Cash in on Your Clutter

There are a lot of different places to find items to sell on eBay for a profit. I have been running an eBay store for more than 10 years and have really enjoyed it. I have found many sources that anyone can use to find items and turn around and sell them on eBay and make pretty good money doing it. In this article I will discuss just a few of my favorite inventory sources.

I guess the first place for anyone to start is their own house. Look around on the shelves, tucked away in drawers and cabinets, or boxed up and forgotten in the attic or basement and you’re sure to find plenty of items you no longer use but that someone might want. My rule is if I haven’t used it in more than a year, it’s just taking up space and creating useless clutter. Think of the useless knickknacks, unwanted gifts, movies you watched once and will never view again, books, gadgets that sounded great but you never really used, forgotten hobbies, things your children have outgrown. The possibilities are endless, especially for those who never throw anything away you may be sitting on a goldmine. Pick out some of these items and look them up on eBay, use the “completed” listings search option and search for similar items that are listed in green, which means they actually sold and take note of the amount. Now you can list them as fixed price or auction style, depending on your preference. Be sure to plan shipping in advance and have the necessary packaging ready to go once the item sells so you can ship it out as quickly as possible. Fast secure shipment of sold items is very important if you want to boost your ratings, which will help greatly with your sales. People are more likely to buy from you if you have a good reputation and other buyers leave you good feedback.

After you’ve sold a few of your unwanted personal items and gotten some positive buyer feedback you may now want to find other items to sell and continue to make a profit. Some of my favorite places to do this offline are yard sale and garage sales as well as Goodwill stores and flea markets. Look for items you are familiar with as far as the value and also things that would be easy to ship. Bulky or heavy items can be hard to sell due to the fact they are expensive to ship. Start with your personal interests, if you are a collector or user of a certain type of item, that means you already have some familiarity with the value of those items and which ones may be desirable to your customers. For example, if you collect dolls you probably have an “eye” for what makes a doll more collectable or valuable. Or if you enjoy scuba diving, you already have a familiarity with the equipment brand names and their value and quality. Another trick is to take your smartphone along and look up potential items on the fly to get an idea what they are worth before you buy them. And don’t hesitate to haggle with the sellers, especially at yard sales and flea markets you can usually get items much cheaper that the asking price especially if you buy more than one item.

There are also plenty of opportunities to buy items online such as using a wholesale “drop shipper” that will actually deliver the products for you as if it came from you. You are essentially just the salesman or middle man in the deal. You list the item on eBay using their photo and description and once it sells you place the order with them and they ship it out to your customer with the return label listing your name and address. Be aware, however, there are a lot of drop shippers out there that want to charge you a monthly membership fee and I try to avoid these because there are places that do the same service for free. It will take some searching but there are some really reliable company’s out there that offer this service. The hard part is finding items that are not already being sold cheaper than you will be able to get them from the wholesaler and pay eBay and PayPal fees and actually turn a profit. There is a handy fee calculator here that you can use to figure out the potential profit on any given item.

And of course there is always eBay itself as a source for items to sell. You can buy items in bulk or collections of items and break them down and sell them. Or just look for items that are listed by sellers that may be unaware of their true value. Looking for poor auction listings in which the seller used poor pictures or descriptions of items can also be a great source of bargain items to turn around and sell. For example someone lists the item as an “old fishing reel” and it is really a rare collector’s item or antique you may be able to bid on it and purchase it for far less than it is worth.

I am sure there are a many more creative ways of finding items to sell for profit than I have ever even thought of but that’s part of the fun of selling on eBay, it’s always kind of a treasure hunt. Anyone with the time, creativity and a little business sense can turn eBay into a great source of secondary or even primary income. Good luck and if you have any ideas I have not listed here please share them in the comments.

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