Thursday, 7 January 2016

Less But Better // eBay & I

In 2004 I listed and sold my first ever item on eBay. 12 whole years ago. It was a battered old poster of the Manic Street Preachers, the same one as this. It was torn down the middle and had numerous drawing pin holes in each of the corners. It was tatty and beyond being hung again but I couldn't face to see it go in the bin. Amazingly, someone else saw the worth of this item and it sold for £45.00.

So, I listed another item soon after. A 3 track CD single by Rammstein that I picked up in a record shop in Leeds for £1.00. It sold for £120.00. Crazy.

From then on, I was hooked!

I rarely mention eBay in real life or on social media but honestly, it has become such a huge part of my life that I find it hard to imagine a life without it. There's no doubt that I have an eye for a bargain and love nothing more than selling for profit. At the same time though, I also have absolutely no qualms spending a lot of money on something if I know it will retain resale value once I have done with it! 

I've been very lucky that my sales there over the years have funded everything from little luxuries to expensive Disney holidays, tattoos and even our wedding. 12 years later, I still can't get enough! 

Sure, eBay nowadays is a completely different place. The rules are different. It's harder to follow and it's certainly harder to make a profit. But sales are still there to be had and it's a perfect outlet to make some cash from your clutter. 
According to eBay, the average household has up to £4000 of excess items cluttering up their home. That's an awful lot of money potentially just sitting there!

I didn't want to write a full eBay guide as there are heaps and heaps of amazing blog posts already in existence. But, as it's a subject that I have been asked about frequently I thought I'd have a go at sharing some of my top tips that have really helped me enjoy the eBay experience whilst selling over the years.

So, here we go....

Nothing, nothing is too weird or too broken or too worn to sell!

This is key. I found this out after I listed a pair of completely trashed boots many years ago when I first started out (really they should have gone in the bin but I was curious!) and they sold for £400.00.
Some of my most profitable items have been the ones where I thought to myself 'this should probably go in the bin but I'll give it a go on eBay first'! Bits of old rope, scraps of fabric, half used reel of cotton, empty bottles of perfume.... you name it, I've sold it! As long as your listings are detailed, honest and accurate with plenty of photographs you've really got nothing to lose. 
The ever lovely Emma at From Aldi To Harrods writes a great monthly blog post of her top 10 weird things that sold on eBay. Her December 2015 post is here. Take a look, it's absolutely ace! 

Build up your feedback score

If you're new to eBay, build up your score to at least 20 by making a few purchases and getting to know how it all works. Use this opportunity to stock up on packaging supplies in bulk as these are often incredibly cheap on eBay and far better than the supplies you'll find in your local pound shop. When you start selling, make sure your customer service and communications are excellent. You'll find buyers will trust their money with you if your feedback score is both bulky and positive!

Use the full potential of your listing. 

Make sure your title keywords are spot on to catch your buyers attention. Use good lighting and a good camera for your photos. Upload as many photos as you can. Use a clear font in your listings to make your description easy to read. Be detailed. Be polite. Be honest. Describe any faults accurately. Answer any questions within 24 hours. Simple!

Work out your costings before you sell

You want to make a profit, right? Make sure you research your fees before you list your item so it doesn't come as a shock at the end. eBay have a handy little calculator that will allow you to estimate your fees here. Price your item accordingly with this in mind! 

Make use of free listing days

If you're a private seller, eBay will give you 20 free listings a month. If you have a lot to sell though, you'll use these up very quickly! I tend to type up my listings in a word document and take all my photographs so they are all ready to go once free listing days or email offers are announced. 


Best time to start an auction? Thursday evening. Best time to end your auctions? 10 days later, Sunday evening! You'll get most of your potential buyers in the last few hours of the auction so make sure it ends at a time when lots of people might be online to place a bid. 

Protect yourself

Ensure transactions come through PayPal. Send valuable items signed for. Always get proof of postage from the post office. If you don't accept returns then make this clear in your description. 
Some items by nature will attract more unscrupulous buyers. Usually big ticket items. Be aware of the scams that might crop up. I've had so many problems selling items such as camera lenses, electrical products and jewellery. Don't agree to anything that sounds dodgy because it usually probably is! 

Don't list more than you can package

I've made this mistake more than once! Start parcelling things up as soon as you get a bid, don't leave it all until the last minute. If you list 100 items in one go, then you potentially have 100 parcels to send at the end. Remember that. Be prepared and get a head start!

Are you a fellow eBay seller? Do you have any tips you'd like to add? Let me know in a comment!


  1. Wow fab post! i use ebay lots to.. to sell mainly kids clothing! you've made some serious profit there! i need to find some treasure in my house to sell ha! :)

  2. What a great read!! I've always been a bit on and off with eBay. My Dad loves it! Should really get going with it again as I've got so much of Amelia's stuff to sell! x

  3. What a brilliant post. I've sold a few things but I start them at about £5 and never really get much more! Maybe I'm underselling myself. I also feel like Ebays fees have gone up a lot lately but I'm not really sure how their fees work so that's probably why. Things are abit tight this month so I'm going to scour the house for things to sell. I'd love to read your Ebay selling guide if you did one xx

  4. You are really lucky, I never get anything other than the near price I started with. Perhaps I just sell the wrong things
    Julie xxxxxxx

  5. This is a great post. I go through stages of using eBay. A couple of years ago I sold lots of old clothes and made over £200 which funded my new wardrobe! It's definitely worth it x

  6. I really could do with eBaying some items, but I like the free listings but I've not seen them in a while now.

  7. I use to sell on eBay a lot, use to sell baby clothes to fund the purchases for the next sizes up. However unless they are branded clothes now kids clothes doesnn't sell great. Great for purchasing though!

  8. Great advice. eBay is my go to for buying bargains more than selling lately. I hate all the fees associated with selling.

  9. This is all great advice! I have lots of stuff I need to list in ebay buy I am too lazy!x