making money

10 Ways To Sell Your Stuff and Make Extra Cash

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Looking to make some extra cash? There are many ways you can sell your stuff, here are 10 ways to sell second-hand stuff in Australia.

how to sell your stuff and make some extra cash
[David Smith]/

It’s hard for me to believe, the time has gone by so fast, but our daughter is five months old next week. Which means that she is getting close to going into her own room.

Which means it’s time to clear out the spare room/office.

As we declutter we are either donating or selling what is currently in the room: desks and office chairs, a computer, books, my wedding dress and formal dresses that I have had since high school and college.

We’ve had mixed success – it takes a bit of work to make money from your second-hand goods but the spare cash can make it worth it. The side benefit (or downside, depending on your experience) to selling (and buying) second-hand goods is the people that you meet – it’s a much more intimate and interesting experience than shopping in a store.

Here are 10 ways to sell your second-hand stuff.

Where to Sell Your Things Locally

Selling locally means you don’t have to worry about calculating postage or shipping things.

1. Local Classifieds

Until I joined our local Facebook buy, swap and sell page, the local classifieds were my preferred way to unload used items, particularly bulky ones.

A listing is usually free for items under a certain dollar amount and your item is usually listed both online and in the local print paper. A lot of people still read the local paper on a Saturday (if you still have one) to bag a bargain.

2. Garage Sale

If you have a lot of things to get rid of, a garage sale makes it quick and easy. We have had a garage sale in the past and despite a tropical thunderstorm, managed to get rid of a fair bit of stuff and make a few hundred dollars. Check out the article on how to hold a garage sale for more info.

3. Markets

An alternative to a garage sale if you have quite a few items is to set up a stall at your local markets or to keep an eye out for school or church car-boot sales. The downside is there is a fee involved and you might not sell what you have on offer.

4. Local Second-hand dealer

For single items or specialty items, you can take your goods to your local Cash Converters or pawn shop. You probably won’t get as much as selling your items yourself because the dealer will want to make a profit.

My brother worked in a pawn shop and I remember him saying that people often had over-inflated ideas of what their items are worth. This is good to keep in mind.

Where to Sell Your Stuff Online

While old-fashioned ways to unload your unwanted things still work, there are more opportunities to reach a bigger audience if you sell your stuff online.

5. Gumtree

Gumtree is one of the most popular online places to list your second-hand goods. It’s free to list your items – if you want ‘extras’ like keeping your ad on top of the page then you have to pay for those. Gumtree makes it easy to trade locally, which saves the hassle of postage.

6. Trading Post

The Trading Post has always been a popular way to trade second-hand items. In true The Castle style, my grandfather would always buy the Trading Post each week to read up on what other people were selling – now we can do it online.

Like many local classifieds, it is free to list items under $500 on the Trading Post.

7. eBay

A lot of people have a lot of success selling their second-hand items on eBay. The upside to eBay is that your potential audience is quite large. The downside is that you have to pay upfront to list your items – even if they don’t sell.

If they do sell, then you have to pay extra. And then there’s working out the postage.

For tips on selling successfully on eBay, check out this article from Snail Pace Transformations.

8. Facebook

Not just for bragging to friends, Facebook can be a good way to sell your unwanted gear. You have two options here: you can join a local buy swap and sell group or page and list your stuff, or you can make your own page and promote that page.

I successfully sold my wedding dress through our local buy, swap and sell group, and it is my favourite way to sell second-hand things at the moment (although I list in several places at once, like on Gumtree, Facebook and in the local paper).

9. Fishpond and other online booksellers

A hat tip to Kylie Ofiu here – everything I know about selling second-hand books I got from her free eBook on selling books.

Fishpond is not only for buying new books – like Amazon, you can list books to sell as well, either individually, setting your own price, or you can pack up a box of books and they will pick it up and sell it on your behalf – taking a lot of the hassle out of selling your books!

There are no fees for listing your books, Fishpond takes a 10% commission on any books sold.

