My guide to selling your stuff online
I get asked a lot about where I find my various pieces of furniture and also where did that piece go?
I'm let you in on a little secret that's not so much a secret amongst my friends...I love buying 2nd/3rd/4th hand. Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Ebay...you name it - I've bought from there. Often turning up with my little car and a few comical back and forth glances to size up the dining table compared to my boot!
The problem is now you have a home filled with bargains that you might have one too many chairs and not enough bums to put on them, I am very guilty of this, I love chairs and currently have room for 14 bahookies in my living room. This is unnecessary, ridiculous and action will be taking place to remedy this! So....how do I plan on fixing this problem? I'm going to sell some of my precious chair babies online and I'll let you know a few of my favourite tricks that I've learnt over the years.
What are you trying to sell and why? I have a few questions that will help clarify the situation and establish your main goals and expectations:
Do you have a replacement item coming and need to clear the space? Time dependent you need to prioritise your absolute deadline over how much you want for the item.
Are you looking to make some money? You can afford to spend a little longer waiting on an acceptable offer.
Do you have issues with removing the item yourself from your property (heavy/no time/no vehicle)? If the item simply needs out of your property and you have no need/want of money in exchange for the piece, firstly consider donating to charity (if you have an upholstered piece you will need to check if it has the correct certifications for its fire resistance). Many charities that sell furniture will collect direct (obviously at no cost to yourself).
If it worthy of reselling? Is the item still useful or unable to fulfil its original purpose?Sometimes tableware and small items hold little personal value but are invaluable to charities, especially those who are facilitating former homeless into accommodation. They gratefully receive items that you may have long forgotten about - extra plates, ,mugs, pots, pans...all of these items can help someone restart a home life.
For bigger items consider contacting your Council for an uplift or if you can take it to your local tip for recycling. House clearance services are also useful is you are looking to shift lots of items of varying quality and time/space is the priority. Also, in many cities there are brilliant enterprises, in Edinburgh we have The Edinburgh Remakery, where you can be part of a wider movement committed to reducing the disposable nature of our society.
Time is off the essence in most cases and informs what platform is most likely to give you the results you need.
So you have a lovely new sofa, wardrobe or A.N.other piece coming and had big plans for your friend to buy your current item from you and they've changed their mind? Or were you lured in by by an email offers for free delivery/10% off/etc and bought that saved item dream piece without thinking where it's actually going to go!? And now you've got the measuring tape out...and it's bye bye accent chair and coffee table and hello sectional sofa! Ok - don't panic, if it's a big piece there might be a longer lead time for delivery - do check as some online retailers don't make to order (in the case with made.com they hold many of them in stock...meaning ding dong, sofas here quicker than your pizza).
Moving house or needing to change a rooms purpose? Yep, that home office is going to be a nursery and best not change the nappies on the desk....let's list it before the waters break.
Even if you don't have a brand new sofa/baby/house move en route here are the following guidelines for a successful, timely and fruitful sale.....
Ebay - for valued items that you prioritise the amount from the sale, rather than the uplift of the item.
You can list it with a reserved price and let it tick over. If it's a big item remember to list it as collection only with the correct postcode. Recommended for named furniture brands and highly sought after decor, designer lights, etc. Not good for getting rid of soft furnishings, tableware (unless antique) or Ikea furniture.
Gumtree - great for listings that might need a bit of explanation (nice long listings about provenance, or marks/scuffs/vintage/etc).
Gumtree's main remit is local listings so it's perfect for items you need picked up quickly. I find this platform best for selling mid-quality items that you are prepared to take a slightly lower offer than you've listed (so price a tad higher, but not too much to put buyers off!). Top tip - list on a Friday afternoon/evening to catch the weekend buyers and be prepared to answer quickly on email/text/phone (list the best device for you) and make sure you list when you have time available to show people the item/pick it up. You don't want to put buyers off by giving them narrow windows of opportunity to collect.
If you need an item picked up asap and not bothered about getting any £ for it, there is a great freebies section that I've had lots of success for same day pick up for my furniture.
Facebook Marketplace - now, Facebook Marketplace is a little contentious, I'm sure if you ask a few friends they will all have varying levels of success. My main word of warning is be prepared to answer the enquiries. Facebook has designed this software to make it as easy as possible for buyers, even giving them an automated enquiry about availability, so it's really no big deal to shoot off a bunch of 'is this still available' and then forget about it....however as the seller this can be frustrating and a bit dull when you giddily reply 'yes, it is! would you like to come and look at it'....and then tumbleweed. My recommendation is if you are already on Facebook quite a lot, are comfortable with it's interface then go for it. But set yourself a few in-house rules and feel free to put these on the listing, such as 'will not reserve' 'first come, first served'. You don't want to be in the position of turning down potential buyers because Nora NoShow gave you the runaround!
Take pictures, as many as you can to show the various angles, from a distance, up close, styled appropriately and then empty/bare/item free of any adornments.
Dimensions - list all dimensions you can take of the item and note any oddities that may be useful (200cm but is flexible so can bend round door frames, etc). Another top tip - list if you know it will fit in a taxi. Again, not everyone has the means to hire a van/man with a van especially at short notice.
List all the important - and seemingly unimportant- access details (unpaved road, main door, on street parking, third floor, etc)
List if you are able to assist with the uplift - such carrying it to a car/van, this makes a huge difference to sellers who want to buy quickly.
Only take cash payments, don't accept bank transfers. Definitely cash only and don't feel awkward about it. Everyone feels awkward but it's not free and your buyer will be expecting to pay - they have cash burning a hole in their pocket - I can't tell you the amount of times I've had to remind a seller that I've got a wad of cash that I want to give them...
Lastly, be safe - trust your gut, honestly, your tummy is brilliant at discriminating the good guys from the bad guys! Ideally there will be at least two of you in your property when buyers are coming to collect. I am all for loving thy neighbour but we are talking about cash changing hands, potentially heavy items that could damage property, etc. etc.
Since I don't want to end on a dour note so I'll show you my bargain chair that I purchased on Gumtree for £20 - great price because the seller needed it to disappear by the end of the day! Win for the seller and a win for me, the happy buyer!