How to turn your clutter into cash on eBay

3 min

Make no mistake: times are tight. With bills skyrocketing and a possible recession looming, our wallets may get even lighter as things get worse. It’s in situations like these that people turn to alternative solutions — after all, how many times have you told yourself you will finally sell your clothes? Well, it’s never been easier for you to just go ahead and do it.

When it comes to flogging what you don’t want, eBay is still the marketplace to beat. With 159 million active users, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger pool of potential buyers — particularly for second-hand goods. As the Metro reports, research company eBay Ads “found that searches for ‘upcycled’ increased by 40% between December 2021 and January 2022. Related searches for ‘second hand’ rose by 24%”. In short, if you’ve got stuff you don’t want, you’re sure to find willing buyers online.

However, clearing out your closet can feel overwhelming if you are unsure of where to start. But don’t worry, help is at hand. Go ahead and set up your eBay seller account then check back here for some simple tips on how to convert your belongings into cash money.

1. Get organised

While you might have an idea or two about what you can immediately get rid of, it won’t hurt to give your home a good declutter and reorganise. This way, you can identify other long-forgotten bits and bobs, and give yourself a tidier space and mind at the same time.

The best way to start this is by categorising your belongings to sort out what is sellable, worth keeping, and what might just need taking to the tip. To begin with, you could focus on technology: how many old phones do you have lying around? There are numerous people looking on eBay for used mobiles — or even just spare parts if you’ve got a smashed phone tucked away somewhere.

Next, you could move on to clothes, which may be the second most lucrative opportunity you have lying around. If you need a little guidance with these kinds of tasks, create a decluttering checklist. All of this can be supported by the KonMari method, which has helped many people sort out their junk and bric-a-brac.

2. Hone your camera skills

It may not come as a surprise that 62% of consumers claim their purchase decisions are influenced by the photograph of a listed item. You don’t have to be Annie Liebowitz to make your clothes or items more sellable on eBay’s marketplace. Just make sure that the photos you use are clear, good quality and emphasise what’s desirable about whatever you’re selling. Before you start worrying that you’re already on the backfoot without a flash DSLR, this is all perfectly possible with a smartphone.

The main rule to abide by is clarity. Take large photos with a steady hand in order to make everything look symmetrical and focused. Usually zooming in helps, but what’s equally important is making sure the lighting is balanced (shoot away from direct sunlight) and your backdrop makes the item the star attraction. That means no photobombing from your dog — regardless of how cute they are!

To make the item even more appealing, try and incorporate colour into the picture. Also, take a few photos and make them varied — for example, model your old jumper yourself indoors by having a friend or helper take the picture for you.

3. Sort out logistics

Shipping is the most heavy lifting you’ll have to do for the entire process, but it’s a science rather than an art. The key things to bear in mind are space, time, and cost. For the latter, this is where a lot of profit can be lost because of the price of shipping — make sure to factor this into the sell price.

For dimensions, be sure to choose packaging that fits properly. There are a range of sizes available to buy from a post office or other relevant store, and this not only makes the packaging more appealing, but is crucial for ensuring the safe delivery of the item. That means adding styrofoam or bubble wrap too, and sealing the parcel neatly and securely.

In terms of timing, many sellers opt to use courier services. While it’s true that this may inflate your shipping costs, more and more studies are revealing how a large majority of consumers will pay extra for faster delivery services. If you want to limit your carbon footprint, courier firms like CitySprint offer zero-emissions services with next-day and same-day options, letting you explore your new eCommerce hobby in a green and efficient way.

4. Check terms of service

At this point you are nearly good to go, but one thing that many newbie sales people forget is to truly understand the platform they’re using. It’s all very well for you to set up an account, build a profile that will sell and create winning taglines that will sell your old belongings, but there are certain pitfalls.

For instance, if you don’t make it clear about what kind of payment you accept and your return policy, you might forfeit the right to refuse a refund if the buyer is unhappy. This seems like fair practice, but it increases the risk of customers sending back worn or damaged items. You also don’t want to risk misleading people. The eBay policy that appears on its website states that “items sold on eBay by business sellers to non-business consumers must be: “of satisfactory quality”, “as described”, and  “fit for purpose”. That means putting in all the necessary detail about the item you’re selling and leaving little room for confusion.

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