Monday, March 22, 2010

Ebay and summer clothes I have never been so glad to finish anything, well except maybe labor, as I have been to finish selling the boys old summer clothing and shoes. Yikes, it was a mess. It literally took weeks from start to (almost) finish.

First, I had to dig through 5-6 large containers of clothing to decide between what the boys can still wear and what they cannot. Then going through the "cannots", I had to decide what I wanted to sell on ebay and what I wanted to donate and what I needed to toss due to stains or holes or tears.

Then I had to launder the ones I was going to sell and also the ones to donate, a minimum of 14 loads of laundry, I am not kidding. Now I confess, I did not iron or steam the donated clothes, call me lazy or thoughtless but I say "tired already" are better words. So then I did the ironing and steaming of "selling" clothes and bagged the "donating" clothes. I just tossed the bags back in the attic until I can go through my clothes as well to donate.

After ironing and/or steaming, I then had to match up the clothes, some were complete sets, some just went well together, and some I put together to create lots. This is lazy selling, I could have probably made more by selling, say a group of Gymboree or Ralph Lauren shirts separately but then, I would have to list them separately and it was just not worth it.

So after grouping them and separating them and all that, I had to photograph them.

Ugh, I took over 500 pictures. Let me just say that it is hard on ones back, laying the clothes out, arranging them to look their most attractive, then rearranging them to show more detail.

After the pics, I then had to list them all on Auctiva. I use Auctiva because for 9.95 I can list all my auctions at different times, whenever I have a few minutes and set them to go off when I want, all in 3-5 minute increments. It took me about a week or so to list 97 auctions, as I listed them whenever I had the chance, day or night, while the boys' were sleeping or at school. It takes a while because I have to describe each item, list any imperfections, and add the photos that I took.

Then I scheduled the auctions to go off on 4 consecutive nights.

Sounds like an ordeal, right? Well it ain't over yet. During the 7 days between when the auctions start and when they end, I had to answer 169 questions. Questions about shipping charges, requests for cheaper shipping, measurements (these were my least favorite as I had to actually get out the measuring tape and measure the foot bed of a shoe or the shoulder to crotch of a romper), and if I will ship internationally, though I clearly stated that I would ship only to the US and Canada (why I don't know, I HATE shipping to Canada).

I confess to obsessing over my auctions, watching them daily and then when they start ending, being glued to each auction during its final minute, watching, waiting and hoping that some overzealous bidders will get so excited they will pay huge amounts of money for my clothes. And some do, but mostly they all get great deals on very nice clothing.

After all the auctions end, I send out invoices. I wait until they are all over so people can take advantage of combined shipping. Unless of course they ask me to send one earlier.

Then the real work begins. Bagging clothing (I put each outfit in a zip-loc freezer bag so weather cannot damage them), putting multi auction winners boxes and bags together, printing out packing and shipping labels, bagging and boxing them in the mailing envelopes and boxes, praying that I don't make too many mistakes on shipping: just 3 this time, not too bad, one on shipping charge where I did not charge enough to Canada (did I mention I hate shipping to Canada), one where I left out an outfit and a pair of socks to someone who won 10-12 auctions, and a big one, mailed the wrong outfit to someone. She is shipping it back and fortunately the person who won that outfit was very late paying (like 2 weeks late) so I don't feel too bad that it will take an extra few days to get her stuff to her.

And now I am in the process of waiting to see that everyone gets their items in a timely manner and that they like them. So far so good, no one has emailed me asking where their items are or complaining about a stain or fade that I missed.

Next I will go back to the clothing I have set aside for this year and launder them, then place them in the boys' closets so they will be ready for spring and summer.

So that's it, my ebay experience as a seller. And crazily enough, I do this twice a year. While I don't love it, I love that I can recycle clothing. Do something good for the environment and the economy at the same time. Plus make some money to buy the boys' new clothing. That way I will have more stuff to list next time!

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