Lately I’ve been in a decluttering mode, cleaning out closets and drawers and listing things for sale on ebay. And I have to say, I’m having a lot of fun! Not only do I get the satisfaction of having a more streamlined closet, I’m making quite a bit of extra money along the way!
Normally, when I clean out my closets and declutter, I just donate everything, but I had several nice items, like Michael Kors and Badgley Mischka handbags, that had been sitting in my closet for a long time. Even though I knew I wouldn’t use them again, I had trouble donating them because they were expensive and still in such great condition.
Without my daughter’s help in getting started, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted listing my clothes and purses for sale on ebay. But with her guidance I found the process to be surprisingly easy! Now that I know what I’m doing, it takes me about 15 minutes to list something for sale and another 15 minutes to prepare it for shipping once it sells. Of course, it will probably take you a bit longer than this to sell your first couple of items.
While the process is still fresh in my mind I thought I’d share it with any of you who also want to clean out your closet and make some extra money while you’re at it!
I know it might look like a lot of steps are involved, but I promise each step is easy and the process is actually kind of fun–especially when you start seeing the money coming in! Trust me, it won’t be long before you’re an ebay selling pro!
How to Sell Your Clothes on ebay and make some extra cash
- First of all, you’ll need to open both a PayPal account and an ebay account. I won’t go into the specifics of doing this, because it involves the usual process. You might also want to download the ebay app for your phone.
- Gather some supplies for mailing your stuff. The first thing I did was run out to the garage and set aside a bunch of Amazon boxes so my husband wouldn’t put them in the recycling bin. I also bought a package of poly mailers on Amazon, which are great for mailing clothing. Since they weigh next to nothing, they save you money on shipping. Next, I bought some good packing tape and a small postage scale. Unless your bathroom scale shows weight in ounces, you’ll probably need to buy a postage scale, which costs less than $25. Since ebay allows you to purchase and print postage on their site, you really don’t want to be running to the post office every time you sell something. Besides having my own postage scale, I love having these peel and stick labels that fit right into my printer. You just load them in your printer like a sheet of paper, print out your label, slap it on your box or envelope, and you’re good to go! I know these items are a little bit of an investment, but they make shipping so much easier!
- Decide what you want to sell. I’ve found that name brand items like Anthropologie, Lucky, Michael Kors, and Toms sell well, but interestingly, so do Old Navy items. Remember that big and bulky items will be a bit heavier and trickier to package. I’ve sold name brand shoes, purses, watches and fancy dresses in addition to regular clothing. Make sure everything is clean and in good repair. I have to admit, some of the items I’ve listed were a tiny bit wrinkly, but I knew they’d wrinkle in shipment so I didn’t bother ironing them. (Can you tell I don’t like ironing?)
- Take photos. I hang my clothing against a white door in a well-lit room and take photos of the front and back, as well as a close up of any details and the tag if relevant. At the same time, I write down the details of the item, like the size, brand, color, fabric, whether it still has the price tag, etc. For smaller items, like purses and shoes, I lay a piece of white foam core board on the floor in front of a window and take photos of each item from different angles.
- Edit your photos. This is optional, but I think it’s a good idea to brighten and sharpen your photos a bit. I use the VSCO app for editing, but you could also use the editor that comes with your phone or something like Pic Monkey. I wouldn’t recommend adding any filters or changing the color of your photos in any way, though, because you want each photo to be a good representation of the actual item.
- Transfer your photos to your computer. If you’re planning to list your stuff using the ebay app on your phone, you’ll have your photos right there and ready to upload. However, I like to list my items from my computer, so I use iCloud to download my photos to a folder on the desktop of my computer before listing. You could also use Drop Box or some other cloud service to do this. Or, if you only have a handful of things to sell, you could just email the photos to yourself and open them on your computer.
- List your items for sale. The first thing I do is go to ebay.com and search to see if the same item is already for sale. This is a great way to get an idea of how much to charge for your items. Another great thing is that if you find the same item for sale, you can click the button that says “Have One to Sell? Sell Now” and all of the descriptive information will be preloaded into the selling form, although you’ll still need to add your own photos, set your own price and shipping terms, and change anything about the description that isn’t relevant for your item.
- If you can’t find the same or similar item for sale, you can list your item by clicking “Sell” in the top right menu bar. Ebay then leads you through a series of questions and forms to fill out regarding your item. Don’t worry, you can always revise your listing later if you make any mistakes by going to “My Ebay” and “Selling.” Try to give your item a good description including the brand, size, color, and what it is. For example, my listing for the paisley shirt shown below reads: “Ralph Lauren Women’s Paisley Cotton Button Up Blouse Shirt Top Size S – multicolor.” It might sound like overkill, but you want every description of the item you can think of included in the title. You might want to browse ebay a bit to see how other people are describing items similar to what you’re selling. After you set the title and category, you’ll be asked to enter the condition of the item–pre-owned, new with tags, or new without tags.
