3 Considerations to Maximize Your Return When Selling Your Stuff

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selling stuff

When you decide to release what you no longer need, use or love in your home, you’ve taken the first essential step towards decluttering for a better you! But now, what will you do with those things? There are four possible actions you can take: sell, donate, gift and dispose.  Each approach warrants a deeper dive so this post kicks off the first of a series about selling.

Why might selling make sense for you? You may struggle with letting something go because you spent a significant amount on it. Your children may have no interest to inherit the item. Or you may believe the item has high resale value.  Regardless of why you want to pursue selling, the key to a successful sale is three-fold: the current market demand, the time/effort commitment and the available selling venues. Now, let’s examine each of these factors.

Step 1: Do Your Research

It’s smart to do some investigating into whether your items are in demand. For example, Mid-Century Modern furniture is in vogue and has a good chance of yielding some dollars for you. On the other hand, Colonial furniture? Not so much, especially if you don’t live in the New England states. And remember Precious Moments? What about Haviland china? Some of these collectables are worth more than others. However, many are collecting dust in resale shops, despite their high appeal a decade or two ago.

Therefore, start with exploring venues where the particular items are often resold. For example, talk to local resale shop owners for their opinions on what type of furniture or which designer clothing is sought after in your town.  If it’s fine art that you’re looking to sell, check with a local art appraiser or art gallery for a professional opinion. In all cases, do a search on eBay for clues to prices of items similar to yours. Ultimately, due diligence on your part will save you the disappointment of pricing items too high or having them languish in your home.

Step 2: Understand the Return

Once you have a sense of a realistic price point, decide if it’s worth the work needed to sell. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions if you’re going to sell things on your own: Which selling method(s) will you use? Do you need to clean or repair the items pre-sale? How will the buyers receive the items…do you need to ship them or will they pick them up? Will you sell on-line? How long will it take to turn your collectibles into cash? Above all, how do you feel about the likely return in relation to your efforts?

Unless you choose to sell on your own, utilizing any 3rd party will reduce your net dollars. This stands to reason since they are doing work for you, such as displaying and dealing with the buyers. Most resale shops put a time limit on how long items will be offered. They typically have a rigid markdown policy enforced as time goes by, too. This may be hard to accept but the shop owners need to maximize the return on their merchandise. It behooves them to have their displays refreshed regularly. After all, if things aren’t selling, they need to move off center stage of the sales floor.

Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of your own efforts! It take time to inventory, price and prepare for a sale. You may need extra hands to deal with the buyers. The same goes for selling on-line, whether through Craig’s List, a FB group, or e-Bay. Your ad needs to be smartly worded, refreshed and optimized regularly until the items sell. Potential buyers will have questions that you need to answer promptly. Some will still want to negotiate price or show up with less money, hoping you will settle. Others will want you to hold the item until they can stop by. Finally, a few may be “no-shows”…so the process starts all over.

You may be pleasantly surprised with what you may realize from your selling efforts. Or, you may be disappointed to realize the deep discount required to sell belongings that have served you well.  However, “something is better than nothing” may become your new motto! Either way, be informed and prepared for what you need to do to capture some dollars.

Step 3: Land on a Selling Venue

Ready to check out your options? Hang on ’cause there’s a lot of them! We will address the pros and cons of the various selling resources in future posts.  

Meanwhile, check out this iconic downsizing article which has since gone viral: click here

And here’s what readers had to say in response: click here



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