Decluttering on Mercari

I’ve sold around $150 of stuff on Mercari, a sales app that’s designed for mobile phones (but you can use it on the web). It’s easier to use than Ebay, but the customers are less likely to buy random things there.

The main problems are customer service and some pricing considerations that will disqualify a lot of lower-priced sales.

What Sells on Mercari?

To see sales activity, you search for the item, and then filter by “Sold”. Compare the total number of items found to the total sold.

I’ve sold the following: pants, shirts, books, DVDs.

I’ve bought the following: video game parts.

Generally, my sense is that the Mercari buyers are early 20s to middle age. Mercari released some 2020 stats indicating the same. Familes shop on Mercari.

Pricing Considerations on Mercari

Mercari doesn’t want you to be selling things that cost less than $5.

The shipping charges are pretty high because the system defaults to Priority Mail.

In my experience, you can sell things where shipping costs a little more than the item, but not much more. That’s probably why they don’t want you selling things too cheap.

To get rid of cheap things, you can bundle them up into bigger lots. I quickly sold DVD bundles on the app, but the prices were very low, at around a dollar a DVD, delivered (so I ate the shipping costs).

Mercari buyers don’t seem to be as price-sensitive as Ebay buyers, but they do want a good deal. The overall “feel” on the app is that the items are used, so the prices should be low.

So, you might see a used item selling for $7 – $10, a pretty wide range, but not much above $10.

Customer Service Experience

What customer service?

I’ve had two problem sales, and Mercari wasn’t available to intervene on either of them.

The first was my fault, because I didn’t understand youth sizing for shirts. I tried to issue a refund, but was unable to. I tried to contact customer service, but could not reach anyone human.

The second was the fault of the postal service. A package was lost (this was during the 2020 pandemic). I had to issue a refund, and I think it was processed automatically. I wanted to reach customer service during this process, just in case the package arrived late, but could not.

This compares unfavorably with Ebay, which has customer service reps.

Refund Policy

As a seller, you should hew to a simple refund policy: any problems should result in the buyer getting a refund, even if they keep the item. Just refund and “move on”.

Because you’re not going to be able to negotiate with Mercari, you just need to eat the loss.

That means you can’t count on the platform when you’re selling expensive items.

Ease of Use

The app is easy to use, both for buyers and sellers. It’s easier than Ebay, by a lot.

Payments are made through your bank. You accumulate revenue in your Mercari account, and can spend it in Mercari, or transfer it to your bank.

Ease of Photography

The mobile app favors taking photos as you make your listing, and it shows in the marketplace. Most of the photos are “amateur”, especially compared to Amazon or Poshmark. This means it’s easier for experienced sellers to take “decent” photos and stand out.

On the other hand, it means you need a decent camera on the phone, so make a few listings to see if your photos are competitive.


For decluttering, Mercari is a pretty limited platform. You can sell items within a price range for $5 to around $50.

It’s easy to use, so listing will be less work.

If I had a few boxes of things to sell, and they cost around $7 to $12 each, I’d consider putting them on Mercari, stashing the boxes, and just waiting for half a year for them to sell.

2021 State of Plastic Recycling

Copied from a Facebook post:

Some info on recycling shared in an LA zero waste group:  
Which plastics get recycled? 

All 1- 7 is accepted because they are always seeking markets for material and there is a growing market for chemical recycling. (Not a fan but...)
What's being recycled:

- #1 bottle and clamshell ONLY (and clamshells is relatively new. Everyone always thinks #1 is so great. It is not.) 

- #2 all (unless it is a toy. We must accept toys are trash)

- #5 containers and various types. 

What will never get recycled curbside:

- #3 - too toxic even for chemical

- #6 foam - pieces and dirty items not worth it

What could get recycled if source separated like a drop off:

- #4 film - take to grocery stores

What may get recycled but probably not. 

- # 6 hard -  commercial collection is a no. Residential maybe but how much, who knows. It gets sent to a secondary MRF that sometimes sends it to mexico to be made into frames. How many frames we need?

- #4 hard and #7 - eh it is a mixed bag. Most of this is not moving. And #7 is a LOT of different items.  There is a desire to sift thru 7s and all the leftovers for chemical recycling. It is sort of happening, but is this truly recycling and the best option? Meh. Try to avoid it.

Do what you can to avoid increasing plastic consumption.

Wash your reusable plastic bags in your shower, or in your sink.

You can hoard clean styrofoam #6, and give it away on Facebook and Craigslist to online sellers. They will reuse it.

Give Your Plates Away

Have you found yourself in a weird situation, where you have a lot of plates you don’t ever use?

I’m in that situation right now, and learned a trick, on Quora: when you gift cookies or pie, or any food item, gift it to them in a bowl or plate. Don’t worry about getting it back.

Here’s the answer:

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