how to sell things when you move/downsize

by | Jul 13, 2022 | All Things Home, Organizing | 10 comments

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As I shared about selling things to get ready for the move here on my blog and social media, I have been asked by many people about the avenues I’m using to sell those pieces.  I’m at a bit of an unfair advantage since I do have an established follower/customer base, but I sold things in many different ways and can offer some tips that might be helpful to anyone downsizing, organizing, or getting ready for a move.

how to sell things when you're moving/downsizing | miss mustard seed

Here are the platforms and venues I used to sell and get rid of all of our stuff…

facebook marketplace & craigslist

I put these together because they both serve as online classifieds, primary to a local community.  You can ship things that are sold through these (and similar) platforms, but the logistics of online payments and shipping might not be something you want to dive into and there is more opportunity for fraud since these sites aren’t set up for direct and secure selling (like an online shop, Etsy, eBay, Amazon marketplace, etc.)

These sites are a great way to post things for sale, though.  It’s free, easy, and usually pretty effective.  I will say that potential buyers are usually looking for second-hand bargains, so this isn’t the best place to sell high-end items, although it doesn’t hurt to list them and see what happens.

living room decor blue & white | miss mustard seed

Just beware of scams, fraud, and safety.  I’ve never had a safety issue buying or selling on Facebook or Craigslist, but I would always encourage you not to buy or sell alone and/or meet in a neutral, public location.  As far as cammers and fraudsters, just stay away from anyone making unusual requests like, “I’ll pay double your price, but first I need to make sure you are a real person.”  They are trying to get an authorization code from you, which is a no-go.  No one needs a confirmation code or any information from you other than a time and address to pick something up.  Anything other than a message from a person wanting to set up a time and pay cash (or instant online payment) upon pick-up should be suspect.

local facebook groups

One nice thing about list on Facebook Marketplace is that you can share it to local groups and increase your odds of your listing being seen by relevant potential buyers.  You can also share the listings on your own personal page if you think you have friends who would be interested in your items.  I put all of my listings on local yard sale and used classifieds and received responses to almost all of those listings.  I was overwhelmed with over 100 responses when I listed four kayaks for sale!

art studio | antiques | arhaus drafting table | miss mustard seed

local eBay/etsy sales

One of the top questions I received from people asking about selling household items was about getting top-dollar for nice pieces.  For items that are true antiques, like-new, or higher-end, you might want to take a look at selling them on or .  These online marketplaces are more specialized and can support higher prices.  You can get into shipping smaller items if you want to, but you can also choose to sell everything for local pick-up only.  That does limit the potential customer base, but it is still a way to reach people who might be looking for the specific piece you’re selling and they might even go as far as to arrange shipping from their end.  I’ve had people arrange furniture pick-ups where a shipping company showed up at my door, picked up the piece, and took it from there.

antique grocery antique scale | miss mustard seed

I didn’t sell any pieces while getting ready for our move on these platforms, but I have in the past and they are a good option.

consignment shops

I brought several items to my favorite local consignment shop for them to either purchase directly or to sell on consignment.  I specifically brought newer pieces of furniture and nice clothing for them to sell, but it depends on the consignment shop and what sort of things they are looking for.  I ended up making a nice chunk of change off of those items and I just had to drop them off.  (In some cases, they will even pick things up from your home.)

With consignment selling, just be aware of the terms.  They will take a percentage of the sale (that’s the point of their business), will usually set the price (so it’s in line with what their customers expect), and they will have a process for getting rid of pieces that don’t sell after a set period of time.  Sometimes the items will go on sale first and then be donated or returned to the seller.  You also want to know how to collect your payment.  Do you have to do it in person?  Will they mail it to you or pay electronically, etc.  Just make sure you know what to expect and you’re comfortable with the terms.

blue and white bedroom decor | miss mustard seed

auctions & estate sales

Most of us think of auctions and estate sales happening after people pass away, but you can work with auction houses and estate companies to liquidate a large volume of items.  If you don’t have many pieces, they can combine them with other households for a larger sale.  I was clearing out a bunch of inventory when the shop I sold out of was moving, so I put a bunch of items in a local auction.

antiques | miss mustard seed

It’s a great way to get rid of an entire household and it’s much easier than trying to sell it all yourself.  They will also be savvier when it comes to items that are highly desirable and can support more aggressive pricing.  Auctions can be a gamble in that pieces you think are valuable can go for $1.00, but on the flip side, attendees might get very excited about one particular item and it gets far more than you expect.  Again, auction houses and estate management companies will take a percentage of the sales, so just keep that in mind.

social media

I was planning on having a yard sale, but I ended up having a “virtual yard sale” because items were selling so well directly from my blog and social media.  Obviously, the more followers/friends you have, the more success you are likely to have, but that’s not always going to be the case.  You just need one buyer, so even if you have a small following, it’s worth putting the items you’re selling on social media to see if there are any takers.

