Is ebay worth the effort?

I received an email from Clare last week asking me is ebaying was worth the effort? I considered this question for a minute and came up with this thought “I guess if it wasn’t I would stop.” There must be enough of a pay off for me  to think it worth my while or I wouldn’t bother. 

Yes it is time consuming doing the listing, estimating the postage, finding packaging materials and then having to package up and post the items, but I have the time. Time that could be spent in far less productive ways such as watching reruns or reality shows on television. Sure I am disappointed at times when things don’t sell or they don’t sell for as much as I would have liked but for every disappointment there are at least five times where I am satisfied or more than satisfied.

When it all boils down to it, just because something takes a little effort doesn’t mean it is too much bother. I would prefer to just enjoy the positive outcome rather than dwell on how much effort something took in the first place. 

This all got me thinking about things in general being worth the effort. There are so many good things in life that require effort, marriage, raising children, preparing family meals, clean clothes to wear, keeping ones living environment pleasant none of which earn money but are well worth the effort. Personal satisfaction, comfort, the joy of a job well done and a happy family are the pay-offs and they are worth more than money can buy.

So when you think “Decluttering is such hard work mentally and or physically.” think again. What is the pay-off. The pay off is knowing you are working your way to having a serene space in which to live and what could be more worth it than that. So if you are spending more then ten minutes a day feeling miserable about the clutter in your home try turning that misery into a positive and spend those ten minutes finding something to declutter.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you have an alternate for. I am finally getting rid of that artificial ivy I have mentioned here before. I own a glass fish bowl that I now fill with pruned greenery from the garden. With Spring on the way there will be no shortage of options to display in it. Thank you to whichever 365er gave me this idea.

Today’s Declutter Item

The photo on the left is the artificial ivy plant mentioned above and several other times in my post and now finally is today’s declutter item. Hopefully my greenery arranging skills will improve over time but I already feel better about have a natural arrangement than an artificial one.

Something I Am Grateful For Today

That regardless of having doubts at times, all my activities fell into some sort of order today and everything got done. It was more good luck than good management, either that or this whole time management thing comes so naturally to me that I just thought it was a fluke. Yeh, I think I’ll take the credit. 😉

“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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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I really like that natural greenery arrangement from your yard. It looks so much better than that fake stuff and brings oxygen into the house.

    My mom is getting tired of having to water plants. I am going to show her this idea. Plus I have come up with an idea for what to do with her plants. Wish me luck as I talk to her about this.

    • Thanks Deb J, I am happy with it too. Better Feng Shui I think.

      I can understand your mother getting tired of watering plants, I only have one but it seems to be awful thirsty. My success with indoor plants is hit and miss which is why I preferred this greenery arrangement idea rather than another indoor plant.

  2. Everything that is not wanted/needed at my house (assuming its in good condition and usable) either goes out to the curb with a ‘FREE’ sign on it (have not had anything last more than 3 hours before someone picked it up) OR goes to Goodwill or some other charity for a tax deduction. I enjoy the decluttering but I do not want to spend time with ebay!

    • Hi Ann and welcome to 365 Less Things. That sounds fair enough. We unfortunately don’t get tax deductions for donating items to charity here in australia only if we donate money. Perhaps in the interest of encouraging people to donate rather than toss stuff away it is time our government adopted this idea. I have been known to use the free curb side decluttering method myself at time and have found it very effective. It is especially good for large items that are difficult to haul to the thrift shop.

    • Hi Ann – we don’t have tax deductible donations of stuff to charity here in New Zealand, I wish we did and I agree with Colleen it could be a good green initiative.

  3. I think the real greenery looks beautiful! I’m on the ebay wagon right now and it’s very challenging. It takes so much effort to find a buyer, but one that will ultimately be worth it. I hope at least. I have donated a ton of items, but the nicer things I’m trying to sell. The cash is nice (add it to the savings and decorating fund), but it takes much more effort. When we have decluttered, boosted our savings and used the money in the decorating fund to make our home a beautiful, peaceful place to be, I’m sure I’ll be grateful I put forth the effort. Thank you for your blog. It keeps me going on this journey, especially when I get frustrated that I can’t snap my fingers and all the work be done.

