Tag Archives: eBay

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.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


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Lesson 1362 – Online Auctioning – lesson 3

For the most part, once you have listed something on eBay everything is pretty much automated. People bid, a winner wins, that winner gets notified and payment usually happens, sometimes before you’re even aware that the auction has ended.

This sold for $15.

This sold for $15.

However, there can be a few little bumps along the way.

Questions – sometimes people will want to know more information about your item and they will send you a question through eBay. You’ll receive a notification of the question by email but when you look at what you are selling on your “My eBay” page, you’ll notice a red text box on the auction line indicating that there is an unanswered question. Most of the questions are straight forward – Does the pocket have a zipper? Can you tell me how wide this is? Are there any markings on the bottom? Continue reading


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Lesson 1357 – Online Auctioning – lesson 2

If you are following along, then you’ve created your eBay account, you’ve verified your Paypal account, and you’re ready to start selling on eBay.

Before we go any further, I want to emphasize that you should only do transactions in eBay and Paypal through the actual websites. That doesn’t mean you click on a link in email, it means you enter the url (ebay.com or paypal.com) in the address bar at the top of your window (assuming you are using a Windows product), verify your password, and proceed to your account.

Now it’s time to find things to list. In the past, I used to list heavy items (lots of glass)  but with today’s shipping prices, it’s a lot easier if you (at least at first) find smaller items around your house to sell.

I’m going to try and show you the steps I take when I list something. Continue reading

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Lesson 1351 – Online Auctioning – lesson 1

For years and years I taught an online auctioning class (eBay) for our town’s adult education department. Every Wednesday night for 6 weeks we’d meet and I’d explain how to post items on eBay and then how to collect payments and ship the items.

“You will never have to worry about having grocery money again if you know how to use eBay”, I’d tell them.

But over the years, eBay changed a little bit.

I had a buyer who when he opened an ornament dropped it and then told me that I had to return his money. I’ve read a story on an eBay board where a camera was purchased, sent, and when the buyer said it was broken returned it , but in the box was a broken older model.

I’ve seen the many scammer emails that pop up when you get a Paypal account.

eBay didn’t seem safe to me anymore, especially for the elderly. So I stopped teaching the course.

Even though I’ve stopped teaching it, I still believe that eBay is a good way to get grocery money and to build up some extra cash (remember that emergency fund I talked about on Tuesday’s Dave Ramsey lesson?) I still use eBay, it’s a great way to get rid of stuff around the house (let’s face it, we all have too much).

But you have to go into it with your eyes wide open.

Because I’m going to start listing a few items on eBay again (I want to create that first step of having $1000 emergency fund set up), I thought I’d walk you through the process in the event that you wanted to try it. I don’t suggest you jump right in. Follow these posts, follow some auctions, ask questions and *then* give it a try. If you have any concerns you can always cancel an auction or you can always reach out and either I or hopefully someone else who is reading this blog will be able to help you.

First things first:
You’ll need to set up an account on eBay. If you can choose a user name that helps define your specialty if you have one, if not try to stay away from cutesy name – KittyMeow234 may not be the best choice if you want to be taken seriously. My user name is online-auction-mom, it may not have been the best choice but in 1998 when I created my account, it seemed like a good idea.

Next you’ll have to set up an account with Paypal. You’ll be asked for bank information. It’s okay. Paypal and eBay are *very* secure sites. If they lose their security, they lose their business and that translates to a lot of money.

I had a couple who took my course drop out on the first day because they would be “damned if they gave their credit card number to eBay.” I tried to explain that it was as safe as ordering something on Amazon, but they wouldn’t budge.

You can’t sell on eBay or have an eBay account if you don’t give them the proper information. They want to be paid as much as you do.

Paypal will verify that you are the owner of your account by making a tiny deposit into your account, once you confirm that deposit you are ready to go.

NOTE: Here’s the tricky part. Once you have signed up for eBay and Paypal, you’ll probably start getting scam email telling you that there’s a problem with your account, etc. Never, never, NEVER respond to a request from eBay or Paypal by email. Even if you know there is a problem, go directly to the website, log in and then look into it. Chances are very good that there isn’t a problem, someone is just trying to scam you. One more time, Never, never, NEVER respond to a eBay or Paypal request by way of email. You remember that and you’ll be fine. Okay, we clear on that?

Once you have your account, the fun part begins. Quickly look around your room and find a few things that you wouldn’t mind getting rid of. Start off with small items that are easy to ship. I had one woman in a class who had inherited her aunt’s possessions after she had died. There were all sitting up in her attic. I asked her to bring a few pieces into the class so we could work on getting them up on eBay. She came in with two pieces of Roseville pottery that she “just grabbed.” She had no idea as to the value of that “stuff.” That woman had a fortune sitting in her attic. She became very interested in our class after that!

Likewise, you also have items that are desirable. Items that sell well include:

  • Vintage
  • Toys
  • Antiques
  • Holiday decorations
  • Clothing
  • Kitschy things
  • Vintage kitchen items

This week, we’re only concerned about doing research. Just like Google, eBay does its searches on keywords. Those are words that best describe your item. For example, I recently acquired this beautiful item:

I’m not sure what it’s called, I’m not sure how to price it. So I let eBay help me. Chances are someone somewhere has already sold something like this.

I try searching for: “Wood nutcracker” (you leave space between the keywords, don’t use a comma) and I get over 2,000 results (damn those Christmas nutcracker soldiers!) so I try to narrow the search. This time I try –“Vintage wood nutcracker face”. The returned results are much better. Now I click on “Sold Listings” under the Show Only Category on the menus on left side of the screen.

Bingo. Not only is there a nutcracker *exactly* like mine but one recently sold for 24.99. That’s good information that I will use going forward.

We’re going to have to take this slowly, there’s a lot to learn, but if you want to try to list items on eBay following these lessons, then your first week’s assignment is to:

  1. Create an eBay account
  2. Create a Paypal account
  3. Find things around your house that you want to get rid of and start searching on eBay to see if those items are being auctioned. Don’t forget to check the “sold listings.” Keep a notebook with the item name, keywords used, prices and how much was charged for shipping.

If you want to follow my auctions go to this online-auction-mom link. I’ll be listing the nutcracker in just a bit. Let’s all get rid of our excess and get a little extra cash.

Next week I’ll write about how to create an auction listing.


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.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


Filed under eBay