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So, if you followed my last post on Clearing Stress by Clearing Clutter , you probably have a bag of items that you cleared out that you think is worth some money and that you can resell. You can make money from selling your clutter on eBay, Etsy, Gumtree, Facebook, Car boot sales and many more, but in this post I am going to focus on eBay.
Make Money from Selling your Clutter on eBay
This post only really covers selling your own personal items as a private seller. I do not sell anything but my own personal items. I am not a tax expert, so if you feel you need more advice on your own personal situation, do get some advice from someone more qualified and experienced.
How to Get Started on eBay
I have been selling on eBay since 2004, and have always found it to be a great way to sell the things I don’t need anymore. But I have learnt over time the things that do and don’t work, and would love to share with you how it works for me!
If it is:
- still has the labels on
- or vintage,
it is certainly worth trying to sell it on eBay. It is easy to set up an account, and you will be able to set up a PayPal account linked to this so that people can pay you directly for your items. You will need to link the PayPal account to your current bank account.
Have lots of books or DVDs to sell? Why not try Ziffit or Music Magpie instead? See my favourite phone apps to make you money!
You can even list items using your mobile via an app, as most phones now take good resolution photographs.
As a new seller, you get 20 free listings a month. This means you can place adverts for 20 items for free. After the 20 items you do need to pay a fee, and the fee is based on the selling price of the item sold. So it is worth listing your expensive items first. As you build up your experience eBay will give you more special offers and increase your free listings to 100. Most months they send me an email inviting me to have 100 free listings. I never use all 100, but it can be a great prompter to have another clear out!
How Much does it cost if it Sells?
If you item sells, eBay charge you what they call a final-figure fee. This can vary depending on what item you are selling (the category it is in according to eBay) but I tend to estimate this at about 10% of the total selling price including postage. PayPal also takes a fee for using the service, which I usually estimate at about 5% of the total selling price.
So, for example, if you sell a dress for £18 and post it for £2, eBay will take a 10% cut of £20, and PayPal will also take a 5% cut of £20. Leaving you with £17 from the sale. Lots of people may moan that this is a bit of a downer, but I’m happy to have sold an otherwise unused item sat gathering dust in my closet, so all’s good!
Make Money from Selling your Clutter on eBay
Firstly, it is worth deciding whether you are just going to post items, or whether you are happy to let buyers collect items from you. For instance, if an item is large, unwieldy or you are unable to post it, you can have a ‘Collection Only’ option when selling on eBay. I will admit, I have only used this option on a couple of occasions as a seller. I do not really want people coming to my home. So I tend to only choose items that can be posted.
It is also worth remembering when you are listing the item that you have to factor in the cost of posting the item to the seller. And that eBay do charge a percentage of the overall sales fee, which also includes the postage cost. This can mean if the postage costs you £2, you charge the buyer £2 and eBay charge you 10%, then you are out of pocket by 20p on postage costs.
Also remember that you need to package your items? Do you need to buy jiffy bags, paper or bubble wrap? All these things do cost you money and should be factored in when you are adding a postage cost to your listing.
I factor this into my item listing by adding 50p to each postage charge per item.
You can start listing from scratch, choosing a category, creating a title and adding everything you want to your listing. Sometimes this can be very useful if the item is electrical, technical or media. EBay can create a very detailed listing by scanning a bar code of a DVD. You just need to add your photo, postage costs and small description and you are done.
However, I prefer to look for something similar to what I want to sell and see what else is on the site for sale. This can also give you a good idea of what your item will sell for. For example, if I was listing a size 12 Karen Millen dress I would search for others currently for sale on the site. There is also an option to see what has sold recently, and there may even be the same dress in that section. If you find a similar listing, there is usually a button called “Sell One Like This”. Press that button, and the site creates a copy of that listing minus the photos, description and postage costs for you to customise for your item.
A few tips for your listing:
Take good photographs.
You are allowed up to 12 photos of the item you are selling. Take these in a good light so that you are happy that they are a true representation of your item. If is it clothing I like to take a photograph of
- the front and back of the item
- a close up of the neckline
- the care label and composition label
- the size label.
- close-ups of any defects and list them in the description too.
Use well chosen keywords in your item title.
You have 80 characters to describe your item, so saying it is a “red dress” just isn’t enough detail. Saying that it is a “Karen Millen Size 12 EU 40 Floral Red Chinese Cocktail Wiggle Occasion Dress” will get you a lot more views of your item. Always state the size and colour, definitely state the brand label if it is desirable, and consider other keywords that buyers may use when they are searching for an item like yours.
Describe the condition of any used items honestly.
Describe any defects so that the buyer can see what they are going to get. Take measurements. If it is clothing I lay the item flat and use a tape measure to give measurements. Include armpit to armpit, waistline, hips, inside leg, length from shoulder to hem or waist to hem. This can take time but IMO is worth the effort.
As a private seller, you do not have to accepts returns due to the buyer changing their mind about an item, or if it doesn’t fit (unless you mistakenly listed the item as a 16, when it is a size 12!) It is therefore the buyers responsibility to make sure that your measurements will fit them. However, under eBay rules a buyer can return an item and you are liable for giving them a full refund PLUS the cost of returning the item to you if they can prove that the item sent to them was ‘not as described’. This is where your photos and description cover you, so it is best to make them as detailed as possible.
Think about whether you want your postage to be trackable.
Maybe I was a little bit unlucky, but I had a couple of sales early on in my eBay journey where I sent the item in the normal post and the buyers claimed that they hadn’t received it. I had kept a proof of postage, but under Royal Mail, normal 1st and 2nd class postage is only covered for £20 compensation. This didn’t cover the cost of one of the items. I have now made it my own personal policy to send things by second class signed for Royal Mail. This does cost a little more, but provides cover up to £50. If I have ever sold anything more valuable, I have occasionally sent it Special Delivery, which covers up to £500. Maybe consider a different courier too.
To Auction or to ‘Buy It now’?
This really is up to you. Do you have a figure in your head that you want to sell the item for? Be realistic and check past listings to see what similar items have sold for. My advice is to set a Buy it Now for a couple of pounds more than what you are willing to accept and then you have some room to accept offers. However if you really want to gamble you can start the auction at 99p and see if it flies! After all it is your junk you are selling. Maybe have some fun as well as make money from selling your clutter on eBay.
What do I do if it doesn’t sell
There is always the possibility that your item won’t sell. If the item was listed for free then it hasn’t cost you anything. You can always wait until the next month to resist it as part of your free 20 listings. Maybe considering reducing the price? These days eBay does tend to prompt you to do this automatically.
Or consider another way of selling, such as Etsy, dress agencies, Gumtree, Facebook or car boot selling.
If you really get the bug for selling, you could even consider making a living doing it as a reseller, Jane at Girlonapension.com can show you how.
I really hope that you do make money from selling your clutter on eBay. I would love to know how you get on, let me know in the comments below or on social media!
Read more about the ideal frugal and decluttered lifestyle in What is Lagom?
And read here about Second Hand September – and why it is a great thing to do all year round!