Lesson 1367 – Online Auctioning – lesson 4

As you have more and more auctions on eBay, you begin to get a sense of what sells and what doesn’t sell. You also begin to create a large pile in your home of “things that didn’t sell, but that I don’t know what to do with because they are still worth something.”

This can be a kiss of death for many households. Your house can easily get overrun with eBay discards. (Trust me, I know.)

The best thing to do is set some boundaries. When an item of mine doesn’t sell I evaluate it.

Did it not sell because it wasn’t seen? Sometimes things I *know* would sell just don’t get picked up. If that’s the case I relist the item as is at the original price.

Did it not sell because my price was too high? If so *and* if I think someone will bid, I relist with a reduced bid amount. Often I go down $5 or if it’s a lower priced item, I’ll cut the price to approximately half. After all, I’d rather have a few bucks in my pocket that that really cool vintage tape measure sitting in a corner of my office.

Note: I’ve had a few items that started at that “half-price” price that eventually went over the price I initially asked for in the first auction. It’s all in who wants what when.

Did it not sell because it won’t? This one is a tough call. It’s usually one that’s made after you get a “good feel” of eBay. Some items just have a hard time selling on eBay.

If you did a Hail Mary with an item and listed it to see if someone, somewhere would bid on it and they didn’t – make the decision to cut your losses. Create a donation pile and once a week, move that stuff out of your house (or give it to someone who can use it.). Don’t obsess about how much money you *might* be losing, trust me, there will always be more stuff to sell. If you stick with eBay, it will all come out in the wash anyway.

This week:

  • Someone purchased a purse and then told me they didn’t have the funds to pay for it. I relisted the purse and it already has a few bids on it. The auction ends soon.
  • I had a bunch of McDonald’s employee pins that I had listed for $9.99. No one bid, but I did notice that quite a few people looked at the auction. When the auction was over I relisted the pins at $5.99 – they already have a bid.
  • I had listed a vintage Christmas tree topper that didn’t get a bid. I’m fairly certain that that item will bring in some money so it’s being set aside for *next* year’s holiday season. (Yes, I do hold onto a few things, usually in the seasonal category.)
  • I had a vintage deer pin set. From the time I took the pins out for the photo to the time I sat down to write the auction the mama deer lost her green rhinestone eye. The set has been listed twice with no success. I suppose I can go out and buy a rhinestone to replace the eye with, but you know? For me it’s not worth it. The set is already in the donation box. Done and done.
Mama without an eye

Mama without an eye


I had a student in one of my eBay classes who had bought one of her kids some expensive wool blend long underwear while they were vacationing in Switzerland. The set had never been used and was still (many years later) in its original packaging. She listed the underwear at a high price (after all she had paid a lot for it herself.) The item didn’t sell. She listed it again, it didn’t sell. She listed it again and again without lowering the price (and incurring eBay fees each time.)

I’m not certain, but I can make a pretty good guess that that set of long underwear is still sitting on a shelf somewhere in her house because she can’t let go of how much money she spent on them.

Part of working with eBay is learning to move on. Unless you want to have piles of stuff in the corners of your house (again trust me on this one) you’ve got to figure out when it’s time to let go.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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