Using Ebay to de-junk and earn solid cash

Using Ebay to de-junk and earn solid cash

Looking to rid yourself of stuff you’ve set aside during your recent spring clean-out, without feeling as if you're just throwing it all away? Well, you're in good company! I'm currently in the process of doing just that, and here I'll share some practical tips as to what to do with all that stuff.

How you dispose of your unwanted/ unneeded stuff of-course depends largely on what they are. But in essence, the three main options are: selling, donating and recycling.

Because I’m all about getting that extra money, this article is going to focus on selling, particularly using the marketplace I’m most familiar with and have had most success in using, Ebay.

Selling on Ebay

If you've got some key pieces of clothing or shoes that are in decent condition, and you want to make some cash from giving them up, selling them on Ebay is probably your best bet. The great thing about Ebay is the endless variety of things you can sell there- if you're selling something, chances are there's somebody looking to buy that same thing.


I've had great success with Ebay over the years. Above is a screenshot of my EBay account, showing that in the past 60 days alone, I've sold over £100 worth of things that included only a handful of clothing I had not worn for some time.

The biggest challenge you have of going this route is that you'll need to invest a bit of time and effort in the Ebay selling process, and only you can determine if your items are worth that investment.

If you do decide to try on Ebay, here's a 10-point summary of things you'll need to do to get your item sold:

1. Examine each item carefully to determine its condition. As a long-time Ebay user, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to be 100% honest in your listings. If there's any damage on it, no matter how small, be sure to note it down for you to highlight in your listing. Make sure your pieces of clothing are freshly laundered and in decent shape.

2. Take multiple, high-quality pictures of each thing. Your pictures are the first thing buyers are likely going to be looking at, so make sure they are clear, and attractive looking. Take pictures in good light, and be sure to capture all areas of the items, at different angles (and of any faults you may wish to point out in your listing). It's also useful to take pictures of the labels, as buyers like to be sure your listing description matches what the item actually is.

3. Write a short, yet clear description of what you are selling. So instead of 'Red dress', try something like 'M&S Women's UK size 12 red sleeveless dress'. Again, along with the pictures, this is what your buyers see first and if its not clear what you're selling, they may not bother to even click into your ad. Also, bear in mind that Ebay users do searches on item titles to find what they're after, so including key things like brand, colour, item type and size in the title is a good idea.

4. Bundle smaller items that are of low value and which may be difficult to sell individually; for example, costume jewellery, belts, t-shirts. If you're selling a bundle, use a picture of the entire collection of items as the main picture, and then take individual pictures of each item.

5. Now you're ready to list your item and attach your pictures. Write a fairly detailed description of what you're selling. In addition to the size, here's where you want to put the exact measurements of things like the length of skirts/coats, waist of trousers, height of heels on shoes etc. You'll also want to make mention of certain features that buyers should know when considering the value of your item, for instance, shoes being genuine leather, clothing being cashmere or a piece of jewellery being gold-plated. This main description is where you'll point out any defects your item may have, for example: a small hole, a missing button, a mark/discolouration.

6. Pricing your item correctly is very important, in making sure they even get on buyers' radars, and to get you the value that you deserve. First, do a search for an item that's similar to yours (you may even find your exact same item, if you put in enough detail in your search parameters!). Based on what you see similar items are listed at, be sure to price your item competitively.

7. Choosing your selling method depends on what your expectations or needs are. If you’re looking for a quick sale, you can list your item as an auction sale, which lasts for a maximum of 10 days. Depending on how in demand your item is, a bidding war could break out right before your eyes and before you know it, your item may sell way above the value you affixed to it. Just take care to price your things competitively, at the lower end of your estimated value range. If it is you’re not in a hurry to have your item sold, and you have in mind the value that you are willing to accept, and are happy to forfeit any potentially higher bids, then a Buy It Now option is for you. This allows you to set a fixed price for your stuff and allows buyers to buy it any time within the 30 day period your listing is active. Know that you can add a ‘Reserve Price’ option to Buy It Now listings-usually at a cost- that allows you to list at a price lower than what you really want to get from the sale (to lure in potential customers), while making sure that if the reserve price (or capped minimum) is not met, your item will not be sold.

8. Using your PayPal account to accept payments is the easiest, and most secure option.

9. When your item sells make sure you can send off the sold items quickly, within the next couple of days, if possible. Try to avoid putting items up for sale if you know you’re going on holiday before your listing period ends.

10. If by chance your item doesn’t sell within the specific time period (maximum of 10 days for auctions, 30 days for Buy It Now options), the great news is that you can re-list the item for sale with a single click of a button. Just be sure to read Ebay's on-screen messages carefully, as there may be small fees involved.

Selling on Amazon

Amazon’s second-hand books marketplace is a great place to check out if it’s books you’re looking to sell, especially academic ones. There you stand perhaps the best chance of your books being sold, although not necessarily overnight or in a short period of time. I have heard some great success stories from people who have made back a cut on all the money they once spent on educational supplies – what’s not to love about that!

There are, of course, many more options to sell your unwanted stuff, such as Facebook pages, Gumtree, car-boot sales and garage sales. However, I’ve chosen to only share information on the methods I’m most familiar with- I’d encourage you to have a look into all options and decide what’s right for you. But, if you can’t be bothered selling your stuff that’s in good condition, or haven’t had much success doing so, why not give them a new home, and support worthy causes, by dropping them at your local charity shop? Either way, you stand to benefit- after all, a clutter-free home makes for a focused mind, and who doesn’t need that?