You could be sitting on thousands of dollars worth of resellable items. Follow these tips to clear out clutter, make some extra cash, and stay safe while you do it.
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If you've been storing furniture and home decor you no longer use or want, now is a great time to start clearing out that extra stuff. Before you set that old sofa or antique dresser on the curb, however, consider the potential resale value of the piece. "You'd be surprised at what you might be able to sell," says Natalie Angelillo, vice president of community at OfferUp, an online marketplace. "Even items that are slightly damaged or have normal wear and tear can still be sold to the right person."

Selling unwanted furniture and decor online is an easy way to make some extra cash (and free up space around the house). In fact, according to a new report from the online resale marketplace Mercari, the average household contains more than $4,500 worth of unused goods that could be resold. Follow these tips for selling furniture and decor online, including finding the right resale site for you.

phone dropping coins on house illustration
Credit: Illustration by Ramona Iurato

1. Choose the Right Platform

Listing items on the right platform is key to successfully selling your stuff online. There are tons of options available with a wide variety of features, and the best one for you will depend on your preferred style of retail and the types of items you have to sell. If you just want to get rid of things, consider a site that takes the items off your hands and does the legwork for you. The site dictates the selling price and takes a larger commission. If you're looking to make some money, consider a company where you oversee all aspects of the sale and it takes a lower commission. Remember you'll need to store those things until they sell.

Here are some of the best places to sell furniture, apparel, and decor online.

Curated Home Sources

Shopping secondhand sites with a targeted selection of vintage, antique, and gently used contemporary items is a surefire way to find unique furnishings. These sites also help you navigate getting the goods to or from your house.

Chairish

To start selling at Chairish, create an online listing and submit it for review. Chairish will optimize it for search results, edit the lead image, and post it. In return, the site gets a 30% commission. Must-try for buyers: the "View in Your Space" app lets you see via augmented reality what an item looks like in your home. We like Chairish for its high-quality vintage pieces and on-trend items, such as a velvet upholstered sofa or cane-back dining chairs.

AptDeco

While Chairish is nationwide, AptDeco takes a more localized approach with service in parts of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Buyers can search by category or brand. Listings are easy to create, and AptDeco enhances your photos before posting. Its cut is 19 to 38%.

Full-Service Fashion

Ship your items directly to these sites with a free, prepaid label. They inspect, photograph, price, and list your items. They are an ideal choice if you're ready to clear out your stuff regardless of what you might earn.

The RealReal

Specializing in new to like-new designer fashion, The RealReal is a good place to sell that splurge dress you'll never wear again and a great place to score a deal. Prices are typically highest for the first 30 days, then TRR starts discounting. (We've seen $250 threads reduced to $25). Fees range from a 15 to 60% cut depending on an item's value. You'll earn more by opting for store credit.

ThredUp

Be it Gap or Gucci, every label has a buyer at ThredUp. The online payout estimator gives sellers a sense of earning potential. ThredUp sends a bag to fill and pays as items sell. It recycles the rest. Buyers can save searches, and the site will ping them when a matching item comes up for sale.

Self-Service Fashion

On peer-to-peer sites, sellers control all aspects of a sale: photographing, listing, and shipping items. Placing a listing is pretty straightforward: Upload a picture, write a title and description, set the price, then post via the app or website.

Poshmark

Poshmark is all about the social experience. Users follow, like, comment, and share listings to gain a more visible profile and establish connections with like-minded shoppers. Followers often become repeat buyers. For sales less than $15, Poshmark takes a flat fee of $2.95. For sales of $15 or more, the charge is 20%.

Tradesy

Focused exclusively on women's fashion, Tradesy users sell everything from T-shirts to luxury handbags. Tradesy offers a free image-cleaning service that removes distracting backgrounds from pictures, setting you up for faster sales. Its pricing suggestions reflect brand, condition, and category. Tradesy's cut is $7.50 on items under $50 and 19.8% on anything over that.

Kids Apparel and Gear

The secondhand market for kids clothing and gear is always hot because kids usually grow faster than they can wear out their stuff.

Kidizen

Kidizen has a genuine community feel where sellers advise each other, share listings, and promote sales. This kid-focused site is a peer-to-peer model that lets you set your price and ship to buyers with prepaid shipping labels (payable by buyer or seller via the app). A full-service option is also available in select states. Kidizen's cut is 12% plus a 50-cent fee on each order after it sells.

Local Sales

Craiglist, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace

These sites act like free classified ads, connecting local buyers and sellers. Include as many details as you can and research similar items to set the price—either a firm one or best offer. SAles are made in person and cash is preferred, so make safety a priority. Craigslist is great for quick sales at bargain prices, while OfferUp lets you quickly post listings for local delivery or pickup and nationwide shipping straight from your phone. Facebook Marketplace is ideal for local listings and easily accessible through your Facebook account.

Anything Goes

Though curated sites deliver a shopping experience that feels like browsing a store, shopping these behemoths is akin to hunting flea markets for a find. Sell or search for anything: clothing, decor, electronics, memorabilia, etc.

eBay

EBay appeals to buyers looking for a needle in a haystack—something specific, difficult to find, or collectible. Buyers sift through over a billion listings at any given time. Creating a listing is user-friendly. Choose the "Buy It Now" feature to allow a shopper to buy a piece immediately or an auction in hopes of generating competitive bidding. EBay gives you a limited number of free listings per month, then charges a small listing fee, which tops out at 12.85%. Category exceptions may apply.

