The Declutter Series Part 2 – eBay Selling Tips
Almost 5 months ago, I published my first “Declutter” series post and updated that for a few months afterwards. Then I decided to quit my job in August and ended up travelling overseas for 3 months. One of the things I realised while living for a quarter of a year with just a small suitcase and backpack (with a total of just 18kg), is that I don’t really need too much stuff. Even then, I only wore half the things I brought with me and just did laundry two or three times a week.
Coming home to a multitude of unpacked boxes and bags in my bedroom and the storage sheds, I was overwhelmed. Travelling gives you such a great different perspective on life – especially as Tokyo, Japan was my last stop. I learned a lot about minimalism and the use of small spaces: being compact. I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” by Marie Kondo (or rather, listened to the audio book) and “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” by Greg McKeown. I watched even more Hoarders shows on YouTube and read a lot of “minimalist” blogs like Zen Habits.
I have a lot of stuff. At least 200 pairs of shoes, and more clothes than I can wear in a lifetime. It was over 2 years ago (12 Aug 2013 to be exact) that I registered the domain 1000things.com.au and decided that was what I was going to use to sell at least 1000 of my things. I told one friend and he thought it was great. Then life got in the way and my idea was pushed to the side.
Finally, after some back and forth, creating my own website then disregarding it after 4 weeks in favour of an eBay basic store and I’m up and running. I have no idea how to sell on eBay and just start to experiment. I tweak my listings constantly and thanks to my marketing background, I realise that I already have an idea of how to sell. From what I’ve read, there have been a lot of changes to eBay to make it easier and more affordable (i.e. less fees) for the average person to purge their things. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
1. Prep the clothes
I’m surprised at what things sell over those that don’t; an old Supre knit dress, work tops and skirts I wore weekly and don’t think I’ll need anymore. You just never know what other people will pay for, so if it’s not ripped, stained and in reasonable condition, it’ll most likely sell eventually, if you prep the clothes.
- Wash the clothes if they’re musty and/or have stains
- Use a fabric freshener if they don’t need a full wash
- Iron out any super wrinkled stuff
2. Take great pictures
Lighting, angles and close ups
eBay used to charge you for photos after the first one was free, but now you have 12 free photo spots, but I find that 3 is enough, my average is 4 for clothes to get angles, close ups, hanging versions and mannequin shots. So get a lot of good natural lighting and frame it well. I just use my phone camera and transfer via the eBay mobile app.
Mannequins (good if you can get ’em)
3 in my family are fashion heads and somehow got a bunch of mannequins that live in our house. So I’m lucky enough to use these to model my clothes since they are a size 6 and most of my clothes are size 6-8. It was very interesting dressing and undressing this mannequin; I felt like a pervert at first then got over it. What is wrong with my mind? Here’s how I would typically undress it:
Look at the difference in photos below; someone bid on the item a few hours after I uploaded the new mannequin version:
3. Give detailed descriptions
I tell a little story for most pieces whether or not I’ve worn them; “I bought this in Hawaii but realised I have 6 other white summer dresses so it has to go…” to “An impulse purchase in Japan while hungover and excited by the uniqueness of their fashion lines…” or even “this would look great with a white blazer and black pencil skirt for work…” means that it takes longer for each listing, but it’s sort of my little ‘thank you and goodbye’ to each item, which is a concept that Kondo’s book introduced to me.
You don’t have to do this but at least answer questions upfront like:
- Are there any defects i.e. rips or stains?
- Why are you selling it? (Some people get sus and think something’s wrong with it)
I tell my story in every item description, about how I quit my job to travel the world, then fell in love in Hawaii (another whole series of posts to come) and came back determined to spring-clean my life.
4. Price it based on demand
This will take longer if you want to get the best price since you’ll be researching average selling prices on eBay, easily done with the ‘sold’ listings you can browse through. I usually don’t bother with this because I have an idea of what I’m willing to sell the items for.
Pre-owned (used and good condition)
Usually the cheaper items I put through auction with eBay postage costs for $7.15 and minimum prices from $0.99 to $2.99. These are the clothes I would’ve donated but for some reason, people will still buy them for a good bargain, and it’s good to try and raise your positive feedback score. For items I’ve used once or twice, I will price them higher, around $10.
New without tags
These I’ll price from $10-$30 for clothing, $5-$25 for DVDs (based on single or season packs), and just wing it for other items.
I will price these at the same retail price or just above the lowest price on eBay. It amazes me how people can buy something on the retailer website for the same price but still buy my item.
5. Simplify postage
This was the most confusing thing for me at first, then I realised how much they’ve streamlined postage in the past few years. If you have several items, you’re best off ordering the eBay flat rate satchels in 500g and/or 3kg from the Australia Post website and keeping shipping to Australia only. Also give the option of pick up if you’re in a relatively accessible area and don’t mind meeting with people. I have given this option but I realised I can’t be bothered coordinating meet ups with people so I’d rather stick to postage.
6. Have fun, gamify it
For me it’s a win-win-win situation. I’ve been obsessed with trying to declutter for the past few years and now I can focus on it. I want to practice more direct selling which I didn’t get to do in my job, and understand the process while gaining experience with eCommerce. Then there’s the money part, which can grow based on how smart you get with the whole eBay selling tips.
I make a game out of it, to see how much stuff I can get rid off. It’s a big relief when you can clear out space in your house and get rid of that storage unit you’ve been spending money on or taking space in your dad’s garden shed/man cave like I have been.