Cleaning the Closet and Learning to eBay

I’ve had a burst of energy lately to sell some items on Craigslist and eBay.  This month I sold 5 clothing items on eBay that were ready to go to Goodwill.  Not to worry, the Goodwill bags are still full of treasures to donate, but I cherry-picked a few items to see what kind of money I could net.

I started a spreadsheet to gauge my net profit, and the spreadsheet has pointed out some of my shortcomings.

I sold 5 items for a gross of $ 60.00 excluding the shipping fees I collected.  However, when I look at the shipping costs I collected compared to my actual mailing costs, including materials, that is an additional $ 8.00 I have to deduct from my gross.   So my net was about $ 10.00 per item.   Definitely worth doing, but I do think I need to rethink my shipping pricing.

Issue 1: If you have a clothing item under 13 ounces, you can ship first-class, but you also have to pay for your shipping envelope and possibly .90 extra for tracking.  Total cost to ship is around $ 5.50.

Issue 2:  If you are over 13 ounces, you are looking at Priority Mail, which gives you a free envelope or box to ship in, and free tracking, but Priority Mail is running $ 6.85 for many of the heavier kids’ clothing items, like jeans.

Any experienced sellers out there with an opinion on whether it is difficult to sell a kids’ clothing item with a $ 6.85 shipping charge?  I think my own frugal nature ($7.00 shipping?!?) prevents me from seeing the shipping charge in the way others might.

Some items, such as a pair of women’s Chicos pants, have sold at high enough prices that the shipping shortfall isn’t so troubling.  When you are selling a pair of GAP kid’s jeans for $ 4.50, having to chip in for shipping eats into the profit pretty quickly.

Selling on eBay is one area where having a hard-core frugal mindset is working against me.  I can’t imagine paying $26.00 for a pair of used pants and paying $ 6.00 shipping on top of that.  Clearly, I am in the minority, because I had a number of bidders on the Chicos pants.  I am having a hard time imagining what buyers might be willing to pay, and may be undervaluing my offerings.  I do want to sell the items though, and not have them hanging around so that I can earn an extra dollar or two.

I welcome any input or advice you might have!


12 thoughts on “Cleaning the Closet and Learning to eBay

  1. Adventures of a Fiscally Fit Chica

    I haven’t sold on eBay for years but I think you do a great job. When in doubt, round up is my advice – isn’t that what “handling” is? I’m amazed at what people buy too. I’ve sold used high end shoes on eBay and always wonder who buys them.

    1. healthfulsave Post author

      It does seem eBay is making the selling process easier than ever before, giving free listings and pulling prices for comparable items before you price your item.

    1. healthfulsave Post author

      Wow, you bought your car on eBay, that is kind of neat! I was surprised even my husband’s Brooks Brothers polo shirt went for over 8.00. It relocated to a Southern coastal US area, and I imagine it is having a good life out on a golf course somewhere!

      1. Pam E-P

        You’re welcome! It’s not actually my link, I just happened to see it the same day as this post and thought it was exactly what you needed! I really enjoy your site.

  2. Economies of Kale

    Shipping is crazily expensive here too, but before I moved from Melbourne to Brisbane I sold a lot of stuff on eBay and made about $900. And it meant less stuff to move 🙂 Big ticket items sold well (guitar, stereo) and books sold really badly (I think I sold some textbooks for 99c) and some clothing did very well (like a dress that was a hand-me-down from my auntie selling for $50).

    1. healthfulsave Post author

      Cute new gravatar!
      You did really well unloading some items before moving. Having less stuff means you don’t need to pay for as much space to live in – and you know that very well!

  3. onlybacon

    I buy grey poly mailers in bulk. I like to snag them in auctions. They work EXCELLENTLY for anything under 13 ounces and save me money in the long run – for example if I only spend 15.00 on 300 poly mailers… oh yes.

    Then I priority flat rate envelope anything larger. ARE YOU PURCHASING SHIPPING THROUGH EBAY? Because it automatically gives me my tracking number for free on ebay and gives me a discount on shipping prices. So when I pay for a priority flat rate envelope, I’m only paying 5.05 with free tracking number.

    1. healthfulsave Post author

      Thank you for the great tips. I haven’t been printing the postage through eBay. I will have to read up on this because it looks like a great way to save money for all involved. Plus the free tracking saves .90 right off the bat.

  4. Pingback: Here Comes Santa Claus . . . | The Healthful Saver

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