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From “junk” to cash, with eBay or Amazon

stuffAunty did a post about selling on eBay a couple of years ago.  Aunty also took (paid some bucks) an eBay course from an eBay guru who was a power seller.  Truth to tell, Aunty did not use much of the information since a lot of it was for true rookies and some were for power sellers that are willing to devote all of their time loading, selling, packing, and shipping.

Aunty is more of a “hobby” eBayer, selling rarely and buying more often than she should.

However, since reading Marie Kondo’s book on the magical aspects of tidying up, piles of things that have value but no appeal or use are growing like mushrooms on Aunty’s floor.  These are things that are someone else’s potential source of joy and in new or great condition, so eBay or Amazon are great venues that act like stores for Aunty.


The easiest store is  One of the requirements is that you have the UPC or ISBN or manufacturing code from the packaging (best if you still have the box).  If you have that, it is as easy a matter of entering the condition, number of items available, choosing a few options, setting your price, and SHAZAAM!, your listing is live.  Amazon’s process will fill in the details, pictures, specifications, and your store is on the web.  Listings remain on the site forever, until they sell.

Aunty uses Amazon mainly for books. Fulfillment by Amazon is a service that actually stores and ships out your items – one day Aunty actually shipped out an entire bookcase worth of books that were not being looked at – fees are higher but it was like a wall of freedom with blessed space!

Customer service at Amazon is fantastic.  If you opt for a phone call from customer service, you WILL receive a phone call within minutes!  The only downside as a seller on Amazon is that selling price points are very low, and if you don’t set your selling price low or lower, your inventory does not move.  That being said, it is a great place to find bargains!


It used to be painfully difficult to sell on eBay.  All of the descriptions were the responsibility of the seller, and photo editing, sizing, and uploading were time consuming and laborious.

Now, with the advent of eBay’s mobile app (eBay), it is super duper easy to begin a listing with the app, take all the photos with your smart phone, save the listing as a draft, and then use your computer to complete the listing.  If you are a 100% mobile user, you could complete everything with your phone but the screen is much too small for Aunty’s aging eyes and scrolling is a pain.  A computer screen allows Aunty to see the whole picture and more wonderful options reveal themselves, iAo (in Aunty’s opinion).

One of the new options is to enter the ISBN or whatever they call the numbers that manufacturers use to identify their items.  Entering this will fill in a lot of the vitals of your items for sale, almost like Amazon!

The advantage of eBay being an auction site rather than a set price “store” like Amazon is that you could potentially get big bucks even if you don’t realize that your item is super desirable.  Listings are usually on for just 7 days, but can easily be relisted if it does not sell, all for free.  Fees are based on sales price, so if it sells, you pay.  If it doesn’t sell, you don’t pay.

eBay also started a service that is almost like Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon program.  eBay Valet will provide a shipping code and easy form to simply list the items that you want to sell (only certain items qualify), put them in a box and take it to a FedEx store, where it ships for free(!) to a “valet” who will do all the work and list your item(s) for sale on eBay.  If it sells, you get a percentage and they take a percentage.  Fees are rather high this way, but the convenience is wonderful.  They are very picky about what they accept and will return the items that they reject.  Aunty can attest to that – the valet returned most of the things that were sent and only listed a couple of the items.  The good thing is that it didn’t cost Aunty a single cent to ship out or receive back the rejected items.

Shipping ease

Another great improvement is the ability to print shipping labels that have all the shipment info on it from your computer to your printer.  The shipping costs (Aunty only uses USPS) are slightly lower than going to the post office and charged against your PayPal account.  After the shipping label is printed, just trim, tape on the package, and pop it in the drive through mail box!  They look super professional, with all the correct info, tracking number, and addresses printed in crisp black font.  SUPER easy!


The greatest danger in using eBay and/or Amazon is the potential to shop and spend.  Using their services to get cash for things that need to go out of the house is really terrific.  Aunty loves seeing her Paypal account (acts as a bank to collect and pay eBay transactions) grow a little and grow a little more with each successful sale.

It is better not to look or search for items of interest on either site because you WILL find tantalizing treasures that will whet your appetite and draw your finger to the BUY button.  Aunty’s weakness is Issey Miyake.

Buy, if you must, especially if not buying will become a regret.  If you later decide that it no longer gives you joy, add it to the pile of “mushrooms” and sell it on eBay.

