Thursday, October 24, 2013

17 UHeart Organizing: 7 Top Tips for Selling on eBay

With our big storage room project in full swing, we have stocked our guest room with purged pieces we hope to sell on eBay and Craigslist.  Garage sale season has come and gone, so hitting up the web to shed our excess items is the ideal way to go.  Knowing that, I couldn't be more thrilled that Serena is stopping by to shed some light on the subject.  Here is my darling friend now!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like to spring clean. I spring clean in summer, I spring clean in winter, I spring clean in fall…and you better believe I spring clean in spring!

Like every organized spring cleaner, at the end of the purge I have my four piles – KEEP, REPAIR, DONATE and SELL.

SELL piles can be tricky.  Do you have a garage sale, put up a flyer at work, ask family and friends?

My go-to way to move that SELL pile?  Online.  For me that’s always been eBay.  For over a decade I’ve used it to sell clothes, furniture, trinkets gadgets and more.  Because it’s true – what is your trash can definitely be someone else’s treasure.

So from my 10+ years experience, here are my top 7 tips for selling online and on eBay.


Before you even contemplate selling on eBay or online, first think about what your time is worth.

If you have a couple of old tea towels, a worn pair of tennis shoes and a box set of The Hills with one DVD missing, you’re probably better off transferring them to the donation box.

To sell things on eBay you have to photograph them, list and describe them. Then you have to liaise with buyers, answer their questions and should you be lucky to sell, you then need to organize payment and postage. This all takes time.

So if you think you’re only going to make a few dollars, work out if that is really worth your time.


Before listing anything on eBay have a quick click around to see what the product is you’re selling is listed for on eBay and other sites like Amazon, Net-A-Porter etc. If an online discount store is selling that Weekend At Bernie’s poster for $9.99, there’s no use in you listing yours for the $50 you think it’s worth.

On the other hand if you have a unique or collectible item you can really name your price. Rumor has it a teenage Kim Kardashian made over $12,000 buying up rare designer shoes and selling them for a premium on eBay.

Brand names always work well, so don’t be scared to price your reserve at a fair number.


Got some winter boots that you don’t need anymore? Or a summer kaftan you never used? Try and sell them at the start of the season.

As a general rule, people will be looking for winter items in fall/winter and summer items in spring/summer.

Same goes for the holidays – if you’ve got decorations and gift items try and get in early for Halloween, Christmas etc so people know their goodies will arrive in time.


When writing the description about the product you’re selling, think back to why you originally bought it.

If it’s clothing - did it give you a slimmer silhouette? Or was it a piece of jewelry that went with everything? Was it a desk chair that was super comfy?

Whatever it is, your description should not only list WHAT the product is, but WHY people will love it.


A good photo can make or break your listing.

Make sure clothing is freshly ironed, shoes are cleaned, other products are dusted and in their best condition. Try to ensure the photo shows the product’s true size, colors and detail.

There’s nothing worse than buying something online only to find out it looks nothing like the photo.

Photograph on a plain background in natural light and ensure the final shot is in focus. Try to get details shots where possible so people can see exactly what they’re buying.


If the lining has a tear, the wood finish is scratched or the shoes are scuffed – be honest about it and include it in your description. Trying to hide defects will always come back to bite you and will cost you more time and trouble in the end.

If you don’t want to list a photo of the defect, that’s ok. But always have one on standby so if someone asks you for it you can email it straight away.

If you’re upfront about any defects people will trust you and be more likely to buy from you.


The last step is a small point, but an important one.

If you’ve been lucky enough to sell your item, finish the transaction on a high note. Package your item up safely in tissue paper (and bubble wrap if it’s breakable) for a nice touch, and always post your item out on time.

It’s these little details that will make people give you positive feedback and maybe they’ll even become return customers if you list again!

So now over to you! What do you do with your unwanted items after a clean up?

