Back on the subject of ebay

I received a comment form Moni on Tuesday lamenting about the downside to selling unwanted clutter. Here it is ~

Thanks for the encouragement Colleen – am at the point where heaps of stuff has been dumped, and heaps of stuff has gone to recycling/charity bins. I’m now at the point where I’m listing on auction sites stuff that is too valuable to throw out. Now I know that organised clutter is still clutter, but I’m suprised how down it has made me feel having stuff out all over the place again. Am packing it into laundry baskets or plastic bins after its been photographed and listed, but it is suprising how tempted I am to skip onto the next project and leave it all there. It is almost like instant gratification to see things going out quickly. Did anyone else feel like that at this point of things?

Now, I know I have bored you all before with my whining about selling my unwanted stuff on ebay but it is always worth revisiting. And yes, like Moni all that stuff hanging around while I wait in hope that someone will bid on it still drives me crazy to.  Once it has been chosen as clutter I just want it out of here but…

I am only generous to a point. I have given a lot of my stuff away to the thrift store and am happy to do so. More than happy really because it is a very quick and easy way to rid myself of still useful items someone else could enjoy. Plus the proceeds go to charity. But there are things that I am just not prepared to give away.

I like to make a little cash for my kids. I quite often list things on ebay that belong to them, were they mine I would just give them away. They are young adults and not so financially established as their parents or even truly financially independent for that matter. So if I can make them a little money on the side I will. It encourages them to declutter their unused stuff and is better than just giving them a handout. Although it would be a better lesson to have them do it for themselves.

I like to recoup my loses on some things that weren’t well utilised, cost a lot initially or were really stupid purchases that were simply a waste of money.

Aside from the hassle of photographing, listing and waiting there is also the disappointment when the item doesn’t sell. Then the decision as to whether to relist or get the thing the hell out of here so it can stop tormenting me. I really have to ask myself is it really all worth the hassle. I suppose the answer must be yes because I keep doing it. I have enough successes to make it worth the effort. But even as I write that I am not convinced.

So what I have done recently is simplify the process. Previously I used to wait to list my items so that the seven day auction would finish after dinner on a Sunday. This is supposed to be one of those optimal times to end an auction. The problem was I might end up busy on Sunday or simply just forget and then I would be waiting for another week. Not to mention that by Sunday I might have ten auctions to list at once which tends to take forever to do. Heaven forbid I should pay the 20c to set my own starting time.

Now I either pay the 20c or list items whenever I get around to it. I have found personally that the ending time seems to have absolutely no effect on the success of my auctions.

With the thirty listing fee free auctions we now have each month on ebay Australia I am more inclined to throw up things and see what happens. The ending fee is higher but you only pay it if the items sell. This takes away the gambling aspect for me. That is, risking the listing fee in the hope the item sells. This used to really put me off trying causing a lot of procrastination.

Moni has the right idea of putting the items aside neatly so they aren’t littering up the house. I often go one step further and find a box to mail them in once I have decided to list them. I usually have a selection on boxes in a plastic tub in the garage or else I can pick one up for free at the big hardware store nearby. See my earlier post on ebay packaging here & here. This helps me to be able to calculate the shipping accurately before listing.

Half way through writing this post I did some more decluttering with my daughter. There were a couple of things among the items she decided to declutter that were worth putting up on ebay so I took care of that immediately.

I suppose this really will always just be a love hate relationship for me. I love to recoup the cash but I hate the task, but more than anything else I hate the items hanging around for what seems like forever. I really just wish that I would be willing to let it all go for nothing. It would be so much quicker and easier. But I figure if I haven’t given up on that idea yet I am never going to. To make any relationship work there must be compromises and patience. I suppose when it all boils down to it I am more willing to compromise than to let go easily.

So Moni I have no solution for you really because you and I are in the same boat. I bet the other readers will have some helpful advice for you though. All I can say is you either give it away or suck it up when it comes to putting up with the stuff until it goes.

My Baby Girl

Today’s Declutter Item

Another day another declutter session with my daughter. She did well again and we managed to eliminate a whole box of stuff condensing two boxes down to one. The Build-A-Bear clothes in the photo are listed on ebay and also a collectors edition of Rolling Stone magazine. Fingers crossed she makes a few dollars.

