How to Sell Used Furniture and Other Stuff Online – A Step By Step Guide
Do you need to generate some cash? Selling used furniture for cash is a great way to drum up a little extra money (especially in 2022 when the inventory of new items is limited). When I look around my house I can see there are WAY too many chairs and lots of old furniture and other items gathering dust in my garage. Why not convert that extra chair, lamp, mirror, picture, or table into a little extra cash?
Try this rule. Before you can buy something for your house or apartment, you have to sell something old. Before I bought a bigger dining room table, I sold a chair. The dollar amounts don’t have to be equal. When you keep track of what you sell, you can see that you really can save money. It can be a great motivation to get rid of a lot of items you don’t use.
I really hate having a garage sale or yard sale because people only want to spend $1 and spend a whole day doing it. I’d rather donate the little stuff. The BEST way to sell bigger items like furniture, old appliances (even sinks and bathtubs), art, lamps, mirrors, rugs, toys, and bikes is online. You make more money and you don’t have to haggle over $0.50.
Follow these tips for how to:
- Sell furniture safely
- See the best places to list your used furniture and home goods
- Learn how to market your used furniture to make the most money
Safety Rules for Selling Furniture Online
When I told a friend I did this, his reaction was surprising. He said, “you’re going to get yourself killed doing that”. This could happen I suppose, but someone could kill you walking down the street. I feel like sometimes one example of someone being harmed during an exchange grabs the headlines and scares people out of attempting to sell things, rather than throw them away.
However, there are ways to take precautions before you try to start selling your used things online IF you are meeting the buyer in person. These tips don’t apply if you are shipping things to people.
1.) Work in pairs – It’s a good idea not to meet prospective buyers when you are home alone. Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by for a cup of coffee or do it when you know your roommate or spouse will be around.
2.) Meet in public places – If the item is not heavy, meet in a public place. The parking lot of a police station is a great place to meet to exchange items.
3.) Lie – If options one and two are not possible, be sure to mention to the interested buyer via email or text that you have to wait until a time when your husband/wife is home (even if you aren’t married). Chances are if someone is planning to kill you instead of buying your chair, they will back out if it’s clear that you are not going to be home alone.
4.) Use Friends and Neighbors – If you have someone coming over to make a purchase, call your neighbor and give them a heads up. If they know you are expecting someone they can be on the lookout if something strange happens. If you don’t have any good neighbors, telephone a friend and tell them to check on you in 5 minutes.
Best Sites to Sell Used Furniture Online
1. Selling Furniture on Facebook Marketplace
Since I started using Facebook online marketplace my ability to sell items has grown by leaps and bounds. I sold this bamboo chair in 30 minutes for more than I listed it for.
The pros are that it’s free, easy, and quick to list a product AND you can rate the buyer. Not only can you rate the buyer, but they rate you as a seller. This can help you to weed out people you don’t want to waste time texting with. This is a great option because the buyer does not have your address, email address, or phone number unless you give it to them. You can list an item in less than 5 minutes.
The cons are that it’s not great for selling larger used home goods like a bathtub. My experience with buyers has been excellent. You can sell everything including appliances, light fixtures, furniture, art, and curtains. If you question whether something you want to sell is listed and the potential value of your items, do a quick search. You will be surprised.
Facebook also has “groups” you can sell through. For example, your neighborhood may have a group where you can join and only market your things to others in the group. I tried this early on but didn’t find a lot of success with this option. I listed something but I didn’t get a single request for more information.
2. Sell Used Furniture on Craigslist
I’ve used Craigslist to sell everything including the actual kitchen sink. I think sometimes contractors and stagers use it to find items that are in good condition to put into houses so they can save money.
The pros are that just like with Facebook buyers don’t get your email, it all goes through Craigslist’s anonymous email unless you put your phone number in the listing. I don’t recommend doing this because strangers can then text you.
The cons are that listings only last for 45 days and then they disappear without warning. There is no way to see anything about a buyer like there is on Facebook.
3. Selling Used Furniture on eBay
I’ve used eBay to sell smaller items that can be shipped easily. As online platforms go it is not good for larger items unless you specify that the buyer has to be local.
