A few years ago, my finances were in sad shape. I was constantly overdrawing my checking account. Unable to cover even my basic bills, I was desperate to earn more money. I tried everything I could think of. In addition to my full-time job, I was working a part-time gig on the weekends and doing every odd job I could find to earn extra money. That's when I turned to selling unwanted items online.

At first, I sold things from around my home. If I hadn’t used it for a year and it didn’t hold any special memories for me, it had to go.

My success with selling unwanted items online was the only way I kept my account in the black between paychecks.

Since I started selling stuff online in 2012, I’ve earned thousands of dollars. I even sold my wedding ring and dress online after my divorce. Because of my success, I want to share some online selling tips that I learned along the way so that you can avoid costly beginner’s mistakes.

1. Use Multiple Selling Platforms

There are plenty of places to sell your things online — eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and more. Figure out which ones are most popular in your area and appropriate for the types of items you have to sell. Needless to say, you can sell a lot more items a lot faster if you use multiple selling platforms.

2. Research the Best Place to Sell Your Unwanted Items

I learned after some trial and error that Craigslist isn’t heavily used in my area. I also learned that it’s not worth it to list low-dollar items on eBay.

In general, I sell most things on Facebook Marketplace and my local Facebook Buy, Sell, and Trade groups before I list them anywhere else. However, antiques and collectibles tend to do better on eBay, as long as they aren’t too heavy and costly to ship. And Amazon is still the best place I’ve found to list and resell used college textbooks.

3. Don’t Go Hunting for More Unwanted Items to Sell

Unless you truly want to turn online selling into a business — which some have successfully done — don’t go hunting for more things to sell once you get a taste of success.

For most people, selling unwanted items online is a means to an end.

It’s a good way to get cash back for items you’re no longer using, and it can help as a short-term solution to keep you in the money.

4. Create Thorough Listings

Creating a thorough listing doesn’t mean you have to write a novel about each item you’re selling. It just means taking good pictures, describing the item accurately, and keeping an eye on it so you can drop prices if it doesn’t get any attention from buyers after a few days.

5. Haggle

Where appropriate, haggling with customers has been a big part of my online selling strategy. Not all online selling platforms allow you to do this with buyers, but when you can, you should. Remember, selling stuff online is about getting cash quickly to help your immediate financial situation.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Donate What Doesn’t Sell

Although getting cash for your items is obviously ideal, don’t continue holding on to the things that don’t sell. Unless they’re truly valuable (we tend to think all of our things are more valuable than they are!), don’t be afraid to donate them if they don’t sell after a while.

I usually give my items about four to five days on Facebook before I lower prices and bump my items. If they don’t sell after that, I donate them. The same goes for selling your unwanted items on Craigslist. But on eBay, I will usually relist items with a lower price one time if they don’t sell at first.

Although donating your items doesn’t get you any cash to help pay bills, it still helps declutter your home.

The Bottom Line on Selling Unwanted Items

Selling your things online can be a good way to get some quick cash to help solve a financial problem. But keep in mind that most of the time you’re getting pennies on the dollar of what you originally spent on your unwanted items.