My eyes were closed and my toes buried in the sand as I enjoyed the salty air breezing across my face. I always enjoy a good vacation, but there’s something extra sweet in knowing that you are reaping the rewards of your own work.
Stay at home moms might not earn much income, but most of us find scrappy ways to bring in some extra where we can. I had spent several months learning how to sell on Ebay. And that cash helped to fund part of our vacation.
Have you ever noticed that while you can find plenty of advice for selling on Ebay, most people don’t want to talk about the items they sell? They likely don’t want to add to their competition. Some might call it selfish, but I’d call that a good business practice.
Happily, I only dabble a bit in Ebay sales these days. So I’m happy to share with you the items that I was able to sell.
How to Start Selling on Ebay
When you ask people for advice on selling on Ebay, most of them say, “Just start.” Isn’t that frustrating? But it turns out that it’s the right advice.
We can talk ourselves out of just about anything. Researching can take ages. That’s because there’s always something new to learn! So why not get started and learn along the way?
Start with something you have on hand. Chances are you can find something that others think is amazing, but you really don’t care for it. Maybe you’ve kept it out of obligation to someone or because it’s worth money. Things like this don’t deserve our precious home space!
I’ll give you a quick walk through.
Identify Your Object
Sometimes this is easy. You can look up a Hardy Boys book set by the ISBN clearly printed on the back. But a shirt can be trickier. What’s the brand? The size? Is it for adults or youth?
So go to Ebay and do a quick search to see if you find other sellers offering your item. If several people have identified a shirt a certain way, you can do a little more research on Google to see if that’s what you have, too.
Once you know what you have, search for those specific words. If nothing at all comes up, that might mean you have something rare. It could also mean no one wants what you have. Or it could mean you’ve misidentified your item and should try again.
Will It Sell?
Find out if anyone has bought an item like yours, and how much they spent by scrolling halfway down and finding “Completed Listings” in the left hand sidebar.
Now you have a list of items others have tried to sell. How many of them sold? At what price? If this object won’t make much more than the fees you’ll give Ebay or Paypal, send it to the thrift store instead.
This info is great, because it saves you wasted time and helps you price your item better.
Choose a Sold Item
Next you’ll find the best item on the completed list that has sold. That means this person was successful in their sales. Be sure your own item is an exact match or very close to what they sold.
Click the item. Then find “Sell one like this” under the picture and click it.
Now you’ll have a page of information already filled out for you. Carefully read over everything and make changes to reflect the item you have in hand.
Be as honest as absolutely possible. It’s never worth the hassle of ticked off customers if you aren’t truthful.
Describing Your Item
The two most important boxes on this page are the description and the pictures. Think of how you do your shopping. You won’t click an item unless the description matches what you want and the picture looks promising.
So take several nice pictures of your object. It doesn’t have to be magazine worthy. But blurry photos or pics of a pile of clutter won’t do. Make it clear what the focus of your picture is, and do it under nice lighting conditions.
To keep things simple, I always sell as “Buy It Now”. You don’t have to worry about the risks of an auction this way.
This is the hard part and why I avoided selling for a while. Then my Hubby got a food scale similar to this one and that made it simple. It’s worth a $10 investment if you plan to do a lot of selling. But don’t bother unless you’re confident you’ll be selling regularly.
Other options are to let Ebay guesstimate shipping costs based on similar items or allow local pickup only. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as you’re selling price means you’ll be able to cover the cost of a dollar or two over what they estimate.
If shipping to other countries seems complicated (and it sometimes is), you can choose “No international shipping”.
Leave 14 day returns accepted, because it makes your post more favorable in Ebay rankings. Besides, if someone is unhappy with their purchase, Ebay will make you work it out. This typically isn’t a problem if you’ve been very honest in your description.
The hardest part! Now you wait until the right person shows up to buy your
junk awesome item.
What to Sell on Ebay
So you’re ready to list things…but what should you list? Here are some things I’ve sold from around our own home.
Game pieces. Maybe your game is torn up and half the pieces are lost. But if you have a piece that someone else lost and needs for their own game, it can work out great for both of you!
Remotes. Our DVD player broke, but the remote was still working just fine. I was willing to bet there was someone out there who had a working DVD player but had lost or broken their remote I was right!
Parts. If your vacuum cleaner is done for, you might still be able to sell the attachment pieces. You can also sell cords and pieces inside appliances that quit working. But always be confident that the piece you sell hasn’t stopped working, too. If you get negative feedback from a customer it can hurt your reputation as a seller.
Clothes. This one is trickier, because not just anything will sell. Name brand clothes tend to sell well if you price them right. Don’t expect to receive back what you paid. Most clothing needs to look nearly brand new to sell (unless it’s a special vintage item).
Nostalgia. If you have old toys or knick knacks that were once popular, you might be able to find a market for them. Do your research. The market is flooded in some areas, while the competition is easier in others.
I’ve found books difficult to unload, but maybe yours are worth more than mine. It’s just a matter of searching to see what the world wants to buy.
The Big Kahuna
So you’ve read about people finding a copy of the Declaration of Independence in their attic and making millions. That’s great for them, but what about you? You’re just an average guy.
If you decide to start selling on Ebay beyond what you have in your home, you’ll be surprised to find your own discoveries. The reason no one tells you about them is because everyone’s story looks different.
One of my biggest sales was a stapler (of all things!). I found it on an auction site for $1.60. When I researched it, it turned out to be a fancy high powered stapler worth a lot more than what I paid! I listed it for $79 for a week or two. When no one bought it, I did a little more research. Based on what I found, I bumped the price up to $129. Within a couple of days, it had sold.
That’s right. I raised the price and it sold.
As the old saying goes, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
If you want big finds like this to come your way, start with what you have and learn as you go. You’re getting a degree in life skills!
Take These Steps:
- Find that pile of stuff you cleaned out of the closet or attic.
- Do some searching to see what surprise treasures you were going to toss out.
- Make money from them instead. As the money comes in, be sure it hits your emergency fund or sinking fund!
This was day 11 in the Secure Your Savings and Find Peace in the New Year series. Go to the bottom of this post to find all the money saving and money making posts in this series!
Once you know what to sell on Ebay, the sky is the limit!
Add one more feather to your “scrappy income” hat. You’ve earned it!
Have you ever bought or sold on Ebay? What do you think of it?