Unstuff Your Home: A Mom’s Guide to Selling on Facebook

Something happened when we started having kids: the rate at which we accumulated stuff increased exponentially. I suppose it makes sense – I mean babies grow like a foot in that first year alone, which results in four or more new wardrobes. Then there are the toys they outgrow and the mass quantities of things overly generous family members give.

Luckily for me, about the time I noticed all of the stuff accumulating, Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade (B/S/T) sites started popping up. Over the past few years I have become what my husband calls “the Queen of B/S/T.” Between navigating the etiquette, the lingo and the process itself, it can take some learning. But, I have found these types of pages to be an awesome way of unloading my gently used items, without leaving my house.

I personally love selling through these pages – I am able to price things higher than I would if I held a garage sale, I can sell things as I’m done with them instead of hoarding them all year for a giant sale and I can do most of it without leaving my house!

Getting Started

  • First, you need to find your groups. If you navigate to “Groups” in Facebook, you can now search hundreds of different groups. I belong to several local groups as well as some national brand-specific groups.
  • After you’ve found your group – READ THE RULES. These pages usually have multiple admins and the good groups are sticklers for the rules. It may seem silly – but trust me, it makes things run a lot smoother. Most groups have rules on how you claim, how long you need to wait before you can go to the next person in line, rules around shipping (for national groups), etc.
  • Do some research on what items are going for in B/S/T land as well as what it retails for. I personally always roll my eyes when I see something priced for just slightly less than it sells for. Personally, I’ll just go buy it new at that point! Items priced like that rarely move quickly.

Posting

Facebook has made posting really easy with a special post-type that will automatically pop-up. It allows you to set a title, price and description as well as upload multiple photos of a single item.

  • Photos: Good photos are essential. Natural light works best and if possible include multiple shots. The more visuals the buyer can have, the better.
  • Description: The description is equally important. The more information the better. If the items is still available via a retail outlet, pop over to Amazon or Target and borrow from the descriptions they have on their website.
  • State your guidelines: Things like where you can make the exchange, if you’re willing to hold items, if you’re open to offers, etc.

Selling and Shipping

In the past year or so, I discovered brand-specific B/S/T pages. For instance, one of my favorites is a page dedicated to Gap and Old Navy kids clothes ONLY. I’ve not only found some great deals, I’ve sold a lot of my kid’s clothes and gotten substantially more money than I’d get through a consignment shop or through my own garage sale.

These groups have a different learning curve though because there is an invoicing and shipping element involved.

  • Invoicing: Most of these groups mandate you go through PayPal, which is great because it helps protect both parties. Once you’ve sold an item, you can hop over to PayPal and for a very small fee, generate an invoice for the buyer. Be sure to include shipping costs in the invoice.
  • Shipping Costs: There are two ways to do this part. The first, you can list the item for slightly more than you want to net and tell buyers the listed price is “Shipped”. I typically add $3 onto each item when using this method. Or, depending on the rules of the group, you can indicate that shipping will be an additional fee.
  • Shipping the Item: PayPal actually lets you generate and print a shipping label at home! You can then schedule to have your mailman pick up the package straight from your house. To take advantage of this, you will need a small scale to weigh your packages – you can get these fairly inexpensive from Amazon. You’ll also need poly mailers, which are also fairly inexpensive from Amazon as well.

Lingo

The first time I saw the abbreviation GUC, I was like “huh!?” It took me awhile to figure out that it translated to “Good Used Condition”.  Other commonly used terms include

  • VGUC – Very Good Used Condition
  • EUC – Excellent Used Condition
  • Cross-Posted – posted in multiple locations
  • SFPF – Smoke Free/Pet Free Home

Hopefully these tips will help if you’ve been interested in selling items online.

If you’re a selling pro like yours-truly, what tips do YOU have?

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Katie is a mama of two rambunctious, sweet, cuddly and highly energetic boys. Growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, she briefly left the area to attend college at the University of Northern Iowa, had a brief stint living in Chicago before settling down in Lisbon with her husband Bryan. Katie has been in the marketing field for over 10 years and is currently a marketing manager for an area health care organization. When she is not balancing life as a working mom, Katie enjoys binging on Netflix/Hulu, learning about all things boy and squeezing in a workout from time to time. Her current addictions include coffee, LaCroix, and cookies.