With stores closed down, we’re doing all our shopping online. With the economy on pause, our budgets are quickly contracting. And with the directive to stay inside, we are suddenly taking a long look at our homes and feeling the urge to organize.
Yes, this is looking to be the season of online secondhand shopping, selling, and swapping.
Buying secondhand or swapping is the most affordable, accessible, and creative way to reduce your consumption and shrink your environmental footprint.
There are a few reasons why we’ll all be selling and shipping to each other this year. One is that peer-to-peer websites don’t store items in warehouses or distribution centers, some of which — like several of Amazon and Vestiaire Collective’s in New York — have been shut down to protect workers. Another is that, because the virus isn’t detectable for more than 24 hours on cardboard or three days on plastic, packages sent through the mail are generally considered safe. (You can “quarantine” any packages you receive for a day or two for extra protection.)
Also, you can make a little extra money by cleaning out your closet and selling those things online. Granted, you realistically won’t make a huge amount, and it does take an investment of time to sell your items. That’s why peer-to-peer resale sites are best for people with more time than money — a growing cohort right now — or people who enjoy the hunt and the haggle. Some of these sites have a social aspect, too, so you can make friends and use them as another way to entertain yourself at home.
Finally, with Earth Day coming up, it’s a great way to participate in a more sustainable economy from the comfort of your own home.
With those thoughts in mind, here’s a list and reviews of all the best websites where you can sell and shop secondhand.
Unfortunately, all of the sites dedicated to swapping have closed or been mothballed in the past few years. One of the below sites does allow swapping, but it’s not the focus. That might change, however, as in-person swap parties have been shut down for the time being.
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This list doesn’t include sites like LetGo, Craigslist, and Freecycle, which are better for in-person meet-ups, or resale sites like The RealReal, ThredUp, and Vestiaire Collective that depend on warehouses and distribution centers. But every site below checks out as a reputable and easy place to make some extra cash, plus find what you need at a discount.
Best for: Selling and buying small secondhand goods
Based out of Japan, this app has a growing presence in the United States, with more than 45 million app downloads so far and 150,000 item uploads per day. You can sell or buy almost anything, including fashion, homewares, electronics, toys, and sporting goods.
To sell, just take pictures of your item, fill out the description, and post it. You can set a price, but buyers always have the option of making a lower offer, which you can choose to accept or not.
Joining and listing is free; Mercari just charges a 10% fee per sale. Sellers can choose to pay for shipping or have the buyer pay. For items below a certain size, Mercari can send you a flat-rate shipping label. The company will hold the money until the buyer receives the item and indicates that it’s as described. If it’s not as described, the buyer can ship it back and get a refund.
Best for: Buying and selling new and used mid-range women’s fashion
With more than 60 million users and counting, Poshmark is an app for buying and selling women’s fashion. It’s recently added men’s and children’s clothing, as well as homewares. New fashion is also allowed on the site, so take care to click the “closet” option instead of the “boutique” option if you’re primarily interested in secondhand fashion. Like Mercari, sellers take photos and fill out a description, and buyers can haggle a price down. But Poshmark’s interface is slightly cleaner and the app encourages a lot more socializing, with digital parties, commenting and liking, and an algorithm that rewards you when you share other sellers’ items on your own feed.
After poring over reviews and comparing them all, this list of sites emerged as the ones with the best reputation and design, plus the critical mass of users needed to make selling and buying fun and fruitful.
Poshmark keeps 20% of each sale over $15 and $2.95 of sales under $15. The buyer always covers the $7.11 shipping fee for each sale. Like Mercari, Poshmark also holds payment until the buyer indicates they’re satisfied with the item.
Best for: Buying, selling, and swapping vintage and creative fashion
With over 15 million users, many of them young and high-profile influencers, Depop has staked its claim on the more creative side of fashion. Its setup and social aspect are similar to Poshmark, with some key differences. Sellers get paid immediately upon sale, instead of having to wait until the buyer “accepts” the purchase. Depop charges 10% per sale plus PayPal fees, and the seller can choose whether to pay for shipping, which is tiered according to the package weight and size.
You can also swap on Depop. If a seller says they are open to swaps, you can direct message them about the item you’re interested in and ask them if they’re interested in anything that you’re selling. Once you agree on what to swap, you both list the items for an equal price and buy them from each other.
Best for: Buying and selling higher-value, unique goods
You know eBay, the original peer-to-peer marketplace and auction website. It’s changed in the past two decades, and now sellers can sell new items and offer something at a fixed price instead of auctioning it off. But eBay remains the best place to find and sell unique vintage and secondhand pieces for the right price, from antique cookware to collectible toys, art, and vintage fashion. If you have something truly special that you think deserves a home with someone who appreciates it, try selling it on eBay.
This is not for the casual seller. Listing an item is a little bit more complicated than on the other apps here, fees for listing and selling vary per type of item and how often you sell, and you’re responsible for shipping an item once you sell it. Use this for higher-priced items that are worth the additional time.
Best for: Selling and buying high-end women’s fashion
This site lets you easily list and sell designer women’s clothing, and the fees reflect that. For sales less than $50, Tradesy keeps $7.50, and it charges 19.8% for items over $50. But the upside is that Tradesy helps edit your photos so they really pop on the site, and it processes all returns itself, leading to fewer disputes between buyers and sellers. It also provides a shipping label and a free “shipping kit” (packaging) if you request it.
Best for: Selling and buying secondhand children’s clothing
This app is relatively small, with half a million users, but like the others it lets you easily list children’s fashion for sale to other parents. It keeps 12% +$0.50 of the sale price of each item, and you can choose who pays for shipping: the seller or the buyer. The interface is clean and it’s easy to search for just the right thing for your kids. Once your package is scanned at the post office, you get paid out in Kid Bucks, which you can use to shop for your kids or cash out to a PayPal or bank account.
Best for: Men’s high-end fashion and streetwear
While this site does have a womenswear section, it’s really built for buying and selling secondhand mid-range and high-end menswear, with an emphasis on sneakers and hyped streetwear brands. At 6% of the sale price plus PayPal fees, it charges sellers the least of any of the sites, and it also includes a small social element to selling. Sellers are responsible for taking care of the shipping. Buyers on Grailed are on trend, so if your stuff isn’t fresh, don’t bother trying to sell it here.
What about other sites?
There are definitely additional resale sites out there, but after poring over reviews and comparing them all, the above sites emerged as the ones with the best reputation and design, plus the critical mass of users needed to make selling and buying fun and fruitful.