How to make money selling stuff online

What to do before listing your items for sale

Before you sell anything online, first decide which site or platform to use. There are two main strategies for selling your items online. First, you could sell on a site that specializes in specific categories of goods, like Poshmark for selling clothes or GizmoGrind for cell phones. Or, you could go for a platform with a broader audience, like eBay, and use the tools on the site to target buyers who are looking for certain items. The more you can target specific groups of buyers, the better chance you have of making a sale. The above list is a guide to help you choose what may work for you.

How much money can you make selling your stuff?

Short answer: It depends. What you earn depends on the platform and on the kind of items you’re selling, you and your buyers’ proximity and the number of items being sold. 

For example, if you sell a quality bag through Kijiji for $150—and you haven’t used all of your free available ads—you’ll receive the full amount on the sale and directly profit. But, if you sell that same handbag on Poshmark, which deducts a 20% commission fee, you’ll only make $120. But you may sell it faster on Poshmark because of the fashion-based buyers you would be targeting. However, if you sell a used iPhone 13 Pro Max on eBay for $950, you’ll earn a profit of $827—even after the 12.9% fee is deducted. If you sell the same phone through Gizmogrind you’ll get about $723. So, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons as listed above.

How to prepare your items for shipping

Once you make a sale, the next step is to prep your items for shipping or a drop-off. Since postage costs can vary, it’s best to consult some shipping guides online. Mail and delivery services, such as Canada Post and FedEx, offer detailed guidelines on how to ship your items. This includes how to package and how to label them. Their websites also cover how to ship specific items such as artwork, electronics, musical instruments and many other items. 

Next, you’ll need to buy supplies. You may need padded envelopes, boxes, shipping labels, tape and bubble wrap, depending on the fragility of the item you’ve sold. You can purchase supplies from a dollar store, post office or office supply store.

How to stay safe when selling

Stay safe and verify whether a buyer is legitimate. If you can, meet the buyer in person and sell locally to help you avoid getting scammed. If you’re meeting a buyer, set a location that’s a public place and during the day. If you are going to their home or residence, ask a friend to accompany you. Lastly, if a buyer’s offer sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. Look out for con artists who offer to overpay for your listing, or try to put off paying for your item until after you ship it to them. 

Can’t find a buyer? Here are some other options

If you can’t find a buyer, consider giving the item away instead of trashing it. First, you can donate your items to a local charitable thrift store (for example, Goodwill and The Salvation Army), use Freecycle or list items for free on sites like eBay or Kijiji. With charity-aligned thrift stores, there may be rules around what you can donate. But many donation centres accept clothing, computers, toys, games, sports equipment, houseware and electronics. You can drop them off, or some charities, like the Diabetes Association of Canada, offer curb pick-ups for donated items.

Whatever option you choose, you’ll be doing yourself, others and the Earth a service by getting rid of your old stuff and selling or donating it.


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