How to Sell on eBay – Be Sustainable, Make and Save Money

Do you own anything that you do don’t use or need? Make money and be sustainable, sell it on eBay! 🙂

eBay is a brilliant, easy and sustainable way of disposing of things you no longer need or use and make money and also to purchase new or used things that others no longer need or want at affordable prices.

It encourages to make the most of something and using what’s already there rather that letting it gather dust and take up space or buying more new things from. I love how it simply connects the demand and supply of an item so cleverly.

I have bought many things on eBay such as lovely dresses, our table and chairs and our coffee table.

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to de-clutter your home or make some extra money, get selling! 🙂

I became a member in November 2009 at a time when I really needed money and could not find a part-time job while studying and have occasionally sold (and bought!) items on eBay ever since.

I have gained experience on how to successfully sell and send items efficiently and have a few useful tips for you that I’d like to share. I have embedded many useful links so simply click on the keywords to go to their web pages.

Please note these tips are all gathered from my personal experience as an occasional seller and buyer, there are different rules for business sellers and you may be able to change some settings to suit your particular needs, so please use my tips as guidance and refer to the exhaustive information on for unequivocal facts.


So, to get started:

  1. Register on eBay

I remember it was really straight forward, I just followed the directions from the site.


2. Create a Paypal account

If you haven’t already got one, create a Paypal account. Paypal is a “safe, fast and easy” way to make and receive payments online and you will be able to use it on many other sites to pay and receive money securely.

The fees eBay takes off my sales are automatically deducted from my Paypal account, I think this is the default method, so after logging onto your Paypal account you will be able to see how much the buyer pays for each item you sell and how much is deducted from it to go to eBay.

They actually withdraw the fee from your Paypal account 10 days after sending you a monthly invoice that you will receive on both you e-mail and on ebay in the “Messages” section.

From time to time Paypal make minor changes to their user agreement policy, when they do so they send an e-mail where you can easily follow the link showing the changes so you can always be up to date with everything.


3. Create an eBay folder in your e-mail account

I  find it very useful to keep track of important e-mails and also to store the receipts of payments from buyers or receipts of payments I make for any future reference.


4. Buy your P&P essential kit

Avoid buying expensive P&P equipment from places such as the Post Office or WHSmith, their prices are seriously inflated. If possible go somewhere such as Poundland or perhaps a more affordable stationery shop or to a supermarket to buy reasonably priced brown wrapping paper, sellotape, and different sized envelopes.

If you need bubble wrap to pad something fragile, there’s no need to buy some: simply go to any shop that sells items which might be transported in bubble wrap (a supermarket’s crockery department, a shop that sells vases, frames or glasses etc.), and ask a member of staff if you could have some of their bubble wrap. All they do is (hopefully) recycle it so there shouldn’t be any problems. I have bags full of bubble wrap and didn’t spend a penny on any of it!

eBay Essential Selling Kit

eBay Essential Selling Kit

-Thin paper: got it for free from shops or kept it from previous padded items ready to reuse

-Sellotape: strong, thick one from Poundland, very efficient

-Scissors: when using brown paper!

-Normal pen: for writing addresses on small size packets

-Big felt tip pen: for writing addresses on bigger items or boxes

-Pre-made padded envelopes: they are more expensive but they save time and hassle, if you receive items in them you can often reuse them by covering the old address with a piece of paper with the new address on it

-Brown paper: cheapest way to wrap items, from Poundland

-Bubble wrap: got it for free from shops or kept it from previous padded items ready to reuse

-“Postage made easy” leaflet: got it from the Post Office to have an idea of postage charges, nationally and internationally


5. Gather the items you’d like to sell

  • The items that are easier to sell are those that stand out for something: the brand, the popularity of the item, the colour/print etc.

It will be hard to sell a really plain grey T-shirt as most people input brand names or certain characteristics in the search box. On the other hand, if it has sequins or it’s ’80s style or it’s of a certain brand it will come up on more searches and will be viewed by more potential buyers.

  • If you have a few items to sell, save time by taking good, clear pictures of them all at once. If possible choose a place where the items can be seen with a natural light. Have a look at how other people take their pictures and suss how you’d like to see something before buying it, the more pictures the better.
  •  There are 2 main selling methods, “Quick Sell”  allows 4 pictures (1 or 4 pictures can be uploaded for free according to what it is, clothing has 4 free pictures available); the “Advanced Sell”  method offers more detailed listing options and you can upload 12 pictures for clothing and other items. Many people who sell designer items prefer this options as it can really showcase a piece properly.
  • Check each item carefully and look for any faults. To avoid any problems after the sale, make sure you list and describe if the item has any particular fault, a stain on a top, a chip or scuff…the buyers have to know what to expect to avoid risking any sort of complaint. If something is used buyers know if won’t be exactly how it’d be straight off the shelf, however if there is a particular fault let them know and take a picture of it to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Title and describe the items properly: you have an 80-character allowance for your item’s title so use it! I sometimes see items listed as “red jumper” and nothing else. Describe it more to appear on more relevant searches, for example: “Topshop Red V Neck Cotton Jumper with Pockets Size Medium Great Condition”. Describe it well in the description window too, write about the material, its condition, whether it’s machine washable, if there are any faults, what season it’s best for, even suggestions on what occasions to wear it if you want. It will save you time to add as much information as possible since the beginning rather than having to answer buyers’ questions such as “What is it made of?”.
  • If you are selling an item but not sending it, therefore selecting the “Collection in person only” make sure to include this in the item description too in order to avoid misunderstandings.
  • If you would like to sell something with a starting price higher than 99p, it’s better to wait the special “Free Insertion Fee Weekend” so once the item sells, you don’t have to pay them.
  • If you want to sell something valuable at a certain price you can also select a “reserve” of minimum £50 to ensure the item will not sell unless the final price is above your reserve price.
  • If you would like to sell something that buyers can buy straight away, without the need to wait for the end of the auction, select the “Buy it now” option for a small fee.

Start selling!

  • There may be times when a certain buyer will ask you to end the auction early or if you can send the item through a different postage method to the ones you have listed etc. Such requests are usually extremely straight forward and easy to handle, and eBay’s site is full of helpful articles to help you with anything at any time.
  • Be sure to be around once the auction ends as you’ll have to dispatch the items as soon as possible, make sure you are not on holiday!
  • Pack things carefully, especially if using brown paper as it can tear more easily than some pre-made padded envelopes,  and write the address very clearly to avoid delaying the delivery of the item. I usually write “From: (my address)” in case there are any problems and the item has to come back to me (hasn’t happened yet though).

Additional information and links:


I hope these tips are useful and will show you how easy it can be to part with something you don’t need (rather than waste it) so someone else can use it and make money too!


Have you used eBay or similar sites before?

Are you planning to do so?

5 thoughts on “How to Sell on eBay – Be Sustainable, Make and Save Money

  1. Hey Sophie 🙂 We just bought our new, wonderful, huuuuuuuuuge sofa off of a similar local site. We paid about 1/10th of the price of the cheapest similar new ones we saw advertised. It’s a great way to buy. We got something we’d been needing at a price we could afford, and someone else got some pocket money, I guess. They’d had it 7 years and obviously moved on to something better. I like the cycle of the whole thing.


    • That’s great!!
      it really is a great way to buy as some people don’t want things that others would absolutely love! 🙂
      I really love the cycle of it too and how everyone is happy at the end, without the need of buying something straight out of a factory.


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