The eBay Hour
When I moved in here I virtually took over B’s basement with my stuff that came with me in my big 17 foot u-haul (the only truck rental company that would allow a cross border move and return the truck in the USA ) and so very, very slowly I’ve been parting with a few of my items on eBay.
I won’t lie. This has been hard. I don’t know why but I have a bit of a thing for stuff and although I’m far from hoarder level could definitely shed a few lbs of items kicking around the house. We have a rule here, and I think it’s a good one – for every new item in the house one item must go. I think that’s fair, except B hasn’t been following the rule when it comes to shoes, as these arrived earlier this week:
I have a horrible personality trait that if I can put it off until tomorrow – I will and although my stuff and I have moved in for months already, I’m finding I don’t use a fraction of the stuff. Probably the biggest waste of money is my DVD collection. Back in the early 2000’s when I had more money than brains I would buy DVD’s like they were going out of style. This stopped years ago as my income dwindled and I got older and wiser, but I still have hundreds of movies that I could sell on eBay one at a time. As I showed you, it’s surprising how those dollars add up.
Forget The Sunk Costs
Selling on eBay can make me want to cry when I think about what I paid for the item vs what I can get. An example: I bought a video card for $20, found I had no use for it and sold it for ten dollars on eBay. I could argue that I lost ten dollars (and I did ) but there’s no sense worrying about it. I now have ten dollars for something else (new water heater, here we come!) and there’s less crap in my closet. Another example is a HP notebook I had that I sold on eBay, and it arrived not working for the buyer. So I took it back and refunded him the money and just tossed it in the goodwill pile for the next drop off. But then I thought – oh what the heck, I’ll list it on eBay and start the auction at $1.00. It doesn’t matter that I spent over $500 for the thing as the money is long gone. That laptop ended up selling for over $100 for a broken notebook computer. Again, the new water heater fund grows:
The eBay $1000 Challenge
With these examples in mind, I’m going to touch every item I have and ask myself: do I need this?
I have found that once the stuff is gone you rarely miss it. The stuff I don’t need or use far outweighs the stuff I do use. I use my computer every day, but I don’t watch a DVD day every day because now I have a life. We have an entire library of books here and I’m very slowly getting through them at about a book a month. I have years of entertainment in the library alone. I don’t need DVD’s to entertain me. Besides, this is the age of Netflix
Also I find that cheaper hobbies are just as fun as the more expensive ones. Photography is an example: My 5 year old digital camera works just fine and although I think I need a new one, I don’t – the one I have has lenses and megapixels and all the stuff you need to make great photos. The camera on my phone is a piece of junk, but that’s another story altogether.
When you have too much stuff the stuff starts to own you instead and I’d like to change that and use the proceeds from the sales to pay for the things we really need.
eBay Selling Tips
I am by no means an eBay expert but I find I have learned a few things:
You don’t have to sell it all right away. I’m finding that the eBay selling can be a hobby in and of itself and that way you’re not overwhelmed with having to package it all right away. I’m selling on eBay for about an hour a day in the evenings. It’s way more profitable than watching TV and every day I have less stuff and more money. It’s fun to watch your money grow.
I don’t sell internationally. It’s just not worth the extra time for answering questions and getting shipping estimates to find out you undercharged on shipping so you’ve lost money on the deal. There’s 350 million people in the USA – somebody will want my stuff and I’m finding the shipping estimates that eBay provides are dead on.
Take lots of great photos of your item and for the higher priced items, pay for the eBay picture package that allows you to enlarge your photos and really show the detail of your item. Of course, if you’re getting rid of a $1 item it doesn’t make much sense to pay more in eBay fees than the item cost, but if you’ve got something worth some money spring for the extra couple bucks for the listing fee. I think it’s worthwhile to pay so the bidder can see exactly what they’re getting. They can’t touch it, but you can photograph it well and describe it to the best of your abilities.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is a fun way to make some money with your household items. Didn’t get paid for your item? wait a few days for the buyer to respond and if he doesn’t, somebody else will want your stuff when you list it again.
A few items I sold recently on eBay:
Feel free to follow along and see all my current eBay items on auction