Selling things locally online to reduce debt

This year, I am focused on getting out of debt. I have refreshed my budget and I have adopted a plan to clear my debt using a no interest balance transfer credit card. These things will get my debt down, but will take time. However, for some immediate debt relief, I have been decluttering and paying out some of my debt by selling things locally online using the Australian mobile app called Gumtree.

There are lots of apps for selling stuff online, or ‘Sell Your Stuff Apps’ for want of a better term. Using an app on a smart phone, it has never been easier. Take a photo on your phone, give the item a name and description, pick a category and price, and post the ad – Easy as that!

Why online?

Selling things locally onlineSelling things online may seem the most practical way to sell things to most people, however there are still local classified ads in print and trading bulletin boards at local shops. These days I couldn’t imagine many buyers are using these as a source to buy things. Personally, I wouldn’t be bothered with these options.

Why locally?

The main reason I prefer selling things locally online is that postage is time consuming and fiddly. Many items are also too big and expensive to post. Another reason is that Gumtree is free and is easy to use. It is possible to sell things with gumtree and provide the item by post, but even so, I list my items as pick up only because it is easier.

Selling a bunch of things at once, it is possible to put everything in one place next to each other and show anyone who comes to look at one item all the things you have for sale. This is efficient for small items, though for large items like furniture it is easy to keep them in once place. If you are going through a decluttering process, it is possible to combine this process with a yard sale / garage sale.

When ebay and postage is a better option than selling things locally online?

In some cases, it is better to sell something online and to offer to post an item. The main advantage is that your item is available to more potential buyers. This can help with collector’s items or unusual items where you are looking to find a buyer with specialised interests.

It might also be that you are not comfortable with strangers coming to your house. That’s fair enough and offering to post your items might be a good way around this.

Finding things to sell

As I cleaned the house one day, I started puting things I no longer needed into two categories:

  1. Items for sale on Gumtree
  2. Items for charity

For the Gumtree items, using the smartphone app, anything big, I just put on Gumtree and left it in place. Smaller items I moved to a spare desk at the front of the house after posting the ad. I just put all the charity items in a box and dropped them at a local charity store.

How much money to ask for an item

You are not going to get what you pay for an item new. You might even be lucky to get half its new value even if it is in reasonable condition. This can be a bit depressing, but an item is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. On the upside, you are getting rid of things you do not need and making a bit of money. A good approach if you do not need to get rid of something quickly is to start with an optimistic, best-case price and if you do not get that in a reasonable time, drop the price further. To get an idea for your initial listing price, check out what similar items are worth new as well as what they go for on Ebay or other Sell Your Stuff Apps.

So, how successful was I selling things locally online?

I think my efforts have been a success. I have made over a thousand dollars selling a few big items and a lot of little ones. I have decluttered, gotten a bit more organised and managed to pay off a bit of my credit card debt.