About The Author

Aunty is a new senior citizen and loving this phase of her life. Less responsibilities, less fear of being weird, able to do more of the things that I want to do! Older, yes, slower, yes, but life is even more wonderful in my golden years and I look forward to even goldener ones.

Number of Entries : 379

Comments (13)

  • Tiare

    Love you blog anake! Keep up the good work ❤️🤙🏾🌈

  • Leslie

    I’ve always wanted to sell on eBay, I sure have enough crap to sell…but i’m too lazy! And how do you figure out the shipping price? I notice i buy small stuff from China – iPhone cases, etc, and they always list the shipping costs. Doesn’t it differ from country to country? And some people offer free shipping! How can, when the item seems cheaper than the shipping costs?? I think I’m too lazy to even research all of this…sigh….

    • Aunty

      Lots of times, I list it with free shipping. It is because when I am looking for things to buy on eBay, and more than one person is selling an item or there are similar items for sale, I usually go for the one that has free shipping. So, I figure potential buyers are like that too. Many times this is a lose money strategy, but usually it works out fine and those flat rate priority mail boxes and envelopes help to keep costs under control.

      I don’t sell to foreign countries. Too much hassle with higher postage, customs forms, etc. Actually, one time, I did have a buyer of a very nice dress bid and win, and she wanted it shipped to France. France! I had to jump through hoops for that buyer – first changing the listing to allowing eBay to ship it for me if foreign sale, and than she didn’t want to have to pay the high extra foreign eBay costs, so I changed it back to USA only and she bought it after listing a USA address. Then, after all that, she wanted it shipped to France. Ho da humbug! Using eBay foreign shipping would have been so much easier because then I would ship it to eBay and then eBay ships it out and does the customs form and all that for me. I lost money on that one because it didn’t sell for that much and the cost to clean was high. Oh well. Most of the time, the sales are good and easy.

  • Bill H.

    I was just thinking, maybe I should give them to you and let you sell them and split the proceeds. Maybe that way it would actually get done! Do you take consignments??

    • Aunty

      Aloha Bill,

      No, I don’t sell for others – too many misunderstandings and I feel bad if they don’t get what they want. There are local ebay sellers that do, but their fees are really high, so you get only half of what you think you will get. I had put some items for sale in their hands and was very disappointed in how they listed and I didn’t even get payment from them. And this was supposedly one of the best in the island!

      The eBay valet option might work for you. I would first look at what your items are selling for on eBay to see if it is worth selling. Then, make a list of what you have, and the eBay people will send you a tag that you pack in the box of items and take to any FedEx shipper. They will ship it out for you. The only work you did was to print the list and box up the shipment. Easy peasy! If the items aren’t listed or don’t sell, they return them to you at no charge. If items do sell, you get paid!

  • Bill H.

    Aunty, your post really inspired me, but I don’t know if it inspired me enough. We’ll see. I’ve got an iPhone 5, a Blackberry “Style” flip phone, and 3 Samsungs of various vintages, none of which are appreciating in value. They’ve been sitting here for about 2 years and about twice a month I’ll say to myself, “I’ve got to put those on Ebay!” Now after reading your post I have another choice–Amazon. I’ve got to do it!

  • Musings

    I’ve always wanted to try ebay, but have never gotten the courage to try. My son-in-law has sold quite a few things which always amazes me. I so admire your ability to learn how to do all these things. You are such a financial wizard!

    • Aunty


      It really got easy with the new phone app. It is amazing how some things just don’t sell, even if listed for 99¢! And some things sell for way more than you thought they would – like perfume or car parts, for example! I even sold a rather ugly jade bangle once – it was old jade and several people bid the price up. I almost felt bad for selling it but there is a market for old jade since new jade can be fake or dyed to look good.

  • jalna

    I never did look at used items on Amazon when purchasing. Now I will. And BTW, thank you so much for the goodies you passed on to me and my sisters (and Leslie) recently. It was so thoughtful and generous of you.

    • Aunty

      I was so glad to be able to share. The kids think I am looney with my logo items. I also include my magnets/cards/etc. when I ship things out to ebay and Amazon customers. Very fun.

  • gigi-hawaii

    I used to sell books on Amazon. I have not tried eBay, though. Lately, I just donate items to Goodwill.

    • Aunty

      I donate to Goodwill too, but some stuff is almost too good to donate so I either find someone who wants it or put it up for sale on eBay and/or Amazon. From time to time I shop at Goodwill. My way of recycling and saving money at the same time.


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