Millions of people are finding themselves spending more time at home in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, whether they're social-distancing, working remotely, or have recently been laid off. If you're hoping to earn a little extra cash, now might be a good time to clean out closets, attics, and basements to see what used items you no longer need that might be of value to someone else.
Parents who are home with their families more may "want to buy some new video games to entertain their kids," for example, says savings expert Andrea Woroch. "They're going to want to look at used options first, so this is a great time to declutter, boost your budget, and make a little bit of money."
And you don't need to be too nervous about spreading the coronavirus via mail, experts say. "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low," according to the World Health Organization.
That said, to mitigate risk and assure your buyers you're being cautious, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidelines for cleaning items like clothing and electronics, as well as guidelines for keeping hands clean. The USPS, UPS, and FedEx have all posted lists of actions they're taking to improve customer safety, too.
Here are five platforms for selling your stuff online.
Poshmark is an app and website where people sell any brand of clothing and accessories.
"A lot of brand name items do really well on there," says Daniella Flores, a side hustle blogger who has made thousands of dollars selling items online. "COACH, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, those kinds of brands sell really easy on there."
Flores says she's made up to $600 worth of sales during her highest grossing month on Poshmark.
Note that for sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat fee of $2.95, and for sales above $15, the fee is 20%.
"You can resell almost anything on Mercari," an app for selling a wide range of new or used items from toys to athletic gear to handmade quilts, says Flores.
Profits vary depending on the item. Mercari seller Dallas Wolford, who made $2,400 on the app within a few months, recommends selling small items like kitchenware and clothing. Selling one $10 item every day for a few weeks, she says, can add up.
Mercari takes 10% of sales profits when a sale is made, according to its website.
If you're looking to sell big items like furniture, Facebook Marketplace is a good go-to. Sellers can post anything from a $20 coffee table to a $175 dresser. Buyers can search for items being sold in their area and transactions can take place locally instead of through cumbersome and oftentimes costly shipping.
To make sure you keep a safe distance from buyers, try leaving a piece of furniture outside your house for them to pick up, for example, and avoid cash transactions by using mobile payment tools like Venmo or PayPal. Note that if you use Facebook's checkout function, instead of Venmo or PayPal, Facebook charges a selling fee of 5% or a minimum of 40 cents for each item purchased.
Decluttr will buy your electronics from CDs to video games to cameras. List an item you'd like to sell and the site will let you know how much it'll pay. This ranges anywhere from 20 cents for a used CD to $470 for a used iPhone.
The site will then email you a shipping label. Once Decluttr has received your item and inspected it, you'll receive an electronic payment for the purchase.
UPS features a tutorial for its double over boxing method of packaging, which helps keep fragile products like laptops and tablets safe.
"That's one that's really good for people that don't want to try to sell anything," says Flores, "they just want to get rid of it."
You can sell everything from cars to art to gardening supplies on eBay, but "collectibles are one of the most popular items on there," says Flores, who has made $750 to $3,000 in a month selling used guitars on the site.
Items that fall under eBay's collectibles category include comics, stamps, and sports memorabilia. Flores recommends looking into selling items like records and old china as well.
Sellers' fees on eBay are calculated as a percentage of the amount the buyer pays, including shipping, and vary depending on the type of item: Books and movies have a 12% fee, for instance, while musical instruments and gear have a 3.5% fee.
Note that "a direct seller must include all income received on the tax return," according to IRS guidelines. So make sure to keep tabs of all of the money you're making by selling items online, and report it when tax time arrives.