eBay vs. Garage Sales
by Joyce Moseley Pierce
I've never been much of a believer in getting rich having a garage sale.
I've had a few of them but the cash I made was never even close to paying
for my time and effort. There are just too many disadvantages:
* deciding what to charge on each item
* making price tags for them
* spending two days in my garage
The longest time we've ever lived in one house was 13 years.
When we decided to move, I had a gigantic garage sale and gathered things
from every corner of the house. I decided that whatever didn't sell, I would
haul off to an agency that would help others. I didn't want it back in my
house and didn't want to move it to another state.
I sold an entire dining room and everything I thought I
could live without and don't think I even made $500.
We have now lived in our present house for 12 years. In the
past 10 years I have contributed to the annual church garage sale because
all I had to do was put things in boxes and let someone else do all the
work. It forced me to find things to get rid of and helped the scouts, so I
was happy to do it.
* listing your items 24/7
* ability to reach the world and not just your
* getting more than a quarter for each item
* not having to wrestle with your kids * not having to
* not having to make change!
Two years ago I participated in two garage sales with my daughter, and
loaded up my Yukon XL about five times. I probably made a total of $200 from
both sales and still hauled off one entire carload to the women's shelter.
The best thing about all that was sharing the experience with my daughter!
Then someone introduced me to eBay. I have a pig cookie jar that was given
to my parents when I was born, so I decided to do a search on "pig cookie
jar." I couldn't believe it when my own little pig showed up in an auction
for about $100. I printed off the information and tucked it inside the pig
so that my kids would not NOT to throw it away after my funeral!
I recently reviewed a program to help people reduce their debt and find
"multiple income streams," at home. The first thing they discussed was
selling on eBay. They recommend that you start out by elminating unwanted
things you have at home and discovering your niche. Maybe you're into
computers or antique glassware. Find out where your interests lie and earn
money on it from home.
Advantages to eBay include:
Here's a list of just a few odd things I've sold:
* a kneeling chair that was bought for me by an employer. When our office
closed, they told me to just take it home. I got $90 for it on eBay and the
buyer paid another $30 shipping.
* silver and leather belt I hadn't worn in years. Shipped it to a buyer in
Italy who paid more for the shipping than the belt.
* a pair of new golf shoes that had to have the dust wiped off the box
* McDonalds collectibles that were just pieces of sets. I was happy to help
someone else add to their collection.
* computer software that had become outdated for me, but found a new home
with someone who was searching for it.
* jean jackets I couldn't fit into anymore!
* golf clubs and bags that weren't being used
* designer handbags that cost way too much originally to just be given away.
* children's clothing that were gently used and came from a smoke-free home.
* backpack luggage that never quite made it to that trip to Germany (neither
* books, videos, DVDs that were no longer being used but taking up space.
* cameras that didn't work but were purchased by someone who either knew how
to repair them or used them for parts.
* exercise programs & equipment that I had become boring brought almost the
It's true that one man's junk is another man's treasure! You just never know
what someone else is looking for, and eBay is the thread that connects the
seller with the buyer.
It's important to have a digital camera so you can take pictures of your
items, and it's equally important to give an accurate description. If it
doesn't work, be honest about it. Your reputation on eBay is what is
important. When you win an auction, you pay for it and you expect to receive
what you bid on. When you sell, you expect your buyer to pay. It's a system
built on trust among fellow eBayers!
If you've never used eBay before, what's holding you back? It doesn't cost
you anything to set up an account. Go to www.ebay.com and find the link to
You'll also need to set up a PayPal account to be able to
collect money from your buyers, but it's free, too! It couldn't be easier.
Here's a link I hope you'll use because it shows that I referred you:
https://www.paypal.com/us/mrb/pal=3NRQRXCXRPP4G . Take the time to
browse the eBay site and learn all you can. See what's selling and what's
not. Look up some of your own things and see if other people are selling
anything comparable. The search bar makes it very simple.
Look for my next article on the basics of using eBay. In the short time I've
been using it, they've made a lot of improvements to the site that help make
it even easier for both buyers and sellers.
I've been able to get rid of my credit card and am now using a PayPal debit
card that is funded by these eBay sales. When I want extra money for
something, I look around and see what I can sell. It's become a game with me
but it's a great way to put things in perspective. What are you willing to
part with to reach a goal? I may like owning a particular item, but if
selling it is going to allow me to do something else, I'm usually willing to
make the sacrifice.
Joyce Moseley Pierce . Joyce is a freelance writer and owner of Emerson
http://www.emersonpublications.com She publishes the Family First
newsletter weekly and has opportunities for others to work at home. Visit
her website for more information.