Monday 18 April 2011

Guide On How To Make Free Space And Free Money

It's easy! Spring clean your wardrobe with the help of eBay! That's exactly how I earned some desperately needed closet space and just over £130 last month.

These are a few things I learned from the experience:

1) Your bedroom may look like this for the better part of two weeks.

2) I really hadn't done much ironing in years.

3) In my 20s, I loved pink and sparkles.

4) Now, in my 30s, I prefer bold prints and strong colours.

5) I will never learn to love emergency purchases.

6) Don't hang on to clothes that you think may fit you again after you lost those 15 kilos.

7) Jeans that do not flatter your figure do not have a place in your life.

8) People will buy anything. Almost.

9) The nice folk at the post office will start recognizing your face if you go to see them every day, for 10 days.

In addition to the invaluable insight into my life in fashion, I would also like to tell anybody who is thinking about auctioning off some of their unwanted clothes about what may help to make them attractive to buyers. I think some of these tips would also apply to any other junk that may turn out to be somebody else's treasure.

1) Tackle your wardrobe and remove anything that does not fit, or you do not like wearing. Shoes, clothes, accessoires, ANYTHING. Go over the pile and sort out stuff that is in too poor a state to sell with a clear conscience. This might be because it's washed out, has gone baggy or there are just too many scuffs on it. Don't through these things out, though, donate them to charity. Somebody who has no shoes on their feet or needs a warm sweater may still appreciate them.

2) Check for any repairs that the garments you will sell may be needing, and mend anything that you can.

3) Get out your ironing board and iron every single item of clothing that does not look close to pristine. When you take your pictures, every crease will show! Polish shoes, fluff sweaters, de-fuzz.

4) Find a nice, bright spot where you can take photos of your auctionees. Display them on a nice hanger or a dressmaker's dummy, if you have one. Try not to use the flash, as this might distort colours. Take pictures from the front, the back and of any detail you think makes the garment special. If you are selling bags, show the inside of them. If you are selling shoes, show the insides and the soles, so that a buyer can see if they are worn a bit or in pristine condition.

5) List your items. If you stick to a starting price of below £0.99, listing an item with pictures will be free. I started a few of my things off at only £0.10, because I just wanted them to go to a new home quickly. A low starting price also encourages bidding.

6) Describe the clothes you are selling as thruthful and as detailed as you can. If they have faults you were not able to fix, tell your potential bidders about these, including a photo where possible. If you have only worn a dress once, let them know. Mention the brand, as a popular one may make your listing more attractive. I found that Monsoon and Next were like nectar to the bees. Also point out if you live in a smoke and/or pet free home.  Honesty goes a long way when it comes to avoiding disputes and disappointment, and a bit of positive touting never hurt anyone.

7) Don't go and make money on your postage. Try and weigh things in order to be able to give people a realistic estimate. It's okay to top up your estimate a little to make up for packaging costs and your time, but don't be outrageous about it. I used the Royal Mail Price Finder to help me with this.

8) Set the end of your auction to be in the evening or on the weekend, when people are more likely to be in front of their computer and do some last minute bidding.

9) Keep checking your emails for potential questions from buyers. Try and answer these questions as quickly as possible. Apologize if you have taken your time to answer. If you can give somebody the measurements they need, calm any worries they might have or tell them how much it will be to post to Timbuktu, they are more likely to decide on bidding.

10) After an auction has ended successfully, and you have recieved payment, let the buyer know when you will be posting their purchase. I always find it reassuring to know that an eBay seller is on top of their game and that I can look forward to a parcel. If buyers take their time to pay you, you can give them a little nudge after 3 days or so, they might have just forgotten.

11) Give positive feedback where positive feedback is due. If you feel less than positive about a transaction, try and sort it out before leaving somebody negative feedback. In return, if somebody did not like what you did for them, try and investigate why. Maybe the issue can be resolved (especially if it was a case of somebody's child playing with their keyboard) and they will revise their feedback. If you do not hear from people at all, contact them and ask them if everything was okay and if they might care to leave you positive feedback. After all, feedback is what advocates your virtue to the eBay community, and you want to look your best.

12) Enjoy the fruit of your labour, but don't go and spend the money on clothes! Wink, wink....

Finally, here are some of the things I managed to sell, and for how much I managed to sell them.

Dorothy Perkins Skirt.
Liked, but will never fit again.
Sold for £6.27.

Next Sleeveless Linen Blouse.
Emergency party outfit. I do not even like to wear sleeveless. Or linen.
Sold for £6.70.

Monsoon Tea Dress.
Kinda nice, but made me look matronly.
Sold for £16.00.

George at Asda Slouch Jeans.
Look horribly on me.
Sold for £8.50.

Next Cotton Shrug.
Came as part of an ensemble. Don't like to wear shrugs.
Sold for £6.10.

Size 14. Who am I kidding.
Sold for £2.55.

 Monsoon Silk Dress.
Worn once to wedding. Beautiful, but would make people offer
me their seats on public transport.
Sold for £24.44.

Small Shoulder Bag.
Ages old, no longer really my style.
Sold for £0.50.

M&S Trench Coat.
I think I wore it twice, just before I went from nice & skinny to quite a bit overweight.
Sold for £2.20.

Brown & Yellow Belt.
Came with a pair of jeans. Didn't really like it.
Sold for £0.10.

© Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)


  1. If I followed your advice, my wardrobe would be empty. But It has been neglected for too long so you may have encouraged me to sort it out.

  2. Thanks Annika, really useful advice, will keep it in mind when I start selling my stuff. Cheers!


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