    • Hi Kandice,
      your comment bring two thoughts to mind for me.
      1. Ultimately the reward to selling on ebay is the payoff but for me at times it is also the lifting of the guilt and frustration of having once wasted money on sometime I obviously didn’t need enough to get good use out off.
      2. I am glad that my declutter journey has been a long one. I have learned so much along the way and become a better person for it. The way that it has made me more respectful of the environment and had me alter my habits in that area has been as much a reward as my beautiful decluttered home.

  4. I like the fresh green arrangement.
    I consider ebay and trademe as a method of recycling which has a financial transaction involved. Items are being re-used and reduces more items being produced. What is more it puts it in the hands of someone who actually wants it.

    Having said that, I use the goodwill chutes and freecycle too.

    • Hi Moni, I agree. I am as satisfied with the fact that I have saved someone from buying new and given them a bargain that they are happy with as I am with lessened the burden of stuff in my home and the extra cash in my pocket.

  5. Love that fresh greenery! And I enjoyed your thoughtful response to “is ebay worth the effort”. Agree with everything and would just like to add that it can be a lot of fun too- checking to see if anyone is watching or bidding and always wondering if something might “take off”.We sold a cribbage board once for over $300.00- we had no idea of its value until we listed it when we suddenly had bidders from all over the world .We don’t sell much these days but we used to, we learnt a lot along the way and we had a lot of fun. Postage used to drive me nuts – trying to get it right -these days I would rather underquote and bear the extra cost myself just to keep customers happy and avoid any dreaded negative feedback and keep it hassle free for myself. Of course if ebay is your business then its a different ball game altogether and you would stream line everything anyway but I’m guessing most of us here are not in that category.

    • Hi Jez, you are so right it is fun anticipating the outcome of the ebay actions. I usually can’t help myself and drop in numerous times throughout the day to see how the bids are coming along. It kind of feels like a game of bingo, will I win (sell) won’t I win (sell) what will the price be? Both are a gamble after all. As for the postage I use the postage calculator at which is very accurate and never steers me wrong. I weight the items and guesstimate the extra weight for packaging and I usually get it right.
      Ha ha I had to laugh ~ guesstimate was actually in my computers dictionary and didn’t show up as a spelling mistake. Fancy that!

      • Actually I think “guesstimate’ is quite a legitimate word now. ” an estimate based on a mixture of guess work and calculation”- Oxford dictionary on-line. Actually, I never notice your spelling mistakes until someone points them out – I think my brain does its own compensation . And they are often funny so that’s a bonus anyway!

  6. OooooOOOh Colleen – love the simple fresh greenery arrangement – nicely done!

    Also, glad to hear you are faring well post-surgery & have been getting good feedback from your doctor.

    Clare, as far as eBay goes – it can seem challenging & overwhelming at first but the same can be said about learning anything new. I’m at the point now with eBay that it’s the best option if I want to make some money off stuff I didn’t need to buy to begin with. Part of me wants to say to you – save yourself while you can….but part of me wants to drag you into this eBay underworld in a certain esprit de corps way.

    • Hi Jane, I am glad you like the greenery display. I wish I knew who suggested it in the first place. I might have to investigate that.
      And thank you I am doing very well health wise and am glad life is now beginning to return to normal, post-op. Now I can enjoy the benefits of the operation. That is one less drawer full of stuff in my bathroom plus a lot less inconvenience for me in general and no more nasty surprises. Yay.

      I also agree about the ebay thing it is a love hate relationship that I must just love more than I hate. I understand for some though that the hate is stronger.

  7. Yay the declutter item – I think we all were on your back about that one :p And the alternative is great – and compostable!