More of B's Clutter

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Hubby will be home after spending three days out of town on business. I’ve been outnumbered by children for days and my bank account is suffering. I need back-up. 😆

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  • Decide, divide & Conquer I want you all to read this post by David @ before going on. Take from it what you will but this is how I applied the concept to decluttering. Before doing any decluttering […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Colleen, how wonderful that your daughter decluttered some more things. I think it is great. I understand how you and Moni feel. I was there for a while. I finally got to the point where I realized that FOR ME trying to sell things was just one more stressor for me. Not only was there the stress of having it around (for my mother to change her mind about–grin) but the issue of doing all the work to sell it. So I decided to just let it go. We have this back shed that on one side has extra fencing, latice sections and things like that for the yard. On the other side I have started a “get rid of” pile. When the missions group from church has another yard sale it will all go to them. They will make money for missions and I will be rid of it. With it in the back shed Mom doesn’t go out and look it over. Out of sight, out of mind. It makes her feel better and I know what will happen to it. If I didn’t have the yard sale to give it to it would go straight to the thrift store. Isn’t it interesting how each of us deals with things differently yet whatever we come up with works for us?

    • You are so right Deb J. We make up our minds what works for us and just get on with it. No more bitching about ebay for me. It really is a great resource it is just my attitude that needs adjusting.

  2. I used to sell alot on ebay. I would be so stressed about shipping large and/or fragile items and would only feel relieved after the person had left positive feedback. So, I made a decision to only sell books, magazines or other small items that fit into the padded envelopes. It’s working out great and I made $60.00 last week! 🙂 Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,
      I only sell things that aren’t too much trouble to post as well. I have had a good supply of free used packaging material for a while which has been helpful. In the last week I have made $91 with two more items selling worth another $30 which is why I keep doing this. The more I read of what people are saying here the more I think I just need to change my attitude. It is all about accepting the situation for what it is.

  3. She’s beautiful, Colleen!

  4. This is always a hard one. I, too, want things gone immediately once I’ve decided they can go. I haven’t started selling on eBay, but have sold a few books on Amazon and have sold several items on craigslist, avoiding the shipping hassles. Since I meet up with buyers away from my home, I load most items into the car immediately. If they’re still there the next time I make a drop-off at the thrift store, those items get donated as well so I’m not tempted to keep relisting and relisting. Even though I’ve donated most of the things I’m decluttering, I’ve still made $540 so far this year from sales.

  5. I have a great deal of respect for those who do sell their culls, since I have never managed to. I used to feel bad about not trying to sell the things I was culling, until my sweetie pointed out to me that I wasn’t getting rid of high dollar items (I used to buy alot, but most things were “pre-owned”), so it wasn’t going make a big monetary difference. Now I swing the books by the used bookstore, the CDs by the record store, ask my friends and family if they want the “nice things”, and what doesn’t get taken and the rest goes to Goodwill. I noticed those few things I was going to sell literally hung around for a couple of years; I’ve decided I want the space, and time, more than the money.

    • Hi Whisper, firstly let my extend to you a warm welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for your comment. I wish I could convince myself to have your attitude but there are just some things that I am not willing to let go of for nothing. Perhaps I need to find all the items left that I would consider selling, list them all and just get it over and done with. Or better still I should just happily except the status quo and quit whining about it. I think I will go with that second idea. I will sell what I can sell and be content with that. I will happily list the item go through all the rigmarole and be content with the outcome and move on. After all everything is really just a state of mind anyway.

  6. I’ve totally given up on eBay. I used to sell quite a lot, actually selling back a lot of the stuff I bought on eBay in the first place. I’ve found that most of the time, it really isn’t worth it. I don’t have many things that are valuable enough to make the money I want back. There have been a few times when I sold an item for exactly the same amount I paid for it, which meant I got to use it for free, which is nice. But breaking even or making enough money for the hassle to be worth it seemed to be few and far between. I would much rather just give the item away.

    On the other hand, I used to sell some of my dad’s collectibles and vintage stereo components for him while he had bankruptcy issues, and those made back almost 10 times as much as he paid for them. But it really depends on what you are selling, and I just had to admit to myself that I am not a collector and my things are just not that valuable to others.

