd like to sell.

Wanted: post on here about items you want ('things', not 'services').

See Olio's FAQ for details on what's allowed for each of the above options.


Here are some articles/blogs about options for online selling:

The 5 Best Sites To Sell Your Stuff And Make Some Quick Cash

11 best apps to sell your stuff and make extra cash

13 BEST SITES TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS ONLINE

10 Best Websites for Selling Your Unwanted Stuff


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