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eBay Sellers Find Cash In Their Closets:  How to Get Started Selling Your Own Clothes on eBay

By: Lisa Thompson

What’s that rule again? If you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it? If we followed that rule, just about all of us would have a pretty decent pile of clothes that we should be getting rid of right now. What if I told you that you could earn some extra money by selling that clothing on eBay?

Selling that no longer used clothing on eBay takes a little bit of time, but is really quite simple, and you are almost guaranteed to get more money for your clothes than you would if you held a garage sale! So, where do you start? Read on to find an introduction to the basics of selling clothing on eBay.

1) Your first step is to sort the clothing you want to sell into spring/summer clothing and fall/winter clothing. You will want to sell your clothing “with the season,” meaning that if it is spring now, you should be selling your spring and summer clothing. Pack the opposite season clothing away in a labeled box so you can easily find it when the seasons change.

2) Next, sort the current season’s clothing by size. It is best to sell all of the clothing in the same size at the same time so if one person finds something they like, they might find others they like and bid on them all! (eBayers LOVE repeat customers!)

3) It is important to launder the clothing that you are going to sell, and steam or iron them, if necessary. It’s important that they are looking their best for the next step!

4) Photographing your clothing is one of the most important steps in this process because eBay shoppers need to really be able to see the clothing well since they can’t actually touch them or try them on. It is by far the easiest to use a digital camera so you can upload your photos right to your computer and then to eBay. If you don’t have your own, see if you can borrow one from someone you know.

Most big clothing sellers on eBay use some type of mannequin (mannequins that hang on your wall can be purchased for less than $25 on eBay.) to show their clothing, but if you don’t have one, you have a few other options.

You could put a simple hook in a solid colored wall, and hang the clothing on hangers from it. This works very well for just about all types of clothing, other than outfits, unless you have the special display hangers that show off a top and bottom together.

Another option is to lay the clothing on top of a solid colored piece of fabric on any flat surface. The trick here is to take the photos aiming straight down at the clothing and not on an angle. You might have to get up on a chair to accomplish this, but it really helps because clothing shot on an angle can really distort things and not give the potential bidder a true idea of what it looks like.

One important thing to keep in mind, no matter how you photograph your clothing, is to have good lighting! Natural light works great, so if you can be near a large window where the sun shines in, that would work very well. If not, you might want to consider setting up a few of those inexpensive work lights with clamps to shine on the clothing from different directions.

5) When you are done taking your photos, upload them onto your computer and do some simple editing with the photo software that came with your camera, or any other photo editing software that you are comfortable with.

The important things that you should do are: remove unnecessary background by cropping the photo so the item is the focus and not a lot of background, resize the photos so they are no too large (350 pixels on the longest side works pretty well.), and improve them by playing with the brightness or color levels, if necessary. Some programs have some type of “Quick Fix” button that will do that for you.

6) Next, you will need to sign-up for an eBay seller’s account if you don’t have one already.

7) Now you are ready to actually create and launch your auction listings. If you need some help with the basics of how to do this; check out eBay’s help pages and Learning Center. Here’s one good link to check out - eBay’s Learning Center

8) Finally, you can sit back and enjoy the roller coaster ride of watching your auctions throughout the week! Keep in mind that sometimes items get the most bids during the final minutes!

Here are some other things to keep in mind.

  • It is best to include a shipping price in your auction listings so potential bidders know how much it’s going to be. An easy way to do this is to use flat rate envelopes and boxes from the post office. Or, for heavier items, you can weigh them on your home bathroom scale and then use www.USPS.com to figure out the rate for shipping it.
  • Make sure you describe the clothing as best as you can, including any flaws there may be.
  • Including measurements is very helpful also. Use a tape measure to measure things like the chest, waist, and length of your clothing.
  • You might want to consider buying on eBay before you try to sell. There are two reasons for this. One, you will get some experience with the site and how it works, and two, you will build up a positive feedback score, which will make others feel more confident when buying from you!

If after selling your own clothes on eBay for a nice profit, you decide you’d like to keep going, you should consider ways to find more clothes to sell. Some options are: your friends’ and relatives’ closets, rummages, thrift stores, and even clearance sales at area retail stores can provide clothing at low enough prices for resale provided you know what to look for.

There is a lot to learn about selling clothing on eBay if you decide you’d like to try and make money doing it on a regular basis, but it can be done and can be a lot of fun too! The important thing is to always keep learning because the more you learn about selling clothing on eBay, the more money you make!

  © 2005 Lisa Thompson


Lisa Thompson has been buying and selling on eBay since 2000 and has earned recognition as an eBay Power Seller. She is also the publisher of a newsletter, Fortunes from Fashion, a must have “how to” guide for women’s clothing sellers on eBay.

NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “About the Author” section) and you send a copy of your reprint to Lisa Thompson.

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