The beginners step by step guide to setting up and using eBay to sell your clutter and make money

eBay is one of the worlds largest online market places. Once you get the hang on it, eBay is easy to use, safe and a great little side hustle. In this blog I breakdown all the steps from opening an eBay account to mailing out your first sale.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

In 2017 I moved out of home to a small country town and got my first full time job. My aim was to save a house deposit as quickly as possible (you can read about that here). I looked around my house and saw it was FULL of money. This wasn’t money hidden in the backyard or under couch cushions. It was the money held in the value of all the stuff I owned, but never used. I wanted this money out of my house and back in my bank account ASAP!

I opened an eBay account, posted some items for sale and made my first sale! A new Mimco Passport Wallet. I made $36 profit and I was ecstatic! Since then I have learned lots about side hustles and eBay.

Just an FYI, I know that the detail in this blog post might seem overwhelming / complicated. However, once you get started the process is easy and the app is user friendly! I suggest reading this blog with the app opened and following it step by step. You can check out my Ebay store here. It is a mixture of clothes from my wardrobe, books and items I have picked up to resell.

So what is eBay?

eBay is a website (and App!) that is like a huge online store. Everyone from huge companies, small businesses and private citizens (like us) can sell and buy just about anything on there.

In 2019 eBay recorded 180million active users. That’s a lot more buyers than in your local Buy, Swap and Sell group!

What can I sell on eBay?

Just about anything! You can read eBay’s prohibited and restricted guidelines here.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that, in most occasions, you need to be able to post whatever you’ve sold so breakable / large / heavy items could be more trouble than they’re worth. Also, either you or the buyer has to pay for postage so you have to consider if the value of the item compared to the cost of shipping is ‘worth it’. For example, to ship a shirt it will cost about $9. So if the shirt is only worth $5 a buyer will end up paying $14 for it… for many buyers it’s not worth shelling out the extra money if it’s something that they could just grab at Kmart.

eBay vs Facebook Market Place?

It’s up to you what you sell on eBay compared to Facebook market place. My general thoughts are

Facebook Market Place / Buy, Sell & Swap groupsEbay
Low value items ($2 photo frame, $5 Target dress etc)
Heavy items
Bulky items like lamps, appliances, pots etc
Books sold in bulk
High quality branded items
Vintage clothes
Individual sort after books
Small items with higher value
Items new with tags
Unique items

How to open an eBay account

Open an eBay account here or download the app and create through there (I recommend the app).

All of the instructions in this blog will be for the eBay app as I think it is more user friendly for someone just getting started.

Ps- eBay has paid seller accounts but if you’re just getting started or just wanting to sell a few things from around the house I recommend a free account. You get a free account automatically but can upgrade it later.

Get yourself set up.

  1. Address: In the app look at the tabs along the bottom of the screen. Click on ‘My eBay’ and then ‘Settings’. In settings update your delivery address (which will be added as your return to sender address as well).
  2. Payment: In the app click on the ‘My eBay’ tab. Click on payments and add your preferred payment method to buy with and be paid into. I use my Paypal account as an extra security measure but when I first started my eBay account I used bank transfer.

List your first item.

In the app, click the ‘selling’ tab. Read through the tips eBay provided as they’re quite good, as well as the FAQs

Important info to keep in mind:

You can list 40 items per month for free on Ebay.

eBay takes 10.9% of the total amount paid (postage + amount it sold for).

  1. Click search tab. In search describe what you are selling using key words (name, age, size, if it has tags, brand)
  2. Look at the items that pop up. This is everything that is currently / recently listed and the prices people have advertised them for.
  3. Click ‘filter’ and show more. Scroll down until you see ‘sold items’ and click on that. Now eBay will show you how much similar items have actually sold for. Use this information to help work out how much to price your item.
  4. If you see an item very similar to yours click on it and then click on “sell one like this” and then skip to step 6. If you cant see one like yours read step 5.
  5. Click the ‘selling’ tab and then click list an item. In the search box write down key words to describe your item. NOTE: If your item is a book you can click on the barcode. Scan the books barcode and eBay may input all the info for you. Then click on the suggested category your item belongs in. You then have the option to choose a similar listed item or create a new listing.
  6. Go through the listing summary details one box at a time. The more details and key words the better!
The advertised price of “Cue Size 12 Red Dress” (above) VS The sold price of Cue Size 12 Red Dress (below)

