Sell all your old stuff

Grab a few things before you start

What do I need?

  1. Some boxes/cardboard/bin bags
  2. Parcel Tape
  3. Pen / Paper
  4. Items to sell / sort
  5. A camera
  6. A desk lamp or similar
  7. About 1 hour of time

Lets get started

Sort out

This is the most boring part of the task, get your hands dirty and pull out everything. Start sorting items into 5 piles

  1. Stuff to throw in bin
  2. Paperwork that needs further sorting
  3. Stuff that is worth obvious money (phones, games, textbooks, DVD’s, jewellery, etc)
  4. Stuff that might be worth something to a charity shop (accessories, bags, books, clothing, crockery, games, films, music, shoes, and toys)
  5. Stuff that you need/want to keep

Clean up and find out how much stuff is worth

First of all get rid of all the rubbish and move the paperwork to another room and fire up eBay advanced search page. Type in the description of your first item e.g. ‘iPod Nano 8GB’ and then tick the ‘Completed Listings’ field & hit search. This will show you the sold prices of all items with similar descriptions to yours & in theory should give you a great idea on how much something is worth.

Example: iPod Nano 8GB Completed listings

Remember only consumer goods are likely to be found on eBay, there is no point trying to find a price for an antique or something that is rarely sold on the site, so if unsure seek advice from forums or even experts.

Give it a clean, wash etc

Making your item look the best will obviously increase the final price, using a dust blower or damp cloth will probably suit most tasks.

Make sure you sell your items at the right place

Where should I sell?

So you know how much you think your items are worth but you don’t know how or where you’re going to sell them. Selling items on auction sites can give you great final selling prices but you must remember those pesky selling fees.

You should always try and sell your items in this order (to maximise the your money):

  1. Locally – Friends of friends, classmates, colleagues, local classifieds.
    Preloved free online classifieds, Gumtree free classifieds,
  2. Forums & national classifieds - Most forums have buy/sell pages these days but you will need to be an active member before being allowed to post, remember you have little protection from scams etc so be very careful.
  3. Websites & marketplaces – Sell your 2nd hand stuff alongside the new stuff for a fixed rate but remember fees do apply & auction sites can be cheaper.
    Amazon (86p + 11-17% fees), Asos (10% fees) or Play (15% + 50p fees)
  4. Auction sites – This is where 90% of you would normally have started & is still a great option for most items but remember eBay fees (15p to £1.30 + 10%) & Paypal’s fees (1.4% to 3.4% + 20p)
  5. Sell to a company - By far the quickest and easiest option but generally you will get more money selling on an auction etc
    Sell DVD’s, Games & CD’s to MusicMagpie, sell your mobile phone or use envirofone.

Handy links:

I’ve got a TV, sofa, bed, fridge, freezer or other large item to get rid of but the council want to charge me for them to remove it

Freecycle, freecycle, freecycle. You know what they say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so whatever it is post it on freecycle for a couple of days and you should get someone willing to take it off your hands. Then the only problem will be them picking it up or you delivering it, but that is normally fairly easy to overcome!

How do I get the highest price for my secondhand items?

You can even sell some packaging on

Keep the original packaging

When unpacking something you’ve just purchased, be careful not to rip the box, try and keep the box & packaging in prestine condtion. Amazingly when you come to resell the item, you will find those items packaged in the original boxes will fetch more money.

Just do a search on eBay for ‘iPhone Box‘, alone they sell for £5-£20!

Good photographs

  • Use a plain background (white or cream)
  • Ensure everything is cleaned (big fingerprints & dust don’t sell) – this also proves that you’ve looked after the items
  • Include all items for sale in the photo, including packaging/bags/stickers/labels/reciepts etc
  • Setup some extra lighting i.e. a small desk lamp to light your photo, it makes a world of difference
  • Watch out for reflections/shadows, these don’t help sell your items, so try turning your desk lamp upside down (i.e. pointing at the ceiling & reflecting the light down) or placing a piece of paper/white cloth in front of the light to spread the light over the item.
  • Don’t be to arty, remember it’s for selling not showing off your photography skills
  • Ensure you don’t include any other items in the photo, you just want a plain background + the items, no cloths/bedding/etc
  • If appropriate include a ruler in your photo to indicate the size

A good title/description

We’ve all seen the great eBay auctions where someone describes an item in a humorous way (see the BMX eBay listing below) or even better has a great story to tell, these can really help sell an item BUT only  if it’s actually interesting. Don’t just ramble on for no reason.

Great BMX eBay listing

  • Clear title using as many keywords as possible but ensure it makes sense
  • Ensure you include a full description with as much information about the item as possible, don’t just have a couple of sentences.
  • If the item is expensive include plenty of photos (you might be charged more for adding additional photos but it will help sell the item)
  • Explain why you’re selling the item
  • Explain where & how often it’s been used, the overall condition, when/where you purchased it, if you were the original buyer etc etc

Avoid looking like a scammer

  • Have multiple high quality photos available.
  • Give serial numbers, dates of manufacture etc if requested.
  • Allow people to view the item in person (ensure you take a friend along).
  • Ensure you give full details of the item (also double check spelling/grammer)
  • Be honest about the condition, if it’s got a scratch tell the buyer.
  • Link to other website feedback if possible.
  • Allow people to ring you up and talk about the item, this will reasure them that you’re not going to rip them off.
  • When selling/buying create a receipt that you both sign outlining the details of the transaction & how much is being exchanged.

Avoid getting ripped off

Check all the cash to ensure it's not fake

Speak with the buyer, you can normally tell pretty quickly if someone doesn’t make you feel comfortable, if it’s a high priced item talk about the ‘hobby’, ask a few basic questions, if they have no idea what they’re talking about then start to worry.

Encourage the buyer to ask you some questions, this will help you wean out any time wasters.

When discussing the location to pick up/drop off the item most buyers of expensive goods will generally want to pick up the item from your home (to ensure they’ve got somewhere to take the item back if there is a problem), if you’re happy to let strangers know where you live that’s fine but you might want to consider meeting at another location.

Ideally take a friend with you (essential when buying something expensive), they can help spot any issues or worst case call the police for you.

Use your common sense!

If someone wants to pay a different way, wants to pick it up from a strange location or changes something at the last minute ensure you’re actually happy with the changes.

Remember even if someone buys via eBay etc you don’t actually have to sell it to them, you can always walk away.

Check the cash is real

  1. The paper should feel like ummmm money
  2. The print of the words “£5 etc” & “Bank of England” are both raised.
  3. The print quality should be perfect, very sharp & clear. No smudges, marks etc
  4. Metallic band through the middle of the note, seen as a solid line when held up to the light.
  5. Watermark – hold the note up to the light, you will see a portrait of the queen.
  6. For more information read the Bank of England note checker page.
  7. Also worth buying a counterfeit currency detector pen.