Selling my childhood toys on eBay and Amazon

Oct 17, 2014

I mentioned in my two months of blogging post that I've been selling my family's old possessions on eBay and Amazon. Over the last couple of years, I have sold literally 144 things on eBay and 153 things on Amazon. I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts on how it's gone.

When is it worth it?

Selling on eBay and Amazon is pretty efficient. The eBay Android app is very good and creating a listing on Amazon takes no time at all. However, when you are selling a lot of things, the time quickly adds up.

When things go well, it can take about 3 minutes to list something on Amazon or 10 for eBay. It takes about 3 minutes to print a shipping label and package something up. Sending it via the post office or Collect+ can take only a few minutes if I was passing by anyway. For more complex items, those estimates could be doubled or maybe quadrupled.

You could calculate an effective "hourly wage" if you wanted to. Personally, I find it quite satisfying to get rid of something I don't need and give it to someone who wants it. Still, as a rule of thumb, I don't even consider selling anything worth less than £5. It goes straight to the charity shop or gets bundled together with similar items.

Pricing strategies

For Amazon, I always price everything just under the next lowest price. If I don't do that, I find that things can sit on Amazon for ages without selling. If there are no other used versions of the product for sale then I usually go for around 75% of the new price.

Over half of my Amazon sales were for used games from the N64 to GameCube era. I found they were especially easy to sell, probably because you can't buy them new any more. I clearly remember several occasions where I had piles of 10+ packages ready to go to the Post Office.

For eBay, I put almost everything on for 99p. It leads to a fair sale price in 95% of cases. For very rare or unusual items I occasionally put higher starting prices. The situation you don't want to occur is for only one person to be interested but also willing to pay a high amount. Even if they bid £50, you may only end up with 99p if no-one else bid anything.

Collection in person

I was pretty nervous about selling things with local collection on eBay. However, I've had a lot of positive experiences and no negative ones. In most cases, the buyer just rings your bell and takes the item.

I've also had several occasions when the buyer buys some other stuff I wanted to sell. When I sold an old record player, I also ended up selling a bunch of records. When I sold some furniture, I also sold some curtains and some other furniture.

Closing thoughts

It's been a good experience. It's also made me realise that buying used can be just as good as buying new. My current laptop, phone and camera were all bought used for about half of the new price. They have all been working perfectly for over a year.

It makes me think how wasteful always buying the newest and greatest thing can be. I'll leave you with a link to this article on the culture of unnecessaries.