FB’s Guide to Selling Online

Note: I posted this once before but I don’t know WTF happened to it. Here it is again.

A while ago as some of you may remember, I sold 50% of my clothing & accessories on something I called “FB Closet” — BUY IT ALL!

I ended up making ~$1000 at the end of it all (I donated some of it to a charity), and here’s how I did it.

Sort your wardrobe into a “Lose It” pile

Donate, sell, toss, use as a rag. Whatever.

Just get it out of your closet and into boxes or bags in a separate area of your home so that you KNOW it will not be staying in your closet any longer.

You have to start losing that emotional attachment to your items.

And don’t let your mom into the room or else she’ll start picking through the pile and trying to fit into the clothing to show you that it can be worn again.

Sort that Lose It pile into 4 categories

SELL: Any item that you would purchase for yourself and things you KNOW other people would buy

So.. anything with a brand name or looks almost new are pretty good bets to sell.

Anything from the 80s, or t-shirts with excessive beer logos or random cutesy pictures is not acceptable for sale.

DONATE: Anything that is WEARABLE that didn’t make it in the Sell pile

Please be reasonable.

If people cannot wear it, don’t donate it.

Do not donate anything with holes, rips, tears, stains… I mean, really.

Donating things to Goodwill or to charitable organizations is not carte blanche to be able to get rid of all of your rags.

They aren’t a garbage dump.

RE-PURPOSE: Anything that is NOT wearable

If you can tear up that fugly t-shirt to use as a rag, or to wear it while painting the house next week, then by all means keep it.

Everyone should keep ONE set of ugly clothes in my opinion. You never know when they’ll come in handy when you have to do dirty things and don’t want to ruin your nice yellow, hole-free, stain-free t-shirt.

TOSS: Anything that is not able to be re-purposed or worn again

This was the last option on my list, the toss pile.

Get rid of the Donate and Toss piles

Toss the Toss pile, and physically box up the donate piles (in properly sealed boxes) and drive them over to your local Goodwill.

You are going to feel an euphoric rush from de-cluttering, I swear! It’s like a runner’s high.

And put the Re-Purpose items aside in another container to let you know that it’s a safe place to go to for a clean set of “ugly” clothes and clean rags to use for cleaning or staining that new table you bought at the antique fair last week.

Start photographing & organizing the Sell Pile

I won’t lie. This is the worst freaking part of the whole ordeal and I hated, every single minute of it.

What to photograph:

  • Front
  • Back
  • Details (Pockets for example)
  • Collar area

What to note down:

  • How it fits on YOU (I am a Small-Medium, Size 6 so I noted if it felt big or tight on me)
  • Measurements (Sleeve, Collar, Back, Front, Written Tag Size)
  • The Brand
  • The Materials (Silk, Cashmere, Polyester-Cotton Blend, etc)

Doesn’t sound so bad right?

Now imagine doing this even 100 times. It is really time consuming to do it alone, and it helps if you have someone else around, which I didn’t.

Set up the listing on eBay

I used eBay, but you can use Craigslist, Les Pac, or any other site to sell your items. eBay reaches more people on the whole.

You can perfect a SINGLE listing and just copy it for the rest of the items, changing the measurements & description.

This is also time consuming but a bit more fun than just trying to take down measurements or photograph the
items.

The rule of thumb: There is never enough or too much information you can give a buyer.

Some buyers, like myself, will really pick through a listing with a fine tooth comb and if I don’t see or read what I want to know, I am going to bother you with questions.

Your goal is to have a buy never have the urge to ask you a single question, because you’ve answered EVERYTHING they could imagine in the listing.

For your listing, you will want to talk about the following:

Tell them a bit about yourself

Corny, but as a buyer I like to know who I’m buying from.

Makes me happy.

A DETAILED description of the item

I am talking about making it funny, interesting, and helpful. Please don’t just list “A yellow shirt”.

Talk about how it fits on you, what you can pair it with (white jeans?) and what shade of yellow it is in the light (buttercup? lemon? mellow? pale?).

People aren’t just buying a yellow shirt for $1. They could go to Goodwill for that. Tell them WHY that yellow shirt is cool.

Shipping & Location

It might help to tell people if you are located in Austria or Canada. It matters to some people. Don’t ask me why.

Along the lines of that, tell them WHERE you are shipping. Only to the U.S.? Only to Canada? Only to North America? Anywhere in the World?

Make it clear that the buyer pays for all shipping. You will have to estimate in this case using one of two methods:

  • Sell the item and then get the buyer’s address, take it to the Post Office & have the actual cost to give
  • Estimate the shipping price and eat the costs if it goes over what they gave you for shipping

You also want to make sure to mention how you are shipping the items — usually by using a domestic postal carrier like USPS (United States Postal Service) or Canada Post.

