The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Facebook Marketplace is the wild west of second-hand furniture.
The barren planes of the Facebook Marketplace are filled with haggling cowboys and unanswered messages, but I managed to sell almost all of my furniture in three days and lived to tell the tale.
I've lived in Toronto for six years, and throughout my university days and young adulthood, I've acquired a ridiculous amount of stuff, from shoe racks to old shoe boxes, my modest apartment was stuffed to the brim with things.
To set the scene for this week from hell, I'm set to move to New York in the fall, and all summer, I've known I had to be out of my King West apartment by the second week of August.
I clung to my last summer in Toronto too tightly, and without noticing, over half of it had passed me by, and suddenly, it was August 1.
Unfortunately, the realization that I would need to sell almost everything I own before my big move didn't hit me until the week before I needed to be out of my apartment.
The fact that I wouldn't be able to ship all of my things to my tiny new apartment in New York hit me like the first wave of a cold shower – startling and unwelcome.
I had less than a week to condense my life into a few boxes I could store with family and a couple of suitcases I could bring on a plane.
Here's how I sold all my furniture so quickly and how much money I made.
How to declutter your home fast
A mattress and headboard. Right: A mirror on the wall.
The first step I took in getting my apartment move-out ready was decluttering.
I went through my closet and bagged about 70% of my clothes in trash bags to donate to charity and listed two old Micheal Kors bags on Facebook Marketplace for $50 each.
I packed up everything I was keeping (six boxes and one suitcase) and sorted what I need to sell.
I had a mattress, a headboard, two lamps, two side tables, two cat towers, a desk and chair, three mirrors, a rug, four dining chairs, a couch, a TV and TV stand, a bookshelf, an entry table, and a coffee table.
Before placing anything on Facebook Marketplace, I reached out to my friends who live in downtown Toronto and asked if they wanted anything or knew anyone looking for furniture.
My friend Jhendelyn offered to take my mattress and bed frame for $250, and my friend Natalie set me up with someone who wanted to buy one of my mirrors for $25.
From there, I started listing furniture on the Facebook marketplace, and once my aunt out in Port Perry saw I was selling furniture, she agreed to come and take anything I had left over from the sale, so I got to work.
Can anyone get on Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook marketplace listings.
Yes, anyone can get on Facebook Marketplace, you just need to make an account which is free.
I had never sold anything on Facebook Marketplace, so as any good journalist does, I started with my research.
The first thing I noticed was that the resale market for second-hand furniture is shit. I mean, you are biting the bullet and taking at least a 50% loss on anything you sell.
Most of my furniture is over five years old and secondhand, so I marked it pretty low, considering I needed to get rid of everything ASAP.
I took photos of each item with good lighting and a clean background and added in where each item was from (if I knew), its condition and that my pickup location was in King West and added relevant tags on the post over the course of August 6 and August 7.
Here's the price of everything I listed:
- Samsung TV - $100
- Leather couch -$150
- Two West Elm bedside tables - $200 for the set
- Two West Elm lamps - $100
- Black metal mirror- $50
- Two bar stools - $80 for the pair
- Entrance table - $50
- Two cat towers – $20 for the pair
- Bookshelf - $158
- TV stand - $258
- Coffee table -$150
- Living room rug - $100
- Four kitchen chairs $30 per chair
- Living room footrest - $50
About ten minutes after I posted my first wave of furniture, messages started pouring in from dozens of people asking if items were still available.
How do I use FB Marketplace?
Facebook marketplace listings.
I could barely keep up with all of the inquiries, and I quickly realized that most people would message once and never reply again.
In every conversation, I was open to negotiation, but my priority was for them to pick it up as soon as possible, so instead of giving it to the first buyer, I promised items to whoever could pick them up the fastest.
Over the course of August 7-9 I sold my couch, bedside tables, lamps, rug, cat towers, and TV at full price.
Everything else I had to cut down on price, including my bookshelf, black metal mirror, entry table, bar stools, and TV stand.
For items that weren't moving as quickly, I started making combo deals and throwing in freebies. I bundled the entry table and black metal mirror for $80, and I threw in the footrest for free with the rug.
I cut my bookshelf price down to $100 and sold my TV stand for $120.
I allowed for pickup 24/7 and had people coming and going at all hours, with pickups from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. which allowed me to unload my stock fast.
I managed to sell my two bags as well, but I had to send them over in an Uber and sold them for a deal of $60 for two, so I lost a little money on this deal.
I had each buyer come to my apartment for pickup, which cut down on any cost of travel for me and helped boost my profits.
The only items I didn't sell were my old Ikea desk, chair, mirror, some bedding, my coffee table and four dining room chairs, which my aunt picked up.
All in all, I made just under $1,500, which I can use for furniture in my next place.
But considering that originally all of my furniture cost over $5,000, my return rate wasn't fantastic.
How can I be successful on FB Marketplace?
Brooke Houghton's empty apartment.
If you're looking to unload your furniture in less than a week, my first piece of advice is give yourself more time.
However, if you're in a pinch like I was, here are 10 tips that got me through it.
- Be as specific as you can in your listings and give a general area of where you are located. Don't get too specific for safety reasons but showcasing where you are and if you're available for pickup or drop off will eliminate people contacting you that are just too far away to be viable buyers.
- If you have a link for your item, include it in the listing so people can see where your item is from and confirm its value. I had so many people message me asking for links, and I wish I had known to put it in my listing beforehand.
- Add the dimensions of your furniture to the listing. Without fail, almost every possible buyer asked for dimensions, and it would have saved me a whole lot of time just to include it in the bio.
- Be descriptive and add more than two photos because people will ask for more.
- If a buyer doesn't answer in an hour, immediately start chatting with someone else. You snooze, you lose!
- Be extra careful while inviting strangers into your home for pickup. I tried my best to have another person present or at least have someone on the phone to ensure my own safety.
- Price your items higher than what you'd like them to sell for. Almost everyone who messaged me tried to haggle down the price, so by pricing items slightly higher than what you'd like ($20 to $50 more), you have more room to go down in price.
- Make sure you disclose any damage and add detailed photos. When I was selling my couch, one buyer came out to look at it and didn't purchase it after seeing it in person, even though I mentioned it was damaged in the description. So be as transparent as possible to avoid any wasted time.
- When people ask for your address, only give them a nearby intersection until they confirm they are coming to pick the item up. So many people asked for my exact address when they weren't serious buyers, and this helped me avoid giving 20+ strangers my address.
- If you're trying to get the most out of your furniture, make sure your listing looks good. Staging your furniture will get you way more bites and a better price. People like pretty things, so make it sparkle!
I definitely rushed selling my furniture, and if I had given myself two weeks or even a month, I could have made a lot more money, so learn from my mistakes, friends.