Monday, August 22, 2011

Sell Your Stuff on Ebay

I haven't mentioned it too much lately, but if you've been reading my blog a while, you know that I enjoy shopping at thrift stores.  I also donate my fair share of usable items to the thrift shops.

But what about really good stuff that's worth quite a bit of money?  Depending on the item, I will often attempt to sell it, either on craigslist or ebay.

A couple of weeks ago, I dug out all my old homeschooling stuff, going back as far as kindergarten.  I've listed a lot of it on ebay, and sold quite a bit.  Actually, so far I've sold $550 worth of homeschool books.  That includes last year's curriculum, a Sonlight Core package that I bought used for $330, and sold this year for $300.  That's pretty darn awesome!

So, what am I doing with this money?  It's going to help pay for this year's curriculum (BJU Online 8th grade), and that's pretty great too.  Next year I won't have so much homeschool stuff to sell, but I'm sure I'll sell other types of things throughout the year.

I'm not going to give you a tutorial on how go through the steps of listing an item on ebay;  I'm no expert and just know the basics.  However, I can give you a few tips for selling your stuff in general (this is all my opinion, not hard and fast rules).

1.  Large items, such as furniture, are best sold on craigslist, which is local pick-up only.  

2.  For items which are relatively easy to mail, ebay may be your best bet, as you will have a much larger "audience".

3.  However, you can sell anything (within their rules) on CL, too.  Last year I sold snowpants  on CL, which would have been easy to mail and would have been fine to list on ebay.  And if you want to sell furniture on ebay, you can.  I just don't want to bother with shipping on that kind of thing.

4.  Keep season in mind for either CL or ebay.  I sold the snowpants in October, when people are starting to gear up for winter.  You wouldn't have the same demand for snowpants in May.  Or homeschool books in March.

5.  When I sell or buy something on CL, I like to either make sure Craig is home if they are coming here, meet in a public place such as a busy parking lot, or even have Craig do the pick- up or drop-off.  Safety first.

6.  When you are listing an item, your title should be made up of searchable key words, more than just a description. Let's say you're selling a Pottery Barn slipcovered sofa.  Your title would need to be something like this:  
Pottery Barn PB Sofa Couch with Slip Cover Slipcover
It sounds kind of idiotic, but you won't miss someone who searches "couch" but not "sofa" or "PB" but not "Pottery Barn".
And be sure to spell everything correctly!!

7.  When you are listing on ebay, keep the cost of packing materials and postage in mind.  I use the USPS postage calculator, but for some reason I'm not very good at it and I have several times spent way more on postage than I charged, and that eats into my profit.

8.  When listing an item on ebay, do some research.  Are there twenty already listed, but no bids?  You might not want to bother.   Are items like yours selling?  If so, for how much?  Use the advanced search and click on "completed listings" to find out, and use that to help you figure out a starting price and what you might expect to ultimately sell it for.

Like I said, I'm no expert at this.  If you are, and have more tips, please share them in the comments.

Some previous posts you might find helpful:


Paula said...

Good for you for making money on things you no longer need. We usually are the buyer instead of the seller on Ebay but I have sold a few things on Craigslist. I also made sure that my husband was home when the person came to pick up their item. That could be scary!

The Cannary's said...

This is on my list of things to do, as my daughter has several worn only once pairs of heels and some beautiful prom-like dresses she isn't taking with her to college. We have an on-line marketplace at work, too. Check out what I'll be selling for around $50 - the original price was $129-$169:
I'm going to make lemonade out of a BIG lemon! (:

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Way to go!!! What a great turn-around on that curriculum. I haven't had much luck with buying on CL, but I am trying. ;)

alanna rose said...

I love selling stuff in both places - I'm with you, I don't ship bulky items and send them to CL.

For shipping, I have gone to exclusively using the flat rate shipping boxes from the post office. The boxes are free, and I just keep a few of each size handy, the great thing is that I know exactly how much to charge for shipping, I can buy and print the postage at home and schedule for the boxes to be picked I don't have to drag my toddlers to the PO!

Raise Them Up said...

Great list of tips! The only thing I can add is to take quality pictures in good lighting. Including a picture of the item in a clean and uncluttered environment is a big plus.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Great tips...sounds like you have it down:)