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How to sell unwanted household items online

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Did you know you could get free stuff on eBay? (AP Photo)

You're cleaning your basement when you realize how much unnecessary stuff you have accumulated over the years. That Buddha statue you got from Aunt Jill last Christmas is collecting dust in the corner. Nearby is a box of dolls from childhood -- and you're not sentimental enough to pass them down to your daughter. 

As you trip over a pile of old books, an idea hits: Why not sell some of these items online? Everyone could use some extra money -- and one person’s trash is another’s treasure, right? 

Here is the lowdown on how to sell those unwanted household items online:

Itemize
Decide on the first few items you want to sell. It might be overwhelming to organize your entire attic into “keep” and “sell” piles before your first transactions have been processed, so start out with a handful of objects to get the hang of online selling.

Create your account
Once you know what you are selling, decide where you want to sell. Two of the biggest and most popular online selling platforms are eBay and Amazon. Start by investigating both sites. You can even set up accounts on both websites to gain a better understanding of how the selling platforms differ.

Do your research
eBay requires you to set your own prices and gives you the option of selling your item to the highest bidder. When you go to sell your product on Amazon, you can see the current price range for the item, which will help you determine a reasonable price within the context of the demand for the item. Search both sites for your item, looking for the same make, color and version. You will see that Amazon will bring up one page with all of the merchants who are selling that product. An eBay search will yield individual listings, which may mean your listing will get skimmed over or buried among the other results.

List the item
eBay requires that you include pictures and a description of your item. If you have a knack for marketing, the description is a way you can set your specific item apart from the rest. You can use the pictures to show off something that is in particularly pristine condition. Set your price or opening bid price. When you are ready to sell your product using Amazon, find it via search and list it along with its price, condition and a brief description of the item.

Decide on shipping and payment
Now that your item is out there you need to figure out how you are going to get it from your house to the buyer. The price for shipping may impact a prospective buyer’s decision, as it means they have to pay more. Look at how eBay and Amazon each handle shipping advice.

How is the transaction been you and the buyer going to take palce? PayPal is a way to accept credit card payments without setting up a merchant credit card account and is popular with eBay sellers. Amazon requires you to sign up for Marketplace Payments on the site to sell your items. Make sure you understand your responsibilities as the seller.

Figure out how much you will make
You don’t get to pocket the full amount. Both Amazon and eBay charge various fees. Check out their websites for more information and how it will affect you. Go through this process a few times and you will get the hang of it!