Are You Decluttering? Try These Tips for Parents to Sell Items Online! ~ Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Sunday, January 8, 2023

Are You Decluttering? Try These Tips for Parents to Sell Items Online!

We recently changed our editorial calendar to work on self improvement posts that may possibly help us to come out of the quarantine with better habits.  Today is one of those posts!

While we settle into our new routines, we may find that we have extra time for tasks around our house. One task that I want to focus on today is figuring out what to do with outgrown toys and clothing. This topic is a follow up from our 30-day Decluttering Challenge. We will share Tips for Parents to Sell Items Online

In preparation for this post, I joined several online Facebook groups that focus on the topics of reselling items online. I then jumped in and gave it a try with some success, as well as, a couple of setbacks. I learned some tips along the way.  Let me share those tips.

1. Start with a 30-day Decluttering Challenge.
We began by repeating our 30-day decluttering challenge, but condensed it to 14 days by accelerating the pace of decluttering and cover two to three days worth of tasks each day.   As we completed the areas on the calendar, we sorted items into piles for potential to sell, donate, recycle, or trash.

2. Take advantage of store recycling campaigns instead of trashing items.
I fell down a rabbit hole recently when I realized that I was throwing away items that stores will recycle!  I consider myself to be an eco-friendly person, but I had been trashing items that I didn't know were recyclable. I was in complete shock when I realized that I was tossing multiple cubic feet worth of items that we could recycle. For instance, some stores recycle old shoes! It sounds gross, but I guess that they must sanitize shoes somehow and then recycle them into materials for playgrounds. My children are rough on their shoes. My husband and I both run, so we wear out shoes too. If you consider the size of our family, we have a lot of shoes that are recyclable. After I realized that shoes are recyclable, I researched stores that will take shoes or other items to recycle. Here are some examples (but please visit the store websites for the exact details as these change over time):
  • Recycle old shoes at local stores such as ASICS. They currently give a coupon to use at their store when you recycle shoes or athletic apparel.
  • Take your old MAC makeup containers back to a MAC store for recycling. Even better, trade 6 eligible containers in for a free new lipstick at a local MAC store.
  • Take your old Bare Essentials makeup containers to your local Bare Essentials store to recycle them, plus score an exclusive discount for future purchases.
3. Identify where you want to sell items.
Some of the popular places to sell items include:
  • Facebook Marketplace and local Facebook "For Sale" groups
  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • Poshmark
  • Mercari 
There are also other places to sell items, especially if you have specialty items.   You may want to sell bulky items locally instead of online. For instance, a bulky baby swing or car seat may fare well better through a local sale since you don't have to incorporate shipping costs into the equation.

4. Join a support group for sellers.
Depending on the platform that you choose to sell on, search for seller support groups.  For instance, I found some on Facebook that were incredibly helpful.  I was able to read through previous discussions to learn about common questions and issues. I also enjoyed checking the groups to learn about ongoing problems that people encountered and discussed.  The knowledge that I gained allowed me to avoid some mistakes that others had encountered and shared.

5. Set up space to store your items and supplies.
You'll want to have an organized space at home. Personally, we stored the items that we wanted to sell on one shelf and then used another shelf to store shipping supplies such as envelopes, boxes, and tape. I used bins to sort and store the items.

6. Invest in supplies for your online sales.
We invested in supplies so that we could easily package items, purchase postage online, and print shipping labels as soon as items sold.  Given the quarantine situation, it's best to have all of the supplies already at home so that you are able to package and ship things quickly without the need for packaging supply runs. This is our supply checklist:
  • Padded envelopes in a variety of sizes
  • Boxes to fit the items (we only listed items if we had an envelope or box to ship the respective item since we didn't want to run extra errands for a box during the quarantine)
  • Bubblewrap
  • Packaging tape
  • Scale (it's cheaper to purchase postage online, plus this will help you to minimize contact when shipping the item as you won't have to buy postage from a cashier)
  • Rollo thermal printer (it is both a time saver and big money saver in comparison to our previous setup)
Having the items above at our house have helped us to package and ship packages promptly which also translated to happier customers who gave us good feedback.

