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Where & How: Tips to Sell Unwanted Old Items for More Cash

Updated on August 22, 2016
P FOR PEONY profile image

An online consumer since '04 and seller since '06. With both eCommerce and offline trading experience, I share and chronicle my journey.


Why Should You Sell

It is very easy for us to accumulate items that we have got no real use for, sometimes as a coping mechanism, sometimes because of the sentimental value and others, for the actual value in cost. Moving especially makes it very evident to the amount of things we have. When you run out of boxes to fill all the junk, it becomes a burden. When your storage and living space seems to be shrinking, perhaps you have too much stuff to accommodate in the house.

Many of us hoard items because we think there will always be a use for it – possibly in future, in a galaxy far, far away. Which is probably, never.

Time to suss out what you really need and what you should forgo. The deal becomes sweeter when you get to earn some cash from it too!

* This article will be further expanded, stay tuned for more!

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Item Condition!

Make sure that the items you are selling off are of an acceptable condition, while "acceptable" is defined differently for different people, I am quite sure that it does not take a rocket scientist to tell you why no one wants to buy the half-bitten wig — which smells like dog pee. (I am sure there are people who can appreciate a dog pee-smelling, half-bitten wig. But, no. Really.)

Add Value to Your Items

These simple steps can help you sell your old items for a higher price than they would have pre-conditioning.

1 » Clean your items: When you make the effort of cleaning your goods (clothes, furniture, antiques etcetera), they are revalued. Compare the image below of an antique, you would not have been able to see the beautiful vibrant colors (right) hidden underneath all that dirt and grime had it not been cleaned. Most of the things that have been kept for a long time tend to build up a fair bit of dust; a good polish could restore them to their former glory.

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 Before and After cleaning
Before and After cleaning | Source

2 » Upcycle old items: There are many easy ways to breathe a new lease of life into an otherwise old and drab object. However, with this, you will need some time. Furniture can be découpaged, painted or re-upholstered. Clothes can be de-constructed and re-constructed.

Color-blocking is very popular right now, a ratty looking arm chair could turn out to be a highly sought after piece with a couple coats of paint.

3 » Presentation: When your articles attract the eyes of your buyers, you have already won a quarter of the battle. If you are considering to sell online, how you photograph your items are a big part of your sale. Customers do not get to touch or scrutinize the item, so your pictures (and honest descriptions) are what they will gauge and decide on. Etsy has an excellent video guide that answers a lot of product photography questions.

If you have old paintings or prints, instead of selling them loose, you can get an inexpensive frame and frame the artwork yourself. It does not take a lot of elbow grease, but the effects can be a vast improvement. This sets the bar higher, and you are quite likely to fetch a better price for your framed art.

 Framing a photo or drawing instantly gives it dimension. Use this trick on pieces you think are a little lackluster.
Framing a photo or drawing instantly gives it dimension. Use this trick on pieces you think are a little lackluster. | Source

Where to Sell?

Flea market / Car-boot sale
Auction sites
eBay, WebStore, eBid
Garage / Yard sale
Craigslist, classifiedsforfree
Second-hand / Thrift store
Craft markets
Etsy, Folksy, DaWanda
Newspaper classifieds
Blogger, Livejournal, Tumblr

Knowing the Selling Regulations

Regardless of where you would like to place your items for sale, always do some research first before delving in. There could be prohibitions and regulations as to what you can or cannot sell at any given selling platform. For example, at Etsy ( you are not allow to sell second-hand items willy-nilly, you can only sell vintage items and paraphernalia. In order to qualify under the vintage category, the article has to be at least 20 years or older.

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When to Sell?

2 months or a couple weeks before a holiday; we usually see a peak in business during the festive seasons. Mainly because more people are buying for gifting purposes; they are looking for things to decorate the house in time for the holidays or generally being in a ‘buying mood’ – finally getting themselves that item on the wish-list.

Another great time is before the new school term starts, when money-savvy parents are looking out for items for their kids. Broke students could also be on the hunt for inexpensive but useful things – like clothes ­– for school or just things for their dorm.

Things to Remember When Selling

  • Clean your items
  • Take good photos and write honest descriptions (if selling online)
  • Check out various selling platforms
  • Know the rules of the places you intend to sell at
  • Keep an eye on the calendar, certain months are better selling months

Sell! And, good luck!

© 2012 Peony


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    • P FOR PEONY profile image

      Peony 5 years ago

      @ greeneryday - Thanks for voting! Upcycling is actually rather fun and therapeutic, I like to découpage my old wooden boxes with scrap wrapping paper (the little pieces too small to wrap another gift) and put my jewellery in them (:

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      Great tips on how to sell old items, and the best time to sell them... I will start to collect and up-cycling those items, and wait for the best time before I can sell them successfully. Thank you for writing such an informative hub, definitely voted up for useful!