  7. I’ve got about 20 or so more items to list on eBay & I’ve been kicking that can down the road for weeks now.
    We sold a ton of stuff on eBay over the years & every single time I swear & declare that this time will indeed be the last time I mess with eBay.
    But then we find more stuff that’s worthy the effort to list on eBay & the whole cycle starts yet again.
    What I do though to ease the pain is to list items a few at a time and delay the start of the auctions for a month or so down the road. Then I schedule the auctions to start (and thus end) within a 2 hour period. Yeah I have to pay the fee for pre-scheduling but I can tack that on to the cost of shipping & handling if it bothers me enough.
    Also I hardly ever respond to email inquiries about an item unless they point out some grave error in my listing. Otherwise I have found that 99.9999% of the inquiries never result in a sale from that particular buyer. When I list an item – I give a ton of info about it from measurements to why I’m selling it, so there should be no other reason for a potential buyer to contact me, and those that do are usually trying to either find a way to get you to darn near give them the item for free, want to make some crazy deal, “would that skirt look good with yellow kitten heels” or ask a question in which the answer is so very obvious in the listing.
    Cold hearted of me? No, I’m just eliminating the senseless time-wasting stuff that can go along with selling on eBay.
    As far as what happens after I ship off the items – such as potential scammers saying the item never arrived or was damaged so they can get it for free or swear it was lost in the mail or even potential neg feedback – well I only ship with a tracking number, I’ve only lost 2 items to scammers (that still ticks me off too but it could be worse ya know) and I am super super accurate & honest in my descriptions.
    Having said all that, if all goes to hell in a hand basket with scammers or neg feedback or gets beyond acceptable…..well I’d just close down my account & be done with it. Which is sounding more & more like a good idea.

    • I so agree with everything you are saying here Jane. Touch wood I have never had a scam pulled on me yet. I have had some of those ridiculous questions asked though. It is all I can do not to right back and say read the bloody information provided.

  8. It’s interesting to hear about the ebay process – I haven’t yet wanted to declutter the valuables we have, so it’s an easier decision for me – keep or trash or donate. When it gets to the point of getting rid of collector plates or the like, I’m wondering if it might be worthwhile to get an auction buyer to come in and take the lot. Might not get the full value, but think of the stress saved!

    • Hi Jo,
      sometimes I think the quick and easy method would be better but like you say you probably won’t get good prices for them. You don’t always get good prices on ebay either so who knows.

      • We gotta remember that once we’ve paid for an item, poof, the money is gone. Chalk it up as a loss, get rid of it if you don’t want it, don’t buy like that again.

  9. I’ve ebayed a bit (with lots finishing within days of Christmas). The biggest ‘pain’ is getting to the Post Office in a timely matter. But I only just went to read my feedback, and it’s all really positive (it’s sort of hard/discouraged to leave bad feedback the way it’s designed now). I’m pretty shoddy at calculating postage (just want it listed and sold), so I win some and I lose some. Overall, it’s nice to get some $$, but only if it’s easily postable etc.

  10. I always give my stuff away for 3 reasons
    1- gets it out of house almost immediately 2- charity does good works
    3- math. @ 28% federal 4% state, my tax writeoff is 32% . I don’t see spending time photographying, following up on ebay, mailing is worth the time for the relatively small dollar items I donate. My donation is once and done, get the charitable donation & file on “taxes “folder. With my medical condition,easy peasy is important to me.

  11. I used to sell stuff on TradeMe (NZ) but have stopped now, for all the same reasons above. I want to get the stuff Out Immediately, so down to the opshop it goes.

    Occasionally I browse through the opshop, looking for my stuff, but I have only ever found one thing, and I have donated dozens, so that proves that my things are saleable! I even asked once if they took my things elsewhere, they just laughed!

  12. I too tried TradeMe (NZ) (once), but, for me, it was far more hassle than it was worth. I have had my pleasure from the items I am parting with, and I now just want them gone (and I don’t want time to reconsider!). So, off to the Hospice Shop, or some equivalent; they can be part of my giving/sharing life. And I gain the space, and the satisfaction, so we all win!

  13. If Moni lives in the United States and wants to make some money, I know there are companies that will sell items on eBay for folks for a fee. This might work for someone who is too busy to sell on eBay themselves. Moni can remove all of the items she wants to sell from her house at once. Just another possible option.