I would show most of the items on Instagram Stories along with the price, how to contact me, and where I was located.  Things sold pretty fast!

antique pine chest | blue toile fabric walls | miss mustard seed

yard sale

As I said above, I was planning on having a yard sale, but I sold things so well through other means that it ended up not being necessary.  Anyone who has had a yard sale knows it’s a lot of work and, while you can make some decent money selling your unwanted things, you do have to weigh out your time and energy expense against the potential income.  I’ve had many yard sales over the years and it is a good way to clear out a bunch of stuff.  I’ve used yard sales many times to “trade up.”  I sell unwanted or unused items for things we want and/or need.

how to have a killer yard sale | miss mustard seed

Here are a few tips to have a successful yard sale…

  • Advertise the yard sale well or, better yet, have it in coordination with a neighborhood or community event.  List it online on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and social media and be specific about the kind of items you’re selling along with general prices.
  • Put out clear signs to direct passers-by to your sale.
  • Price everything ahead of the event.  I bought and cut them to size to make the most of them.  I just wrote the price with a permanent marker to keep things simple.  Especially when the yard sale is busy, you don’t want everyone having to wait for you to tell them the price for things.
  • Display the items as best as you can.  It’s not a retail store, but using folding tables or garage shelves to get things up off the ground makes it easier for shoppers to see your goods.
  • Have change for all of the people who hit an ATM on the way out yard-saling and have crisp, new $20 bills.  And, keep your cash in a safe spot!
  • Yard sales are a great time to connect with people who have similar tastes or are at a similar stage in life.  I love striking up conversations especially when I’m shopping to see if the sellers have anything else they just didn’t have time to put out for the sale.

donate

It is nice to recoup some money when you’re clearing things out, but donating can be very rewarding, too!  When the boys have been hesitant to get rid of a toy they’ve outgrown, we think of someone special to give it to and it makes them look forward to sharing something they’ve loved with a younger child.  We’ve been so blessed through the years by people who have been generous with us when we were newlyweds, new parents, or just needed some help.  It’s nice to pass that along to others.

miss mustard seed

If you’re in the process of a big clean-out of your own house or perhaps that of a family member, I hope this post gives you some ideas for getting rid of some things and making money in the process.

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    10 Comments

    1. Linda Welch

      Yes, beware the scammers. They like to tell you that an email will come from PayPal, but check your spam folder. Look at that email and it will have characters in it that are not from PayPal.
      I have had 2 recently and very frustrating when you spend time trying to verify this person. Of course never ship until you have guarantee that funds have been sent . When in doubt with PayPal, reach out to them. Customer service is great to work with.

    2. Beverlee

      Adorable family…..and one of the boys looks like his Mama, one like his Daddy. Thank you for all the information.

    3. Anna

      Great tips. I have a bunch of inventory from my antiques business that I am thinking about clearing out. This gives me some good ideas. Also I love the last black and white photo you included in this post.

    4. Irene Kelly

      I am not into any social media but I have done about six yard sales over the years and you are so rightb they are a lot of work. People only want to pay a dollar for an item ! One yard sale we did my husband put out most if the items before I even got out of bed and a young lady down our road bought a handbag. She came back later that day with a bag of personal items I had left in the bag.Very nice if her !

    5. JC

      Great information. Thank you! About how long before your move date did you start the process of selling?

    6. Babs

      We have been downsizing for several years through a booth at our local antique mall. I have also taken items from friends on consignment (with a small service fee deducted.) We are getting to the bottom of our excess items and I find I have to go to thrift stores to help keep the booth full. I have recently decided that I am DONE with it. I would like to be out of the booth at the end of December. Searching for items, cleaning the items, pricing and researching the items, hauling the items up to the mall has become a real chore. It was good while it lasted.

    7. Deb

      I used to work for a police department in a metroplex area of Texas. We encouraged people to make their exchange of items they had sold on Craigslist etc in our parking lot.
      If the seller or buyer didn’t show up you can pretty much know something was probably illegal.
      Crooks don’t want to do business at the police department ?
      So inquire with your local department if that is ok and that is where you can feel safer about making your exchange.
      The town I lived in even went as far to put up a couple signs in the parking lot that certain spaces were for exchanges. These spaces were always near the doors and cameras.

    8. Nan, Odessa, DE

      Marian, what is the table itemize is with white – bone like handles called?
      I want some! What do I look for when shopping for them?

      Thanks.

    9. Debbie P

      So happy that you got to move closer to your parents and in laws. This will be great for your kiddos. They will get to make forever memories! You have a lovely family!

    10. Cynde

      What a great picture of your beautiful family!! Love your blog and look forward to all the projects you will be doing when you get settled. So jealous of all your antique pieces, living in Southern California isn’t the best place to find quality pieces. It’s slim pickings, if you know what I mean…trying to find Ironstone is so hard…..

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    Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

    I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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