9 Ways To Make Money With Online Sales

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.

2021 was the second year of the pandemic, and there’s a good chance most of us have spent a lot of time at home realizing how much we have on our hands.

When you find yourself faced with the clutter, there is a good solution: try to sell it! What looks old, worn out, or dated to you may be someone else’s precious possession.

But entering the world of online sales can be overwhelming, to say the least. In 2021, we’ve shared some of the best tips for selling everything from books and clothes to gift cards and photos online.

To make it easier for you at the end of the year, here’s a recap of our 2021 articles on how to make money from online sales after emptying your closets and cupboards.

1. Know where to sell online

Woman working from home
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Half the battle of selling something online is knowing how and where to sell it. Is your article very visual? Does it tend to have a community to go with it, like vintage furniture? If your answer is yes, then Instagram might be your best bet.

If you’re trying to sell products to a wide variety of people around the world, sites like Amazon and eBay, which have certain selling fees, can possibly offer the greatest reach.

If you just want to get rid of a few items from your garage, try a local site like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These sites even allow for local pickup, which can make your life easier and save you two hassle – you’ll get rid of the item and not have to do the heavy lifting.

We’ve put together some great tips on how to sell online both globally and locally.

2. Master the online market

Student on a laptop
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There are a few simple rules that you should keep in mind when creating your ads. A quick summary:

  • Use a simple name for your item so that it appears in a search – for example, “table” instead of “dropleaf” or “grill” instead of the brand name.
  • Remember to always include the relevant information up front – you don’t want to be bombarded with questions about something you might have put in the item description.
  • Be aware that selling something online usually requires maintenance. You will need to watch for messages from interested buyers.
  • Don’t set prices too high.

Find out more in our overview of selling used goods online.

3. Make your items look great

man taking a picture
Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com

The easiest – and perhaps the most essential – way to make your articles stand out online is to take good photographs. The reverse is just as true. How many of us have seen our unsold items and wondered if a cluttered photo of other items in dim lighting was the cause?

Here is an overview of how to take photos of items for sale:

  • Find a clean background.
  • Favor natural lighting over artificial lighting.
  • Showcase the photo thoughtfully, using props that work with what you’re trying to sell.
  • Take multiple photos to find the best shot – don’t just take one and call it a day.

4. Create a thoughtful customer experience

Woman thinking about her phone or a new phone plan
Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com

If you run an online store rather than just selling unique items online, you might want to think about how you present your items to buyers.

Creating dynamic packaging and interactive experiences with each item can go a long way in creating a loyal customer.

Read these expert online retail packaging tips to find out how everything from confetti to free logo stickers can build brand loyalty and keep people coming back for more.

5. Unload your wardrobe items

A woman pulls out clothes from her closet
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It can seem intimidating to dig through your wardrobe and pick out the pieces that you are willing to part with. Are we ever really ready? Worse, taking pictures, picking prices, and waiting for someone to nibble on your old clothes can be stressful.

But there are ways to do it successfully.

Start by knowing which site to use. Are you more of a Poshmark person or a ThredUP girl? Is Tradesy the Right Option for You? Do you plan to recycle the clothes before you put them on sale?

6. Overflowing shelves? It’s time to sell

Young man with stack of books.
Aaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

We’ve all seen the stack of $ 1 in a used bookstore. Perhaps you think that your old books will be relegated to this status, which will make it almost impossible to even break even when selling.

But if you know where to sell your books online, you might not.

There is Amazon and Etsy, yes, but have you ever heard of AbeBooks and Decluttr?

7. Sell your photos

A man excited about his new phone plan
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Those casual iPhone photos you collected? You can use them wisely.

If you’ve received compliments on your artistic Instagrams or feel like you’re an aspiring photographer, maybe it’s time to try and make some money from these talents.

The question is where to sell and how does each site work. For example, do you prefer to earn a certain percentage of royalties or pay the site for an ad?

We’ve put together some tips to help you sell photos online and choose the option that’s right for you.

8. Get rid of those old gift cards – for real money!

Winning gift card
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

We never thought we would say it, but there can be too many gift cards.

Sometimes you just don’t have the time or the capacity to spend it all. So why not grab some money for them and let someone else have fun? We’ve listed the easiest ways to sell gift cards. It turns out that there are plenty of apps designed for this.

9. Consult Nextdoor for a second opinion

Woman on her laptop
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Nextdoor can be a trash can fire on a site, but it can also come in handy when you think you are paying too much for something or not being paid enough for an item you are trying to sell.

Surveying your neighbors on Nextdoor – literally the people who live in geographic proximity to you – is a good way to get a feel for the general temperature. By asking for Nextdoor reviews, you could end up saving money!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation for clicking on links in our stories.


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