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Friday, October 8, 2010

The Ebay Room

For those of you who read the blog you may have noticed my "projects under constructions" list on the right side of the page. "Craft Room" has been on the list a LONG time. Not that I haven't worked on it- it's really, pretty much done- the only problem is, it's not really a craft room anymore, it's an Ebay room. Lately I've had several questions on how I keep everything organized. I thought I'd take you through a photo diary of how my week goes. The week begins on Thursday with dollar day. I unpack my treasures and pile them up by the front door...It doesn't usually look this bad, but I had a big garbage type bag rip open :( Thursday night I take out each item, look it over again and remove the Goodwill tag...
This is one of my favorite parts. You get to really see how many great items you found and the family is always close by incase I found something they want.
My 11 year old thought I should give her the Nicole Miller New With Tag $275 formal dress- I don't think so. But I did find some Hawaiian shirts for Mr. Right...

He's been wanting to change up his style a little- less dressy, more casual. I love that we can do that at $1 per item. As I look at each item and remove the tag, I sort the clothing into piles on the back of our couch: Jeans, pants, skirts, dresses, sweaters, tops, etc. This makes listing go much faster when you don't have to keep changing the category of a clothing item.
Next, Friday morning, two of my girls help me with the photography. I stand on a chair with the camera and they take turns laying out each item. They have gotten very good at this (trust me it was frustrating in the beginning when I'd say, "straighten the hemline a little" and they'd say, "What's a hemline?") Now they know all the terminology, how to square up shoulders, fold over arms and smooth out wrinkles. We can photograph over 100 items in 30 minutes. When an item is photographed it then goes into a pile next to the computer...

This looks quite messy, but works for me. I then import my photos from the camera, then export them from iphoto onto my desktop, naming each photo by the brand and size. I move all of these photos into a folder on my desktop labeled with the week that I'm on. I mostly do this so I can retrieve photos of my top selling items for the blog. As each photo is exported I pick up the item and stack it in a storage bucket. The storage bucket gets moved to the ebay room until Monday morning (no working on the weekend for me!) Monday morning I will open the bucket (sometimes it takes 2 or even 3 buckets if it's been a big week) and take out one or two categories of clothing (for example all the skirts and pants) and I'll list them on ebay. Once they're listed they are placed on hangers (I pick these up at garage sales for pennies) and hung by week in the ebay room...
I have 2 clothing racks (I purchased these at Target years ago when I was teaching drama- I think they were $50.00 each for the super sturdy ones) I can hang 300 plus items on these two racks! Items are grouped by week. Newest items are on the left all the way day down to the last chance $2.99 items on the right. These racks have extension rods that pull out to give you more space. When an item receives a bid on ebay, I move the item down to the far right extension rod (This is what I see when I walk into the "Craft/Ebay Room" This makes shipping super easy. When an item is paid for and ready to ship, I know it will be on the end of the rack. Each week I shift items down to the right as I sell and buy new. Also, I list each item for four weeks: week 1: Full price, week 2: Full price, week 3: 5.50, week 4: 2.99. If it still doesn't sell at 2.99 I take it off the rack and either return it to the store or put it in a bag for my next garage sale. Goodwill likes the tags to be attached when returning, so more often then not I just put them in my next garage sale. Whatever doesn't sell at the garage sale gets donated. I do all of my new listings on Monday and Tuesday. My rule is that if everything isn't listed, I don't get to shop that week- this challenge keeps me motivated to list right away. I can list between 15-20 items an hour so I usually list while my 19 month old is sleeping and my other girls are showering/getting ready for school. A good time for me is after I make them breakfast and pack their lunches (6:30am-8:30am). This may not be the best time for my auctions to end, so I always do my relists in the evening when the kids go to bed. One of the benefits of ebay is you create your own schedule. I don't want ebay to take me away from my family, so I list when I think they need me the least. I hope I didn't completely confuse anyone- what seems like a simple system to me might not work for everyone. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment or send an email. Next Friday I'm going to do a picture diary of SHIPPING! This seems to be the scariest part for many potential ebay sellers, so were going to tackle it head on. Enjoy your weekend. Love, Kelly.


  1. Im only asking b/c I didnt see it mentioned here: Do you wash the items once you get them home and the tags off?
    Ive never been to an actual GOODWILL store so Im thinking they may be better but like with my local thrift store here I have to wash everything as soon as I get it in the door,as I have no idea where the items are coming from. Granted if its nice stuff, which is what I go for, most likely its come from a good home but I have no idea how long it sat around waiting to be sorted at the store.
    So Im just curious how you handle that aspect of things.
    I love your system. You definitely have one that seems to work well for you. And youre very organized!:)

  2. Thank you for this very informative post. You have inspired me to get back into Ebaying - I'm spending $10 a week with a goal of a Borneo trip for my family next year! This is week 3 and I'm off op shopping in a couple of hours.
    I have also booked a market stall to show off my best op-shop finds with another $10 budget to purchase stuff and $10 for the stall!!! Can't wait.

  3. Organization is something that I really struggle with since beginning to sale on EBAY. Having a schedule is something else. THANK YOU so much for this post!! I love how you have a system from the moment you purchase the item, to the moment it is shipped! I have been keeping my items in totes, but I love the idea of the clothing rack. I can easily see them,they stay neater..etc. This is something I will definitely try. Can't wait for next week. Thanks again, very informative!