"I am Serena Faber Nelson, a television producer, writer and fluffy dog owner.  Obsessed with home décor, fashion, lifestyle and dogs – I set about creating Pretty Fluffy as a go-to guide for the modern pet owner.   Featuring a range of stylish products, celebrity pooches, DIY projects and handy hints, Pretty Fluffy is a daily stop for smiles and inspiration, giving readers the tools they need to enjoy full and happy lives with their furry friends.  My greatest loves include fresh peonies, Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts Baby in a corner), Banoffe Pie, spending waaay too much time on Pinterest, and hugging random dogs at the park.  I currently live in Sydney, Australia with my husband, Andy, and my 11 year old Border Collie, Soda. As a long time fan, I am super excited to be joining the IHeart Organizing Team!"


  1. These are fantastic tips and great for selling on any platform. I will be keeping these in mind for my poshmark account.

  2. These are great tips. I seriously need to sell some of our old stuff. Thanks for giving me some motivation!

  3. Thanks for this post!! One question I've had is does it cost to post to eBay? I've always thought you were charged for each item you posted, but I may be wrong. If you do get charged, how does that work? Is it ever not worth it to post an item because of the cost to post? Thanks!

    1. Hi Meredith! Yes, there are listing fees (at times they have deals where they waive these) and then a small percentage of the final value of the item you sell is charged. Depending on what you sell this is usually only a few dollars.

      You include the cost of postage in your listing, but yes if it's an awkward or expensive item to post but the item itself is only worth a small amount it's probably not worth your time - a garage sale etc may be better. However there is always the pick up option for things you don't want to post. Hope this helps!

    2. Thank you for replying! When you say you include the cost of postage in your listing, does that mean you'd calculate how much to ship, and then tack it on to the total price? Or just that you'd charge the buyer a separate fee for shipping? What we have to sell are a TON of the collectable Starbucks city mugs. Should I determine the cost of shipping first, before setting a price for each one? Sorry to be so needy, and thanks again for your help!

  4. I've sold on Craigslist but have always been intimidated by eBay. I just may have to try it now though! Thanks for the tips, Serena!

    ~Abby =)

  5. Weekend at Bernie's poster! Bahahaha I'm dying over here. Hilarious!

  6. Are there any ideas for making it easier for people to find your items? I haven't spent much time on ebay but have always been intimidated to sell on there because how many "nice blue suits" can be out there and how would anyone ever find the one I'm selling??? So, as an ebay newbie, I'd love to know how to include the right search terms, etc. to make my stuff easier for buyers/lookers to find. Thanks!

    1. One way to make people find things easier is if you know the brand name of the item. Such as clothing has labels. If the "nice blue suit" is brought from Macy's I would add this to the title of the listing or if jeans are Levis add this to the title. If people are looking for a particular brand they will pull your listing up. Good Luck!

  7. eBay is great but it can be a huge time consumer! There are a couple of Swap n Shop groups on Facebook where I live. Have you checked to see if there are any in your area?

  8. Love this tips especially the one about taking good photos! I'm a very visual person and if I buy something online (its pretty rare), I don't even bother if the pictures aren't of good quality. I think in addition to good quality photos, multiple views are a MUST. I have to see the front, back, inside, etc. of everything before I considering buying!

    As for selling, I usually stick to craigslist or FB groups. Most of what I sell isn't very valuable and I don't have much to sell so it probably wouldn't be worth trying on Ebay.

  9. It always seems like trying to sell things on Ebay is more hassle then its worth unless you have a bunch of stuff to list. These tips help me think its not so bad.

  10. Thanks for the tips! I love to sell by ebay or some others platforms here in my country. Totally agree with to take good pictures and im going to practice the last tip PACKAGE IT UP PRETTY. Good idea!

  11. Jen, I'm dying to see the progress on the storage room cleanouts!!

  12. How do you estimate shipping costs?

  13. I sell many items on Ebay, but mostly clothing. I disclose any defect, and take pictures showing detailed views of the item. I've earned alot, but it does take time to list, wrap, and ship. I find it a great way to clean out.

  14. Great tips! It can be intimidating to sell something on Ebay-this helps! :) Thanks so much.


Thank you so much for taking a moment to join in on the conversation! I read and appreciate each and every comment, however, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious, or spam-like. I would love for this comment section to be used as a place to engage in purposeful dialogue, I only ask that everyone remains constructive and considerate.

All comments will be moderated and may take a moment to appear.