Selling stuff these days requires more than simply setting up a garage sale on your front lawn. One of the best methods is to sell it online, but that doesn't mean you can't use some tried-and-true outlets to pass on everything from old clothing and furniture to antiques and collectibles.
eBay: Auctioning items on eBay exposes your sale to millions of buyers, but it's important to understand the process and how best to market your items. To determine the worth and marketability of your item, search for similar items at eBay's "Completed Listings" list under "Advanced Search." You must register first, but there's no charge to do so. Before you post your listing, read eBay's seller recommendation guide.
You'll pay eBay a portion of your profit in fees, including posting your listing, completing a sale and receiving payment through PayPal.
Craigslist: The king of classified-ad sites, Craigslist began in 1995 as an e-mail distribution list of events in the San Francisco Bay Area and soon began offering a means by which roommates could find each other. Nowadays, selling everything from cars to home and garden supplies on Craigslist couldn't be simpler, but consult the site's FAQ and "Avoid Scams and Fraud" page before starting.
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Backpage: A Craigslist cousin, Backpage partners with media outlets in your area.
Pawnshops: Some pawnshops, also known as pawnbrokers, purchase merchandise directly from the customer. Others are primarily used to secure loans by using items like jewelry or electronics as collateral. Your item is returned after you repay the loan.
Etsy: New York-based Etsy allows artists and crafters to sell their homemade products, as well as retro and collectible items. Basically, you set up your own shop, post your products and wait for people to find you. A little social-network promotion will help attract more eyes to your site. Sellers can offer Etsy free-shipping coupons through a program offered by the website.
uShops: This is another online channel for those who want to sell creative and niche products, but all items offered through uShops must now be handmade or art and craft supplies.
Facebook: You can post photos and small ads on Facebook. While each seller's initial audience may be small, word can spread quickly.
Your own website: There are a several free or open-source projects, such as osCommerce, that you can use to power your online shop. Take advantage of all-inclusive, small-business hosting solutions, such as Yahoo Merchant Solutions, which help sellers get started with a minimum of fuss and headaches.
Google Product Search: Google has found yet another way to add to its billions. Its product arm, Google Product Search, receives a lot of attention from avid Google users, and it's free to list there if you have your own website.
Google Merchant Center is a service launched in 2009 that makes it easy to upload and manage the product listings you want to appear in Google Product Search, AdWords and other Google properties. (The Merchant Center basically is a substitute for Google Base, although you can still use Base.)
Trade magazines: Trade magazines are an excellent way to sell to a specialty audience, but it's important to target the proper audience. Good items to sell through the trades include vintage cars, car parts, golf equipment, craft items, antiques and collectibles.
Amazon.com: Amazon allows you to sell all kinds of products, not just books. You'll pay fees to Amazon only if your item sells. Commissions range from 6 to 15 percent of the total you receive, depending on what you sell. Amazon also charges 99 cents for each transaction.
Consignment shops: These retail stores resell your merchandise and keep a percentage of the final sale price. Many specialize in clothing and accessories, but you can also find shops that sell furniture, antiques, kitchen items and other things. It may take some time for larger items to sell, but you're likely to earn more than if you sold them through a garage sale.
Garage sales: Items that sell quickly at garage sales include small household goods, clothing, baby items and basic furniture, particularly dressers and bookshelves. Make sure all products are in relatively good shape, and price them as you set them aside to avoid confusion the morning of the sale. Your local newspaper's classified-ad section is still the best place to advertise a sale, but you also can post your sale at Craigslist, Garage Sale Hunter and Yard Sale Search.
Flea markets: Think of flea markets as long-term garage sales with better financial returns and without a dependency on good weather. You'll have to pay for your shop space, but you can share rent and work with another seller. Most flea markets are staffed by professionals who keep track of how much stuff you've sold while manning the cash register.
Antiques and collectibles dealers: Dealers will buy anything, from old coins and jewelry to books and toys. Items should be in good shape, and collectibles in their original wrapping will bring a better price. Check eBay for price comparisons before you get several quotes or appraisals from dealers.
Newspaper classified ads: Granted, far fewer people read newspapers these days, but classified ads still reach a fairly large audience. If you're selling low-priced items, look for ad classifications like "Bargain Box" or "Cheap Buys." These categories often cost less than a full-blown classified ad. Don't overlook weekly, college and penny-saver newspapers.
Play It Again Sports: Play It Again Sports, a resale haven for sports enthusiasts and parents with athletes who grow like weeds, is like a neighborhood sporting goods store. They'll buy your used and new sports and fitness equipment or help you trade with other sports enthusiasts.
Barter: Some bartering websites are dedicated to specific products (such as furniture, children's clothing or sports equipment), while others allow you to sell just about anything. Rehash Clothes and Swapstyle allow you to swap clothes. Then there's BookMooch and PaperBackSwap. TotsSwapShop and Kizoodle are for children's clothing.
The Barter Club includes a listing of clubs by type of business and location.
Freecycle: If all else fails, you can always give away your stuff. Much like Craigslist, Freecycle.org provides regional pages that allow you to post public ads. The difference here is that all items listed must be offered free to anyone willing to take them.