Another weekend gone with no DIY to show for it. Meh. But, like last weekend, I was still very productive! I don’t know why that’s important, but it is… otherwise I have “OMG I did NOTHING this weekend!” guilt, which plagues me all week. So as I sipped my tea Saturday morning, I thought about all the things I could do. Build more cat platforms? No. Cut glass using the supplies Ab gave me for my birthday? No. Build shelves for the bathroom? No. Sell stuff on eBay? Um… OK! I think my recent success at selling our couch on Craigslist gave me the “let’s sell stuff!” bug.
I used to sell a lot on eBay. Books, clothes, CDs, movies, household items, junk, collectibles, etc. – anything I had lying around the house that I didn’t want anymore. I’d de-clutter, sell it off, and buy something new with the profits. I started selling on eBay in 1999. Within 3 years I’d earned close to $5,000! Just selling off the stuff I had laying around the house! And then I suffered MAJOR burnout. eBay is a LOT of work. Between taking pictures [and making sure your pictures represent your items in the best possible light], doing write-ups [that take into account every possible measurement and defect], photographing every possible defect [so you don’t get accused of “misrepresenting” your item], and packing everything up to mail… It’s exhausting!
For the last 12 years I’ve continued to sell stuff, but at a much slower rate. I’ve managed to pull in another $3,000 by selling about 25 items a year. But that’s a far cry from my heyday of selling 100+ items a year! And it wasn’t for lack of things to sell: when I moved in with Jim [in 2012] I lugged 14 Rubbermaid bins of eBay crap with me:
And promptly realized the condo had no storage space except for the basement. Which floods. So I rented a storage unit up the street to hold a few big items of furniture, a rug, my fake Christmas tree, AND my 14 Rubbermaid bins. Until I realized how stupid it was to pay $75/month to store stuff I was holding to sell someday. The cost of the unit was negating my future profits! So I canceled the storage unit, hauled all my crap back to the condo, and sorted through all the bins. I narrowed it down to 4 bins of stuff to sell on eBay and 10 bins of stuff to donate to Goodwill. This picture represents about 1/5 of what I donated to Goodwill:
And I’m not posting it to say “look at me! I’m awesome! I donate!” – I’m posting it to say “look at how much freaking STUFF I was hauling around with me for 10 years!!!” I would have attempted to sell it all on eBay but the thought of the work involved gave me major anxiety. So I set aside the items I knew had real monetary value and donated everything else [does that make me a bad person? I hope not]. I probably could have made $2,000-$3,000 if I’d sold everything I donated, but my time and sanity were worth more.
So I convinced Jim to let me use the top of the master bedroom closet [in the upstairs hall] as my new storage unit:
The middle pic was taken by my father-in-law when Jim first moved in – I’ll love him forever for taking a bazillion pics of the condo – he captured everything! I mean, who takes a shot of a hallway ceiling? Someone very thorough nods [I added the blue writing and arrows this evening].
I even went to The Container Store and bought nice, white storage bins to replace my blue & green Rubbermaid ones, so they’d blend better up there:
So Saturday morning [before taking that picture] I got out my ladder, climbed up, and hauled my 4 eBay bins down. Then spent 4 hours Saturday and 6 hours Sunday [OMG] listing 39 items, which was 2 bins worth. Some of the stuff is my mom’s – she gave me a wallet and some sheet sets to sell for her a few years ago. The 39 items are currently stashed in the upstairs hallway where they’ll sit until it’s time to box them up and ship them out:
That’s Bonkers helping me in the first pic. So far I’ve made $119.50! And the auctions don’t close until next weekend. Woohoo!
Selling on eBay is a lot easier now than it was years ago. My camera phone allows me to take tons of pics fast, which are instantly uploaded to Microsoft’s cloud [OneDrive]. No memory cards or download cables necessary. And the Post Office and eBay have coordinated beautifully over the years. Once an item sells, I just have to box it up, weigh it on my 5 pound kitchen scale, measure the box, input the data into usps.gov, and I can buy the postage and print out the mailing label at home. Super easy! Then I drop the postage-paid boxes off in the bin at work [the Post Office does a pickup twice a day] so I don’t even have to go to the Post Office anymore! Gone are the days of standing in long lines after work at my local PO, hauling a duffle bag of parcels behind me. The Postal workers used to see me coming and yell “more eBay stuff, huh?”. I don’t miss those days.
After I was done listing my items, Bonkers had a love affair with some bubble wrap from one of the bins:
He loves to lick plastic. Another one of his quirks.
I still have 2 bins of stuff to sell, but I’m halfway there! I’m not sure when I’ll list the rest of the stuff. Maybe this weekend. Maybe tomorrow [Snowmageddon is here and work is already closed]. As a side note, my brother called Sunday night as I was finishing up my eBay stuff. He was like “oh… so THAT’S what people with no kids do on the weekend”. Heh. Yep! Whatever the HELL we want! cackle
Here’s a sneak peak at my next post:
This weekend the auctions closed. 25 items sold, for a total profit of… $754!!! Let me say that again: SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FOUR DOLLARS. Holy Moly. The 3 top sellers were all items that my mom had given me to sell:
A Ralph Lauren duvet cover, in a retired print, sold for $155:
A 4″ Catherineholm enamelware bowl from the 60’s sold for $110:
And it’s 7″ cousin sold for $128!
4 other Catherineholm bowls [2 mine, 2 my mother’s] sold for a combined total of $214:
eBay is a lot of work, but it pays off when it goes well! I offered my Mom half the proceeds of the items she’d given me to sell, but she’s going to trade it for my DIY skills this summer to help Dad with some stuff. Woohoo! I’ll re-list the 14 items that didn’t sell tonight or tomorrow. Re-listing is easy – it’s just a one-click affair.
I still have 2 Rubbermaid Bins of clothes to put up for sale, but that’s a task for another weekend. I’ve spent this whole weekend packaging up the items and buying postage for them online. Tomorrow I’ll drop them all off at the Post Office.
How awesome that you have been able to make so much money from things sitting around your house. I have been wanting to try selling on eBay for many years, but I have never gotten around to doing the work. I have sold a couple of things on Craigslist, but I have more to get rid of!
Once you start going through closets, dressers, shoes, jackets, bookcases, etc. – it’s AMAZING how much stuff you have that you don’t actually use/need. I hate clutter [although by nature I’m a complete disaster so it’s a never ending battle to keep the house clean], so a couple times a year I go on a rampage and box up stuff to donate or sell!
Great winter weekend project.