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Garage Sales and Ebay,- How to Earn the Maximum on What You Already Own

Updated on August 31, 2007

Thanks Google Images

Auction sites are all the rage these days - with Ebay being the biggest. It has opened up the resale market to the entire world, not just who drives past your house on garage sale day. However, with all the fees tacked onto item listings, garage sales might be a better way to make money. Regardless of how you sell your things, what can you do to maximize your earnings? A lot actually.

Taking care of your items will probably have the biggest impact on the price you will get when you go to sell it. If your items are stained, worn, torn, broken, need painting, etc you will not get top dollar for them. Don't be careless in how you handle your possessions and take good care of your things. Items in very good or like new condition will automatically bring more money than things that are just in good condition.

The presentation of items will also help your things to sell better. Have you ever been to a garage sale where all the clothing is thrown in a pile on the ground? I have and the last thing I wanted to do was dig through it. Having clothing sorted by size and folded neatly or hanging up will go a long way in helping you get the most money for your used clothing. Whether you are selling your clothing on Ebay or at a garage sale, you will get the most for your money if the clothing is clean, wrinkle free, doesn't smell and isn't covered in pet hair.

When taking pictures for Ebay (items just don't sell nearly as well without pictures) make sure you get good, clear, and close up pictures of the items. It can get expensive to add a lot of pictures to an auction listing. I will usually say something in the listing like "If you are interested in more pictures please email me." Then the people that are interested can view more pictures, as many as they need, for free. Try taking pictures in several different locations with different lighting and backgrounds to get the best presentation. Remember you are trying to convince someone to buy your things; you need to work at convincing them.

Sort like items together. Have children's books together and adult books together, hardbacks and paperbacks separated as well. It works well to have books sorted into boxes. Try to have tables set up with like items on them. This makes it so much easier for potential buyers to shop. The easier it is for a person to shop, the easier it is for them to spend money.

Do your research and know your prices. If you are having a garage sale, go to some garage sales to get a feel for how much things are selling for. I can't tell you how many sales I have been too where everything is so over priced. And there the owners sit late in the afternoon with a garage or yard full of stuff wondering why they haven't made any money. Be reasonable in your pricing and willing to negotiate if you are having a garage sale.

If you are selling on Ebay, research other listings that are similar or the same as yours. Once you log in to your account on Ebay you can do an advanced search. An advanced search will allow you to search completed items and see exactly what they ended up selling for. So many auctions get bid up at the last minute that looking at current auctions that end even in a few hours does not always give you an accurate idea of what things are selling for.

Don't start your auction listings too high or you won't get any bidders. Unlike garage sales you can't negotiate with the buyers. Starting your auctions at a low price will reduce your fees and can generate bids. However you don't want to start too low in case you only get one bid. It is a fine line to walk and you really need to know your prices in order to price it right. You can set a reserve price, which is a good idea on more expensive items; however they do charge a fee for that. Garage sales don't require fees, Ebay charges fees for everything. Take this into consideration when deciding how to sell your items.

When selling on Ebay, make sure you pick good times for an auction to end. It might work for you to start your five day auction on Tuesday, however if the auction ends on the Sunday night of the Super Bowl, you are not going to get people bidding up your auction at the last minute. Yes the end of an auction has to work for you, but it also has to work for your potential buyers, so keep in mind holidays and such when listing your items. Pay close attention to Ebay emails and such - they frequently have special listing days. These days might have a discount on pictures or the listing fee or they might offer free buy it nows for items listed that day. Taking advantage of these specials run by Ebay will reduce your fees, which will increase the money you make.

If you are having a garage sale make sure prices are visible. It also makes it easier to have groups of items priced the same. Clothing $.25 or $.50 a piece, hardback books $1, paperback books $.50, etc. You can always pull out a few nicer items and mark them separately, but it generally makes things easier if groups are priced the same. The easier it is for a person to figure up the prices of what they want, the easier it will be for them to buy the items. When potential buyers have to wait for the seller to be free from a customer to find out how much an item is - well many times they just won't wait.

Advertise your sales well. If you are having a garage sale, look into listing the sale in the paper. Many times it doesn't cost much money and people will know exactly where to find a sale. Bringing people to your house is key when having a garage sale. Also make sure you have well placed signs that are large and easy to read. Make it easy for people to find your home. If you are selling on Ebay you can advertise this as well. If you have a blog, talk about your auctions on it. If you post on message boards list your Ebay auctions in your signature. These things will generate more traffic to your listings, which is the best way to getting the best prices.

Selling your items after you are done with them is a great way to reduce waste, recycle and best of all - make money! Whether you choose Ebay or a garage sale as the avenue in which you sell, following these tips will help you maximize your earnings. And isn't that what it is all about anyway? Good luck!


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    • roshan1980 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great advice, I'm newcomer to Ebay. Post more hubs on that. Thanks

    • Gwen P profile image

      Gwen P 

      10 years ago from The Heartland

      Hey, great hub! I love yard sales AND ebay! I've sold using both. It reminds me I have some books I need to list! Take care!

    • LivePaths profile image


      10 years ago

      Great tips!

      You coud also open a Garage Sale in your own Virtual Neighborhood:

    • Jennifer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Thanks for all of your comments Marye, I am anxious to find some time to read your hubs. I have a feeling we are a lot alike!

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      11 years ago

      excellent ideas. I have sold on ebay for years..hmm..I need to get back at it!


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