Guest post by Jen Wise from Yard Sale Mommy
From the flurry of comments made on the recent on the clothing stockpile posts, one thing is clear: we’re all looking for ways to save money when it comes to our kids. In our family, just like in many of yours, we buy 95% of our children’s items at yard sales in order to keep our costs down. This easily saves us 90% when it comes to buying things for our girls.
But what about when your little ones outgrow their clothes and toys? What do you do with them?
Many of you expressed frustration with your own yard sales and the insulting prices offered for your high-quality, well-cared for items. Of course, as yard sale buyers we want everything to cost $0.50, but when we are sellers we don’t want rock bottom — we want top dollar!
If you aren’t planning on passing down your outgrown kid stuff to friends or family, consider selling your used goods on eBay. Not only can you recoup your initial costs, but often you can make a profit by selling your gear for more than you paid (since you bought it 90% off at yard sales in the first place). Then you can take your profits and buy next year’s clothes, shoes, and gifts and essentially never pay out of pocket for your children’s things again.
Why not try it? It’s easier than you think.
Do your research.
Search completed listings of the items that you wish to sell on eBay, and sort the search by those with the highest final selling price first. Make sure that the price you’ll likely get for them is worth your time and effort. Write down the titles of the listings which made the most money.
Time it right.
Sell your Spring/Summer items in February/March, and sell Fall/Winter things in July/August. List your toys when moms are shopping for Christmas or other holiday gifts.
Seven-day auctions are best unless your item is time sensitive or the holiday is a week away. Have your auction end in the evening, on a weeknight, after most kid bedtimes. This is when parents have time to browse and bid.
Your title is everything.
Think of every possible word that might be typed into the search box someone might use to find your item. Use similar titles as those who sold their similar item for the most money as discovered in your research.
Set a reasonable auction start price.
Don’t set your opening auction price too high or too low. I rarely start anything over $9.99, even if I expect it to sell for $100. A good rule of thumb is to list something for a price you would be happy getting for it at a consignment sale.
Get your shipping supplies ready.
Order priority mail boxes and tape for free from www.usps.com, or ask local stores for boxes before they are recycled. Box and weigh your item before you list it.
Take good, clear pictures.
If your picture looks terrible, your item looks terrible. Take it against a solid background, like a hardwood floor or a white sheet. Make sure your flash is good or there is enough lighting where a flash isn’t necessary.
Describe your item accurately.
If there are minor stains or flaws in your merchandise, be up front and give a detailed explanation. Take a picture if necessary.
Let your eBay listing calculate shipping costs automatically for your buyer.
If you box and weigh your items before you list, this will be super easy. Additionally, you can ensure you won’t lose money on the shipping.
Be available to answer questions.
Buyers ask questions when they are serious, so answer them in a timely fashion.
Ship your items in a timely manner from your home.
Building good feedback is important. Try to ship your items as soon as possible, and definitely within the time you promised on your listing. Use free USPS carrier pick up so that you don’t have to bring the kids to the post office.
Why not get your feet wet and pick out one toy or outfit that you would like to sell and give it a try? Who knows, you might be able to take that $0.50 yard sale purchase your child has already used and turn a $50 profit!
Jen Wise is a SAHM of three sweet girls and the wife of one handsome engineer! Every Saturday morning she can be found hitting the sales in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can follow her yard-saleing, eBaying adventures at her blog, Yard Sale Mommy.
photo credit: WordShore