Most people are looking for more ways to find cash – especially with Christmas just around the corner – but you probably don’t realize you’re sitting on a pile of it in the form of unwanted items.
It may seem easier to dump things in the bin, or just leave them in the closet, but a few quick clicks can turn your wardrobe 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 is very naughty and ends up at the vet, the 24-year-old told Sky News.
“I had a savings account for her that I’ve had to chip into. But now, if she ends up having to go to the vet again, I know I can make up the money.”
She’s also moving into a new flat in West Hampstead and used the move as a chance to clear out her wardrobe – from selling old technology to clothes she doesn’t wear.
There are several sites to help you flog your items—and remember, you’re not always limited to selling on one (though you’ll need to remove items across the board when they sell).
It’s worth tracking sales charges so you can be sure you’re getting the best deals.
Facebook, eBay, Vinted, Depop or Twig?
eBay comes out as the more expensive of the platforms – private sellers can have 1,000 free listings, but when you sell an item you pay 12.8% of the final value to the site, plus a flat fee of 30p per order. If the total amount of the sale is over £2,500 for a single item (for example, a car), you pay 3% on 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 also pay a PayPal fee of 2.9% + 30p per transaction.
Vinted is relatively rare in that there is no fee to sell your items on Vinted – you get your full balance and a postage label making it one of the easiest platforms to sell on. Instead, it charges the buyer a “buyer protection fee” and the cost of postage.
Facebook is also free – although anyone who has sold through the platform’s Marketplace can tell you that what you don’t pay in fees, you make up for in effort – but because it relies heavily on local searches, you may find that your target audience is limited.
Most sales are also fundraising and cash – which comes with its own dangers. Consider meeting in a neutral, well-lit location, with other people nearby, if you’re worried about having strangers around your house.
Twig works a little differently in that you sell to the page. You take a photo of your items and get an instant valuation – you then get the money immediately and have 48 hours to send it to Twig.
“I discovered Twig on the Tube. I love how it’s a more sustainable option too,” said Millie.
Beware of seller fraud
Everyone has been warned about the dangers of buying online, but you can still be scammed as a seller.
Millie lost almost hundreds of pounds selling a camera on Depop.
“The guy responded really quickly and I got excited because I thought I was going to get 200 pounds,” 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 later received a message from PayPal that the seller had been reported for acting suspiciously: “They said they were waiting for the money to come in and it never did.”
Had she not noticed the missing line in his address, Millie would have posted the camera and never received any money.
Millie had a lucky escape 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 getting any money and losing her phone.”
Use a verified site that handles the money for you to sell items (it’s much harder to do anything if you get scammed via Facebook Marketplace). Vinted and eBay will notify you when the seller has paid – Vinted will only give you a postage label when it has the money – and will then hold the money for you until the item is posted.
Likewise, be wary of overpayments. A buyer can pay more than the set price and then say they made a mistake and ask for a partial refund. The seller then refunds only to discover that the original payment has been cancelled.
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, be suspicious of anyone who asks you to go outside 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 – even if you pay a fee, this protects you if something goes wrong.