    I think you’re right – I’d much rather seldom take out garbage. So yes, it takes longer to set up diff bins, rinse recycling, refuse wasteful one use stuff… but all for less trips to the garbage room – and that I am thankful for! If only others would see and follow (as I despair at the overflowing bin room!)

    Oh colleen you’ve taught your computer well – guesstimate. But then you said prise when I think you meant prize or price?! (funny, my comp doesn’t pick up guesstimate either!)

    • I Snosie, I am glad to see the back of that thing or I will be when I take it to the thrift store next week. And I will try not to laugh if someones buys it while I am there.
      I don’t look at recycling and mulching as a chore I actually feel quite proud when the end of the week arrives and I have only used one kitchen tidy bag. I just wish more people would be so conscientious.

      Fickle computer it allows me to use pretend words but doesn’t allow me to make up my own.

  8. “Is e-baying worth the effort?”

    No. Because I should have never bought the things I did.

    Yes. Because I could sell them on e-bay (they were high end items w/ excellent resale value).

    Now, no more purchasing like I used to.

    Now, my e-bay account closed.

    Lessons learned.

  9. As you know Colleen, I don’t do ebay (buying or selling), but leave it to my husband who loves it!
    The greenery arrangement is beautiful; I loathe fake plants, but I am hopeless with indoor plants. I’m not good with bought flowers either as i’m too lazy to change the water, but your idea is great.

    • WE share the ebaying in our house. And I have to say I had a very successful week last week selling 16 out of 19 items. Yay!

      I wish I could take the credit for the greenery arrangement idea but that award goes to another 365er, if only I could remember who.

    • Hey Loretta,
      1 tspn of sugar in the flower water helps keep them nice also tspn bleach or a panadol (for the flowers not you!!) I have had success with all these tips. Whilst my house is constantly being tramped through, my flowers always look beautiful for 2 weeks or more. I only trim the stems after a week. Fresh flowers, whether bought or picked are so much more pleasing than fake anything. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Hey Dizzy,
        I wanted to tell you I have followed your lead on the no more fabric softener idea and have started using vinegar instead. I think the more you use it the better the result once all the chemical residue has finally been washed out.

  10. Hooray for the fake plant declutter!
    And I think Snosie is right, there was a whole swarm of us picking at you about it. And it is nice to see the nagging worked 😉
    Now I hope the whole ebay/selling-discussion will pinch ME to get going. Because after a fleamarket (not too successful unfortunately, it was just too rainy) followed by donating several boxes of stuff that did not sell, ebay would be the next step for the more valuable things. It’s really amazing how much stuff one has accumulated over the years. But I am determined. One day, I’ll get there (and that will hopefully be before I ever have to pack boxes for a move …)

    • I wasn’t a lover of the fake plant either so I didn’t need too much nagging. It was just a case of the space looked too bare with nothing there and I wanted a solution that didn’t require me buying something. Mission accomplished.

      Too bad about the poor fleamarket result. I hope your find the time and have more success on ebay. Like you say who wants to more clutter from one place to another.

  11. I’m about to start my next round of listing things to sell on eBay. Only things that I’m confident will sell get listed now, otherwise it’s a waste of my time to list them. I’ve found Tupperware usually sells, baby gear usually sells, recipe books usually sell. Surprisingly, I’ve also listed three board games recently, all of which sold.

    I cleaned out a shelf in my craft cupboard today and was very ruthless with my unused fabrics: only fabric that I could definitely see me using for myself, my sons, or a potential daughter (who is due to be born in just over two months, but gender is currently unknown). Then I divided what I was getting rid of into two piles: things that I think will sell on eBay and things that may or may not so I couldn’t be bothered so they are just going in the Salvos bin. The latter pile was a lot bigger!

    I do love the thrill of seeing bids placed on my listed items though, and depending on my mood, that is worth the effort.

