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eBay vs. Garage Sales

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Garage sales are still a very popular way to sell items you no longer can use or want. However, it is not the only method of selling household possessions. You can also sell many things on eBay. This is a guide about eBay vs. garage sales.


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By 0 found this helpful
October 19, 2007

Which do you think is more profitable, Ebay or garage sales? Why?


Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 1, 20070 found this helpful

I think that they both have thier place.

I recently had a garaage sale an did well, what I like about garage sales is you don't have to ship.

on the other hand I had a couple of items that didn't sell

at the garage sale so I posted them on e-bay and sold them for 15times what I was asking for the items at my sale.

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January 17, 20080 found this helpful

In my opinion a yard/ garage sale is best All it cost is time, and poster board, with e-bay you have to #1 take photo's of every items your gonna sell, #2 describe every item in detail, #3 pay for it to be put on e-bay, then you run the risk of non-payers so your out for your photo, your money to have it placed on e-bay. You have to look for boxes, bubble wrap, if its a breakable item, then a trip to the post office to weigh it to see how much it weighs, so you'll know how much to charge.

Like some one else mentioned the "buyer" pays the postage, but if you ask for $5.00 postage on an item that costs them 2.00 to mail out then the customer can leave negative feedback because of your shipping prices,. Then you also have to worry what if it gets lost or they just lie and say they never got the item. At a yard sale, folks can look over the item and not be "surprised" when they get their stuff.

On Ebay I have bought stuff that I paid for and NEVER got it at all, so you have to look at everyone's feedback to see if they ship promptly, if they've had any type of negative feedback, plus a lot of folks wants pay-pal. Not everyone has a credit card, nor do they care to have one, where at yard sales you can say cash only, no checks, and no credit cards.

If your stuff is marked at the right price which is (nation wide for the most part) 10% of what you gave for it new, or $2-3 dollars if new with tags. You'll move more stuff at once, where on e-bay, unless a person sees your other items for sale they will only buy 1 item from you.

Yes yard/ garage sales takes a little more time, but is a lot cheaper than e-bay. Here in TN poster board is only 50 cents a sheet, so even if you bought 6 sheets, cut them in half, you're still only out $3.00 for 12 signs or you can even use a box, and add a big rock in it so it doesn't blow away. Then make signs to place at stores, laundry mats, on drink machines, etc, which cost maybe 10 cents,if you make them on your pc or even by hand.

Like I live by TN's largest state park, so I put signs up over there with directions, and I try to put things out that I know campers may have forgotten to bring. You also get to meet new people who may become regular customers if you have a lot of nice, name brand stuff. Then all you'll need is thumb tacks or nails, stuff to make tables out of. You can lay a blanket on the ground for things such as toys, so kids can see the items and want them insuring yet another sale.

I've given over 20 yard sales in 23 years. I make no less than $500.00 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I don't have to wait for the auction to end, then wait on my m.o, or check, wait for the check to clear, then pack it and all that. I do how ever recommend that you have PLENTY of bags from your local grocery store, because I hate going to yard sales where they have no bags. Try to have different size bags too, so they don't leave carrying 5 small bags.

Pricing is easy, you can buy the stickers with prices on them, use masking tape, cut small pieces of paper out, write your price on them and staple it to the label, ALWAYS price your items, even if you have to go to e-bay, and see about what things are selling for. Go to other yard sales to see what their prices are. I also suggest that you try to get several families involved so on your posters/ signs you can write 5 family yard sales, or multi-family yard sales. You can also run an ad in your local paper if it's not gonna cost you a lot.

You'll need a few tarps to cover the stuff up at nights in case it should rain. Always check your weather for that week, even in your ad in the paper or on your signs/ poster put the date, time, location. Maybe add a few items on it that you'll have like " home interior, baby clothes, baby items, clothes of all sizes, etc, or put something for everyone, then put " if rain, sale will be the next weekend."

Put similar items together, and if possible put the same sizes together. Mens in 1 place, womens in another, kids in another, shoes in 1 place, books in another, and house hold items in another. If you don't have the fancy things to hang clothes on like stores have, run you a $1.00 rope from the dollar store and add a piece of card board between each group of clothing. Make sure you have nice clean clothes and shoes.

Don't put anything out that you wouldn't buy yourself. If you know a shirt is missing a button and you don't have one, make a little tag and write " one button missing". Have a give away box for things that still good. It's also good to have batteries on hand to let folks see that the item does work, or a drop cord for things like blow dryers, Iron's lamps, etc.

I've sold furniture, lawn mowers (which we had gas in so they could crank it) clothes, shoes, purses, make-up, grills, tires, toys, movies, cd's (keep movies and dvd's. cd's etc in shade if at all possible). Keep pictures out of the sun too so they don't sweat, candles out of the sun so they don't melt. Use common sense on those type of items.

Trust me, I have folks ask me all the time, "when is your next yard sale gonna be, make sure you let me know!" I'm cheap on my items. I don't go buy stuff cheap at yard sales just to bring them home and mark them up like a lot of folks do on e-bay or even yard sales. Be fair about your prices.

