Thrift Shopping For eBay

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How to Begin to Selling Items on eBay

I am writing this post for those of you who have never sold anything on eBay before. It can be quite intimidating for anyone who is new to selling on eBay. I wish I had started selling on eBay much earlier than I did. It would have been the perfect work for me when I was a stay-at-home mom, but I was scared I would do it wrong and the fear kept me from getting started.

In fact, the very first time I ever sold something on eBay, I had to have my 16-year-old daughter help me. This was in 2010 and I didn't even know how to download a picture from my camera onto my computer. This knowledge is a necessity for anyone who wants to start selling on eBay.

Don't let fear keep you from getting started selling on eBay. It's a great way to make extra money and clean the clutter from your house and life!

So here are some steps to help the beginner get started selling on eBay...

1) Open a Paypal Account

Most people pay for their eBay items using Paypal. It's easier for buyers and for sellers to use the Paypal system than a credit card and eBay sellers get their money faster this way. I will include a link to Paypal at the end of this post.

2) Open an eBay Account

This goes without saying but I thought it should be included anyway. If you have an eBay account that you have opened as a buyer, then you are all set. You can buy and sell on eBay from the same account.

3) Find Items to Sell on eBay

Comb your house for anything that you want to get rid of or don't need anymore and put all of these items in a certain area of your house.

4) Research, Research, Research

Do some research on eBay as to how much these items are selling for. There is a search box at the top of your eBay account page so you plug in what you want to sell there. If anyone else is currently selling the same item, you will get a list of those items on the screen.

Although it's important to know how much the item is listed for, you also want to know how much that item has sold for in the past. Go to the left side of your screen and you will see a list of things, including the word "sold". Check the box next to sold and a list of all of the same item that has recently sold will appear. That will tell you what you can reasonably expect to receive for your item.

If there is more than one of your item listed, you don't want to be the highest price and you also don't want to be the lowest because many potential buyers will thank there is something wrong with your item and not trust you. Somewhere in the middle is a good starting point.

5) Prepare Your Items for Sale

If you want to sell a pair of shoes that has been sitting in the back of your closet for awhile, make sure to dust them off, use a leather conditioner, or even shoe polish on them if necessary. You want your items to look their very best. Clean your items and if you are selling clothing, wash and iron them if necessary.

6) Take Great Pictures of the Items you Wish to Sell

eBay is currently giving eBay sellers 12 free pictures to use in their descriptions when listing items to sell on eBay. Take advantage of every one if possible. You can take a picture of every view...straight on, from the top, from the sides, of the bottom, etc. I purchased a CD set today and although the price was fairly good from one seller, there was only one picture of the item, whereas the other 8 sellers had many pictures included so I could actually see the items I was purchasing, outside of the cd package. You can probably surmise that I purchased the set from someone whose price was a bit higher but I trusted them more because I was able to actually see what I was buying.

If you are selling clothing you can take pictures of the item from the front, back, close up of the front so buyers can see the design better, a close up of any pockets, definitely take a picture of the brand and size tags, and any extra buttons sewn into the inside of the item, sleeve buttons, a picture of the collar buttoned, and if there's a lining, say in a coat, make sure to take a picture of that.

If you decide to sell shoes, make sure to get the top, sides, the back, bottom (soles), a close-up shot of the label, a shot of the size, a picture of any ties or buckles, and if the heels are worn on one side, etc.

If you are selling an actual item, say a snowglobe, get pictures of it from all sides and the bottom. A close up of the inside is helpful as well so potential buyers can see exactly what it, or any other item you're selling looks like.

If you are selling any items that are "new with tags" make sure to get a picture of the tags, and the price, especially if the price is a lot higher than what you are selling it for. People will realize what a deal they are getting.

Now load those pictures onto your computer (get help from your kids if you don't know how to do it!) and start your listing.

