Is Selling Items Online Worth the Effort? 4 Tips for Selling with Intention

brown gift box on white surface

Photo via Leone Venter on

When I first began minimizing everything in my life, it created a mass exodus of stuff from my apartment. I was very intentional as to why I was getting rid of everything, but less intentional as to how I was getting rid of it and where it was going. I always asked my roommates and sometimes other friends if they could use the items, and would donate or, in few cases, throw away anything they didn’t want.

I lived with the belief that nothing I owned had any real monetary value. My clothes were generally cheap, my tech was old, and my trinkets were… trinkets.

I also held the belief that selling things online took tremendous effort. I wasn’t always wrong; about a year ago, I sold a number of books on Amazon, and the process was generally stressful. Some things would sell in days, and some would stay active for months. I didn’t like holding onto the items for months longer for the prospect of $15 extra in my bank account, but on principle, I didn’t want to waste the money. It was also anxiety-inducing to make sure everything shipped on time. It required a lot of errands, like running to the store to get envelopes, printing shipping labels, and running out to ship the item.

But my experiences haven’t always been negative. And sometimes, they could be quite profitable. This week, I sold my Fitbit and my tablet on Ebay, and made $130 total, and had an experience that was actually very simple– and both of my items sold within a few days.

I think selling online can truly be worth the effort if you have the right standards going into the process. Here are 4 tips for making selling things online worth it:

  1. Don’t assume the worth of an item. The main reason I didn’t minimize my tablet and Fitbit sooner was that I assumed they were less valuable than they were. The Fitbit was about two years old, and the tablet was about a year old. They both worked well and had little to no damage, but I assumed that they’d be considered very old with how quickly technology goes out of date. Even so, they were worth a lot more than I anticipated. So, make sure you find out the true value of what you’re thinking of getting rid of.
  2. Have a minimum price in mind. It’s also helpful to have a price minimum. For me, if something’s over $20, I’ll make the effort to try and sell it. Under that, and I can’t consider it worth the time and stress in my life. I’ll just offer it to someone else or donate it instead.
  3. Set a time limit to have the item on sale. You don’t want to be holding on to a $30 textbook for 8 months waiting on the possibility that someone might buy it (hello, me!). Give yourself a limit. For me, it’s a month for lower-value items, and three months for more valuable ones. Maybe you’re not a minimalist and these times are much longer for you– the point is, have some kind of set time so that you’re not holding on to things you no longer use for months and years on end.
  4. Have your shipping materials ready ahead of time. This is just a little something I’m guilty of– and it always ends up biting me in the ass. The deadline for shipping things always really stresses me out, but I make this worse on myself by not having the materials ahead of time. If you’re like me, get some packing tape and some envelopes/boxes for your items the same day you list them so that you don’t end up pulling your hair out the day it needs to be sent out.




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