    1. The Container Store sells those clothing racks and they are on sale right now through about the first week of September ($20 off). Do not waste your money on the cheap ones from Walmart! They will bow then break under the heavy weight of all your clothing. LOVE YOUR MOST HELPFUL BLOG!

  4. I really need to get on a schedule with mine. I just keep picking stuff up and have a problem with the follow through. I typically start all my auctions at .99 and 9/10, they sell for way more than I paid for them. I know you guys don't sell kiddo clothes but I've found to have better luck with kids clothes than I do adult clothes, well, besides maternity. I wish I had a room dedicated to Ebay, I have random spots throughout the house and it drives the hubby crazy. I love reading all your tips. I can't wait to read what you say about shipping. I have to say that for me is usually the easiest because all I have to do is box/bag it up and put a sticker on it. LOVE Paypal shipping.

  5. Thanks for the walkthough! Do you usually do a seven day auction or end on a certain day? I've been trying to get into a routine and that is making things much easier. As is Turbo Lister!

  6. Handbags:
    No, I don't wash any items before shipping unless they show signs of being dirty. I buy a lot of items that are New with tags that can't be washed as well as dry clean only. The thrift stores usually have concrete floors, so sometimes the bottom of pant legs might be soiled- these I definitely wash. I also occasionally will buy an item that appears to be stained if it's a great name brand top selling piece and I'm pretty confident I can get the stain out- I use SHOUT and it works great on most stains.

    I do the seven day auction. I've been wanting to learn Turbo lister, but will have to learn to use excel first and need a PC because Turbo lister doesn't run on MACs- Bummer!

  7. hi kelly! thanks for this informative post! i've been thinking of getting into ebay selling, but i'm totally new to it. your post was helpful. if you need a blog topic in the future, i would love to know more about tips/techniques for writing your ebay listings. also, being new to ebay, any items of note that someone new to ebay might need to know/keep in mind as they wade into the wonderful (but someone confusing at first) world of ebay. for instance, i checked out your ebay store (do i need to open a store or do i just post on ebay?) and noticed you had special instructions for international shipping. i never would have thought of that until i got my first one!

    i can't wait to read your shipping post! i think i'm going to give this a try!

  8. As your post motivated me to list several items yesterday, I thought of a few questions. You list on Mondays, do you schedule them to start at a particular time/day or do you stick with strictly Mondays and time is just when it posts? You get the all week exposure, weekend exposure and then the bid wars can begin on Monday. I've usually done Sunday/Tues/Thurs evenings and it's worked but I'm open to change. I also wanted to tell you about a great site called sellersourcebook. It's great and not very expensive for the subscription. It keeps pics and auctions organized. LOVE IT.

  9. I was wondering if you've ever used a listing agent such as Auctiva, etc. I'm considering using one of them because I like the ability to choose different themed backgrounds for the listings and the ability to host more photos. Also being able to schedule appeals to me.

    I know you can host extra photos and schedule in Turbolister with an additional charge so I wonder if using an independent lister balances out cost wise. I'm also wondering about the ease of use because TL is fairly easy.

    Any thoughts on this?

  10. love love love this blog! so my questions is . . when do you take all your measurements for your clothing- while you're taking pics or one at a time while you're doing you're listing?? i'm trying to find a better system for mine. this post was most helpful!!

  11. Cheryl:
    I do not schedule my listings to end at a specific time. There is a 10 cent fee for doing that and that can really add up when you list a few hundred items a week. Thanks for the info on sellersourcebook!

    I have not used a listing agent because I have a MAC and haven't found one to be compatible- so unfortunately, I'm not educated on the positive and negatives of each program- sorry.

    I take all my measurements when I list each individual item. I find it goes pretty quickly.

    Thanks for all the great comments- Keep your questions coming.

  12. Ok, it is next week...ready for the post about shipping! LOL! I know, I'm one of those "demanding readers!" Sorry! I just really need advice in that area right now! Thanks for the blog!

  13. Thanks to this blog I have been inspired to start selling on Ebay.I have a question about measurements. Where do I put the tape measure? Do I pull the garment tight or just let it lay flat? Is it okay I'm using a metal tape measure? Okay maybe a couple questions I'm no seamstress. I cringe when I see one of these messages on one of my items. I worry that if I am off the buyer will want to return the item. Would it be acceptable to have some type of disclaimer about the measurements? Any advice is appreciated.

  14. Anonymous,
    When measuring I would definitely recommend a paper tape measure- this will give you the most accurate measurement and is much easier to use- then no disclaimer is necessary. Where ever you decide to place the tape measure make sure to list it. Do not pull the garment tight. For example my measurements say:
    Chest (measured armpit to armpit and multiplied by two)
    Length: (Measured from shoulder seam)
    Sleeve Length (measured from shoulder seam)
    For the inseam measurement just go to google images and type in how to measure an inseam and there will be pictures to show you (easier than me trying to describe it) Hope this all helps. Good luck.

  15. Hello. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your knowledge. I truly appreciate it. I did ebay for about a year, and did alright. However, now that I've cleaned out my closets, I need inventory!! So off to GW I go!! My question is: how do you pick a starting price? Is everything priced the same? I always struggle with that. Thank you in advance :)

  16. Hi! I am new to your blog. I appreciate your knowledge.
    For some reason I am not getting all of your pics, especially of your Ebay room. I have a room that was multi-functional but now is more Ebay & I could use any ideas for organization. I also love to hear your thoughts on all of this. It is a love of the hunt!
    Thanks, Lisa