10. Other Specialty Website Where You Can Sell Your Stuff

An alternative to listing things on a general website like Gumtree is to sell items through a specialty website. For instance, textbooks can be traded through websites like the Textbook Exchange, baby gear through Kidspot, wedding dresses through a multitude of wedding dress sites and of course, cars can be bought and sold through sites like Cars Guide.

The lead up to Christmas is a good time to be selling your unwanted clutter – you can make some extra cash leading into the silly season. What’s more, depending on what you’re selling and the condition, your unwanted clutter might make a perfect Christmas gift for someone else!


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  1. I’ve sold a lot of craft stuff on ebay when I cleared out the office. For postage I used the pre-paid envelopes with tracking from the post office. They’ve gone up in price but at the time 500g was 7.20, 3kg was 11.90 and there was a 5kg for 15 dollars. I liked these as they can go anywhere in Australia, you can fit quite a bit into the bags and they have tracking.

    Some tips for ebay:

    – always offers combined postage
    – take advantage of the 30 free listings a month. The more you list, the more likely people will bid as they can then do combined postage
    – unless the object is really valuable, list the item at .99 This helps create a bidding war. Some items will go at .99 but you will be surprised at how high some other items go for
    – good photos and good descriptions will help sell your item
    – a unique and descriptive title will help sell your item
    – Follow a category first before listing so you can see what people are listing and what is selling.

    Love Kirsten

  2. Just a tip on working out postage for items when you list them on eBay – the Australia Post website has a postage calculator that works out your postage cost depending on where you are posting from/to, the dimensions and weight of your parcel. I find this a good tool tohelp estimate what postage is likely to be :)

    Here’s the link: ht

  3. Thanks so much for this awesome post :) I have boxes of books that are sitting around the house that are too nice to give to the op shop but I didn’t want to go through the hassle of selling them on ebay. Now I’m looking into Fishpond, but I can’t find the option where they pick up a box of books and sell them on your behalf. Do you have a link because that sounds like it could be very useful. Thanks :)

      1. A few words of warning about the Fishpond Smart Sell scheme.

        Like you I was delighted when I discovered it. I had a lot of books to clear out and I don’t drive so taking them to a secondhand dealer or even an op shop would have been difficult even with multiple trips. I packed a total of 70 books in 2 cartons. Back in June they charged $19.95 per carton for pick-up; now it’s $24.95.

        Back then you were supposed to be able to adjust the prices once they had listed the titles, but when I saw how low listed they had listed mine, I wrote to ask how to do that
        > How can I alter the prices for my Smart Sell listings? If $4.99 is to be deducted for postage many rather valuable books listed now at $5.94 will net me less than a dollar.

        The answer I received was:
        >We do apologise for this. We were aware of the issues with our smartsell/sell yours services. Our I.T team are currently investigating this issue further. We hope to have this resolved within the next 3-5 days.

        I never received a further reply, but the conditions of sale – see the FAQs – now include the following:
        >> SmartSell pricing is market based and set automatically.
        We will set the initial pricing based on the condition of your item and Fishpond’s current selling price and then adjust the price as necessary to find the best market price so your stuff will sell and you will make some money. If you are selling new goods or goods on consignment and would like the ability to set your own pricing, you can contact us. For second hand products we don’t offer the option for SmartSellers booking after 30/8/12 to set their own pricing. Sell Yours does have the option to set your own pricing or use automatic pricing.
        For items selling to an Australian buyer, handling is calculated based on the weight of the product being sent. For New Zealand buyers, handling is $3.95 per order. These handling charges are paid to Fishpond as for SmartSell items Fishpond takes care of fulfilment of the order.

        Market pricing is where Fishpond sets the selling price based around what a customer can buy the item new for at that time.

        SmartSell Amount Due = ( Buyer Price – Handling) Less Fishpond Commission at 17%

        This means that we look at the price of the new product and then set the price of the second hand product at less than that depending on its condition. For example a product in “as new” condition would be a lot less. We also then drop the price each week until someone buys the product.

