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10 Tools to Set Up Your eBay Workroom for $200

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Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
Last Edited 10:46:14 AM

Every seller needs tools. If you’re just starting out, the right ones can simplify the process of listing, packing, and shipping.

 

A starter kit includes a phone camera and computer to list, and boxes, tape, and bubble wrap to ship. If you’re looking to add to these essentials, here are some on-budget suggestions.

 

Mini photography light box

Approx. $10
Mini light box 500x500.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we asked our sellers on Facebook what tools worked best for them, Joelle M. wrote, “Hard to pick just one! Lighting kit has made a huge difference though. It makes photos look much better.”

 

Mini lightboxes work well for small objects, such as purses, shoes, or tech gadgets. The best ones provide cool, brilliant light within an immaculate white space. The transparent sides will diffuse the light around your item so your photos look clean, sharp, and professional--even if you’re using a phone camera.

 

Shipping Scale 

Approx. $20

scale 500x500.jpg

Are you eyeballing your packages to figure their weights? You might be overestimating their size—and overpaying for postage. Seller Felix H. says, “A scale has saved us TONS of money. Now we pay exactly what we owe. No more guessing.”

 

A good budget scale should be simple to use. Choose one that has a Hold button on the side, so you never have to worry about awkward packages blocking the screen. And always shoot for convenience by making sure your budget scale runs on easy-to-replace batteries, such as two AA-batteries, and also has a cord so you can plug it in.

 

Mannequin 

Approx. $40

mannequin 500x500.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little black dress, a denim jacket, or a simple tee—most clothing shows off best on a mannequin. Buyers get a better sense of how the clothing will fit, and you get a better shot at a sale. Our seller Kate R. wrote to say that her collection of various sized mannequins makes her top three tools. If you’re just starting out, see how a single mannequin in a static, life-like pose can work for you.

 

Scotty Peeler & Goo Gone

Approx.  $5 for Goo Gone (8oz) and $5 for Scotty Peelers (3-pack)

Scotty peelers 250x250.jpggoo gone 250x250.jpg

Eventually, it happens to us all. We sing praises to our Scotty Peelers, thanking them for removing the stickiest, most stubborn labels from the items we want to sell.

 

Our seller Angela F. says, “I've ordered a total of 7 from eBay and they are in my car, eBay room, office and kitchen. Makes peeling labels off of items so much easier!”

 

To use, angle the flat edge of the peeler under the sticker you want to remove and lift up the paper and glue. Occasionally, you’ll want to follow up with a spritz of Goo Gone to remove any remaining residue. Usually, though, all that’s left to do is thank Scotty.

 

 

Box Resizer & Utility Knife

Approx.  $15 for box resizer and $5 for utility knife

box resizer 250x.jpgutility knife 250x.jpg

Another indispensable tool that can make for smooth selling is a box resizer. This tool helps you resize boxes to better fit the item you want to ship. You won’t have to fill extra space with void-fill paper or pay to ship boxes that are larger than what you need.

 

The resizer is easy to use, with lots of great videos on YouTube to show you how. Here’s a quick primer: use the ruler on the side of the tool to measure how much of the box you want to reduce. Taking care, use the sharp-edged blade at the end of the tool to score the box to the correct height. Now, use a utility knife to cut the corners of the box down the scoring height. Once you’ve cut the corners, just fold each flap inward along the score lines, or resize the flaps to suit your needs.

 

Void-Fill Paper & Bubble Wrap 

Approx. $5 for bubble wrap (12 in. x 30 ft) and $5 for void-fill (2.5 ft. x 30 ft.)

Kraft paper 250x250.jpgbubble wrap 250x250.jpg

Sometimes, though, you have space in the box you can’t—or don’t want—to remove. Let’s say you’re packing a fragile vase—you’ll want to choose a box that’s bigger than the item and then add plenty of cushion between the item and the box.

