eBay vs. Garage Sales

February 12th, 2013 posted by Joyce Moseley Pierce

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.

// 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:

  • listing your items 24/7
  • ability to reach the world and not just your neighborhood
  • getting more than a quarter for each item
  • not having to wrestle with your kids
  • not having to haggle
  • not having to make change!

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 before shipping.
  • 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 did I!)
  • 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 original price.

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 get started.

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.

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.

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 (1 Posts)


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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!


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