Ebay it All: Selling The Past on Ebay

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College was an interesting time for me. Not forgoing the obvious forays into the worlds of house parties and all night cram sessions, it marked a sharp uptake in the amount of “stuff” I owned. For some reason, throughout all of the extra papers, exams, mentally unbalanced coeds, and coffee addictions, I managed to have extra money laying around, and very little if anywhere to put that money. And so it became things – things that I had very little time to use, and subsequently have sat stagnant on my shelves for years now. Some of these things are pretty cool, but most of them are useless, and expensive.

As an unemployed writer now, I’ve come to the conclusion that owning an infinite library of rarely watched films and unread books does me little to no good. And, I’m broke. Mostly the broke part.

This is more than me whining over spilled milk though. It’s about how to most effectively get rid of this extra stuff. eBay is key. You all know that I’m sure, but seriously, I have to really emphasize the importance of the Big E. It’s a great, and incredibly easy way to make some quick cash, but also to liquidate almost everything you own.


Maximizing cashflow is generally not the idea, but it’s a nice side effect of the process at times. Turbo Lister 2 is a great tool though, because if you’ve ever sold anything on eBay you know just how long it can take to put up 100 different items. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s fairly well organized.

Guaranteed Returns

Having a high rating helps. Mine’s around 200 to start with 100% feedback, so I’ll get more bids just because I’m trustworthy. Also, keep your shipping low and easy. If it’s an item with a possibly high differential in end price (low demand and low supply usually) offer free shipping to entice more bids. Also make sure to set it up so your auctions end at a good time. You want maximum viewership in the last hour. So, a weekend afternoon is usually pretty good, or after dinner on a weeknight.

The Big Picture

You lose some money. It just happens. eBay takes a cut, Paypal takes a cut, eBay takes another cut, the post office takes a cut. Don’t hike up the postage to make up for it all, because it can really lower your end prices more than you gain, but also keep it fair for you. Just make sure to keep some of the money you make aside to pay for postage. I like my Paypal debit card for just that reason.

In a week or so, I should be a few empty shelves richer and a without a lot of very unneeded distractions. Libraries are wonderful, video stores glorious. Don’t buy everything you see. It dries you out.

The slow and steady process (and it is slow…very slow) of auctioning off all the odd bits and pieces from four years of academic boredom manifest as material excess has me about 40% of the way through weeding the least likely to ever be used items I own from my shelves.

As an unemployed writer, it is essentially my duty to sell everything I have that has no practicial (or sentimental) value as quickly as possible. It’s not just a response to the ever shrinking volume of my account balance, though that is probably the essential motivator. I need to remove the ample sources of distraction I’ve built up over the course of my college years. And hard as it may sound, if you go the route of the oft-not paid, you will also find yourself shucking off the old special edition dvds and ps2 games you haven’t played in two years.

It can be fun though too, because when you start digging through old boxes and finding random stuff that you don’t even remember owning, you realize that you can sell it, and then you get to find out how much it’s worth. I found a Director’s Cut Tin of a Japanese movie I liked a few years back (and owned a regular copy of) that I picked up from a local video store in a box and sold it for $75. It’s kind of rare apparently. But the key is that I only paid $10 for it, haven’t watched it in 3 years and forgot I owned it. I’m not building a collection. So sell it off, and pay for food for another week.

Of course, as my friends keep reminding me, don’t over do it (and I don’t; it’s too much damn work and way too time consuming to over do it) or you’ll start regretting what you sell. Unless you were unemployed against your will, you should only sell that which you no longer need or want. Now if you flipped off the boss and threw a cash register on the floor and don’t stand a piss ant’s chance in seaworld of getting another job right away…yeah, then you start selling everything.

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