En español | If you've got the housebound pandemic blues, why not shake them off — by cleaning out and getting rid of clothing, furniture, kitchen odds and ends, trinkets or collectibles that you don't use or need anymore?
You have the urge to purge, but you may hesitate to sell your unwanted goods because some items have sentimental value and it's hard to let go of them. Or you think you might need some items, even though you've stowed them away in a commercial storage unit. However, now is as good a time as any to sort through and sell what you can, suggests Sushee Perumal, CEO of MaxSold, a Toronto downsizing and estate sale company. “Selling unwanted items has many benefits,” he points out. “It frees up space for the seller and generates cash. Buyers don't have to buy new, and it's good for our planet, as these items are made use of rather than discarded.”
Right now, there are now dozens of apps you can use to hawk your wares. After considering the most popular ones, their policies, procedures and customer reviews, here are four to get you started. All are user-friendly and free to download to your smartphone from Google Play or Apple's App Store. What's more, you can sell your stuff safely — with little or no contact with the buyer.
1. letgo for household items
Available throughout the U.S. and Canada, letgo helps you peddle your items locally to your neighbors for free. Creating a listing can take just 30 seconds. Simply take a photo of your items, and Reveal, its proprietary real-time image recognition technology, will suggest titles, categories, what they're worth, and the current demand for them — information you can edit. In addition, you can use the chat feature to talk with potential buyers to answer questions, arrange to meet, or negotiate a no-contact sale. All transactions are conducted in cash.
2. Facebook Marketplace for furniture
You're probably already using Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Facebook Marketplace can be handy for selling furniture and other items locally. To start, go to your News Feed and click on the Marketplace icon. Next, click on Create New Listing, then Items for Sale, then Add Photos to upload pictures of your stuff from your smartphone's gallery. Now add a description and price, and click on Publish to post your listing. You have the option of shipping to your seller — Facebook provides clear instructions for that — but you may want to keep it simple and arrange local pickup with the buyer.
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3. ThredUp for women's clothing
ThredUp, one of the largest apparel consignment stores, offers nearly 1 million items for women and girls. Simply order a Clean Out Kit — with a large bag, instructions, and a prepaid return label — fill it with the clothes you want to sell, then leave it for your mail carrier, or better, drop it at the nearest U.S. Postal System (USPS) post office or Fedex location. After undergoing inspection, accepted items will be listed for 60 to 90 days, with a professional photograph and a product description, and shipped when sold. You'll receive 3 percent to 15 percent of the proceeds for items priced at $5 to $19.99, up to 80 percent for those listed at $200 or more, after a 14-day return window.
4. MaxSold for collectibles
If that storage space is filled with valuable antiques, books, fine art or vintage sports paraphernalia, the auction route may be best. MaxSold can handle the entire process for you (for $700 plus 30 percent), a process that takes 11 days and requires little contact with buyers. Or you can do it yourself by first executing a contract online that give you access to the app, then photographing your items and creating your listings, which are uploaded to the website. If you do it yourself, MaxSold still handles advertising, buyer communication and payment collection, in exchange for $300 or 30 percent, whichever is greater. You arrange pickup with the buyer. The company says DIY auctions, which take two weeks, are ideal for 30 items or more.
Whichever app you chose, be sure to protect your personal information. Communicate only within the app, and don't give out your email address, phone number, or address. If you choose to meet with a buyer, do so at a coffee shop, police station or other public place. And be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing.