Craigslist or eBay? The ultimate guide to selling your stuff online. – The Christian Science Monitor

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There are plenty of options for selling your unwanted goods online, but which site you choose will depend on what you’re trying to unload. Here’s how to get the most out of the five biggest e-commerce sites on the web, including eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, and even Facebook. 

Spring has sprung, which means it’s officially Spring cleaning season. But wait! Before you toss all your unwanted junk in the dumpster, give it a second look. If one man’s trash is another’s treasure, you just might be sitting on a gold mine.
So how do you cash in on these potential riches? Sell that stuff online, of course! I surveyed all the online shopping experts on our team here at Brad’s Deals, and came up with this handy-dandy guide for how to get the most out of the 5 best-known e-commerce sites on the web.
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Although the e-commerce market has opened up a lot in the past few years, eBay is still usually the first thought for people looking to sell something online. Originally an auction site, you can also buy and sell things for a set price, and I personally know quite a few people with a sizable side income from eBay sales.
eBay, like most other e-commerce sites, does charge small fees to sellers, which vary based on the category and selling price of the item. It can be difficult to predict how much you’ll be paying in fees for any given sale, so make sure to use their Fee Calculator to avoid unexpected fees at the end of your transactions.
Unique, niche or collectible items that buyers won’t be able to find anywhere else. Also works well for brand-name clothing, working electronics and hot holiday items.
To sell something on eBay, you’ll first need to register as an eBay member. You’ll then create a seller account and click “Sell” on the top of the page, which will bring you to a detailed walk-through of exactly how to place your item for sale on the site.
Everyone knows you can buy pretty much anything you could ever want or need on this online mega-store, but you can also make some money by selling your unwanted items in the Amazon marketplace.
Like eBay, Amazon does take a cut of your sale, and that cut is difficult to predict because it varies based on the price of your item or the category you list it in, but for their first 40 sales, individuals are charged $0.99 per sale plus additional selling fees. Please refer to the official Amazon Selling Fee Schedule, or try a third party calculator like SaleCalc before you list anything to ensure you’re not hit with a higher than expected seller’s fee.
Practical things like textbooks, kitchen items,  gently-used electronics, video games,  and brand-name clothing. If you want to see the top-selling items on Amazon at any given time, check out the Amazon Best Sellers page, which is updated hourly.
Login to or create a new Amazon account, then click on Seller Account. You’ll be prompted to either sell as a Professional (which costs $39.99/month but still charges various seller’s fees) or as an Individual (which charges $0.99/sale plus various seller’s fees and only allows 40 sales/month). Go with  Individual unless you’re planning on selling more than 40 items per month. Once you’ve set up your seller account (you have to verify your bank account, credit card information, etc), click on “Inventory,” then “Add Product,” and type in the product name or ISBN number. It’s that easy!
Brad’s Deals blogger and successful Amazon seller Tessa McLean wrote an entire article about this a few years ago, here are a few of her tips:
Etsy describes itself as “an online marketplace where people around the world connect to make, sell and buy unique goods,” and you probably know it as “that website my cousin uses to sell her crocheted lampshades.” Etsy might seem like a newcomer on the e-commerce scene, but it’s actually been around since 2005.
While there’s no monthly membership for having a shop on Etsy, it costs $0.20 to list an item, and Etsy takes a 3.5% cut of every sale. Be sure to check out their seller’s fees info page before you list anything.
Original art, crafting supplies and hand-made or vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories and knickknacks.
Sign up and open a shop with a fun, creative name (tips on naming an Etsy shop here!), verify your identity with your credit card (which will also be charged every time you put an item up for sale), and set up Direct Checkout, Etsy’s payment system which works with every kind of international currency.
Craigslist the Amazon of the cheap, useful and necessary. I’ve found every apartment and almost every job I’ve ever had on the site, and have also bought essential items like bookshelves, coffee tables and even concert tickets.
Free. Craigslist does not charge for any posting EXCEPT job listings, so unless you’re on the hunt for a new employee, you’re good.
Useful, gently-worn or new items like electronics, furniture, dishes, curtains, art, tickets to an event or show, etc.
You don’t have to create a Craigslist account in order to make a posting, but it helps if your item doesn’t sell right away and you want to keep re-posting it. Without an account, you’ll have to create an entirely new listing from scratch every time, but with an account, you can just re-post and go about your day. Once you’ve created an account, do a little bit of research on what similar items are selling for on places like eBay and Amazon, and try to price it accordingly. Going a little high is fine, because most Craigslist buyers aren’t afraid to do a little haggling, and if your initial price is too low, you won’t have any leverage. Once you’ve decided on price, upload a few pictures of the item and write a concise title and a short description of the condition its in/your delivery options.
Believe it or not, Facebook can actually be used for more than stalking you ex boyfriend and hate-scrolling through pictures of your high school bully’s adorable children! Facebook actually tried out a formal Marketplace a few years ago, but if it still exists it’s winning the gold in the Hide-and-Seek Olympics because I can’t find it anywhere.
Free!
Pretty much anything. I’ve seen my friends post everything from baby strollers to concert tickets to cars for sale on Facebook, so there’s really nothing you can’t advertise to your friends if you’re trying to get rid of some extra junk.
First, you have to decide where to post your item to sell. There are lots of Facebook groups out there for locals who are trying to sell stuff, but you also might want to post it to your personal page if you think your friends will bite. Of course there’s no reason why you can’t post it in multiple places at once, so if you find a few different groups that seem like a good fit, go ahead and post to all of them. As always, make sure you’ve taken good-quality pictures from multiple angles, and upload them all at once so people can scroll through them while shopping. Your description should be short and to the point but also clear and easy to read, and should accurately describe the condition of the item.
Which e-commerce site is your favorite? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever sold? 
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A selection of the most viewed stories this week on the Monitor’s website.
Every Saturday
Hear about special editorial projects, new product information, and upcoming events.
Occasional
Select stories from the Monitor that empower and uplift.
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An update on major political events, candidates, and parties twice a week.
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A weekly digest of Monitor views and insightful commentary on major events.
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