    • Hi Susan,
      you and I seem to feel the same way about ebay. And all the exercise I got this week taking package after package to the post office probably made me a whole lot fitter and a few ounces lighter.

      I am glad to see that the trend of finding out the sex of unborn babies is starting to wane. To me it shows that people are happy to relinquish control over the situation which gives me hope that life in general is turning back to a little more sanity.

      • My packages get taken to the post office with a toddler on my hip and a baby in my belly… that probably explains why I’m tiring of trips to the post office!

        I don’t ‘need’ to know the gender of my babies before they are born like some of my friends do because, other than it has been a really beautiful experience not knowing until they come out, I don’t feel it essential that they have the ‘right’ colour clothes and bedroom from day one. And I don’t get offended if people can’t tell if my baby is a boy or a girl: I don’t blame them if the kid is just wearing a singlet and nappy (I’ve had summer babies)!

  12. Hi Colleen, I agree with you about effort being an important part of relationships and experiences that are meaningful to us. I don’t use eBay, but I think that if you take the time to carefully sell items, it would really help the reasons you are decluttering sink in, along with removing the incentive to reclutter. I know that driving another bag to the op shop reminds me of these things too, and although I occasionally over-splurge, I’m getting much better at avoiding purchases that will end up as more clutter. Thanks for your post!

    • Hi Kim I am glad you focused your comment on the effort side of my post. With all the modern “conveniences” we have these days it seems we think everything should happen without making much effort. You are right, making the effort to declutter each item conscientiously does help drive the lesson home not to make unwise purchases in the first place.

  13. I think selling stuff on ebay or other trading sites can be quite a hassle, so I only tend to do this with items that I earn 10 euro’s or more on. that’s kind of my thing, if it’s worth less it’s too much of a hassle.

    I have made some progress this week decluttering AND getting the stuff out of here. Took two bags to goodwill today. Among other things one contained a stuffed animal I got yesterday (kind of an advertisement/gift), but which I did not like for my baby. So I got it out of the way straight away. The amount of crap you get when expecting or have a baby is enormous.
    And I did nearly have an argument with the woman from the postnatalcare centre about what items I should have for the baby. I suppose she doesn’t encounter many new mothers that are not willing to buy everything on their list.

    • I am inclined to agree hunter_xs but I still find myself listing things as low as $5.00 but I am starting to have second thoughts about those sorts of auctions. If I somehow underestimate the postage the whole effort could be wasted. But like Kim said above that will drive home the lesson of not making unwise purchases in the first place.

  14. Hi,

    Haven’t tried Ebay yet, but am gearing up for it this weekend. Thanks to your post, Colleen, I’m getting over myself and giving it a try.

    It’s funny–the more I declutter, the more I want to declutter, and things that I didn’t think I’d ever have the heart to part with, once gone, aren’t missed. It’s definitely a process, though, because three months ago I’d never have believed I’d let some things go that have gone.

    • Good for you Robin and good luck. I hope you have a pleasant experience. Just remember there is a learning curve so be patient as you get used to it all.

      You are so right proper decluttering is a process. As I always say it isn’t a task it is a journey and if it isn’t then you are probably not doing it right.

    • Robin -your comments resonated with me – “the more I declutter ,the more I want to declutter”. I have been decluttering for a few years now bcause there have been so many items which I just passed over as items to be kept forever and whose presence in my home was never to be questioned.It never occurred to me that I didn’t need to keep them forever . It has been SO liberating to let them go-and you are right – haven’t missed them at all. I have only regretted two items and I was able to get them both back- one was an atlas (still in the thrift shop so I bought it back,and a 70’s Womens Weekly cook book which I re-ordered on eBay because for some reason I actually like to use it -everything else I look up on the net ).I havent missed anything else and I had lot of stuff after thirty five years in the same house. But I agree ,it’s a process,not something that can be done just once. Good luck with eBay and have fun with it!

  15. I think ebay is worth it if you want to have a good clear out