Etsy

Etsy is a popular destination for selling homemade goods as well as secondhand decor, including artwork, rugs, and furniture. It costs 20 cents to publish a listing to Etsy's marketplace, and a listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold. There is also a 5% transaction fee on the sale price.

Mercari

Gaining popularity among people looking to score yard sale-type deals, Mercari uses seller's images and data to recommend prices based on similar listings. The site takes 10% on sales, and there's never a listing fee. This is a point of difference and cost savings for sellers who want to list vast quantities or refresh and repost stale listings to attract a buyer.  You can sell nearly anything you can ship, and have your stuff picked up by a driver and delivered locally.

If you're new to the resale game, start by listing one item on a single platform to test how well it works for you. Continue with the rest of your items if the process goes smoothly. Otherwise, consider switching to a different site.

2. Clean or Repair the Item As Needed

Before listing something online, complete any necessary cleaning or touch-ups. Clear off any dust or cobwebs, and treat stains on rugs and upholstered items. Consider completing minor repairs, such as re-attaching a broken sofa leg or getting an old lamp re-wired, to make the item more functional and attractive to potential buyers. A fresh coat of paint or a new wood finish can also help make the item look like new.

dining area antique table and hutch
Credit: Brian Anderson

3. Take Quality Photos

"Within online selling platforms, buyers tend to be very visual and will only stop to read the description for an item that catches their eye," says Amy Mings, a frequent Facebook Marketplace user and blogger at Maison de Mings. To ensure buyers know exactly what they're getting, your listing should include several accurate, high-quality photos of the item from different angles, including a full view of the front and sides and close-up shots of details or damaged areas. Take photos in natural light (with no added filters) against a neutral background that's free of clutter for a more professional look.

4. Write a Detailed Description

The item's description should answer any questions the buyer might have and include keywords, such as "gray upholstered sofa" or "small wood dining table," to help your listing appear in searches on the site. Include as many details as possible, such as the age of the object, brand name, color, style, dimensions, or even an interesting story about how you got it. "If your item is similar in style to a popular name brand, like Pottery Barn or West Elm, you should mention that as well," Angelillo suggests.

Additionally, be honest about the piece's condition and make note of any dents, scratches, or damaged areas. It's best if the buyer knows ahead of time about any damage; otherwise, they might insist on returning the item, which creates an even bigger hassle for you.

"You will also want to consider listing delivery and/or pickup arrangements within the description," Mings says. "Sellers that are willing to meet or deliver the item generally have quicker sales than those that offer pickup only." And perhaps most importantly, the sentences should contain proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation so the description reads clearly.

phone screen showing dining set for sale
Credit: Courtesy of OfferUp

5. Price the Item with a Goal in Mind

Before you decide on a price, do your research to determine the value of the piece and what buyers might be willing to pay for it. Consider what you originally paid for the item, but remember that most shoppers won't be willing to pay full retail price for a secondhand piece. According to the Mercari report, secondhand shoppers on average expect a discount of at least 25% off retail prices, even if the item is new with the tags still on. When deciding on a fair price, consider the item's age, level of wear, and brand. "A good rule of thumb for gently used items is to price at 40% off the original retail price," Mings says.

If your primary goal is to make some extra cash, search for listings of similar items to determine what other sellers are asking. In anticipation of haggling, consider setting the price slightly higher than the lowest you're willing to go. However, if you're looking to get rid of an item fast, Angelillo suggests listing the piece at a lower price than similar listings so that it sells more quickly.

6. Practice Safe Delivery or Pickup

Selling furniture and decor online requires proper safety precautions to protect you and your information. First, read the seller's profile before you buy. Be wary if they have poor (or no) ratings or reviews from previous sales. Only communicate with the buyer through your chosen resale platform so you can easily report issues if they arise. Don't give out personal information including your phone number, email address, passwords, or banking information.

Discuss the details of the sale, including the price and type of payment, with the buyer ahead of time. When paying online, use the platform's integrated payment methods only. If you're meeting in person, ask for payment in cash or through a secure payment service, such as PayPal. For extra precaution, plan to meet the person in a well-lit public place, like a shopping center or police station parking lot, instead of inviting them to your home. When meeting in another location isn't feasible or convenient, only give out your address if the person is committed to purchasing the item. If possible, move the item to your garage or driveway to avoid having the buyer enter your home. Have a buddy with you or inform someone else of your plans.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, contact-free approaches are a good idea where possible. "If you are selling items to someone located in your area, you can also consider having the buyer pick it up at your doorstep (we call it a 'porch pickup'), or you can drop it off on theirs to limit personal interaction," Angelillo says. If the item is small or not easily breakable, shipping might be your safest option. Choose a trackable shipping service (and tick the insurance box) so you have proof against claims of no delivery. Regardless of your preferred delivery method, it's best to clean and disinfect the item as well as you can before sending it off so it's in the nicest condition possible.

With these best practices, selling your stuff online can be simple. Now all you have to do is clear out that clutter!

By Jessica Bennett and Kathy Barnes

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