7a) List Your Item for Sale

When you start listing, you look for the word "sell" across the top of your eBay account page. Click on that word and a space will show up for you to write your title. Be as descriptive as possible in your title and include the brand name of your item first. For instance, if you are selling a Ralph Lauren women's blazer, you would want to lead with the words "Ralph Lauren."

Once you have put in your title, you will have a list of two or three categories to choose from. Click on the one that best describes your item, then go down the list and fill in the blanks about it. Fill in as much as you can...the more information you have about it the better for the buyer.

There is a space for the description and you will need to make sure you put a lot of information there. But do it in brief phrases, all starting from the left-hand side. Do not write your description in paragraph form because people looking at your item in a cell phone will not be able to see the whole description.

Here's an example of what you can put in the description:

Ralph Lauren Women's Black/Cream Tweed Blazer

100% Wool

1 button front

4 buttons on each sleeve

2 pockets on the front

1 extra button included

Equestraian style buttons with horse heads

Fully lined

Lining: black

Dry clean only

In good pre-owned condition

No rips, stains or tears

Size 10 Petite


Armpit to armpit: 19 inches

Shoulder to shoulder: 16 inches

Length: 26 inches

Here is a picture of the blazer I am describing:

Include as many pictures as you can.

Decide if you want to sell your item as an auction item or as a "Buy it Now" item. The difference is that a BIN item is listed fo 30 days and an auction item is listed for a shorter time. Some people don't want to wait for an auction to end which is why it's good to offer an auction item with a BIN price. If an item is an everyday object and there are many listed on eBay already, you probably want to list it as BIN.

If it's rare, is very expensive, listing it as an auction item makes sense because you may get more money than you think it's worth.Gone are the days where start their auctions at 99 cents, though. Times have changed within eBay and more often than not, an item actually ends up selling for 99 cents. It's important to start an auction item on eBay at the lowest price you would be happy with.

Decide on a price based on your research. If you choose to do an auction and include a Buy it Now price, that price must be at least 30% higher than the price at which you started your auction.

Decide what you will do about shipping. It helps if you have a postal scale but if you don't, you can ship in a flat rate priority mail box, available for free from your post office. Or just figure out the weight as best as you can. If you don't want to fool around with the weight, you can offer free shipping, but make sure you add extra money into your price so that the buyer is actually paying for shipping. Books, CDs, other types of music or media can be shipped through media mail which takes longer but is much less expensive. I have never paid more than $3.00 to ship something media mail.

Decide how many days it will take you to ship. Most buyers love "same day" or "next day" shipping, but if you can't get to the post office that often, or don't have much time to pack and ship, you can choose a longer handling time.

7b) Click the "List Now" Button and Congratulate Yourself

Once you have filled out all of that information, proofread everything, and then click on that magic phrase, "List Item" and congratulations, you have listed your first item for sale on eBay!

Here's the link to open a Paypal account if you live in the US:

If you live outside the US, Google Paypal with the abbreviation for your country after it....if you live in the United Kingdom you would Google Paypal UK, etc.

To sign up for an eBay account just Google eBay and the link will come up.

If you have any more tips about selling on eBay for beginners, please feel free to add them in the comments below...

Also if you have never sold on eBay before and you want to start, please let me know if this article has helped you.

Want to Read About my First 3 Months Selling on eBay?

If you would like to know what my first three months selling on eBay were like, here's a link to an article I wrote...


  1. Oh boy.

    One of the first resellers on Youtube I watched recommended to filter the listings by "completed" in order to find out what the item has actually been selling for.



    Following that advice had me thinking my old VHS tapes were worth thousands of dollars, thanks to some shady listing practices some sellers employ with grossly inflated prices (most likely intended to attract clicks and "best offers").

    Anyway, I wish I had realized sooner that I needed to click "sold" and not just "completed" when filtering my listings. Oh well, I should still be able to get $5-$10 each (maybe $20 for a couple of them) for those tapes, which isn't bad considering I paid 25 cents each or whatever.

    Live and learn

  2. Well Chris, selling on eBay is a learning curve so at least you will know in the future how to research items. I guess I should have written this sooner?!