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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Internet

​Skip the yard sale and hawk your stuff online

Does the thought of having a yard sale give you a headache? Here are some easy online alternatives.

Your stuff is perfectly decent, so you don't want to throw it away and you do want to make a little extra cash. The only option is having a yard sale, right? Hold up! Before you go to the trouble of making signs, setting up tables, and making change, try selling your electronics, furniture and knickknacks online.

Here are a few options to try out and some tips to make your experience go smoothly.

Facebook groups

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Facebook groups are a great way to get rid of your stuff.

Screenshot taken by Alina Bradford

One of the easiest ways to get rid items is by posting them for sale in a Facebook selling group. Chances are there's a local buying and selling group in your town, even if your town is tiny.

To search for a group, go to the Facebook search bar and type in your town's name and keywords like "swap," "buy" or "sale." Join the groups with the most members. These are usually very active and contain a lot of people eager to buy used items.

Joining a local group is a good way to get rid of items because the buyer can pick up your item and members of the group are alerted when your item is listed. The key to using Facebook groups safely is setting up a pick-up area that isn't your home. Hand off the item in a public place that is well-lit.

If you don't have a local group, or you want a better chance at selling your item, join a group that was created specifically for buying and selling your particular item. Just type in the name of your item into the search bar to find a group.

To get the best results, post your item in several different groups, list your price, and be sure to add "or best offer." You'll get more offers and get the most money for your item.

Also, ask your friends to comment on your "for sale" post. This keeps the post bumped to the top of the sell feed, ensuring that more people see the post.

Listia

Listia is an auction and bartering site that uses a points system for bartering items instead of money. People on this site love old tech, knickknacks and unusual items.

The site gives you certain number of points to start you off. You can get additional points through auctioning items, watching videos and inviting friends. You then can use the points to purchase gift cards or to win other people's auctions.

Here are some basics to get you most points for your auction items:

  • Always pay for the shipping. Members on this site usually don't bid on auctions where they have to pay shipping.
  • Post clear photos of the item you are auctioning.
  • Write your seller name on a piece of paper and include it in each photo of your item. This helps reassure bidders that you're not a scam artist.
  • Always give a good description of the item.
  • Always answer questions about the item quickly.
  • Post short auctions that are around three days in length.

5miles app

The 5miles app is a buying and selling app with nearly 7 million users and more than $200 million in transactions. What makes this app different is that verifies users' identities by phone and Facebook to reduce scammers, which tend to pop up on selling and buying sites frequently.

5miles shows buyers sales within a five-mile radius of their location. This is great for people that have items that are too big to mail for a reasonable price, like televisions, furniture or record players.

To prevent people from blowing up your phone about your items, use Google Voice to create a free phone number that will take messages and send them to your email.

Trade-in sites

Don't want to deal with people at all and have a lot of gadgets to sell? There are several sites online that buy electronic items, and the best part is you don't need to deal with another person. All you do is fill out a form and send in your item. Most of these sites even pay for shipping and will buy broken electronics.

To get the best deal, search for the item you want to sell on several different sites to see which one will pay the most money. To be sure you're getting a fair offer, you can also look up your item on Sage BlueBook.com, the world's largest reference site for used electronics' values.

Some good sites to try are uSell and GadgetValuer, but there are many more. Here's a list of some other good trade-in sites for electronics.

eBay Valet

If you want a lot of eyes on your auction, then eBay still can't be beat. Setting up your own auction and dealing with buyers can be a pain, though. The eBay Valet service makes everything simple.

All you do is print out a short form, fill it out, print out the free shipping label, and ship your items to eBay. Or, if you want to do the least amount of work possible, you can drop off your items at an eBay drop-off center. Use this tool to find a drop-off center near you.

Once they get your item, eBay sets up an auction and deals with taking the pictures, picking a starting price, answering questions, and shipping to the buyer.

The service is free, until you sell something, and then eBay takes a 20 to 40 percent cut, depending on the total amount your item sells for. You get your money within two business days after the buyer has paid for the item through PayPal.

To make sure your item sells and doesn't get rejected by the Valet, check eBay Valet's list of items that don't sell.