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From Goodwill to Ebay - A Rags to Riches Story! 10 Tips to Making a Profit!

Updated on March 12, 2013

Trash or Treasure...Your Vote!

My new addiction!
My new addiction!
Sold out on Amazon but not in my store!
Sold out on Amazon but not in my store!
These are always a quick seller!
These are always a quick seller!
Metlox Poppytrail Rooster Plate
Metlox Poppytrail Rooster Plate
Another Poppytrail handpainted plate! I left the whole set and bought 1...dummy!
Another Poppytrail handpainted plate! I left the whole set and bought 1...dummy!
Quick and profitable brand!
Quick and profitable brand!
Always a good seller! I include a recipe for how to make your own scented oil!
Always a good seller! I include a recipe for how to make your own scented oil!

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

As I sit here to write this hub....I hear the sounds of one of my favorite "picking" shows in the background. When I first began watching these shows, I am embarrassed to admit, I was BORED out of my mind! I really didn't care about the motorcycle parts, or the old rusty oil cans, or even the vintage pieces that I couldn't pronounce...that all changed when I began selling on Ebay.

Ebay is one of the largest web based auction sites around and ANYONE can sell on Ebay. For many, it is a quick way to sell a few extra items. For others, it is a way to buy needed items at a reduced price...and for those of us like me-It is an ADDICTION.

Ebay allows anyone to be a home based entrepreneur and a MUST for anyone wanting to make money online. As an Ebay seller, you are responsible for finding your own inventory, setting prices, shipping product, and building relationships with your customers. You wouldn't think that the customer service piece is so important on this virtual auction house BUT IT IS. Buyers and sellers leave feedback to determine scores and you will deal with some of the same customers if you have a store. It is just like running a brick-and-mortar business and if you are willing to do the work...there is money to be made.

My addiction started when I became a work from home parent. I needed something to put my "business brain" and "entrepreneurial energy" into. If you have read any of my hubs before, you know that I am probably a borderline Hoarder and find value in the items that others do not. I began by selling broken electronics that I had stored in my home to eventually repair (until I got the quotes)! It was exciting but not yet addicting. The addiction kicked in when I began selling the items that only I saw the value in. Each day I would chase my husband to the trash can to find my next challenge. I would always see something that he was throwing out that I knew I could sell. He despised seeing this and offered me a trip to a mental health professional one day after I saved a broken x box 360 controller. He recanted and apologized when I sold this same controller for $9.99., I am hooked! I recently started my own Ebay store and needed inventory. I have honestly sold all of my "hoard" so there weren't many quick selling items available at my home. With a little inspiration from another E-bay Hubber HawaiianOdysseus...I went directly to my favorite store...the Thrift Shop. My local thrift stores are teeming with activity these days...heck, even a poular rapper has written a song about Thrift shops! They are now the "hip" place to be and my number one place for inventory. Below is a small breakdown of items that I purchased and listed on Ebay along with my potential selling price based on research. ALL were sourced at my local Thrift Store!

My "Goodwill" Inventory

purchase price
value based on SOLD auctions
(NWT)Greys Anatomy Lab Coat
$29.99 SOLD
(NWT)Landau Lab Coat
Fetco Trout Frame
Reed Oil Diffusers
Poppytrail Stawberry Plate
Listed up to $32.99
Poppytrail Rooster Plate
Affliction Shirt
$20.93 total
$118.93 Approx
Total Sale Price was determined by using a lower "estimated" sales price. Just because I found them listed that high...doesn't mean that mine will sell that high!

Want to learn more about the Ebay Business?

Getting Started?

Learn some easy tips and tricks HERE

Interested in Starting and Ebay Store?

Check out this article! Should I start an Ebay Store

Want to try to get rich without pre-buying inventory

To Dropship or not to Dropship..that is the question

Looking around for things to sell?

Here are



Want more tips on Goodwill to Ebay items? Check out HawaiianOdysseus' hub....

My Goodwill Store Haul February 18, 2013

Want to try to do it too?

If this has you thinking that you may want to try to strike it rich selling thrift store items on Ebay...then welcome to my club! Thrift stores are very overwhelming and you have to buy Quick! If you hesitate-just like in an auction- its going, going, GONE! Starting out, you won't know what brands to look for or what will sell well so you have to go with your gut. Think about what you would bid on and go from there.

Here are 10 Tips to selling Goodwill items on Ebay!

  1. Start as a seller not a store. This is a business so you want to keep start-up expenses as low as possible. As an individual seller, you can list up to 50 items a month with NO insertion fees. You will be charged a percentage only after the item sells. Once you upgrade to a store, you pay a monthly subscription, an insertion fee, and a reduced percentage on the sale (Ebay calls this the Final Value Fee). Keep costs LOW and DRIVE PROFIT!
  2. Price some of the items around your home. You can find almost anything on Ebay and you can even look at closed auctions. Take a few minutes and grab some plates, frames, collectibles, clothing, etc. from your home. You don't have to be Selling them to get a value. This will give you a great idea of what to look for when you go treasure hunting.
  3. Start Small. Start with about 10 items. You don't want to go broke starting your new business. I started with junk around my house and keep my goodwill trips to under $20. This keeps me in line with my cash comes in and less goes out!
  4. Buy based on what you learned by pricing items at home. Look for items that still have original tags, are in great shape, or just look cool or "vintage".
  5. Post and price these items based on what you see in popular or closed auctions. Just because someone has it posted for $50 doesn't mean that it sells for $50. Be competitive but make a profit.
  6. Be patient. Not everything sells the first time. It costs you nothing to re-list it! Like in all businesses it takes time and energy.
  7. Pack Lightly and Ship Accurately! Use as little packing as possible while still ensuring safe deliver. Extra packing materials mean extra shipping charges. That overage will come out of your profit so be as accurate as possible. You can ship online through the USPS and a postage scale is only about $20. being accurate with Shipping will keep money in your "register" .
  8. Clean up items and make them look fresh before sending! You wouldn't buy a dirty shirt n the store so don't send it to your customer.
  9. Keep your receipts! If you get home and it turns out your purchase isn't going to make you any money...most stores have a 7 day return policy.
  10. ENJOY THE RIDE! Ebay can be fruitful and stressful at times but is an enjoyable side business!

