Perspectives: Selling those unwanted household goods could prove lucrative

Selling unwanted items from around the house can be a great way to clean up and make some money in the process.

There have never been more ways to list and sell household items with relative ease.

Online websites, yard sales and flea markets are just a few of the ways available to sell unwanted items.

Sites such as eBay and Amazon are great ways to list items for sale to thousands of potential buyers, according to some local residents.

“I sell things online at least once a month and generally I use eBay,” said Bill Lauer, 23, of Marietta. “It’s great to reach a broad audience for selling my used textbooks, old movies and video games that I don’t use anymore.”

Books and video games are two of the easier and more popular items to sell online, according to an article on Cameras, DVDs, iphones, baby supplies, musical instruments and sporting equipment are also among the more popular choices for products to sell online.

A common concern with sites like eBay is finding ways to make a product stand out among all the other products being sold.

Having detailed descriptions, plenty of photographs and responding to potential buyer questions are great ways to help market products online, according to

Lauer said he always tries to provide pictures of his products, but he at least always includes a detailed description of each item.

“If people are confident about the product you are selling, then they are going to be more willing to buy,” he said.

The main reason Lauer sells his belongings online is the amount of profit he can make.

“Generally the money I get after the cut they take and the shipping I pay is still more than I would get selling locally,” he said.

Sites like this generally take about 10 percent in fees of the profit that a seller makes.

Craigslist is an online site that provides a rare mix of the local market with the reach of an online audience.

It serves as a hub for many different communities to post advertisements for products and services much like an ad in the newspaper.

However unlike taking an ad out in a newspaper, Craigslist provides users the chance to post items for sale at no cost to them.

Yard sales can be a great alternative for items that are to large to ship or perhaps won’t sell for as much money online.

“Yard sales are a great way for me to get rid of my unwanted things,” said Myra Petty, 84, of Marietta. “It isn’t the best way to make a huge profit but it will allow you to unload a lot of stuff fast.”

Petty has been involved in large group yard sales at Norwood United Methodist Church for the last six years.

The key to a successful yard sale is to make sure you have the appropriate pricing, according to Petty.

“It’s best to go a bit under the actual value of an item because the objective is to sell as much as you can,” she said. “You won’t make a huge profit off of one item at a yard sale generally.”

Popular items to sell at a yard sale might include clothes, bikes, books, gardening equipment, sporting equipment and toys.

Petty admits that running a successful yard sale can take a bit of work.

“It’s important that you make sure the things you are selling are clean,” she said. “Things in poor condition can affect how people view the rest of the items at your sale.”

Excellent ways to get the word out about a yard sale can be putting an ad in the newspaper, word of mouth or by making a sign and placing it around town.

Location can also make the difference in a sale being successful.

“Weather permitting, it’s always best to have a yard sale outside,” said Petty. “That way you can attract the attention of people who might just be driving by.”

The biggest benefit of a yard sale is that the majority if the money made will be profit since there are very few expenses.

Flea markets, such as Peddlers Junction LLC in Belpre, offer an alternative to a yard sale. Those wishing to have a spot at a flea market are required to rent out a space in which to sell items.

“We have been open about two years and we have a range of customers we do business with,” said Peddler Junction Owner Vicki Panner. “We have mostly vendors who are trying to open up little businesses but we also get those looking to just unload items from around the house.”

While yard sales are beneficial for those looking for a quick easy sale flea markets work for anyone looking to consistently sell a product to the public.

Donna Massey runs the business Olde Log Cabin Primitives out of Rink’s Flea Market in Marietta.

“It’s such a well-established flea market,” she said. “It always draws a crowd which is good for selling our product.”

Olde Log Cabin Primitives specializes in homemade country and cottage style decor.

A huge benefit for Massey is that Rink’s is only open during the weekend, which allows her to continue to work during the week.

“It makes it really nice being able to work all week and then sell my products when I have time on the weekend,” she said.

Peddlers Junction offers its customers the ability to sell their goods without the requirement of their presence.

“Our clients can bring in their things and leave them and we sell and collect the funds for them,” Panner said. “They don’t have to sit around like they would at a yard sale or normal flea market so it’s a little more convenient for them.”

Much like a yard sale though, the flea markets are only allowing products to reach a local audience. With fewer people available to purchase each item, it’s important to make sure that each piece will draw the attention of potential buyers.

Dee Dunn, the floor manager for Peddlers Junction, said it’s crucial for customers to make the items they want to sell as presentable as possible.

No matter how attractive each item is, the profit made will likely be significantly less than a similar item sold online.

“Generally we can get around half of the price that an item might sell for on Craigslist,” said Dunn. “It’s hard to compete with a company that can reach people all over the country when you can only reach local buyers.”