Earning

How to get the most money for your old iPhone, Ikea plates, and clothes, according to resale experts

Share
Getty Images
Key Points
  • Selling unwanted items can be time-consuming and not always worth it, but if you sell them on the right platform at the right time, you can make some money.
  • For luxury clothing, it's best to use eBay instead of an app like Poshmark, one expert says.
  • Before selling your old laptop or iPhone, be sure to wipe all the data and personal info.

Purging your home of that coat you haven't worn in years, those books you're never going to read, or the food processor that's still in the box can be a cathartic experience. But it can also result in a bag of odd-and-ends and one new bullet point on your to-do list that reads "sell stuff."

Selling your unwanted things can be time-consuming and not always worth it, depending on the items.

However, if you sell them on the right platform at the right time, you can make some money, says Byron Binkley, founder of Sella, a service that will sell your used items for you on marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook. "If people can take the time and really get over the friction it takes to sell things, they should do so sooner rather than later," he says.

Here's where you can get the most money for your clothing, homewares, small appliances, and tech gear.

Laptops and other tech

Selling tech items in early spring is smart, Binkley says.

"It's a great time to unload gadgets and electronics that may have been replaced over the last six months during the holiday season," he says. "They depreciate quickly. That value just vanishes into the ether."

Even if the gadget you want to sell is a bit older, you can probably still sell it for a decent price, he adds. "By and large the value [of old tech gear] extends beyond what people think," Binkley says. "People think a four-year-old laptop or iPhone is not worth it [to sell], but it is. They should definitely sell those."

To get the most money for an old laptop, iPhone, or pair of Bluetooth headphones, list them on eBay or Mercari, he says. Items like this are sought after and don't cost a ton to ship.

Listing them yourself will net the most cash, agrees Kristin McGrath, shopping expert for RetailMeNot.

Keep in mind there are still fees. Fees on eBay vary by category and final price: For laptops it takes 10% plus 30 cents per order. Mercari also has a fee, typically around 10%, depending on the item and payment method.

If you don't want to take the time to do this, you can use trade-in programs. "Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Best Buy all have trade-in programs meant for recycling and saving on your next tech purchase," she says.

Before you sell a tech item, remember to wipe your data, she adds. "For any tech item you plan to sell, you should wipe the hard drive of any data or personal information that may still live on the device, as well as log out of any location sharing and social media apps," she says.

Homewares

Plates or silverware that you bought from Target or Macy's probably don't hold that much value, but you could try to get a few bucks for them on Facebook Marketplace, Binkley says.

"These items you'd see at a yard sale — an old toaster over or a set of Ikea plates," he says. "You might want to do a garage sale or something or if you wanted to post them on Facebook Marketplace."

By and large the value [of old tech gear] extends beyond what people think.
Byron Binkley
Founder of Sella

Some of the stuff might end up at a Goodwill, though. "If you have something that you paid $30 for at Target, it's probably not worth that much," he says.

If it's something that is a little more expensive or rare, like hand-painted china, you could try to sell it on eBay.

Clothing

The best place to sell your clothing and how much money you should expect to make depends on the brand of each item and the amount of wear, Binkley says.

If you have higher-end garments or accessories, you might be tempted to sell it on Poshmark or The RealReal. But those sites take significant cuts of the profit from higher-priced items.

Let's say you're selling a vintage Chanel bag for $1,500. Poshmark takes a 20% cut of any item over $15, meaning you would lose $300 by selling on their platform. The RealReal takes a 30% cut of handbags between $995 and $4,994, meaning you'd lose $450.

However, many luxury items have mass appeal and you don't need those platforms to find a shopper who will be willing to pay for them. That's why it's better to use a general e-commerce marketplace, Binkley says.

"If you look at the higher value designer items, those often will sell equally well on a sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace" as they do on sites like Poshmark and The RealReal, he says.

Facebook Marketplace has a fee of 5% of the sale price, with a minimum of 40 cents. (It is waiving those fees for small businesses through June 30, 2022.) For clothing, the eBay takes 9-15% of the order, plus 30 cents.

If you look at the higher value designer items, those often will sell equally well on a sites like ebay or Facebook Marketplace
Byron Binkley
founder of Sella

If you're selling mall brand clothing, a local consignment shop or a Plato's Closet makes more sense.

"For run-of-the-mill clothing, like an Ann Taylor blouse, or if someone is trying to clean out their closet and has 20 items, typically, a local consignment shop is a good option," he says. "They are going to take a huge cut of the profit, but it is what it is. For the blend of convenience and making some money off your stuff instead of giving it to Goodwill, it can make sense to do that."

Plato's Closet will sell items for 60% to 70% of the original retail price and give sellers one-third of that. Online consignment shop ThredUp takes between 20% and 97%, depending on how much the item sells for.

Small appliances

Small, affordable appliances sell well, Binkley says. But depending on the price of the items, you don't want to incur shipping costs.

"There is always a market of $20 to $50 microwaves, but you'd almost never list one on a site like eBay because the cost to pack and ship it somewhere is twice what the item costs," he says. "This category of items has to be sold locally."

List it on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and specify that you need a buyer to pick it up. The same goes for a lawn mower, kid's bike, and other small items that have good resale value but are expensive to ship.

More from Grow: