Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Declutter and Sell Unused Items on ebay

Ebay an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.  It has become an extremely successful avenue to make money for those willing to put in the effort. 

Experimenting with ebay has been on my list of things to do for a while now, but it was not the easiest or quickest way to earn money, so I procrastinated. 

Recently my boyfriend bought us tickets to the Saints VS Steelers football game in New Orleans on October 31st, and there is no greater motivator to earn extra money than the inevitable expenses associated with a trip to New Orleans. 

So it was time to declutter and sell some of my unused items on ebay. 

I live with my parents and share a room with my daughter.  So I don't really have much "stuff" because there is really no room for it.  I do have a surplus of toys though. 

My family, ex husband, and his family tend to go overboard with the Christmas presents.  My daughter only really plays with art stuff, so I had some old dolls and other toys that were still in the box from last Christmas that were just screaming to be sold. 

You may not have unused toys laying around the house, but you wouldn't believe what people would buy, especially on a worldwide market like ebay.  We've all heard the expression, "One mans trash is another mans treasure,"  well ebay is a shinning example of that age old fact. 

I had success on ebay.  My personal story, in a nutshell, is that I sold all my items, made a profit of $71.00, and my costs lowered my income to around $36.00.  Not the greatest outcome, but it was my first go around with ebay.  

Making extra money selling unused items on ebay is complex and definitely not as easy as selling class notes for instant cash.  However, it's easier than say keeping up with a blog...

Pros and Cons
  • Selling on ebay was fun!  I found myself watching my own auctions and getting all excited when I saw people bidding on my "junk" One mans trash is another mans treasure. 
  • Decluttering is always great.  There is no need to hold on to things that you "may" need one day.  You can't take it with you, so might as well sell it and make some $ off of it!
  • Selling on ebay gave me a project to sink my teeth into.  Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our jobs and more pressing responsibilities that we get fatigued and bored.  Experimenting with ebay put a little spice in my life. 
  • Ebay gave me the opportunity to apply alot of the knowledge I learned in school!  Marketing, accounting, psychology, communication, and business skills previously learned were all used when selling my inventory. 
The pros of ebay far outweigh the cons.  The only real con I had against my ebay experiment was the shipping!  Maybe it's just my inexperience showing here, but I didn't realize how much it costs to ship things.  I'm not just talking about the actual postage alone.  The price of boxes, tape, filler, and postage almost made selling on ebay not worth the hassle. 

I sold a Dora and Diego Aquadoodle for $28.00 + $5.99 shipping and handling.  That was my highest selling item.  It ended up costing me almost $25.00 to ship it!  It was so large, that I had to buy a box at UPS which cost me over $10.00. 

 Tips and Suggestions

After everything was all said and done, I analyzed the experiment and found a few glitches, that once improved, could greatly increase your chances of successfully making money on ebay.  
  1. Research, Research, Research! It's best to be prepared when tackling a giant like ebay.  Jumping in head first without reading up on the subject may lead to frustration, loss of money, or waste of time.  None of which are good.
  2. To make a good profit on a sale, you MUST and I mean MUST take into consideration the price of shipping.  When looking around your house for something to sell; I would recommend selling the DVDs vs. the tools.  Selling something heavy and odd shaped means extra cost for packaging and shipping.  Cardboard boxes are expensive!  A fact I wish I had known beforehand.   
  3. Take  your item to the post office before you decide to put it up for auction.  They have a selection of flat rate boxes that will always ship for the same price no matter the weight.  Its a good deal, except the boxes are pretty small.  If your item fits one of the boxes, then you will know exactly how much to charge for shipping.
  4. Google your item and see how much it's going for on other online stores like Amazon or Walmart.  If it is selling for $15.00 there, then by all means, sell your item for roughly the same price. 
One Thing to Look Out For

When selling something on ebay using the auction format; set a reserve.  A reserve is the lowest price you are willing to accept as payment for that item.  I sold 5 teddy bears and didn't set a reserve.  They ended up selling for only $1.99 with a $2.99 shipping charge.  I lost money on that sale.  Good thing it was only some stuffed animals. 

Have you ever sold anything on ebay? 

Did you run across any of the same problems I did?  How did you fix them?

Any suggestions?  Please share!


Selling Basics - ebay
Guide to ebay for sellers - by a seller
77 Tips and Tools for Selling on ebay
Photography Tips for ebay
Profit on ebay

Good Luck


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