Taking the time to sort and sell your stuff before a move could save you a lot of money; in fact, it might even pay for your move entirely. And with the abundance of online marketplaces available, it’s never been easier to sell your stuff hassle-free.
But what if you aren’t just looking to get rid of things, but also to sell them for the best price? We spoke with moving experts from around the country to bring you these insider tips on selling your stuff for the most money.
Bundle items together
There are a lot of online marketplaces claiming to be the best one to help you sell your stuff, but in practice they’re not all equal.
“Craigslist is 80% flakes,” says New York City–based art collector Michele Hembree.
In 2018, Hembree and her family began the grueling yearlong process of moving from their suburban Alameda, CA, home to a small apartment in New York.
They had a lot of stuff to get rid of— everything from old books to 20 years’ worth of Christmas ornaments, children’s toys, and camping gear. After making a checklist with her husband, she got to work on selling nearly everything they had.
Using high-traffic sites like Facebook Marketplace (for small things) and Chairish (for furniture and larger pieces), Hembree’s strategy was to focus her efforts on marketing the items to get the best price.
“Sometimes I’d bundle things together—then you can ask for more,” she says.
Put time into your photos and descriptions
Hembree also found that she had the most success when posting her items for sale with high-quality photos and descriptions, including information about the item’s brand and quality.
“If you take photos of your stuff in a dark corner, no one will buy it,” she says. “The photos have to be good.”
Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator for San Francisco–based moving company Dolly, emphasizes that point—with an extra trick to make your stuff stand out.
“I always advise including at least one stock photo of the item—you can usually find this by Googling the product and brand name,” she suggests. “And then a few well-lit, high-definition photos you’ve taken yourself.”
Benson also stresses the importance of the description.
“Make sure to be clear about what’s included, what condition it’s in, how long you’ve had it, and what kind of home it comes from, like if someone has a pet or smokes,” she says. “Whether it’s a designer handbag or a functional futon, buyers need to evaluate for themselves what they’re getting.”
Don’t rely solely on online marketplaces
To be sure she was getting the best price for her stuff, Hembree also sold through a variety of channels both online and offline.
“We had a great secondhand store nearby,” she says. “So maybe once every two weeks I would drop off a box or a piece at the consignment store—then I’d pick up a check a few weeks later.”
Just before the move, she got rid of her remaining things by selling them on site, bundling low-cost items together.
“It was a huge garage sale, and we had a great turnout because I advertised it a lot on sites like yardsales.com and estatesales.net,” she says.
Benson also encourages her clients to sell through multiple channels, citing Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp among her favorite online platforms. Although she doesn’t explicity dislike Craigslist, she says, “It does require you to be checking your email or texting people, which isn’t always the most effective for a quick sale.”
For more efficient sales, Benson recommends people tap into their personal networks, and take advantage of common interest groups, using them to advertise any niche items that might be harder to sell elsewhere.
“I belong to a few Facebook groups that are specific buying and selling marketplaces, including one for fans of Modcloth and vintage-style clothing,” she says. “I find selling my clothes there to be much easier than selling them on Poshmark or similar sites, because I’m reaching a niche audience that’s specifically interested in what I’m selling.”
Time it right for the best sale
Like most things, timing matters when it comes to making the best sale. Benson advises selling when people are in a shopping mood—that is to say, just after they get paid.
“Post new items on payday—generally the 1st and 15th of the month, or the second and fourth Fridays of the month,” she says. “Unless you’re selling a significant amount of items, you won’t notice a big difference, but you’re likely to see more activity and more deals being made after people get paid.”
Hembree used a similar tactic to sell her stuff for the most money, often dropping items off at a consignment shop just before the weekend— or posting new items online Friday afternoon.
“If people are going to be picking something up,” she says, “or scrolling these sites or going to a store, that’s when it’s going to be.
“Larissa Runkle is a writer living on the road. Her work has appeared in various financial, real estate, and outdoor publications.