The pros are that you can see buyers’ ratings and never have to meet them in person unless you choose local pickup only. Collecting payment is easier because people have to pay with Paypal or a credit card.
The cons are that you have to be aware of shipping costs and factor them into your price or disclose the shipping cost. Make sure to measure your box, to be sure shipping doesn’t cost a lot. It takes longer to list an item on eBay and you have to have an established eBay account. eBay asks for more details about each product, which takes more time but can give buyers a better idea of exactly what you are selling.
I once sold a Tiffany bowl and then determined that once I paid to ship it I would lose money. In this case, I refunded the customer and told them it broke when I was packing it.
4. List Furniture on Nextdoor
Not everyone is on Nextdoor, so it’s a much smaller marketplace of primarily local buyers. This is a good choice if you feel safer selling to people in your neighborhood. The cons are that maybe you don’t want to sell to your neighbor. That depends.
How To Market Your Used Furniture So It Sells
1.) Include Lots of Quality Photos – A picture is worth a thousand words, especially because people don’t like to read. You will find even when you write details in your listing, people don’t read it. More photos are better than fewer. Good photos are better than poorly lit photos. This may take a bit of time but clean up what you want to sell. Wash it, dust it, whatever you need to do. Take a photo in natural light if it’s possible. Also, photograph it from different angles and be sure to show any flaws, hiding them can backfire when people come to pick something up.
2.) Write Good Product Descriptions – You should write a good description, but people also like to hear a story, as long as it’s short. Tell them how you used the item or what you love about it. For these blue chairs, I said “my son and his friends tumbled around on these for years and they have kept their shape beautifully.” I had eight people who wanted to buy them at full price. It also helps to give descriptive information about the fabric or material. If there is anything wrong with your gently used item, state exactly what it is. If the item has a well-known brand name include that in your description as well.
3.) Measure everything– You will find that even if you measure an item, potential buyers still ask “how big is it?” If you put that in the description it makes it easy to find. Don’t answer these questions by suggesting they read the listing because that implies they are stupid, even if that’s true.
4) Descriptive Title – people search by keywords. If you want more people to see your listing put as many keywords that apply in your title as possible. For example, I listed these chairs as “blue stuffed Pottery Barn kids chairs with washable covers”. This detailed description is likely to capture a lot more eyeballs. For example, if you title an item “dining table” you might be far down the list. Use a more specific title like “black 48-inch round pedestal dining table”.
5.) Be prepared to haggle – You can write “firm” in your description, but people always ask for a better price. I usually counter by telling people that I have lots of people interested and my asking price is not far from what I want to get. If you find an item doesn’t get any traction within 2 weeks, you have probably priced it too high. At that point, you should re list items at a lower price.
6.) ONLY TAKE CASH – State that it is CASH ONLY first in your listing to limit the number of scammers. You can also accept Venmo easily. If you don’t say this upfront you get people who say they want to “pay you more than you are asking and have you send the difference back to them”. This is not a joke, people really try to do this. Craigslist tends to attract more fake buyers and higher-priced items do as well. Never take a check.
7.) Bundle similar items – This is a good way to sell multiple small items. I have about 10 nerf weapons that my son never uses. Rather than sell them one at a time, I listed a bundle. This could make a great gift (or donation if it doesn’t sell) and it takes up much less of your valuable time. This is the listing I made for these items for $50.
What have you sold online from your house? Which sites did you have the best luck with? Before you go, you might also enjoy this Guide to Buying Furniture Online.
Thank you so much for all of this information. I have been selling items on a couple of platforms you mentioned, and have had good luck with it. I did much better selling this way rather than a garage sale.
EXCELLENT tips Andrea! I’ve thought about selling online a few times, but never got around to it because I didn’t know the ins and outs. Now I feel a lot more confident! Thanks a million!
Andrea, this is a GREAT post. I have sold a few things on eBay, but underestimated the shipping and lost money. That only happened once. I am trying Facebook Marketplace for some larger items, but I’m not on Facebook very often and forget to check to see if someone has messaged me. Lazy, I know, but there are only so many hours in a day. We have a higher end consignment shop in Scottsdale, and I may try that in the fall (as they are closed over the summer). I just need to empty out my barn which is full of stuff I obviously don’t use. Hope to accomplish this all before the end of this year.