Keep Calm and sell, sell, sell

Packing up has made us realise one thing, we own way too much stuff! It doesn’t really matter if you are packing up for that big lap around our beautiful country or just want to reduce the amount of stuff you have in the house, the same approach can be taken to getting rid of the excess.

Firstly we assessed everything one by one and put them into one of 3 categories either sell, throw or keep. Initially most items get assessed as keep, but as you start sorting you will realise that you are just trying to keep too much stuff and you will gradually allow more and more into the first 2 groups.

Our tips for selling:

  1. Price realistically: We’ve found that initial contact is important – you have a window where you can lure impulse buyers so it is important to price realistically. If an item is too expensive lots of people will be put off and you will be unlikely to get them looking at your item again. Experience has told us that if you are confident that a price is correct it’s better to put it up at that price and make it firm than overprice the item to hope for offers.
  2. Present the items well: This is much more important than you might think. Don’t just take a blurry shot in the dark, it is not likely to get the attention your item deserves. Make sure the item is clean (shine/polish/vacuum it if you can) make sure the photo is well lit and that it shows off the item you are trying to sell.
  3. Be Polite: you are bound to get low balers trying to offer a tenth of what you are after. Best to reply politely and firmly to confirm the price is not negotiable. You will quickly realise if you have the right price as you will get more than one person interested, if this happens you can be very firm on price.
  4. Don’t change your plans to accommodate buyers: I do not generally bend over backwards to cater for a buyer. If I’m going to be out then I explain to the potential buyer and let them fit in around me. In the past I’ve cancelled plans to sell items just to have the person not show up – sure selling stuff is important but it’s not worth revolving your life around. I have made some exceptions to this like when I was selling my camper trailer I knew the buyer was serious and I actually took a day off work to show them the camper. Obviously this was slightly different as it was a big ticket item, I had a very interested buyer and the camper trailer market can be a bit hit and miss so I didn’t want to lose a sale!

We’ve had quite a bit of success with selling and proved you can sell almost any old junk if you are patient enough. You know what they say; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Even an old CRT TV sold on ebay…. I was amazed!


Ebay offers two main types of sales, both with free listings for a large number of items. Be aware that selling on ebay is quite expensive – it generally costs about 13% of the final cost if the buyer pays with paypal.

Auction: I find this is the best approach for items which are sort after and/or rare. If you get a competition going between a couple of bidders the sky is the limit for what they will pay.

Fixed Price: Good for general items which have a well-known value, I’ve had items just sit on ebay for months (at no charge) and just randomly sell.


Great service as they are free to sell. The major downside is there are numerous scammers lurking in gumtree so you have to have your wits about you. You’ll have Nigerian princes or offshore oil rig workers who want to pay you by cheque or western union but as long as you are on the watch for scammers you are usually fine. Remember if it seems too good to be true then it probably is! The other big downside is gumtree takes a bit of work to keep your ads at the top of people’s searches. It basically requires weekly removal and re-listing or you can pay to keep your ad at the top and getting views.

Facebook Buy Swap Sell and Marketplace

This is great for those niche items. Specific car bits, baby/kids clothes and toys and even cars or caravans seem to do quite well. If you are in a facebook group for the particular item, its worth just trying to sell the items in there. Some groups have a massive audience and because its targeted you have a good chance to get what its worth. To add the items to the groups you will need to put them on the marketplace as well which has also proved successful. The best bit is because this is a relatively new endeavour for Facebook – it costs nothing!

Garage sales

This is great for exchanging everything for cash before taking the items to the op shop or tip. You would be amazed what people will buy – Garage sale customers go in with the mindset that they are going to get a bargain and usually have a wallet full of cash so you can offload a lot more than you think.

Posting Items

I try to use pre-paid Australia post bags where possible. I keep a stash of them at home – they allow you to ship items without waiting in the queue in auspost store and are slightly cheaper than sending your own parcels. Parcels should be kept as small in physical size as possible to save on postage. Self serve stations at auspost can save a lot of time – particularly in busy periods.

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