How To Have An Online Garage Sale

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Do you have a bunch of things just lying in your attic because no one uses them anymore? Having a garage sale is a great way to do some spring cleaning while making some extra money. Even better, you can run an online garage sale – it’s easy to set up, and allows you to reach many more customers! 

Here’s to have an online garage sale that’s set up for success: use good descriptions, feature your items on as many platforms as possible and focus on items that are likely to bring in the most money! 

Tips on running a successful garage sale

Running an online yard sale is much more than uploading a bunch of pictures and descriptions. Here are some lesser-known tips that can mean the difference between a successful and lackluster online yard sale.

Pricing

The key to actually making sales in an online yard sale is to be flexible with your pricing.

 A lot of informal negotiations take place for online yard sales, unlike online stores where there is a checkout page and the prices are fixed. 

Don’t be surprised to find people negotiating on pricing or lowballing. Furthermore, if you’re looking to wrap up the online yard sale quickly, then you might be willing to take lower prices in order to sell the items asap. 

Another tip on pricing is that you can get a quick idea of how much an item should sell for by looking at prices on other stores and other listings on your platform. When comparing, compare items that have a similar condition model and age.

When discussing price, be clear whether the figure you/the other party is quoting includes shipping and taxes. The shipping cost for and the online buyer can be quite high if they live far away. If it helps to sell the item quicker, you might be willing to cover some of the shipping costs to your buyer.

Take good pictures

Would you be shocked to learn that many people try to sell items online with one blurry photo and expect the item to just sell itself? 

In some situations, this can happen, but if buyers have the option to choose between your listings and other people’s listings, then it’s likely that they’ll be more inclined to choose the one that puts the item in the best light.

Therefore it’s important that you take good and clear photos as this is one of the first things your buyers will see. A good photo can capture their attention, and also capture the item in its best condition possible.

Using a camera phone is fine. However, here are some tips on taking good photos:

  1. Hold the camera steady 
  2. Take it against a bright clear background such as a blank wall, and 
  3. Have good natural lighting. You might want to take your pictures during the golden hour.

Have a look at this page by Man vs Debt for even more tips on taking good photos. 

Be on multiple platforms

Set up your online yard sale on multiple social media platforms in order to reach more people. 

Not all platforms are created equal either. Some items sell better on certain platforms. For example, handmade crafts and items tend to work well on platforms like Etsy.

Some hallmarks of a good platform are that it offers buyer and seller protection through some form of escrow. 

Also, platforms that incorporate people social media accounts can also help to reduce the chance of scams because people’s real identities are available to each other. 

Examples of good platforms to run your online yard sale on are the Facebook Marketplace, Carousell, and eBay.

Be descriptive with your descriptions

We touched on this briefly before, but adding details such as the condition, model and even reason why you’re selling can all be the one small factor that pushes the buyer to eventually buy your items.

I just love this page by Etsy on how to write enticing descriptions!

Be proactive in updating your listings 

Being proactive is an often overlooked tip. For example, update your online store every time you sell an item. When people see that you have sold items to others, then you appear more trustworthy. If your platform allows for reviews, then drop your buyer a note after they have received the item and ask them for a kind review!

Setting up

Although you may not have to organize your items physically like in an online yard sale, it is very important that you organize the items that you want to sell in a spreadsheet. 

Create columns that clearly identify whether the item has been sold and whether it has arrived with the buyer. 

You’ll also want to include brief descriptions of each item so that you don’t get confused between the items. 

If you’re selling more than one of the same kind of item, then you’re going to need to have a quantity column so that you can keep track of how many you have sold.

Be aware of local laws

You might also need to check your local laws. In some states, you might need a temporary seller’s permit (lasts up to 90 days). Usually, you won’t need a temporary seller’s permit unless you have two or more garage sales within 12 months

For example, if you reside in California their state law requires you to have a temporary seller’s permit if you are selling any merchandise or items online regardless of how often but how frequently you sell those items.

If you end up registering for a temporary seller’s permit, remember to obtain it 90 days before your business starts. Be prepared to offer a valid start and end date for the temporary sales. 

Think about how buyers will pay you

Finally, you should make it easy for your buyer to pay you. You might need to have your bank transfers details handy (this is fairly common), otherwise set up a PayPal account and receive payments that way (we’re not big fans of PayPal because of the fees. But it IS one of the easiest ways to get paid).