- Upload your photos. To add your photos, click “Add from computer” or “Add from mobile device,” browse your desktop folder, choose, and upload. You can change the order of your photos by dragging them around. The first photo will be the main one people see when they find your listing, so make sure it’s your best shot.
- Fill in the rest of the form with the size and color, etc. You don’t have to fill in every single thing, but you do have to add a description, which is usually a few words about the condition of the item and any other relevant information. For my Ralph Lauren shirt, the description reads “Beautiful and colorful Ralph Lauren No Iron button up shirt blouse is in great condition.”
- Auction or Fixed Price. I list all of my items at a fixed price. If I find that something isn’t selling, I can always go back and revise my listing to lower the price. Honestly, I just kind of have to go with my gut when it comes to pricing things–I don’t have a set formula. I also unclick “Add best offer.” I really don’t want to be dealing with people sending me their best offers all day long. And I list all of my items for 30 days.
- Add the shipping information. I usually let ebay select the shipping options for me, which is typically USPS (U.S. Postal Service) 2 to 3 day shipping, and the buyer pays for shipping. Make sure you check the weight they automatically fill in because sometimes it’s too low for the weight of the item. This is when your postage scale will come in handy. Weigh your item, along with the type of packaging you plan to use, to make sure that ebay has the correct weight entered. If not, you can change it by selecting your own shipping options.
- You’ll then enter some information regarding your email address and your zip code and your handling time, which is the amount of time you will take to ship the item. I usually enter 2 business days, although I always try to ship my items by the next business day if possible.
- Check the box that says “automatically relist item up to 2 times if it doesn’t sell.” This is will keep your items from expiring after 30 days.
- List it. Click “List it” if you’re ready to list now. If not, you can save it as a draft and return to it later. After listing your item, take a look at the listing and make sure everything looks okay. If not, you can go back in and revise it as many times as you need to by clicking “Revise Your Item” in the upper left hand corner of your listing.
- Ship it. When an item sells, you’ll receive an email from ebay. Now it’s time to pack up your item and weigh it. Make sure to pack up your item securely so nothing happens to it in transit. I like to wrap items in tissue paper and add a little thank you note before sealing the box or envelope. Log in to your ebay account and choose “My ebay” and “Selling” in the upper right menu bar. Under “Selling Reminders” it will tell you that you need to ship 1 item. Click on the words “1 item” and it will take you to the Sold page. Click on the blue button that says “Print Shipping Label.” Don’t worry, you’ll be able to change the information on the next page before the label actually prints.
- Purchase Postage. On the next page, check all of the information to make sure it’s correct. Ensure the shipping weight and type of shipping are correct before proceeding. If not, you can click “Change Weight and Dimensions” and enter the correct amount. On the right-hand side of the page it will tell you how much the postage will cost you. Sometimes you’ll end up paying less postage than your buyer paid, but sometimes you’ll end up paying more. I figure it all evens out in the long run. When you’re sure everything is okay, click “Purchase Postage.” Your PayPal account will automatically be charged the postage amount at this time.
- Print Label. On the next page, you’ll see what your label will look like. Make sure your printer has paper in it, or even better-a peel and stick label sheet. Choose “Print Label.” You may see another page come up on which you’ll need to choose “Print” again. If you’re printing your label on plain computer paper, you can cut it out and tape it to the package with clear mailing tape. Just make sure not to tape over the bar code. If you’re using peel and stick labels, simply apply your label to the package and you’re ready to ship.
- Shipping. Drop off your package at the post office within the amount of time you agreed to in your listing and you’re almost done!
- Feedback. Go back to your ebay Selling page, where it will tell you that you need to leave feedback for 1 item. Click on the link and leave your feedback. As a seller, I always list the transaction as positive and leave a few kind words. Since I want my purchasers to leave good feedback for me, this is one of those “do unto others” situations.
Believe it or not, while I was writing this post, I sold a pair of shoes on ebay for $99, so I made some easy money while we were chatting!
I promise, once you’ve done this a time or two, it will seem as easy as pie! Feel free to comment below or contact me if you have any questions. Happy selling!
P.S. If you’re interested in building a capsule wardrobe, here’s a helpful post on 10 wardrobe pieces that never go out of style.