Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Declutter Challenge March Update: Building Ebay Experience

I haven't forgotten that it's past time to report on my decluttering progress in March. After a busy month in February... blah blah blah. I toyed with the idea of listing some items on Craig's List, but ultimately I decided to focus on Ebay listings.

I followed the strategy I had worked out and it went well. Listing auctions with no reserve on Ebay makes me anxious, and many people prefer to avoid the fear of an item selling for a low price by raising the starting bid price or pricing the item as Buy it Now. I've observed that auctions with higher starting bid prices appear to attract fewer bidders. I could sell items using the Buy it Now feature, but I wasn't sure exactly how much my items would be worth in the end. One buyer actually contacted me about an auction, wondering if I would be willing to change it to a Buy it Now transaction. I'm glad I didn't because the item ended up selling for more than the buyer would have offered.

I also struggled with the mail rates. The cost to mail the larger items were easy to justify, but the cost to mail some of the smaller items across the country was exhorbitant. In some cases the flat rate envelopes and boxes worked well, but in other cases the value of the item I was trying to sell wasn't worth how much it would cost to safely ship it anywhere in the country. I ended up added additional shipping options on several transactions.

In the end, I sold 7 of the 11 items, resulting in $155.47 in sales after Ebay and Paypal commissions and fees, which I've finally figured out!* Several of the small items sold for only $.99, so I'm not always right about what items will be in demand. I didn't mind very much because I had great success on other transactions, and I still moved items that were no longer useful to my family out of my house and into a home where the item is needed.

I also sold an additional book through Half.com, making $5.59 after commissions and fees. I only have a small handful of books listed, but it's nice to every once in a while pop a book in the mail to someone who would like to own it.

That's all I sold! It was a smaller month, but still well ahead of my earning goal--I earned a total of $161.06.

As for my other decluttering projects, I could have made more progress. The pile for Goodwill that I made when decluttering the basement laundry room is still in the house, unfortunately. I did successfully recycle my worn, flaking, non-stick cookware. April is set to be a high export month due to the yard/consignment sale strategy.

*You might recall from last month that I wasn't sure what my Ebay fees were. After a bit of research, I figured out that my Ebay fees totaled $18.26, and were not paid before I posted my numbers for last month. Paypal must also be paid when you are a seller--I'm learning so much!--and their total fees were $8.60, but these fees were deducted from each transaction as they were processed. This all means that I overstated my Ebay earnings for February by $18.26, so I've deducted that amount from the loan payment that I'm sending for March. This is a bit complex to keep track of, yet another reason I am limiting my Ebay activity to 1 week per month! I don't know how accountants keep up with this stuff!

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