Looking for a quick way to scrape up cash while cleaning out your home? Click here to read my best tips for selling on eBay and how I made $278 on eBay in less than an hour. - www.theballeronabudget.com
Looking for a quick way to scrape up cash while cleaning out your home? Click here to read my best tips for selling on eBay and how I made $278 on eBay in less than an hour. - www.theballeronabudget.com

I like zero clutter. Unfortunately, because I have a dubious habit of occasionally splurging, some unused products begin storing up in and around my household.

I generally prevent this from happening by this general rule: If I see something that hasn’t moved in 3 months, I wind up selling it. Something very important I’ve tried to teach to myself is to not be attached to items.

Everything has a shelf life, and everything has a shelf life in my heart. You love things, and then after some time, you’re just… over it. When the fire’s out, it’s time to get rid of it (just like ex-boyfriends!).

This month I scraped up about $278 in eBay sales, before seller’s fees. This may not sound like a lot, selling this on the side every month really does help de-clutter and provide extra cash for basic necessities like food and gas, you know… quintessential things that actually do matter.

As for doing it this in less than one hour? Well, I just threw all of my for-sale items in a pile, took some photos on my phone and listed them. It really did take me less than an hour. Now I didn’t really account for the packaging and shipping process, but things would sell every day or every other day. Once I received payment, I just packaged the product, and then made an online request for pick-up with USPS. That process would only take me less than 5 minutes out of my day.

Worth it? Totally. I managed to free up space and earn some money. Here’s my full list of sales from this month:

  • A Kate Spade iPhone 6 Case – $29.00
  • A brand new skirt I never wore – $15.00
  • Aveda Stress Fix Soaking Salts – $25.00
  • 28 Days Later Blu-Ray (Watched one time, in original packaging, like new) – $15.00
  • “Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk (paperback, good condition) – $4.00
  • Nike Greco Women’s Shoes – $35.00
  • H&M Lace Bra (Gently used, like new condition) – $25.00
  • Victoria’s Secret Lace bra (Gently used) – $15.00
  • A dress I bought on eBay that was too small (brand new with tags) – $15.00
  • Witchblade PVC Figure (in original collector’s packaging) – $45.00
  • Bioelements Flash Foam Facial Cleanser – $10.00
  • Steve Madden Leather Boots (used but still in great condition) – $23.00
  • Steve Madden High Heel Wedge (used once) – $22.00

My favorite thing about selling my unwanted stuff on eBay is that there’s always a buyer who is willing to buy your stuff, no matter how silly it is. As long as you’re within the Seller’s Guidelines, you should be okay.

Here’s my top tips for getting rid of your old crap on eBay and getting top-dollar:

Sell things in good condition

I’m proud to say that I’m one of those people who keeps their possessions in pristine condition, so I tend to secure sales on eBay because of this. You may not always have luck seeking your items because of their condition. This might be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes you’ll have to accept that not everything is sellable on eBay (sometimes this works out, because some items like unpopular books just aren’t worth selling on eBay anyway, especially when they are for sale for $1.). Keep a box for garage sale items and sort your stuff accordingly.

Sell at a Fixed Price, but Accept Offers

I may get some criticism for this, but I like selling at a Fixed Price instead of auction format. If I’m trying to get rid of most of the clutter in my house, I try to get rid of it ASAP. Most of my items are also unpopular items being sold second-hand, so I have to keep in mind that I’m competing with other sellers selling the same product in new condition.

Sometimes Fixed Price listings may take longer to sell than an auction item, but I know I’m at least getting a profit from it. When you factor in shipping and seller’s fees, what profit will you have left over?

Another risk I try to avoid with auction sales are people who bid during the last seconds of the auction in order to prevent competition with other potential buyers. This method is called “auction sniping.” If you have something listed for $0.99 at the starting bid and hope that the price goes up, it’s not always guaranteed because of this. Once that item auction ends, that buyer will win the auction at $0.99, so you better hope that you factored in shipping and seller’s fees in that price somewhere.

To cancel out the generally higher price point that Fixed Price items have compared to auction items, I always have a “Best Offer” option with my items. This allows buyers to send you an offer, and you will have the chance to either approve, reject, or counter it.

Keep shipping boxes and packages from previous purchases

You don’t have to use USPS Priority Mail boxes for everything you mail. In fact, paying for postage of those things can be quite expensive, especially if you intend on selling things less than 16 ounces in weight. USPS’s First Class service usually offers 2-day shipping and is anywhere between $1-$4 in price. You can use any unbranded packaging and repurpose it for a 2nd use – I use the yellow envelopes that all of my Amazon orders come in and also flip Amazon boxes inside out and have never had issues. Just make sure that the packaging isn’t too worn out.

Offer Free Shipping

To be honest with you, the majority of the reason why I offer free shipping is due to sheer laziness to calculate shipping costs. But in the end, I feel like the effort to do this before a sale is wasted effort anyway, because postage varies on the weight of the item as well as the destination you’ll be mailing the package to. Most of the time, I’m generally incorrect when I estimate shipping prices before I have a buyer with a valid address I can calculate the true cost of shipping. So, my solution to this trainwreck of a situation is just to account for the estimated shipping costs in your list price. Once a product of yours is purchased, you can create a shipping label through eBay, print it out and slap it on the package. eBay has a shipping calculator that will generate postage price based on the weight of your item and shipping location.

Buy a cheap food scale

Remember those repurposed packages and free shipping I mentioned? Well, once you pack your item, you can just use a weighing scale at home and then print out postage according to the package weight. I bought this small postage scale on Amazon for $16.95, and I occasionally use it to measure food too. Yay for multipurpose items!

Just one or two sold items will pay for the scale, so it is a worthwhile investment. Using a scale has helped me so much with saving both trips to the post office and money on postage!

Added bonus: USPS also has a postage discount for eBay sellers when you purchase postage through eBay. So skip the post office lines, save time, and save money!

Schedule free package pick-ups With USPS

If you’ve generated a postage label through eBay and packaged your item, you can actually log onto USPS.com and schedule a free home pick-up of your package. USPS offers free pick-ups during their normal delivery hours, Monday through Saturday. This is available no later than the day before shipping, so you can schedule a pick-up as early as tomorrow!
If you haven’t tried to sell your unused items on eBay, I definitely suggest you try it out. I’ve collected money from my items that were doing nothing but collecting dust.

You can sell with eBay for free – eBay won’t charge you seller’s fees until an item is sold. To make an account, you can start by clicking here.
Have you sold your stuff on eBay before? Tell us your success stories in the comments below!


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2 thoughts on “How I Made $278 on eBay in Less than an Hour”

  1. That’s impressive! Have you tried Poshmark to sell clothes? I haven’t sold anything on eBay in forever, I guess because I’ve experienced people bidding, winning but then not paying! So I kind of steered away from it. But I think for some things I’ll try selling on eBay. I like your tips on the Fixed Price but accept offers and free shipping. It’s better to get something you’re trying to get rid of for some money rather than it sit and be of no use!

    1. I have used Poshmark, and it’s a great platform for certain clothes that wouldn’t normally be sold on eBay (I like selling things that are more popular in terms of searches on eBay – a chic simple T-shirt wouldn’t sell as fast on eBay as it would on Poshmark). I think for ease and streamlining all of my items, eBay is my preference. But Poshmark is great for branded items for their authentication service!

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