Home Decor

A Game-Changing Tip for Selling Old Stuff Online

See ya later, clutter.

May 28, 2019

When I was a kid, my idea of a good time was finding a way to make money. On any given Saturday, you could find me manning a lemonade stand, selling painted rocks door to door in our neighborhood, or devising a scheme to teach hopscotch lessons, for a fee, at recess. But my favorite method was rounding up knickknacks from around the house—a stretchy bracelet, used colored pencils, a chapter book—setting up shop in the living room, and fast-talking my family into buying them.

As an adult, I’ve found a socially acceptable version of this activity: selling things I no longer need or want online. It’s extra incentive, for me, to KonMari the apartment and get rid of what I no longer truly need, so long as everything is still usable and in good condition. (Don’t worry, I no longer sell old lip gloss.) What I don’t have room for finds a home elsewhere, usually with people who really love or need it, and I make a little extra cash on the side.

When I moved apartments a few months ago, I used the opportunity to sell a slew of things I wouldn’t need in my new place, like pendant lights, books, and a barely-used printer. And I learned a trick: Whether you’re selling on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or a site like Apt Deco, the key to a quick sale—and a higher asking price—is appealing photographs. You don’t have to be a photographer or own a fancy camera (a cellphone works just fine!), but taking a few extra minutes to make your wares look presentable will make your listings stand out.

Here’s how to get the best possible shot:

1. Clear the clutter

Experts say that, when selling a house, it’s good practice to clear the clutter—particularly anything extra personal. The same rule applies to selling housewares. Think about it: Would you want to buy a table that’s covered in someone else’s stuff? Probably not. When you’re photographing your item, make it the centerpiece of the shot, without distractions. That way, potential buyers can clearly see what’s for sale—and envision it in their own place.

2. Use Natural Light

Photograph your item near a window, instead of under artificial light. The natural sunlight will magically make it look great—and much easier to see.

3. Try Some Simple Styling

When you buy housewares from a shop, whether in person or online, a shop owner or stylist has employed a few simple tricks to make the item look extra desirable, whether you notice it or not.

The key here is to go easy: You don’t want to add clutter (see: Tip #1). If you’re selling a bureau, try a bunch of flowers or a candle on top. If it’s a lamp, photograph it on a bedside table. The idea is to dress your item up a little—and give potential buyers an idea of what they could do with it.

Then, sit back and let the offers roll in. Cha-ching.

Do you have any tips for selling housewares online? Let us know in the comments.
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Annie Quigley

Written by: Annie Quigley