Online marketplaces make it easy to declutter, but these tips might help you before sell items


There was a time not long ago when you had to wait for the warm weather, slap a yard sale sign on the lawn and have strangers traipse through your property to declutter.

Those days are over now thanks to various ways we can use the Internet to sell items. While the old-fashioned yard sale likely isn’t going to go away anytime soon, it isn’t necessary to move things out of your residence.

Online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and others make it easy to sell things. That said, you must figure out which platform is the best to move your items to get the most bang for your buck.

For instance, if you are trying to get rid of something valuable like memorabilia, you’re likely to turn to eBay, which reaches a wide audience. If you are trying to rid yourself of a big item, say furniture, you might want to target local buyers who can come pick up the items.

You should consider a number of things before selling. Here are tips from the Better Business Bureau that will help you in your quest to declutter your space while making a few bucks at the same time:

  • Know what you’ve got. Before you post an item for sale, check out how much others are asking for similar items. If you’re selling jewelry or antiques, consider getting an appraisal before you list the item.
  • Pay attention to details. Make sure your listing has as much information about the item as possible and make sure to take clean, in focus photos of the item from several different angles to include with your post. Be honest about the item’s condition. 
  • Check out the fees. Each online marketplace has its own set of fees, which can vary. Make sure to read the fine print and understand if the website will take a percentage of the sale or a flat rate. If you plan on moving a lot of products, find out how many sales each platform allows you to make per month.
  • Beware of scammers. Bad actors are lurking online, ready to pounce on unsuspecting sellers. Sometimes they may offer to overpay for an item, which leads the buyer to ask the seller to send money back to them in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrency. That is a trap as the check they sent is not legitimate. Also, beware of buyers who ask you to make transactions outside of the selling platform or those who ask for personal information, like your banking information.
  • Be cautious when making local sales. Some platforms allow you to meet with people in your area to exchange your item in person. Be careful about giving strangers your home address. Instead ask buyers to meet in a safe place. Some police or sheriff’s departments have designated spaces for such transactions near their headquarters. Never meet with a buyer you don’t know alone.

Don O’Brien is the regional director for the Quincy Better Business Bureau. Contact him at or (217) 209-3972.

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