I hope that these tips have been helpful to you in turning one man's trash into another man's treasure! It can be done and is being done by many on Ebay. If you have had a HUGE SCORE..please share. While Ebay is is also filled with sellers who believe that we don't win UNTIL WE ALL WIN. Sharing our knowledge is always returned with a new tip or trick...even from a beginner.

So get to picking, get to listing, and GET TO SELLING! Enjoy your profit!


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      An inelglitent answer - no BS - which makes a pleasant change

    • rustedmemory profile image

      David Hamilton 

      4 years ago from Lexington, KY

      You have to take the time and have the eye... Whatever the "eye" is, I don't know.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Vintage trumpet bought for $30 at goodwill sold for $100 on ebay. Calvin Klein bubble jacket bought $11.95 at goodwill sold for $49.99 on ebay!

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      It isn't difficult! I ope you try again. Its like children...takes a little effort, can be frustrating at times, but worth it! Thanks for reading naturalife!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is very inspiring hub. I have an EBay account but never used it because I thought it was difficult to make money there. This hub rxplains it so well. Thank you.

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Radcliff, you are SO RIGHT. It is a lot of up and downs but buying something with your Ebay winnings is so rewarding. We ave turned it into a family business. My kids wake up ready to see if any Ebay items have sold and what they need to ship. It makes the work take longer but it is so much more rewarding that way. It is a great lesson in business and hopefully a life lesson about things having value!!! I hope you start your Ebay back up and enjoy the ride this time!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 

      5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Color me inspired! I have used eBay off and on over several years. I tend to get easily discouraged, but I think I will refer back to your article for encouragement. It's a roller-coaster ride: I sell something and get so excited, then I fail to sell something and I crash. Can't let that happen. This past summer I sold outgrown baby clothes to get an InStep baby trailer for my bike. It's awesome to be able to get money for things you were going to get rid of anyway! Thank you!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Haha! If you were the CEO of that new venture, I would be absolutely confident that it would take off! You have this great energy and ultra-panoramic vision!

      Reading your hub today tickled my Muse into action. Will be working on a couple of projects, in between (sigh!) the income tax returns.

      Keep up the great work, Heather. There's a network in the making!

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Joe! It means a lot to hear those kind words. I have appreciated all of your coaching on the Ebay subject. If you believe in karma...good vibes are coming your way for the help you have given me in setting up my store and growing me Ebay business. I hope to shed the Ebay "newbie" title soon and that will be with the help of others...especially here on Hub Pages! If I can help answer a question for someone is because I have asked it before and some polite person gave me the answer! To me, there is no such thing as a dumb question and the more questions that are asked...the more we all learn about our capacity to earn!! :)Don't you wish other forums were as friendly as hub pages to share best practices? Maybe a new business venture! can you sell that on Ebay?!?!?

    • bac2basics profile image


      5 years ago from Spain

      Hi Mommymay. Many thanks for answering this question. I am sure I will have many more for you in the future when I return to the UK and start trawling the charity shops :)

      Thanks also to Hawaiianodysseus for his kind in put :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


      I love reading all things eBay, and your Hubs are the BOMB!

      One of the key things I enjoyed reading was this passage:

      "While Ebay is is also filled with sellers who believe that we don't win UNTIL WE ALL WIN. Sharing our knowledge is always returned with a new tip or trick...even from a beginner."

      I am so proud to be a follower of your work, and I have learned so much from you.

      Also, when I see such beautiful and reinforcing comments such as shared by bac2basics, I feel good inside knowing that articles of this nature and the people that write them are making a difference.

      Thanks ever so much for being another thrift to eBay addict who enjoys sharing the info on HubPages!


    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Hey there bac2basics! i am so glad that you are being inspired by our addictions! You can actually charge the customers for shipping. You can set a price for shipping or you can do estimated but without a postage are simply guessing on the weight of the item.The only way that it comes out of your profit is if you estimate wrong or if you offer "free shipping". Free shipping is very attractive to buyers but you have to be sure to account for this in the starting bid! I hope that helps!! Thanks for reading!

    • bac2basics profile image


      5 years ago from Spain

      Hi MommyMay. I am really getting interest in all this eBay selling and follow HawaiianOdysseus hubs on the same with great interest. I must own up to never having bought or sold anything on eBay and not having an account but I do love the picker shows and also the antiques road show and another show where contestants are sent to antique and collectors fares in the UK and buy stuff to sell at auction. I see from reading this that the shipping comes out of your profit, now that´s something I was interested in knowing . So the trick is to make enough to cover those costs and still make a profit. Great hub and really inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge :)


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