        If you find the payment is less than you expected, please check the Payment History for a full breakdown of payments and costs. Keep in mind that a shipping and handling fee are deducted from the selling prices that the buyer paid for the item.

        The minimum price paid to the seller is $0.99

        Fishpond’s takes a 17% commission on the selling price of the product, plus the handling fee of $5.00 – the rest is all yours! <<

        I have sold 5 books so far; total amount paid by the purchasers $41.13. Total received nil; and their records show me still owing 3 cents. They charged an extra $4 for posting 3 back to me without consulting me.

        The new price in their system for one of the titles I have listed is $124. My copy listed as 'very good', which should be 'as new' for it was unread is priced at $11.13, and I have no means of changing that.

        1. Thank you for the heads up!! Always great to hear people’s real experiences. I haven’t tried the Smart sell, but I have listed items individually through “Sell Yours” so I’ll see how I go. I was tempted by Smart sell because I had to do little work, but I will reconsider now. Thanks again.

        2. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience in a fact based non abusive way. Often people complain about this or that but seldom explain the details well. You have explained everything clearly and calmly.

          Mel, I love the way you welcome reader feedback, it is one of the reasons I follow your blog.

        3. Appreciate your time in explaining the pitfalls of fishpond smart sell feature. Shame so tempting, but I am one who is definately heeding your warning. I would rather give my semi valuable book away to a much wanted home than be ripped of completely. So thank you.

  4. For furniture I have found Gumtree best. Ebay might be good for things you can post but for heavier items the only people who are interested will probably live within 20km.

  5. Apologies for my over-long post above: I am evidently still feeling somewhat cheated by Fishpond.

    For what you find you can’t sell, consider giving it away to someone who could really use it on Freecycle. I offered a whole lot of ski gear there once that was not quite recent enough to interest places that deal in ski gear, but was delighted to be able to give it all away to a family of keen skiers who had lost everything in the Black Friday bushfires.

  6. Like CG we have also given things away. We had to clear out a few pieces of furniture, beds etc and because we’d bought them second hand and we didn’t have time or energy to have a garage sale, we donated them to our local Op Shop. It felt good to be able to give away things, knowing our local church would make use of the proceeds. I have also found a way to happily give away things which have sentimental value but I know we would never use again – I take a photo of them, then give away.

  7. I just cleaned out our book shelves and took 2 boxes to an Aged Care Home. The ladies were thrilled to have some new reading material and I didn’t have the hassle of trying to sell them!

  8. I have tried garage sales, and didn’t do well at all. I read heaps of acticles of how to have the best garage sale. Well I must have read it wrong, as it didn’t happen for me. After all that sorting, labelling, pricing and organising it wasn’t at all worth it, well not for my family anyway. I have also tried selling at markets, which didn’t work either. Especially as there are usually 20 other stalls selling off their stuff aswell. Plus the day I went the weather decided it hated me. And what started out to be a perfectly fine sunny day, ended up with huge winds that blew most stuff everywhere, and then the heavy rain washed us out. So that was a less than desirable result! My hubby isn’t wanting us to sell things on Ebay or Gumtree, as he doesn’t want strangers coming to our house. Which is fair enough. So I would rather donate items. But I would like to look into getting a little bit of $ for our huge amounts of books we have in our house.

  9. Hi, I like Ebay to sell things but find that now they charge 10% of the value of the postage as well as 10% final value fee + $1.50 to list (doesnt take long for the 30 free entries to go, especially if they dont sell and you have to relist). In regards to postage, due to Ebay taking their 10% share, I charge $35 flat fee for overseas (mostly this covers it – sometimes I lose) and I also take advantage of Australia Post bags, if you buy them in bulk i.e. a pack of 10 1.5kg, 3.5kg & 5kg, you get a discount from Australia Post. Basically you know from the size of what you are selling what bag (after it is boxed) your goods will fit into, I just charge a flat rate of $13.25 for small; $15.50 for 3.5 and $17.50 for 5kg. This is a good guide because it also covers Ebay 10% charge, mostly you come out on top, just sometimes you loose, but I find this easier than messing about wrapping & weighing.

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