If you’re like me, making some extra cash can be a big bonus of decluttering. But no one wants to waste their time trying to sell items and have them sit around forever after you’ve decided to get rid of them. So where can you have the most success selling—Facebook Marketplace, apps like OfferUp, or good ol’ Craigslist?
I’m here to share my experience in the hopes that it will save you time and earn you money! In my recent whole-house decluttering effort, thanks to some Marie Kondo inspiration, I had a bunch of stuff to get rid of.
A lot went to our yard sale, which worked out well (see 10 Secrets to a Successful Yard Sale). But I had other things that weren’t ready at the time of our sale or didn’t sell that day. Here’s how I got rid of them and made some extra cash.
Note: For clothes and shoes, see my article about Poshmark reselling.
Deciding What’s Worth Selling
If you’ve been working on decluttering, good for you! It’s going to feel so good to have more space around.
One of the most important parts of decluttering is having a clear plan for what to do with the things you’re purging. The last thing you want to do is have them linger or just creep to a different area.
The traditional method is sorting for keep, trash, or donate. This works really well, especially for getting the job done quickly (as long as you drop the donations off immediately).
As a large family, we try to save money everywhere we can. So I have a fourth category where I set aside things to try to sell.
For a yard sale, you don’t need to be that selective. However, if you’re going to go the extra effort of posting items for sale online, answering queries, and even meeting people, make sure it’s going to be worth your time.
Good rules of thumb include:
Set a dollar threshold
I decided to post anything I thought I could sell for $20 or more. Depending how much time and energy you have, you could set this at $50, $100, etc.
And if you don’t need the money, don’t bother! Save yourself a headache and help others by donating.
The bottom line is, you don’t want to be saying, “why am I wasting this amount of effort for this little money?”
Pick quality items
Don’t bother with items that are broken, dirty, or heavily worn. Be realistic about what’s going to have a chance at selling so you don’t waste your time and get frustrated.
It can be hard to trash things you spent money on and loved or enjoyed at one time, yet when an item’s time is done, that may be where it belongs. Try to be objective.
Tips for Selling Your Unwanted Items
Before we get into Facebook Marketplace vs Craigslist vs OfferUp, let’s review a few general tips that can help you be successful selling no matter what platform you use.
Take good pictures
A little common sense goes a long way. Don’t have a bunch of other clutter in the photo. Your photos should feature only the item you’re selling.
Make sure your pictures are in focus and have good lighting. Take your item outside if you need to.
Capture a few good angles, including close-ups of any defects you want to disclose. You don’t need to go overboard—two to four photos is usually plenty.
And this should go without saying, but post photos of the actual item, not a picture you got online.
Be honest in the descriptions
Be succinct and truthful. People don’t want your item’s life history, just a fair description of its quality and basics like its brand, dimensions, etc.
Don’t try to oversell its quality, and please go ahead and disclose any defects. Otherwise you’ll just end up wasting everyone’s time.
Set a fair price with some wiggle room
If you’re selling an in-demand item, there’s likely to be a few already listed. Look at what price they’re listed for and set your item’s price competitively, taking condition into consideration.
Set your price a little higher than what you’re willing to accept, knowing that many people like to haggle a bit.
If you get lowball offers, just ignore them and move on. They’re probably not serious anyway, so it’s not worth your time to negotiate.
Don’t mix feelings in
People may send you impassioned pleas for why they must have your item. Take emotion out of it and go with the responsive person who offers a fair price and can pick up quickly.
Follow safety tips for selling to strangers, such as meeting in a public place, not giving out personal contact information, and bringing a friend.
Accept cash only. Don’t get burned by money transfer through services like Venmo.
If you get a weird vibe from someone, skip over them. No matter what, the money is not worth your safety.
Set a time limit
Please save yourself a huge headache by setting a time limit for how long you will try to sell your item before it goes to the trash or a donation center.
You made the decision to let it go. Don’t let a delay turn into a decluttering backslide and negate all the effort you put in.
I think 1 to 2 weeks is generally good.
Where to Sell
Alright, let’s get into it. When I posted my items, I had no idea where I would have the most luck. I was used to selling things on Craigslist back when it was pretty much the only option. It was a great service but also came with drawbacks (hordes of no-shows).
I had heard about newer options like Facebook Marketplace and apps such as OfferUp and wondered what would be my best bet this time around. Wanting to get rid of things quick, I decided to cross-post my items to all three.
Here are the results of my small non-scientific experiment, along with some pros and cons of each platform. A little background: I was selling items typical to a family household. Nothing was priced over $100. I live in a suburban area in the Southern United States.
Let’s start with the traditional option: Craigslist. It’s the selling platform I was most familiar with and have always wanted to love. It’s great for its simplicity, its anonymity (as long as you don’t include any personal information), and everyone has heard of it.
It’s a free no-frills site that hasn’t seemed to have changed much in over a decade. The Craigslist ads were easy enough to set up and update through the web browser on my iPhone.
I’ve bought and sold a lot on Craigslist over the years. Even a car!
This most recent round, I found my success on Craigslist to be quite different from years past. I didn’t have much luck at all. It was a lot of crickets and not too many bites. I couldn’t help but feel that a lot of the traffic had just gone elsewhere.
I don’t have a way of knowing if this is particular to my area or the things I was selling, but I was glad I cross-posted my items on other platforms. I think they would have been quite slow to move from Craigslist.
