When I began my maternity leave, I knew I would have some time to get things done. With my son starting school the first week of September and the baby not expected for a few weeks I had a long list of ‘jobs’ that I wanted to get sorted. In the end, (with not long to spare!) I did quite well. I cleared out our wardrobes, cleaned the oven, the fridge, washed baby clothes, packed my hospital bag , dug out the car seat / pram / Moses basket and got them all set up ready for our new arrival.
One of the big things I wanted to do was to go through all our sons stuff and either organise it properly or get rid of it. Having been an only child for four years he really has accumulated a lot of things, things that he simply no longer needs and we no longer have space for in our tiny cottage – with all the incoming baby paraphernalia. It’s something that has been bugging me for a while, particularly as he had a birthday last month and was given a number of more age appropriate presents.
The trouble with our boy though, is that he is a hoarder! Yes, he can’t bear to let anything go – even if it’s something that he hasn’t played with or even really seen for a few months. So I knew this was something that had to be done when he wasn’t around. Thus the brilliant timing of me going on Maternity Leave and him starting school! I would never get rid of anything that I knew he genuinely loved and played with but as I sat up in his bedroom, going through his cupboards and trying to fish things out from under his bed – it became apparent that he had a serious problem. I managed to fill up three boxes of miscellaneous toys – mostly those small toy cars and trains. All of that went straight down to the local charity shop and I instantly felt better, being able to actually see his bedroom floor.
Then I turned my attention to a cupboard full of Happyland. Literally draws full of the stuff that he once adored and played with all the time but had now outgrown. Some had been purchased new for him as Christmas or birthday presents and some that we had bought second hand ourselves. All of it was still in a decent and playable condition and I decided to sell it. We had recently opened up a bank account for him, because for the first time he had been sent a cheque in his name for birthday, so I thought any money made could go in his account for holiday spending next year.
The best place to sell second hand items I have always been advised by my Dad (who delighted in telling me that he had sold over £500 of items in the last two months) was eBay. He said that the key to successful selling on this platform was the images of the items and the way you described them. You should show and give as much information as possible, set up your stall and be honest about what you are selling.
With this in mind I spent some time setting up a Happyland village, with the road, people, shops and vehicles to demonstrate the sheer size and condition of the bundle that I was selling. Ebay then took me through a very easy step by step process of setting up my sale. It basically prompts you for everything –
is the item new or used / what brand or shop is it from / what clothes size or age range
I took a lot of photos of my Happyland village and was able to select 12 of them to include in my listing. Next I had to choose my title and description. I listed every single piece included in the bundle which took a while as there were ten buildings, over 50 people/animals, various vehicles, lots of road and an abundance of village extras such as trees, signs, chairs, post boxes etc etc. Also included was a play mat and two storage boxes to house it all in. As I was setting up the village, I noticed that some of the sounds no longer worked. So I advised this in the listing, being completely honest. I also made it clear that these items, whilst in a good condition were second hand and had been played with. They were by no means new. Then the question came of how much to sell them for and I really wasn’t sure. Ebay made a suggestion based on similar items sold in the last 90 days so I took that recommendation and set it up as a 7 day auction. With Ebay you can set a Buy It Now price or a Reserve Price so that it wont sell for less than an amount you are happy with. With these extra features, you can incur additional fees. However, I felt that by setting a Starting Price that was acceptable to me any bids received couldn’t be a disappointment.
I also had to choose a postage option but knew because it was such a huge amount of toys there was no way this could go by Royal Mail or a courier. I was able to set the sale as Collection Only, meaning the winning bidder had to come to my house to get it themselves. Of course, this limited my potential selling audience to local people but I really couldn’t be bothered to muck about trying to work out courier costs – or even arrange for it!
I then had the option to preview my advert and schedule my listing. I did all this on the laptop via the Ebay website. After that, I then got a bit of a selling bug and using the Ebay App on my phone posted a second listing for a dress that I no longer wear. Mostly I was intrigued to see how the two very different items would do. The dress whilst having been worn a few times, was in perfect condition and I listed it at a small Starting Price – this time with the option of collection or postage within the UK only at an additional fee. The App is so easy to use, its just the same as doing it all on the computer and it was fun to get a little notification on my phone every time I received a bid that week!
The good news was that both my items sold, the great news was that the Happyland bundle sold for over £100 ! That’s a lot of holiday ice creams for Finley next year! The best news is that it’s been over a week since the toys were collected, his bedroom floor is still visible and he hasn’t even noticed!
Disclaimer: “I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have
volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid
for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial
integrity. [I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post].”