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How to Sell Your Stuff (Safely) Online

Use these expert tips to avoid scammers and bring in cash for your castoffs

En español  |  While a good old garage sale is the traditional way to make a buck selling stuff you don’t want, it does take energy to organize one. Let’s see, you’ll need signs, tables, price tags and the patience to meet, greet and haggle with the public.

See also: Quiz: How to Safely Sell Items Online

Fine, if that’s your thing. If not, skip the setup on your lawn and sell your
unwanted items on the Internet. The perks? Besides the joy of conducting business in your slippers, you won’t find a larger, deal-shopping audience than the hordes of Web wanderers.

And it’s actually fairly simple to do. If you’re even a wee bit tech savvy, you can accomplish it with your smartphone. Things have reached the point that some PTAs have swapped traditional real-world fund-raising auctions for online ones.

“Doing business online can be a terrific experience, and it’s the most efficient way to get the most money out of your items,” says Linda Criddle, president of, which teaches safe practices for the Internet. “But don’t let your guard down.”

What she’s warning about is scammers who peruse the Web in search of victims.

So here’s some expert advice on ways to sell online and do it safely,
whether your wares are garden tools or garden furniture:

Hand Holding Smartphone with Money Flowing - Tips For Selling Online

Make money by safely selling things online. — Paul Taylor/Corbis

1. Classified ads

Probably you’ve heard of Craigslist, a huge, free online market with branches for communities all over the country. In addition, you can post your item, often for a fee, in the online classifieds of major newspapers.

Setup is simple and basically the same at them all: Register and create an account. Then clean up your sale item to make it look its best and use a digital camera or smartphone to take a photo. Write an accurate description, with details on the condition (gently used, a few scratches, etc.), why you’re selling it and why it’s such a fantastic buy.

Remember, people shop the classifieds for bargains, so set your price accordingly.

Next: Get tips on how to use online ads. »

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