Craigslist was great for advertising our yard sale. I know we got traffic specifically from there.
But for the individual household items, even high-quality kids and baby gear I thought would bring tons of interest, it just wasn’t there.
After a little bit of searching, I decided to try the selling app OfferUp. There are a number of these types of apps, including LetGo. OfferUp claims to be the largest, and what hooked me was how buyers and sellers receive ratings (similar to eBay).
My biggest complaint with Craigslist over the years was the no-shows. It was so common and frustrating that many times I ended up just donating things instead of even trying to sell them, because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle.
I wondered whether the rating feature on OfferUp would help with this. Since it was free and just a click away, I decided to give it a try.
The app was fast and super easy to use. I got my items up quite easily, and it was quick to update them or respond to potential buyers.
Buyers can make offers and you accept, counter, or decline with the click of a button from within the app. You arrange to meet using the built-in messaging feature (no need to exchange personal contact information). If selling locally, you collect cash for your item upon meeting just as you would with Craigslist. You don’t pay anything to OfferUp.
Something I hadn’t realized when I downloaded the app is that when you post an item for sale locally, you are also given the option to list it nationwide. You simply give a rough estimate of the weight and agree to a nearly 10% service charge that will be collected as a portion of the sale. The buyer pays for shipping.
This feature greatly broadens the potential buyers for your item if you’re willing to accept the fee. When a buyer purchases, you print the shipping label, package your item, and drop it off at a postal center.
I ended up selling items both locally and nationally on OfferUp. I definitely got more hits than on Craigslist and had better success overall.
Though the rating system gave me some piece of mind, unfortunately it did not completely solve the problem with no-shows. As a buyer or seller, you only receive a rating when an item is actually purchased. So if someone doesn’t show up after agreeing to meet, you can’t give them a poor rating!
As a result, I still encountered my fair share of no-shows on the app.
You’ll also receive a lot of offers that don’t end up progressing to anything real. Because the app makes it so easy for people to submit an offer, I think a lot of people do this quickly without a real intention to buy.
Another annoying thing is there was only an option to turn notifications on or off entirely. You can’t select which notifications you receive. So in order to receive notifications about messages relating to your items, you’ll also receive random notifications from the app about things you might like to buy.
“Check out the best deals on Air Jordans in your area!” um… no thanks.
I guess that’s the price of using a (mostly) free app. The notifications weren’t super frequent (maybe once every couple of days), but they were pretty annoying.
Overall, I would recommend and use OfferUp again. It’s a solid option.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled to try Facebook Marketplace. I’ve reduced my Facebook use greatly over the past couple years and even debated getting rid of it altogether. Still, I decided to give it a try.
Despite my reluctance, for the items I was selling, hands down they sold best on Facebook Marketplace. The baby and kids items got a lot of interest, along with general household items.
I don’t think I would have sold several things had I not posted them here. Overall, Facebook Marketplace performed better than OfferUp, and it beat Craigslist by a landslide.
Part of my reluctance in using Facebook Marketplace came from having it connected to my personal account. I had seen other friends’ items come across in my feed before.
It was weird seeing people sell their kid’s cleats, old jeans, or treadmill. I didn’t want my friends to be bombarded by the stuff I was trying to get rid of.
The settings allow you to not publish your items to your friends, but I wasn’t entirely convinced. I decided not to post anything I’d be embarrassed by or that had been gifted by a Facebook friend.
Facebook Marketplace is found within the Facebook app, but I found this particular feature incredibly slow. On my iPhone, whenever I tried to access the Marketplace, it would hang for a long time.
If you actually want to receive and send messages about your items for sale, you also have to download the separate Facebook Messenger app (ugh).
Other than these annoyances, it was pretty simple to use and got the job done. You agree to meet and exchange cash just like on the other platforms.
I also did not experience no-shows with Facebook Marketplace like on other platforms. I’m sure it happens, but maybe something about having your real face attached to the transaction helps people be more accountable.
You also sacrifice some anonymity with this.
Bottom Line: Facebook Marketplace vs Craigslist vs OfferUp
Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp offer two good methods for selling household items. I was able to sell things quickly at a decent price, with Facebook Marketplace leading the pack.
For clothes and shoes, see my experience with the Poshmark reselling app.
You’ll still be investing some time to create your ads and respond to messages, so make sure it’s going to be worth it for you. I think there’s always some weirdness about meeting up to sell things to strangers, but Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp try to make the process a little more reputable.
OfferUp’s nationwide selling option worked well for things that ship easily, and the app is a streamlined and solid option, especially if you aren’t a fan of Facebook.
Craigslist, sadly, seems to be on the way out for selling household items, at least from my small humble experiment. Maybe it still has a place for certain areas or items. For me, there just didn’t seem to be much traffic at all.
The cross-posting method I used was more time consuming and a little hectic at times, but you could use it to try and give yourself more success in making sales. Make sure to remove your listings promptly from all platforms once an item sells.
Just remember to have a plan in place for items that do not sell within a certain timeframe. Try not to get discouraged when this happens. Even if you don’t have those extra dollars in hand, move on with your head held high and be proud of your decluttered surroundings.
Donation is still a great option too!
Have you used a different method of selling your unwanted household items? I’d love to hear about your experiences.