Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tips on How to Earn Extra Money Selling Unwanted Items


We’re doing it again.

Selling (almost) everything we own and living a nomadic lifestyle. Six months in Canada and six months in Mexico. We plan on listing our house in December 2016 and renting a house on a month-to-month basis so we won’t need much of anything. We have 16 months to sell everything.

Considering it took us seven years to amass all of this stuff, it will be a challenge to get rid of all of it during that time but, we’ve sold everything before so we’ve learned a thing or two and thought we’d share what we’ve learned.

Even if you don’t want to get rid of everything but want to make some extra cash, these tips will work for you.

Tips on Selling Unwanted Items

1. Select The Item(s). Start with the room that you use least often. Chances are, the items in it aren’t critical to your daily life. Whether you’re moving or decluttering, identify a few items that you haven’t used in a period of time, say a few months or even years. Ask yourself if the item has sentimental value, is irreplaceable, or one of your 10 “Save” Items. If you answered “Yes”, ask yourself if it’s still worth it to keep it if you have to pay to store the item. If the answer is No, then put it in the “Sale”, “Donate” or “Gift” pile.

2. Categorize The Item. Once you have some items in the “Sale” pile then you need to figure out how you’re going to sell them and you have several options; Garage Sale, Auction or to sell the item individually. Depending on the value and quality of the item, determines how we sell it. If it’s worth less than $10 then we try and sell it at a garage sale. We’ve found that people will often not get in their car and drive for an item worth less than that. Auction sales require you to pay a fee and it’s worth it for high ticket or rarer items such as our rawhide chair from the 1920’s or our wicker chaise lounge. While we use a variety of all three methods, the one we use the most is to sell the item individually.

3. Selling The Item. As mentioned above, there are a number of ways to sell your items, some cost money and others are free. We prefer to sell our items via FREE online service for several reasons; one your item is seen by more people than if it was posted in a Facebook group, two the item is searchable and three in the case of the service that we use, VarageSale, you can read reviews from other community members before deciding to meet someone for a transaction.

Win, win, win.


In case you haven’t heard of them, VarageSale is one of the newest and upcoming online communities in Canada and recently Ontario, however, it also has an International reputation. Known as your “virtual garage sale” with over 40 categories, you can find everything from designer car seat covers to TV Series Box Sets to Gift Cards! Members connect with Facebook so you can see real names, photos and read reviews before deciding to meet someone for a transaction.

Here is what you can do on VarageSale:
* A fast-paced feed of great deals near you
* Browse categories like baby items, clothes, purses, shoes, home decor and more
* Follow favorite sellers or categories of interest
* Use the search tool to find stuff you love
* Praise members after a good transaction
* Label your item as “available,” “sale pending” or “sold”
* Get real-time notifications and never miss a sale again
* Use the bump tool to make sure your items get noticed
* Feel safe buying and selling with real people in your community
* Get answers to your questions from their fast and friendly support team

Getting Started with VarageSale is as Easy as 1-2-3.

1. Create an account*,
2. Post information about your item as well as a picture. I always make sure to post the following information and headings; Offering, Condition, Price, Features, Notes.
3. Wait for the notifications to come in. VarageSale will send you an email with people’s comments (they will not have your email address) or, receive instant notifications by downloading the FREE app on Android in the Play Store or iOS in iTunes.

VarageSale-Fur Real Toy

I identified two items that met our requirements, The Kids toddler beds and a Fur Real Friend that was gifted to them (ever heard those things bark!?). I found the process of listing the items very intuitive and only took me two minutes to complete from start to finish. Note that if you want to add more than one picture, you can leave subsequent ones as a comment to your post.

The personal aspect for me is a huge drawing force as years ago, while selling an item online, a woman by the name of Rene, came to my door to buy a baby swing. She left with her item and a friendship that has lasted to this day.


The bonus is that you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it out. Not only will you not lose but if you join the already 5,282 members in the Ottawa community, VarageSale will pay you $20! And, receiving the Cash Reward Promotion is also as easy as 1, 2, 3. Join the Ottawa community as a new user, post an item and use the hashtag #OTT. Voila. Once they determine that you met the requirements, you will be contacted and sent $20 via PayPal! For those of you located in other cities, find a community near you and start making money today!

As for us, it’s two items down and 4,567,231,891 more to go.

Have You Ever Sold Unwanted Items Online?

* You require a Facebook Account to use this FREE service.
Note that we donate items to our local thrift shop/foodbank, House of Lazarus.

Connect with VarageSale Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Disclosure: Journeys of The Zoo received compensation in exchange for sharing this great community and service with you.

43 thoughts on “Tips on How to Earn Extra Money Selling Unwanted Items

  1. Carla

    You are incredible! I cant even begin to imagine selling everything! Varage Sale must be making this so much easier for you! Good luck 🙂

  2. Tara Gauthier

    I have been participating in a minimalist challenge online with a group for people for months now. We have a Facebook group where we can all post our progress and encourage each other. Summer was a busy time of road trips and such for us so I am now picking up the pace again. I registered with one of the two local kids sales (choosing the one that has less items for sale since I have found the other one has too much and my stuff gets lost amongst the sea of clothing there) to motivate me to clear out the kids closets, etc of things that no longer fit.

    We are going through every area of the house and finding what don’t need anymore. I have been putting all the money in a separate bank account and at the end intend to make an extra mortgage payment with it. I can’t imagine the scale to which you are selling everything, but good for you guys. I get very frustrated with people in the Facebook groups I am a member of with some of the people in them.

    I checked and there is not a varage sale group in my city yet but I signed up so I can find out when there is!

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Tara,

      Congratulations for making the step towards simplifying your life. For us, that means selling (almost) everything but for others, that could be turning the extra spare bedroom back into the guest room that it was always intended to be.

      All the best with your extra mortgage payment goal. Please be sure to keep my updated on your success.

      Besos Sarah.
      Sarah recently posted…Set Your Children up for Success with Reading Materials from @Owlkids! US/CAN, 8/20 #giveawayMy Profile

  3. nicolthepickle

    I can’t imagine selling everything and living day to day, but I can see the lure of it.
    It’s nice that you have an option like this to get the most out of what you have to get rid of.

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear NicolthePickle,

      I’m collecting stuff for my “Keep” box and it’s starting to overflow out of the box and we’re still a year off. That’s okay though because a lot of the stuff (in the box) will come out and be replaced by stuff that I really need. It’s a process and takes us over a year to get our head around. I couldn’t like without some things, whether I need them or not.

      Besos Sarah.
      Sarah recently posted…Find Out How You Can Save for Your Child’s Education with RESPsMy Profile

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    I applaud you Sarah, what an adventure for you and your family. The selling up is hard though – I did it before moving here – I had 11 boxes that I brought with me for 4 of us, the remains of a 5 bedroom house with cellar & garage. Luckily I had a friend’s son to help me out with all the posting on ebay or I would never have managed to do it. The trips to the post office (in a pedestrian zone) on foot with the huge, heavy parcels was bad enough. I wish you happy selling 🙂

  5. Angie Andrews

    I signed up with Varagesale for my community ages ago and completely forgot about it, now I have some items that I’d like to sell, thanks so much for the reminder on this

  6. Elva Roberts

    We have a spot like Varage on our Internet in Maritimes where we may post items for sale or go looking for items that we want to buy. We have bought some items this way. I think this is a better and cheaper way to go than an ad in the local paper.


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