For something like clothing, I wouldn’t ever suggest offering the services of couriers like Fedex or UPS unless unless the buyer is WILLING TO PAY for that shipping method.

Packing & Packaging

If it comes from a smoke-free or pet-free home.

If you have pets, please list where you store the clothing.

I am particularly sensitive to this, because I am allergic and if I buy a piece of clothing covered in dog fur, there is going to be hell to pay.

People will want to know how you are going to ship it.

You can choose a couple of options like buying a cardboard box from the post office, assembling it and putting the items in it.

Or just using big manila bubbled envelopes and stuffing the clothes in there.

The most inexpensive way in my 9 years of selling things on eBay is to go around the home and…

1. Repurpose the old cardboard you have lying around.

Break apart boxes with a razor & make your own makeshift shipping box for items that are more fragile in nature and need structure.

This takes more time, but is worth it for breakable items.

2. Wrap clothing and soft un-damageable (sp?) items in brown paper

On the front, write the address in big, bold, badass, block letter printing using a permanent black marker so that the addres doesn’t wipe off.

Then cover the entire brown paper package in clear packing tape so that in case the package gets wet, the clothes won’t get stained on the inside AND the address won’t smudge or run as it is protected by the tape.

Genius, huh? Thank my brother for that tip.

Payment & Discounts

What kind of payments do you accept?

  • Cash in an envelope (Send at your own risk)
  • Paypal (the easiest, fastest way)
  • Google Pay
  • Western Union Bill Pay
  • Cashiers Cheque made out to the COUNTRY you are in (Canada and the U.S. are different cheques)

And what kind of discounts do you give?

  • Buy one get one free
  • Buy a second item, shipping is only an extra $1 using the most expensive item’s shipping price as the base (for example, shoes cost $15 to ship and if they buy a top, shipping is free or an extra $1 above the cost to ship the shoes)

You can also talk about how the process goes once you get the payment. Do you ship within 3-5 days? At the end of the week?

Return & Refunds Policy

You can have NO returns and NO refunds.

Or, a mix of both. It’s up to you.

Here’s my story:

I never issued returns or refunds ever again thanks to being burned by some lousy buyers in Ottawa who ran a boutique and *rolls eyes* told me that my item looked used.

To be clear, I had NEVER worn the sandals at all, but I had bought them as they were in the store, and people wear it to try it out in the shoe store, which adds a little wear and tear on the sole. But it was SO unnoticeable, AND I gave very clear pictures of the sole and the sides that were rubbed slightly.

They still raised a huge fuss, tried to get me banned from eBay… never again.

I take extensive, detailed photos and you get what you see in the photos.

End of story.

But it’s up to you to decide what you think is fair, but do NOT LIE IN YOUR LISTINGS, and just be honest.

If they want to buy it anyway, they will.

But they’ll be more disappointed if they would have been happy in the first place with slightly used items and you told them it was new.

If it’s a FAKE designer bag, and you damn well know it.. then say so.

Or provide the certificate of authenticity.

You might also want to note clearly that it is the buyers duty to ask a million and one questions before buying.

I personally didn’t mind answering questions, taking more pictures… I just want them happy, but not if they’re going to lie afterwards and plead the 5th.

Do not forget to plaster your email address all over the listing.

Start selling

Make sure the items are clean and in good condition before you package them.

If they are NOT, or if your cat chewed the pair of boots before you listed them, then TELL THE BUYER before you ship them and offer them a discount or to refund them their money.

Throw in a business card if you want. I did simple, handwritten notes thanking them.

Keep a detailed list or Excel sheet of your buyers:

  • Names
  • Email Addresses
  • Physical Addresses
  • Items purchased
  • Profit & Loss on items (Gross $ Sold, Net Price ($) after eBay, Paypal & Shipping Fees)
  • Date you expect to ship the items
  • If they bought more than one item
  • Special surcharges (if any, like alterations you may do for a fee)
  • Special notes from the buyer

Keep in constant communication

  • Tell them you’ve received the payment
  • THANK THEM.
  • Ask them if that’s all they want to buy.
  • Give them a rough date of when you want to ship it.
  • Tell them when you have shipped the items.
  • Ask them to email back once they’ve gotten the items and/or leave positive feedback.
  • THANK THEM.
  • Tell them that if they are unhappy to please contact you immediately before leaving bad feedback.

The rest of the story

I sold 25% of what I wanted to sell on eBay (the really nice almost new items), and then the rest, I just dumped into 5 huge garbage bags, and put a listing on Craig’s List that said:

BUY THE REST OF MY WARDROBE FOR $500. LOCAL PICK-UP ONLY.

Some fashion student came along, answered my ad the next day and snatched it all up.

Her boyfriend thought she was effing NUTS. It was cute.

That about does it.

That’s how I sold almost everything.

Now my closet is clutter-free and happy.

Any questions? Or tips from other experienced sellers?

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.