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Selling on Mercari

Hey everyone! I'm Molly, an editor here at The Penny Hoarder. I recently started selling on Mercari and thought I would share my experience.

I had only ever bought second-hand items on sites like ThredUp and Poshmark. (My most recent purchase is a Dooney & Bourke handbag I got on Poshmark for $99 that would have cost a few hundred new. I love it so much and love that I got it for a bargain!)

I really never thought much about selling because it seemed like work, especially having to deal with shipping. But then a friend told me she sells on Mercari and how easy it is. Buyers generally pay for shipping (unless you offer to), so all you do as the seller is print the shipping label provided by the site, stick the item in an envelope or box and drop it in the mail or a UPS store. (I order from Amazon enough that I'm never short on boxes.) That seemed simple enough.

So I listed several items at once -- clothes and shoes from my closet that I wasn't wearing, plus some items my kids have outgrown. I set everything at a price recommended by the site -- generally in the $10-$15 range -- and had buyers pay shipping. I posted several photos of each item, showing it in full, a close-up of the fabric, a picture of the tag verifying the brand and any other pertinent detail shots. I wrote detailed descriptions of each item and was candid about the condition or any flaws. Here's what I've learned so far.

Sold: a pair of kids' no-lace Converse sneakers, a J. McLaughlin dress I'd bought used from ThredUp but never worn and a pair of heels from Mod Cloth that I wore once and were like-new. So it's clear that brand names sell. No big surprise there.

I've had no luck with the kids clothing I listed -- not even brand names like OshKosh and Ralph Lauren. I suspect there's just a ton of children's clothing on offer. A handmade purse I listed has gotten little love; ditto for a vintage cardigan. And the clothes and shoes that are from little-known brands have gotten no notice.

I learned from my buying experiences on Poshmark that when you like an item, you'll often quickly get a discounted offer from the seller. So I applied that tactic as a seller on Mercari and found that it gets results. I think most people on resale sites know you generally don't have to pay the full asking price.

My take so far: $31. So I'm not getting rich, not by a longshot. But as my friend Maryann pointed out -- that's $31 I didn't have before! And it was all for stuff I hadn't touched in ages and was likely headed for a donation box.

Plus, I'm having fun with my new side hustle.

If you're selling stuff online, how's your experience been? Any wisdom to share with newbies like me? I'd love to hear how it's going for you.

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