Listing details

  • Photos: Try and take on a plain background. Make sure you use all the photos, photograph from all angles / sides, include photos of all tags and photograph any flaws. Use natural light and If you have an iPhone use vivid mode to make the colours stand out better. I have a hook on the wall. I hang the clothes on a white coat hanger, stick it on the hook and photograph there.
  • Title: Use all the space available. Include what it is but use all the different words that describe one item (e.g. top, blouse, shirt), colour (e.g. pastel sky light blue), size (e.g. 12, Medium, M) and key words to describe the item (e.g. summer, pool party, bell sleeves, sailor themed, lace trim). You can also you BNWT (brand, new with tags) if applicable.
  • Item specifics: You don’t have to answer them all but answer as many as you know.
  • Description: Describe any and all details about the item. Describe flaws and features. You could include measurements, original price, era it’s from etc
  • Pricing: I personally don’t use auctions – but you can. Click on pricing and turn auction off. Then add in a ‘buy it now’ price (using the info from your early search). You can also add if you want to allow buyers to make their own offer. I personally always have this turned on.
  • Delivery: Fist turn the ‘local pick up’ (allowing people to pick up items from your house rather then you mailing them) on or off. I don’t click on international postage because I keep it as simple as possible.
  • Below in the table, is how I approach postage because I find it easiest and it does not require a printer. This is my personal opinion but there are many other great approaches which you can read about here. Providing your own packaging and printing postage labels from Ebay is a popular option.
  • In preferences update your handling time (I set mine at 3 days) and choose if you will accept returns. I personally accept returns but have it set to ‘buyer pays return postage’.
  • Click list it and patiently await a buyer
Prepaid Australian Post Standard Parcel + Registered
1. On the app, click on delivery and then package details. Click on the “I don’t know the package details” and then click done.
2. Click on “select a service” > “use own packaging > “Australian post standard parcel + Registered” and then click done.
At Australia post, behind the counter or online, you can buy prepaid postage sachets (that have tracking numbers). They come in different sizes. I generally sell clothes so I buy the small size. As long as the item is under 5kgs and fits in this small bag they will send it. “If it fits it ships” is the motto. Read about prepaid postage bags and their sizes here.

3. In Postage cost enter the amount the prepaid satchel cost you. For example the small satchel is $9.20 so enter that and then press done.
Below the listing details on the item most recently sold on my Ebay

Selling your first item.

Now that your item is listed a few things may happen

  1. Someone buys your item- yay!
  2. Someone sends you an offer on your item. You can accept, decline or counter offer.
  3. The app give you the option to ‘make an offer to watchers’. Here you can send an offer direct to people who have saved your item on their wishlist.
  4. Your item does not sell. After a period of time your item will renew and eBay will relist it. If you item is not selling consider changing key words, taking clearer photos, dropping the price etc

Once an item sells eBay will show you the buyers details. Write these details onto the front of a prepaid parcel and add your return details on the back. On the eBay app click ‘add tracing details’ and copy down the numbers from the postage satchel. I keep the tracking stickers in a little note book (see the picture below).

Then mail off your item. I leave a nice review on the buyer as I feel this encourages them to leave a nice review about you!

I wrap my sold items in brown paper and keep a copy of the tracking number from the parcel.

How do I get paid?

After you have mailed the item eBay will release the funds to your bank account. This can take a few days as they wait for evidence from Australia post that your item has actually been sent.

Commonly asked questions?

Q. Does it matter what time or the day / night you post?

In my opinion, it does not matter.

Q. How to get more views on your listings?

Use key words that people are likely to search, fill in as many details as possible and keep the Ebay algorithm happy! Do this by posting items for sale regularly, using all the characters in the title and using all the photos. You can also share listings to your social media.

Q. How do returns and refunds work?

If you have an option to accept returns I would suggest also having the buyer pays for return postage activated. If an item is requested to be returned Ebay will send you a email. You then follow the prompts. They will handle the transfer of return funds.

If a buyer receives an item that they deem to be faulty / not matching the description you have given they can request a refund. You can accept or deny this. If you deny it they can open up a case against you which Ebay will moderate.

Q. What clothes brands sell well for you?

Please see the screenshots of my post recent sales. I am no expert! I suggest following the experts below on Instagram and keeping an eye on the items they are picking up / selling. I honestly think you can sell anything with good photos and key words! Don’t let brands stop you!

You can also follow the hashtags #aussieresellingcommunity #ebayreseller

Follow: @thriftypixie1 @minimalist_mumthrifts @thebusinessofpreloved @backfromburnout @mygirlrache

Remember that eBay will send you emails updating you on what to do at each stage of the selling process! They also have a live chat to help you if you need it.

I hope you found this information helpful! If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments below and I will get them answered for you.


| This blog post was all about how to start selling your unwanted items on Ebay |

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Published by smartgirlsfinishrich

’m a money driven 20 something year old, working hard to improve my finances and create a lifestyle that I love. My hope is that by sharing my story it will help you increase your financial knowledge, motivate you to improve your financial situation and empower you to make more money $$$$ I’m not obsessed with money. I’m obsessed with the freedom and lifestyle choices money provides. (but also, I’m a little obsessed with money) My biggest money wins were all achieved on a a teacher income + side hustle earnings. All while living out of home. Saved a 20% deposit ($90,000) and purchased my dream first apartment in Perth, Australia. Saved $13,000 (so far) for a new car using side hustle income. On track to finish 2021 with NO HECs Debt. $18,000 paid off to date! Travelled Europe for six weeks while saving a house deposit. Check out my blog posts or follow my Instagram for all the details! It’s time for your financial glow up!

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