Most people are looking for other ways to raise money – especially around Christmas – but you probably don’t know you’re sitting on a pile of cash in the form of unwanted items.
It might seem easier to throw things in the trash or just leave them in the closet, but a few quick clicks can turn your closet into much-needed cash.
Millie Wright has earned up to £250 a month selling her second-hand clothes to Twig.
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“I have a puppy, and sometimes she gets very naughty and ends up at the vet,” the 24-year-old told Sky News.
“I had a savings account for her that I had to contribute into. But now, if she ends up having to go back to the vet, I know I can get the money back.”
She’s also moving into a new flat in West Hampstead and has taken advantage of the change to clear out her wardrobe – from selling old tech to clothes she doesn’t wear.
There are several sites to help you whip up your items – and remember you’re not always limited to selling on just one (although be sure to delete all items once they sell out).
It’s worth tracking seller fees to make sure you’re getting the best deals.
Facebook, eBay, Vinted, Depop or Twig?
eBay is the most expensive of the platforms – private sellers can have 1,000 free listings, but when you sell an item you pay 12.8% of its final value to the site, plus a flat fee of 30p per order. If the total sale amount is more than £2,500 for a single item (e.g. a car), you will pay 3% for the part of the sale price over £2,500.
Depop takes a 10% cut from your PayPal account, or your card, before paying you the rest of the money. You will also pay a PayPal fee of 2.9% + 30p per transaction.
Vinted is relatively rare in that there is no charge to sell your items on Vinted – you’ll get the full balance and a postage label, making it one of the easiest platforms to sell. Instead, it charges buyer “buyer protection fee” and shipping cost.
Facebook is also free – although anyone who’s sold through the platform’s Marketplace can tell you that what you’re not paying in fees you’re making up for in effort – but, as it relies heavily on local searches , you can find your narrow audience.
Most sales are also cashed and cash – which has its own dangers. Consider meeting in a neutral, well-lit place with other people nearby if you are concerned about having strangers around your home.
Twig works slightly differently in that you are selling on the site. You take a picture of your items and get an immediate valuation – then you get the money immediately and have 48 hours to send it to Twig.
“I discovered Twig on the Tube. I also like that it’s a more sustainable option,” Millie said.
Beware of seller scams
Everyone has been warned about the dangers of buying online, but you can still get scammed as a seller.
Millie almost lost hundreds of pounds selling a camera on Depop.
“The guy was responding very quickly, and I was excited because I thought I would get £200,” she said.
“I packed everything up and when I was at the post office I realized he had missed the first line of his address. I went back to talk to him and he had deactivated his account.”
She then received a message from PayPal stating that the seller had been flagged for acting suspiciously: “They said they were waiting for the money to arrive, and it never arrived.”
If she hadn’t noticed the missing line from her address, Millie would have mailed the camera and never received any money.
Millie was lucky, but a friend wasn’t so lucky: “My boyfriend’s sister sold an iPhone and it was the same thing and she ended up not making any money and losing the phone.”
Use a verified site that manages money to allow you to sell items (it’s much harder to do anything if you’re scammed through Facebook Marketplace). Vinted and eBay will let you know when the seller has paid – Vinted only gives you a postage label once they have the money – and then hold the money for you until the item has been posted.
Also, beware of overpayments. A buyer can pay more than the set price, then say they made a mistake and ask for a partial refund. The seller then refunds only to find that the original payment has been reversed.
Whether you are buying or selling, beware of anyone asking you to exit the site’s payment system. If you use PayPal unless you know the person, don’t pay or sell, using the friends and family feature – although you pay a fee, it protects you in case something goes wrong.