Spring is around the corner. It is a time for young love, walks in the park, and cleaning out the clutter that has gathered over the long cold winter. Spring cleaning is a ritual for many and a chore for most. This year, consider a new approach to sprucing up your house: spring cleaning with eBay.
Why eBay? – The goal is to make this yearly ritual a little more fun and to possibly gain a little extra cash in the process. There are other places to sell things, but eBay is convenient and easy to use.
What Do You Need to Get Started? – Since you aren’t a professional seller, you’ll want to keep this simple. You should sign up for an eBay account and Paypal account. Additionally, you will need a digital camera. A cell phone camera is fine for this task.
What Should You Sell? – You will want to ask yourself two simple questions: 1) Am I using this item? 2) Is it worth anything to someone else? For the first question, consider how recently you last used it and whether you meaningfully have a future use for it. Be honest with yourself. If it has dust on it, you really aren’t using it. You will be surprised at how often the answer to the second question is “yes.” Many people will buy old CDs, movies, books, and even busted electronic devices just for the parts.
Anything Else You Should Sell? – Since you will make at least a little money from this, you may also want to sell stuff with explicit intent of replacing it. For example, you could sell your old SNES games and then re-buy the ones you still play as digital downloads for the Wii. You might even make money on the transaction. Similarly, selling old VHS movies can earn you a little extra towards replacing them with Blu-Ray versions.
What Shouldn’t You Sell? – The goal here is to make spring cleaning easy, so you’ll want to avoid selling things that will be difficult to ship or that won’t actually clean your house. Your old television may be junk, but shipping it will be a nightmare. Similarly, don’t go into your safe deposit box and sell that old baseball card you’ve been saving for years. That is neatly stored away and isn’t something cluttering your house.
How Do You Ship? – Keeping in mind the goal of simplicity, you should use USPS Flat Rate boxes to ship. That will allow you to easily set shipping costs for your sales and reduces hassle at the post office. You’ll want to check out the three sizes first by getting boxes for free at your local post office.
Any Other eBay Tips? – You can list up to 50 items for free per month, which should be plenty for your spring cleaning. Additionally, between eBay and Paypal, you will be charged approximately a 15% commission on your sale. Set your initial starting bid at a minimum of $3 and you shouldn’t have any possibility of losing money. A lot of the stuff you are selling won’t be worth even that much, but if you sell in lots, it will increase your chance of making sales. Finally, be completely upfront an honest in your item descriptions. You are selling used items. Make that clear and if there is any chance the items are broken or damage emphasize that in your description.
What If the Items Don’t Sell? – If the items don’t sell, you’ve lost nothing. The listing was free and the only time lost was taking the picture and listing the item online. The time you spent collecting and organizing the items was already part of your spring cleaning time anyway. The auction site will automatically relist the item up to three times if you want to be patient, but if you don’t, just throw out that auction lot or leave it in a box on your corner with a “free” sign.
What Should You Do With the Money? – This money is your reward for spring cleaning. Treat yourself or someone special to a night out. Alternately, as discussed earlier, you may want to use the item to replace or upgrade that which you have sold. You could even buy something completely new, adding to your collection of stuff that will be subject to next year’s spring cleaning.