How to Sell Your Housewares Online

Need to clear some space in your place? Peddle your extra wares on one of the many classifieds and auction sites

Credit: madpotter1

Skip the garage sale and sell your housewares online

You’ve probably thought about purchasing housewares online, but why not consider selling them there too? You might need to free up some space for all your online purchases!

Here’s how to get started.

Pick a platform: The most common options for online selling are classifieds, such as Craigslist and Kijiji, and auctions like eBay and eBid. Classifieds let you post a listing and start selling right away, but you’ll be interacting directly (most times in person) with your buyer, cash-in-hand.

Auctions offer greater anonymity, established procedures and fraud-protection measures, but there are fees for listing and selling – and you’ll need to set up an account. Also, you’ll be dealing with a wider geographic spread of buyers, so be prepared to package and ship.

Size matters: The size of your item may determine where you sell. Unless you’re willing to look into the logistics of sending a second-hand sofa to Winnipeg, you’re better off sticking to online classifieds to sell large items, and using auction sites to maximize your value on décor pieces, art and smaller housewares and appliances.

Write an accurate description: Describe your item in detail, including brand, designer or artist, colour, age and condition. Be upfront about any missing pieces or damage, so you don’t run into problems with your buyer (or, on auction sites, negative feedback) down the road.

Post a clear picture: Clear, colour-accurate photos can make the difference between a speedy sale and a bidding war. Photograph your items as close up as possible in natural light, against an uncluttered background. Include shots from several angles, and of any dings or damage.

Scout it out: Before you list an item for auction or sale, see what else is out there. Set your asking or starting price based on similar items in comparable condition. Be clear whether your price is firm, or whether you’ll negotiate. Most auction sites have reserve (secret minimum), “best offer” and “buy now” functions for more or less flexibility.

Respond to enquiries: Reply promptly to email inquiries about your item, and be willing to take additional photos on request. If you’re leaving for a three-week vacation to Cabo, it’s probably not the best time to put something up for sale.

Stay safe: If you’re selling through online classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji, plan to have someone with you when potential buyers visit – or, where possible, meet in a public location instead of your home.

Use a third party: Still uncertain? There are professionals out there who can prep and sell your items for a cut of the profit. Look for a local company with a bricks-and-mortar location if you plan to go this route. Many consignment stores also list their inventories online, so you can reap some of the benefits of online selling (like moving items quickly), while someone else does the heavy lifting for you.

Give it away: If you just want to get rid of that table lamp quickly, and you don’t care about the cash, most online classifieds have a free section. Websites dedicated to gifting unwanted items – for example, – are another earth-friendly option.

Read up: The major online auctions have great reference guides and quick-start dialogues to get you up and selling quickly. Online classifieds are as easy to use as filling in a form and clicking post, but be sure to check out the frequently asked questions (FAQs) for additional info and pointers.

Tips to add? Selling success stories? Share your comments below.