ebay: Kill Your Clutter and Make Money


How many of you have made this statement recently?  “I need to have a yard sale!”  I’m willing to bet quite a few of you from all of the questions I’m getting about how to sell your unwanted-but-desired-by-others items on eBay. 

This year my family has made over $400.  This is after all fees, shipping, and packaging costs.  We made this money by selling what I mentioned before: unwanted-by-you-but-desired-by-others items

Here’s the quick run down for how eBay works:

You (the seller) post an item on eBay in an auction-style format for a selected amount of time.  You note a starting price, shipping cost, and a brief description of the item (including flaws) on the item’s page.  Buyers than search for your product using eBay’s search engine.  If they like your item and the price, they’ll place a bid.  Buyers often compete in the last minutes before an auction ends.  Your item “sells” to the highest bidder at the time the auction ends – once you post it, you let the buyers do the work – short of answering questions buyers may have about your item, you sit back and watch the bidding.  You send the winning bidder an invoice (using MyEbay this is really only 2 clicks of your mouse), wait for their payment, print a shipping label (again – a few clicks of your mouse), drop off the package at the post office, and wait for your feedback.  Oh, and don’t forget – MAKE MONEY!

We sell items in Very Good or Like New Condition that others are willing to pay money for.  For us, that has been video games and accessories (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii), popular books and cookbooks,  and very gently used name brand clothing (Torrid, Old Navy.)  Before I list these items, I do a search to see what the market looks like.  If I see 100 copies of a new book out there that aren’t moving, I just keep my book for a later date.  If I see quite a few auctions with nice bids, I’ll sell my item and offer free shipping or a bonus item to draw buyers’ attention. 

You would be surprised WHAT people will buy – unless you feel it is hazardous and/or a waste of your time, list it and see what happens.  This is especially easy to do when eBay is having a FREE LISTING special.  This is a great time to try out selling on eBay because they’re running a LIST FOR FREE special from February 15-28!!  This means that you don’t have to pay to list your item (with basic options, I usually list for a quarter) and you only pay a small fee (9%, max. of $50) when your item sells – if it doesn’t sell, no money lost!

This video was put together by an eBayer from Ireland so the site may look a little different, but it is very informative and I suggest watching it!  eBay also has video tutorials for those of you that are visual learners!

Here are my eBay Beginners Steps (adapted from eBay’s Selling Basics):

  • Sign-Up for Both an eBay and a Paypal Account
  • Buy a Few items on eBay
  • List Your Item
  • Shipping Your Item
  • Monitoring Delivery & Feedback 

Sign-Up for Both an eBay and a Paypal Account
Sign up for an eBay account here.  This will allow you to both buy and sell items on eBay – it’s free.

Sign up for a Paypal account here.  This will allow you to both receive and send payments for eBay items safely and securely – it’s also free.

Buy a Few Items on eBay
Not only will this help you get a feel for how eBay works, but it will also help you acquire feedback from sellers.  This is important when you go to sell your own items – if buyers see that you are credible, they’re more likely to choose your item to bid on.  I currently have a rating of 100% and have received or given feedback on 50 items.  eBay also has a tutorial on buying items – check it out here!


List Your Item
I’m going to let eBay give you the details on how to list an item.  They provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to list an item on eBay complete with a checklist – it’s really very simple!  What I will do though is remind you of a few things when listing your item:

  1. Be Honest About Your Item – You are held accountable for your items on eBay; be honest when describing them – it will save you time and trouble.
  2. Think Like a Buyer – What would YOU consider buying based on a listing?
  3. Price it Right! – Everyone wants a good selling price, but sometimes getting there requires that you start out lower.
  4. Visual Aids are GOOD – Using a digital camera to take a picture of your item is a good idea.  Pictures are worth 1000 words (and money in your pocket.)


Shipping Your Item
Invest in some packing tape, a basic scale (I use my kitchen scale), and save your cardboard boxes and newspaper!  eBay’s shipping label system is extremely user-friendly and very efficient.  You collect your payment, click on “Print Shipping Label”, pay for and print your label, tape it on your package, and off it goes.  I always ship through the US Postal Service.  I most commonly use their Priority Mail, Media Mail, and Parcel Post options.  You specify HOW you will ship your package when you’re listing your item.  If it seems confusing in the beginning, eBay provides a shipping wizard to help you out – I strongly recommend using this in the beginning until you get the hang of things.  Here are my reminders about Shipping with the US Postal Service:

  1. Priority Mail is great for items you’d like to expedite; items are delivered in 2-3 business days.  You can also have your postal carrier pick up the package by scheduling a pick-up here.  I order (for free) a variety pack of the shipping items off their website.  Remember, this service is a FLAT FEE service and you must use the designated priority mail packaging.
  2. Media Mail is awesome for shipping books.  There are restrictions set by the USPS and it often takes a bit longer to get where it’s going, but it’s a very inexpensive option that often looks very attractive to buyers.
  3. Parcel Post is my go-to method when my item won’t fit in a Priority Mail box.  Reasonable charges and it often gets delivered in the same amount of time, 2-3 business days.


Monitoring Delivery & Feedback
People like praise.  Even something as simple as Feedback on eBay can pay off.  Once I receive payment and ship my item, I leave feedback for the seller.  It often reads something like this: “Super fast payment – Great eBayer – Thank you for your business!”  Not only does this give the buyer a good review, it leaves them thinking about you on a positive note.  This pays off when they leave feedback for you after they’ve received their item.

And speaking of receiving items, I ALWAYS monitor the deliveries of my shipments.  USPS updates eBay with a tracking number upon shipping label creation, and you can very easily monitor where your package is and when it is delivered.  If I see that something is taking longer than normal, I’ll proactively send a message to the buyer and let them know WHERE their package is and that it should be delivered very soon.


So that’s my very condensed “How to Sell on eBay” tutorial.  Hopefully, it encourages YOU to start selling your “stuff” and make some money!


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Weeks 7 & 8: Spending Diet « everydayway

  2. Pingback: Weeks 9 & 10: Spending Diet « everydayway

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