eBay, my NEW Best friend

OK, so I officially have the job title of Stay At Home Mom and the first thing I do is sign up for eBay and Paypal.  After I sold my first item, I was hooked.  The rest was history.  I was making money and clearing clutter, my two favorite things all while at home.  Most people do not sell on eBay because it is time consuming and that is something that was not an issue for me.  It was also convenient because I live in walking distance to the post office and it was an excuse to get me out of the house.  The fresh air was great for me and baby.  For those of you that do not live near the post office or do not have a reason to leave the house, the post office website offers free scheduled pickup so there is no excuse. I made in the last year about $3,000 from things we already had.  I know you can too.

How it works?

Take a picture, describe the item,  choose shipping method and price, then decided starting bid.  It really is that easy!

Take a picture- The picture is the first thing the buyer will see.  You want to make sure you are capturing the essence of the item and making the item look desirable.  The eBay audience has a lot to choose from so you want to make sure you stand out.  I always use a white table cloth as the background to make sure there are no distractions. You get 12 free pictures so use them.

Describe The Item- This one is easy; I search for a similar object and can almost always find someone selling the exact same thing.  Then I copy there description and tweak it if need be.  Make sure everything is 100% accurate. Believe me if something is not, you will hear about it.

Choose a shipping method and price- This one was the hardest for me to get the hang of.  USPS I found was the most economical and universally used among eBay.  They have flat rate boxes that you can get free and if it fits it ships.  I am sure you have seen the commercials.  I started using these at first and charged the seller the flat rate fee.  Then I started to understand a little more about the standard pricing and was able to charge the seller less.  The less you charge for shipping the more the person will bid on the item.   If you have any questions ask the post office workers.  I asked a different question every time I dropped off a package and got to know them and they were super helpful.

Starting Bid-  This one is easy too; I almost always start the bid at 99 cents.  The lower the starting bid the more watchers you get and the more people get a notification when your item is about to end which is great for bidding wars and your item will almost always sell at market value.  Sometimes, when the item is unusual and I do not think I will get a lot of interest, I will start at the minimum that I am willing to accept.

Tip: Complete and save a few items everyday then at the end of the week preferably Thursday (when most everyone gets paid) list all the items at once.  This way all the items will end together and you can hopefully make one trip to the post office.  Also, keep in mind that the item will end the same time it is published so I try to publish after dinner around  7 or 8pm.

eBay Rules: Before you start using eBay I recommend you read the disclosures and fine print. eBay gives you 50 free listings a month and after that you will have to pay a listing fee.  I timed it where I would list my 50 free then wait until next month to list more.  They charge a percentage based on the overall price of the object and shipping 9%.  Paypal also charges a percentage based on the amount that is paid to you.  Even though it does cost a little, you end up with more than you had to begin with.

What to sell?

I started room by room and eventually went through the entire house.  Look for brand names and anything that is commonly searched.  Don’t forget the closet.  This is where I found a lot of clothes that I wore in college and did not see myself ever wearing again as a mom.  My Lilly Pulitzer dresses were cute for a frat party, but not really anywhere else.  If I didn’t see myself wearing it in the next two years, I listed it.  I also downsized my purses.  I knew I was going to be carrying a diaper bag around for the next three or four years, and my coach bags could only hold my wallet and one diaper.  Not very practical.  So, I listed them too.

What do people buy on eBay?

Answer is everything.  I even made some money on the formula coupons I received in the mail.  You can pretty much count on a profit of half the face value of any coupon.  For gift cards you get a little more.  I sold a few gift cards that I had laying around the house that I never planned on using.  One had a face value of $50 and the highest bid was $46.  I didn’t even have to ship I just e-mailed the code on the back of the card.  Electronics are some best sellers too.  Any old chargers or flash drives for those lost cameras sell too.

Be selective of what you have in your home and hold on to.  You could consider me anti-clutter.  I am very practical.  Everything in my home has a daily purpose or sentimental value.  If not, it goes.  To me, a simple home is comfortable and easy to clean. When I became a mom, my priorities changed dramatically.  If it is the difference between my Ann Taylor Cashmere sweater or staying home with my daughter, the sweater goes.  Try letting go of objects that you do not use on a regular basis and see if you ever miss them?


3 thoughts on “eBay, my NEW Best friend”

  1. Such good advice!!! I’m ready to start looking through my rooms now!!!
    You are right— the thing that keeps me from posting on ebay is the time it takes to list including uploading pics, describing object, choosing shipping, etc. Your advice was very helpful here!!! Thanks!!!

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