We’ve talked about decluttering; how therapeutic it is to free your surroundings of the stuff you don’t need. What we didn’t talk about, however, is the amount of money – real money – you can make from selling what you’ve determined is disposable. There are many online marketplaces out there where you can sell your stuff. Many of them focus on particular niches such as electronics, musical instruments, and gold and silver. Here is a link to an article listing some of those marketplaces.
I have been an eBay buyer and seller for over 20 years, and have been amazed at the things that I have sold and at the prices I have gotten. It takes a bit of a commitment, but it’s well worth the time to list, photograph and ship your items. Over the years, their policies and procedures have undergone many changes. I believe, however, that eBay and Paypal make it as easy as possible to sell your stuff online. Since the majority of my experience is with eBay, I’ll share with you what I have learned about eBay selling.
Items that Sell Well on eBay
- Kitchenware. Small appliances, vintage kitchen tools, china, glassware, tableware, and flatware are all great sellers. I sold an old GE Waffle Iron from the 1960’s for $50.00. People also like brand name pieces in good condition, e.g., Wilton cake pans, Henkel knives, Pampered Chef items, Le Creuset cookware. You would be amazed at the people seeking to complete their sets of dinnerware or flatware. There are millions of patterns out there, and I promise someone has yours and needs a piece or two! My stainless flatware has been discontinued, but I have been able to add teaspoons and dessert forks from eBay sellers.
- Clothing: Vintage or retro clothing, clothes with the tags intact, children’s clothes in good condition, designer labels, and prom and cocktail dresses are all good sellers. I once sold a used pair of kid’s Land’s End jeans for $16.00. They would have gotten a dollar at a yard sale. Other items that have brought considerable success are lady’s shoes and men’s clothing. On the flipside, tacky clothes do well too – like ugly Christmas sweaters or leisure suits! The key to selling any clothing is that it be in excellent condition, and clean. My general rule of thumb is, if it doesn’t sell, it goes to Goodwill. No Re-closeting!
- Vintage Dishware and Glassware. There are many collectors out there who scour the web for these treasures. Some notable good sellers are depression glass in all colors and patterns, Fiestaware, Jadeite, Jasperware, Fitz and Floyd patterns, Pfaltzgraff, Fenton glass, Fire King – I could go on and on and on. The key here is to do a little research so you know what you have and can label it correctly. Identifying patterns is simple now with the internet.
- Anything Mid-Century Modern, Art Deco, or Art Nouveau. This includes furniture, light fixtures, lamps, home décor items, linens, artwork – anything goes if it’s authentic.
- Collectibles: This is an awfully broad category, but includes things like vintage advertising handouts like mugs, keyrings, lighters; tobacciana, thimbles, snuff bottles, salt shakers, teapots, cookbooks, books, vinyl records, costume jewelry, vintage posters . . .
- Craft supplies. Craft supplies have gotten very expensive. There are thousands of people who search eBay for craft supplies to save a little money. If your crafting interests have changed and you have supplies laying around that you’re no longer using, someone else does want them! I have personally sold rubber stamps, metal dies, sewing patterns, stencils, fabric, and craft books. I recommend selling them in lots (groups).
Unusual Items that Sell
- Empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls – for crafts
- Empty egg cartons – for crafts
- Cords for old electronics you no longer use – someone needs that very one!
- Pot and casserole lids
- Worn wool clothing – for rug hooking
- Odd buttons
- Vintage ephemera – ticket stubs, brochures, Playbills
The lists above are by no means comprehensive. I have just scratched the surface of the things you can sell.
General Hints about Listing on eBay to sell your stuff
- The most important thing you can do is to research on eBay the items you wish to sell. Do an eBay search for your item, and in the left-hand column under “Show Only” choose “sold listings.” This will give you an indication of the price you can get for your item. You can also gain insight on how to describe your item and on what listings appeal to buyers.
- Since buyers are typically more able to surf the web on the weekends, it is generally good to list your items on Sunday evenings for a one week period, so the listings end at the same time the next Sunday evening. Incorporating at least one full weekend of viewing time will expose your listing to more potential buyers.
- The time of day your listing ends is important because you want to engage customers on both sides of the country. Having a listing end at 9 p.m. is not too late for east coasters while giving west coasters time to complete their activities of the day and go online.
- Photos are key to a successful listing. A good smartphone camera is sufficient to take good pictures. Be sure your item is in its best condition, well lit, and photographed at more than one angle. A small light box kit is invaluable for photographing smaller items like jewelry, dishes, books etc. A great option by LimoStudio is available on Amazon for $39.99. It includes a lighted photo box, several colored backgrounds, two spotlights, and a smartphone/camera tripod. There are some less expensive options available, but I have this one and love it.
- Listings are much simpler and abundantly more attractive to buyers if you include shipping costs in the purchase price. Some buyers actually limit their searches to listings that do not charge extra for postage. With this in mind, be sure to consider the cost of shipping in your initial price. Of course, for super heavy items, you may want to charge the actual shipping expense.
- Using eBay and Paypal’s built-in shipping label and postage purchasing feature is easy and cost-effective. They can even save you money, as their rates are cheaper in some instances than the post office! You can use self-adhesive labels or just plain paper and packing tape.
- Ship your items the day of or the day after you receive your buyer’s payment. This will ensure that you stay on good terms with buyers and with eBay, and will encourage your buyers to leave good feedback for you as a seller.
- Always leave feedback for your buyers. This is the surest way to get them to leave good feedback for you. Feedback is essential to your eBay ranking. Good feedback is especially valuable to buyers who WILL check your feedback before purchasing from you.
These are just a few general hints derived directly from my personal experiences on eBay as a buyer and a seller. You are welcome to email me with questions you have on using eBay to sell your stuff. When you’re clearing out those drawers, cabinets, boxes, closets, the basement, the attic, and the storage shed, think about the folks you can make happy by letting your things become their new treasures. Think also about the extra money you can put in your pocket!
Once you’ve done your clearing out and selling, call Dream Closets to help create the spaces you need to put everything in its place! Until next time, live your best life!