  14. Oh, one other way to sell items is via a consignment shop.

  15. I’ve found that eBay is best for items that are specialized and might be valuable to a few who aren’t located nearby. I’ve had the best luck selling art/jewelry/metalsmithing books and tools. I actually got $80 for a small book I bought for about $25 ten years ago. These books are usually only printed once and hard to find even used. This might be true for other specialized items, too, like vintage items. Other things I sold, like an old wooden brooch, made only a tiny amount, but at least it ended up with someone who wanted it. I think it’s best to look at the completed auctions to see if similar items have sold. If they haven’t, then you should donate or sell locally.

  16. I just sold something on ebay last week and underestimated the shipping costs. Ouch. I usually weigh and measure the package before I list the item, but I wanted to list it quickly and guessed at the postage. I’ve had great success selling some collectibles and one out-of-print book, but usually I make very little selling things on ebay. Then I stress over the feedback ratings. One person left me neutral feedback for a brand-new item that I sold at a fraction of the cost and with free shipping. At least no negative feedback, yet.

  17. I find you have to be in a very upbeat frame of mind to list on eBay, and then it’s sort-of-enjoyable. I just store my stuff in an old suitcase til I feel up to it and I use prepaid satchels whenever I can – that cuts the pain of calculating postage down to manageable levels…

  18. lovehatelovehatelovehate….
    Today: love. Because 6 Ikea Pax doors with glass filling (the high ones!) were collected and paid. Not much in consideration of the original price but I’ve had no use for them for a while (actually I only used two for some years, the others were on top when I bought them “pre owned” ;-), I kept them because I thought one day I would need/want a bigger wardrobe. Now I only want a smaller one … oh well) But I am happy to have the space back (even if the did not take up too much space stored neatly in the attic). The money will go towards some new furniture we’ll need when rearranging the space to live together. I know it’s a mind game but it helps me getting rid of furniture and accepting that the bed and the sofa we need/want are going to be much more expensive than the furniture I had before even if we try some DIY and maybe will buy used (the sofa at least … depends on whether we find what we need in an acceptable time, the space is a bit tricky, translate: small). Setting the money from sold things aside for better quality items motivates me for both, the selling and the shelling (out more money for the new stuff).
    That said I am lousy with ebay. I hate the hassle. I do it in batches every couple of months when my memory of the last session has faded enough ;-). I have boxes of things that should go on ebay (or somewhere else …). To motivate myself I try to mix the items I list in one go:
    Something big (preferably pick-up) – because I am rewarded with space
    something that will fetch money – because, well, money, that’s what it is all about in the end with selling 😉
    some things I am not sure about – they might not be worth selling but I need to make a decision some day and if I can’t decide for donation then I need to try selling. End of indecisiveness. If those sell for very little I try to view them as a sort of donation to someone who is happy about the bargain and will use it (or even resell … if someone does a better job on that than I can, fine for them, they have the knowledge or the perseverance, they can have the money). It’s a learning experience for the next time.

    • That all sounds very familiar Ideealistin. And really the whole motivation behind it is the money. That money equates to guilt relief sometimes, justification for getting rid of some things at others and somethines just a nice little bonus to help pay for something necessary in the next phase of life.

  19. Colleen,
    Your baby-girl is gorgeous!

    We’ve officially moved over the pond. All stuff unpacked. It really was a quick process (thanks to uncluttering daily).

    • Hi Annabelle,
      your home hooray. I hope you will be happy and settle in very quickly. And I am especially pleased for you that it all went very quickly for you do to that fact that you weren’t weighed down with clutter. I look forward to my next move just to experience what that is like.

      My baby girl loves you now. She wants to know if you need an extra daughter because she would like to live in America. 😉

      • Aaahhhyyyy, that is sooo cute! 🙂 Send her over to me (aka: Auntie Annabelle!). I’ll come pick her up in Texas (this summer) and then I can meet you and Cyndy! Hee hee hee, LOL! 🙂

        Oh to dream big and live lightly. Now, back to my continuous decluttering! Yahoo! 🙂

        • Annabelle,
          Bridget said she hopes you are taking her seriously because she is saving for the airfare. She just repeated “Not even joking.” She is of course but only because she is too old for adoption.