What are the best items to sell in an online yard sale?

There are some items that do better in online yard sales than others. Electronics, appliances, antique and vintage items, as well as books all, do very well. Let’s talk about them:

Used electronics

Technology moves at such a quick pace that our consumer electronics go out of date pretty quickly. But did you know that there are many people looking for used electronics things like tablets, radios, Bluetooth speakers, and mobile phones?

Furthermore, people are still willing to pay high prices for electronics that are only slightly used. For example, you can sell an iPhone 7 plus in the $289 to $450 range. Do note though, that color and condition greatly affect the price.

When selling Electronics Online, adding a good description about the features, specs, model and how old the item is and a general description of the condition of the phone will help your electronics sell quickly.

Used Appliances

Everyone needs appliances but many are not able to shell out for new appliances. Think of newlyweds or student roommates on a budget. Things like washing machines, coffee makers, microwaves are all essentials that cost a hefty sum when bought brand new. So you can bet that there are buyers looking to buy used appliances. 

For appliances, the descriptions you need are it’s model, features, specifications, age, and condition. These can help your buyers have an idea of whether the appliance will suit their needs. 

Please, do not sell anything that you wouldn’t use yourself! For example, a coffee maker that has mold on it may not be very healthy for your buyer. 

So how much do appliances fetch? Well, washing machine prices range from roughly $180 to $800. While coffee makers range from $25 to $150 on eBay, again depending on the model and condition of the Machine.

Antique vintage furniture

Antiques are one of the best things to sell in an online yard sale. The reason is that you can often find old furniture at thrift shops for cheap. The previous owner might not have realized just how valuable the items really were. 

There is a whole market of people looking to buy old furniture because they value their vintage and antique value! Selling antique furniture on social media platforms makes sense because such platforms provide interest groups – an online gathering of like-minded people. Find an antique lovers/collectors group and get promoting!

Antique and vintage furniture can range greatly in price. For example, some can be as low as $300 while others can be as high as $1,500. Have a look at this Etsy page to get an idea of what type of antiques you can sell and for, and at what prices.

Clothes and shoes

Clothes shoes and accessories are also great items on an online yard sale. The reason is that again, there are people who don’t realize the value of these things and give them away, while on the other hand there are other people who understand the value of these items.

You should look for branded clothes, bags and shoes to sell online. Pre-loved branded or designer shoes can range from $81 to $200!

Toys and video games

Don’t toy and video games have a nostalgic quality to it? Doesn’t it bring you back to your childhood? Toys and video games are not only great for kids and teenagers, but they’re also bought by adults who are willing to pay more to relive their childhood. Retro items also tend to fetch higher prices. 

For toys and video games, the price varies based on the rarity of the item, the popularity of a brand, and the condition of the item you are selling. 

Old toys and games don’t sell for much. But if you’ve accumulated a number of them over an entire childhood, then it can add up! Here are some rough prices:

  • Stuffed toys range from $3 to $30.
  • Learning toys range from $3 to $8.
  • Video games range from $3 to $8.

Books

Isn’t it amazing that Amazon,  one of the biggest companies in the world today, used to start out by selling books online? Well, then it should be no surprise that there is a market for people looking to read physical books in this day and age!

Some are parents looking to buy books for their children to spark their joy of reading. Others would like to read them stories that they read as kids themselves!

Why people prefer running garage sales online

There are a few reasons why people choose to go the technical route when doing a yard sale. Firstly, doing a yard sale online is a lot less work, making it more efficient.

Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Social media platforms make it very easy to market your items as you can reach almost anyone that’s online.

Not only that, but it is a lot easier to organize and manage to. For example, you don’t have to put all your items in your yard, just taking a few good photos and tracking everything on a spreadsheet is often sufficient.

One downside is that there is a higher chance of meeting lowballers and scammers as you’ll often be negotiating with buyers online where you can’t see their faces (i.e. it’s easier for them to hide their identities.) 

Final thoughts on setting up an online yard sale

Running an online yard sale can be an exciting and convenient way to sell your used items, or even as a small side hustle flipping items.

In this article, we covered some things you should take note of in terms of pricing, advertising, setting up the online yard sale, as well as some of the best items to sell online. Have you ever run an online yard sale before? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

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