Get several family members or friends to help you out to keep an eye on your money, and as bad as it sounds, to make sure no-one walks off with stuff they didn't pay for because shop lifters doesn't just shop lift at stores, they steal everywhere! Plus it gives you time to spend with that family member or friend, and have a good time with it!

Hope this helps some,


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January 18, 20080 found this helpful

Definitely it depends. I live overseas so I don't have access to garage sales now, but I do shop Ebay. Shopping Ebay is like having the "world as my store". I am bound to come across exactly what I want if I can just keep waiting. On the other hand, to the seller...the world is your potential customer. I've had friends in Poland and Germany check out things on Ebay.

BUT, to the seller, a GOOD picture/pictures makes a world of difference. It is hard to imagine that some people just describe their item and hope to get a good price. Make sure your pictures are close up and in sharp focus. The picture sells it!

I've noticed that on Ebay, knowing how to write up the description makes a difference. If you don't know too much about it, okay, you can admit that, but just saying, "Sorry...won't measure it" (for fabric), or "I don't know what it is" turns off people looking for something like cotton or cotton blends. If you aren't willing to describe something accurately, please give extra photos. I saw a double knit UGLY blanket/quilt sell for $15 or maybe even more (that I thought no one would pay even $1 for it) because the description was wonderful and she described it as an "UGLY quilt" in the title line, but wrote a nice description. I think it was sent around the internet in various emails just because it was so well done.

Also, a lady sold her kids pack of some cards they sneaked in from the grocery store (cost under $5) and last I saw, it was going for $115 because of the description that the mother wrote. It was hilarious.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 10, 20080 found this helpful

I would say... mmm that is hard most things in garage sales are more worn but you can get them faster but ebay the stuff is non-worn but it could take weeks to get it.

Editors Note: I've known many eBay sellers who go to garage sales to get the items to sell there.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 24, 20080 found this helpful

I found another new way of selling especially bigger items that are hard to ship or store-CRAIGSLIST. You can put pictures on and the listings are all free.Some things take awhile to sell, but overall I've had good success. Yard sales are a lot of work for sometimes very littles money- like a previous writer said - People are looking for rock bottom prices and you have to watch closely for stealing.

I buy and sell stuff to sell at flea markets during the good weather at - you guessed it- yard sales.Ebay does take a lot of time and the fees are increasing,but it is good to make money with when the weather is bad.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 17, 20080 found this helpful

My husband is trying to figure out how to bring a little extra into the household since we started out as pack rats a few decades ago, and would like to reclaim our living space. He has a mentor he meets at estate sales who sells old books and photos and describes himself as detail oriented. He is doing great business on ebay...check out any posting by him and everything said in posts above and more is what you will find.

I am not personally interested in his merchandise or even know him, but here is one vendor to refer to, if you want to make a decent profit on an item you know has true value, but do not need anymore. Penumbra-uniques is the name of his e bay store, or whatever they call it.

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June 5, 20080 found this helpful

I too sale on E-bay. I love it! I sale a lot of vintage things I pick up at yard sales and thrift stores. Just sold a vintage toaster for $80.00 that I bought for $6.00. Go on E-bay and look up the things you have to sale. It will give you an idea as to price and category. I also use pay-pal for payments, it is safer than checks and money orders, and any fees are nominal. I too get boxes from the post office and pick up my door. I like E- bay better than yard sales because I can do it any time.

Another suggestion is to check on line with your local TV and news papers many offer free classifieds, we have a local one that I post larger items on. I also use Yahoo groups: freecycle ( give stuff away) and yard sale.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

I personally like craigslist. It's very easy to post, you can add photos, and meet the seller/buyer at a public place to do the "exchange". On the garage sale, I had one last year. We needed a permit for it. My friends and I combined our treasures, did some advertising, and got ready to sell, sell, sell. We didn't do very well... We had some items with tags still on for $35, i.e., and people wanted to pay $1 for them! Also had the "early bird" character who tried to help us set up, let her little daughter loose to distract us, and also claimed she had paid for an item when she hadn't...Luckily, no one "fell" in my property and sued. I will never do it again. Too much trouble! I've used eBay as well, but to purchase items that were harder to find.

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October 13, 20080 found this helpful

This is a complicated one. Both are really good. I won't say what I am buying on Ebay, but I have sold a few itmes for 7x what I paid. If you have media items you can list them at Amazon for free, you do pay hefty fees when the item sells though. But, if you want to rid yourself of books and movies those items will hopefully eventually sell. I am going to go to the flea market with everything I wish to sell later this month and see how that goes. I figure most the vendors there are making money or they wouldn't keep coming back. I haven't seen anyone selling hot food, so if I make enough money I might invest on having a hot dog stand there as well. I would have a captive audience of sorts selling food to the flea market vendors. I guess this is a question of when is Ebay better than a garage sale and vice versa rather than which is better.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 22, 20080 found this helpful

What's better Ebay vs. Garage Sale? Answer: Neither. Free is always better. Freecycle is a local give away program in your community that offers items the owners no longer wants but doesn't want to end up in a landfill. Everything is free but you must be registered in your own area and follow some basic rules and restrictions.

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