Selling our stuff online seems like such a simple, clean, easy solution to our clutter problems. 

Every once in a while, it works beautifully!  An interested buyer contacts you right away, they show up on time, and they actually have the proper amount of cash in hand.  Yes!

That situation is rare, though.

Most of the time, our listings are met with questions that we’ve already answered, casual window-shoppers wasting our time, ridiculously low offers, and the infamous no-shows.  Although we can’t control flaky or unreasonable buyers, there is plenty we can do to make our posts more successful!


I will pretend I am getting ready to sell my daughter’s doll house.  (Don’t worry sweetie, this is just an example. Mommy isn’t selling your dollhouse.)

TIP #1: Check out the competition

The first thing I do is jump online and pretend I’m buying a doll house.  How many doll houses are being sold right now?  Do any of them look like mine?  What are the prices?

This is basic supply and demand.  If there are a dozen similar doll houses out there, I shouldn’t expect to sell mine quickly or for top-dollar.  If the competition feels too stiff at the moment, I might wait until the supply goes down.

TIP #2: Be clear about pricing

Most people who buy used items are looking for a deal, so be prepared for low-ball offers.  If I am not willing to take any less than $50, I need to make it clear that the price is firm.  Now, I could choose to list it higher and allow buyers to negotiate down, but doing so might prevent searchers from seeing my listing in the first place.

TIP #3: Provide an accurate description

Simply saying “doll house” opens the door to endless questions.  Instead, I will state the dimensions, the brand name, where I bought it, and the original price.  I will describe the colors and style to help search engines find my listing more easily.

I also must be honest about any defects.  I don’t want to schedule a pick up with a buyer only to hear them say, “Hey, you never told me about that scratch – I’m not paying $50 for this!”

The more accurate the description (defects included), the better.

TIP #4: Take thoughtful pictures

These are three pictures of the same doll house.  Can you see what a difference the surroundings make?

The first picture unfortunately make the doll house look like junk.  The second is cleaner, but the dollhouse still feels plain and dull.  The third set of pictures calls out, “Imagine how much fun your little girl might have with this beautiful doll house and all these accessories!”

Quality pictures show buyers that that we are a clean and responsible family who take care of our belongings.

TIP #5: Post on multiple sites

Personally, I prefer to start local.  Our neighborhood has a group on both Facebook and NextDoor, so I begin there.  If my item doesn’t sell within my neighborhood, then I will move on to the more universal sites like Craigslist, E-Bay, and Facebook Marketplace.

TIP #6: Be patient

Some buyers are on the hunt for the perfect doll house, and they have already messaged three other sellers before they even see my post.  Other people are simply browsing.  They scroll past my doll house and ask about it casually, but without serious intentions.

I am prepared for people to ask, “Is this item still available?” and never hear from them again. 

Buyers can also be a little lazy about reading descriptions.  So, I am prepared to politely reject a bunch of low-ball offers, even though I’ve clearly stated the price is firm.  And I am prepared to answer questions, even though those details are described in the post.

If I want to get full price for my item, I accept that it will take time.  I will wrap up the doll house and its accessories, put it in a safe place, and be patient.

TIP #7: Evaluate the effort

As you can see, selling stuff online takes work!  Arranging a room to take good pictures, editing the pictures, writing the description, posting it online, followed by the time-consuming interactions with dead-end buyers.

Before you invest all that time and energy, do a little math.

Let’s say you are selling something small for $20, and you predict it will consume a total of 2 hours of work to sell the thing.  Well, that’s the same as working an obnoxious job for $10/hour.  Is it worth the effort?  That’s up to you.

Sometimes it can be better to simply cut your losses, find a worthy charity, and enjoy the relief of being done!

Cutting your losses can be difficult, though.

Paying money for something, barely using it, and giving it away forces us to acknowledge the waste.  In many of us it reveals a deeper issue.  If this is a regularly occurring event in your household . . . if you are consistently deleting items you never got much use out of . . . then you might be caught in what I call: THE DECLUTTERING CYCLE.

The only way to break the Decluttering Cycle is to block new clutter from entering your home in the first place.

This is exactly why Home On Purpose is NOT a decluttering program.  It is a complete transformation of how we view, acquire, and manage our stuff.  

In every Lesson Series, you will learn effective strategies for protecting your home from future clutter.  With each category we ask the question, “Where did all this stuff come from?”  Home On Purpose shows you how to take control of your stuff and make improvements that last.

Are you ready to transform your home? 

Decide where you’d like to begin, and take your next steps today!

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