7. Weigh your items and buy discounted shipping in advance.
I initially took items to the post office to pay for shipping. This was a big mistake because I could have purchased postage through eBay at a discount.  I sold many items without realizing this until someone in my eBay seller support group mentioned that this was one of their biggest mistakes that they made as a newbie.  I fixed this problem by buying a scale so that I could weigh items at home and score the discounted shipping rates through eBay.  For instance, the screenshot below shows one of my packages in which I saved 24% on postage by buying it online and printing my own label. (I'll talk about printing labels below.)

8. Use a Rollo thermal printer and labels to print shipping labels without ink.
Did you know that it's possible to print labels without ink?  I had no idea until I followed a discussion in one of my groups where someone asked about things that people wish that they would have known before they started to sell items online. There was one comment that popped up over and over again -- a Rollo thermal printer was a total game changer. The thermal technology allows sellers to print labels without ink. You use the Rollo Labels and then their printer uses thermal technology to print on the labels without ink.  It's brilliant! (You may even get the Rollo Label Holder which I really like too.) 

I tried it out and realized that I should have been using it sooner.  It's so easy to use. I no longer have to worry about buying printer paper or ink. The printed labels have been very clear without any smearing. It's a time saver too. It prints the labels super fast. (That was one of the reviews that I read ahead of time when I was researching thermal label printers.)

I used to have to cut every label out of paper and then tape the postage label to each package. I used a lot of extra clear packaging tape in the process too. I always felt like the tape may not hold the label well enough, so then I would use an excessive amount of tape and wrap it around the entire package multiple times so that the label wouldn't come off.   It was wasteful.  Now, I simply print the label, peel the backing off, and stick it to my package. It's easy-peasy! It save a lot of time and the package looks more professional. 

The tip to use the Rollo thermal printer  and Rollo Labels  is one of the most valuable tips that I learned in my seller support group.  Plus, my children like to use the Rollo thermal printer and Rollo Labels as their Sticker Factory. They print their stickers on the labels and then color them with markers. It's so much fun for them!

9. Ask your support network for advice.
In my seller support group, some of the members sell items on eBay and other sites as their full-time jobs.  They've sold thousands of items and have encountered many different situations, including ones where buyers abuse the system. Personally, I'm a mom who is learning along the way. I have a relatively low volume of sales and probably only see a large view of the eBay world. Members of the support group have generously helped me along the way when I had questions.  

10. Set up a schedule for dropping off packages.
You'll want to communicate your turnaround time for customers.  In general, the quicker that you get the packages to customers, the happier they will be. My husband and I are runners.  We are also working at home due to the Shelter in Place order for Texas.  So, as soon as an item sells, I will package it quickly and put it in our jogging stroller. Around 4pm, my husband runs to the post office with our son in the stroller and drops off packages. It's a win-win to exercise and drop off packages.  Customers have been very happy with how quickly they receive their packages. I think that promptly taking items to the post office, UPS, or FedEx makes a big difference to customers.

I hope that these tips help you to have fun and success in selling outgrown items online.  Personally, we sold 37 items since we started the research for this post in January. The majority of items were listed and sold in the past month while we were home.  We did not get rich from the experience, but we did enjoy a little bit of extra fun money. I also think that we made some buyers happy.

So what did we sell? Okay, this is the crazy part of the post because I sold random things around our house so that I could immerse myself into the research for this post. Here are some examples: 

  • Outgrown toddler pants for ~$12 
  • A plastic cup with a fast food logo for ~$20 (who knew?!)
  • An old empty ring box for ~$50 (who knew?!)
  • Records for ~$10 
  • Partially used beauty products that didn't quite work for me for $20 to $40 per item
  • Outgrown toys for $10 to $40
  • A video game for $10

Some of the items did not yield a big profit, but it was nice to know that they went to someone who wanted the item. We enjoyed reading the nice messages from some of the buyers such as how an item was for their grandson and brought him comfort. A lot of those people left nice feedback which made our account more valuable too. We have 100% feedback which I think will make it easier to sell more items in the future.  My boys seem to get more expensive as they get older, so I'm happy that I figured out how to be a little more eco-friendly while also making some extra money from their outgrown items. We now have a good system, so we'll be able to continue selling items in the future.  

We wish you all good luck during the remainder of this quarantine! I hope that you are able to learn new things and come out with positive changes on the other side.

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