 

In these cases, wrap the delicate item in at least two layers of bubble wrap and secure the wrap with a piece of tape. Set the item in the box on a bed of crumpled Kraft paper and then fill the box with more crumpled paper.

 

For help on choosing box sizes, check out this guide.

 

Wireless printer 

Approx. $90

printer 500x500.jpg

You need just one more item to save you a trip to the post office: a wireless printer. Your printer will make it easy to ship your sold items with eBay labels.

 

To use eBay labels, go to your sold items and click Print Shipping Label. Your label will be automatically filled with your buyer's shipping information. You can pay for your labels through eBay or PayPal, at discounted rates. The last step is to schedule free USPS carrier pickups or, if you’re shipping FedEx, drop off your packages at a staffed FedEx Office location.

 

These 10 tools will save you in the long run. Of course, they’re not the only ones you’ll ever need. One top tool that our seller Dennis D. can’t live without: “Netflix on my computer so I don't go crazy while doing all my work.”

24 Comments
Community Team
Community Team

These are great tips and affordable! I especially like the mini lightbox!

by robinsonct · Adventurer
robinsonct
Adventurer

Additional suggestions:

Ruler - to provide accurate dimensions to listing details

Proper packing tape

lloydsteventaylor
Trailblazer

great post!

by wolfbyte · Guide
wolfbyte
Guide

Have used GooGone to remove lable residue for years, but have recently found that a drop or two of Dawn dish washing liquid rubbed onto the lable and left to sit for a minute or two also worked well in many cases. Follow-up with a clean, damp cloth.  My personal experince only. Always test first. Try at your own risk.

by wolfbyte · Guide
wolfbyte
Guide

As mentioned by @robinsonct, it's important to use proper packing tape. Much of the shipping tape today won't even hold up to a trip to the Post Office much less a trip across the country. Pay more for quality shipping tape. I use gum tape on the key seams of my boxes. Messy, yes, but it won't pop off.

packrat-lighterman
Adventurer

I love the suggestion about the light box! I have a larger light box. It does not come with a light source. Light from above or beside the box causes shadows. Taking pictures without the light box, I get a lot of camera and surrounding reflections.  Seeing this mini light box, I have a glass top table that I can set my light box on with a light source on the shelf below it which should eliminate a lot of the shadows and reflections!
Thank you so much for this helpful hint section!

Alcohol works great to get black sharpie off of most things. I also find that if I use a pink eraser, it usually takes marker off the soles of shoes. And believe it or not, sometimes if you have a really tuff marker spot on the soles of shoes, another sharpie scribbled on top of it either works it off or can then be erased with the eraser! None of those are perfect in all cases, but I do use all those techniques regularly!

yoda_almighty
Adventurer

Instead of the laser printer I use Zebra ZP450 for label printing.   It saves lots of money in the long run.   There is no ink to buy and you can get free labels from UPS and FedEx.   You can get ZP450 on eBay for little more than $100.   Best investment I've ever made. 

by andynaylor · Adventurer
andynaylor
Adventurer

Instead of Goo-Gone, I use a little rubbing alcohol or alcohol hand sanitizer. Sometimes you have to apply it more than once, but it's a lot cheaper. It disolves the glue. I also use it to remove marker marks on things like plastic packaging. 

 

I also second the use of a thermal label printer. About $100, but NO INK TO BUY. Labels are like $.03 each. Absolute best item I've purchased to make shipping easier. 

Pretty red Obelisk

by art_ie_ · Adventurer
art_ie_
Adventurer

MVP - My electric water activated tape machine.  The tape is heated so it graps quickly.  You can buy paper tape (water activated) rienforced with nylon fibres for very strong seals.  These machines are VERY expensive but I purchased a used one for around $200.  tape machine.jpg

fridasniece
Adventurer

I think these are really good ideas to get started, but you really need quality tape and a tape measure.  Measure clothing to sell, boxes to ship.  Good Luck!

News Team
News Team

Thanks gang for adding your own tips! Appreciate you sharing your knowledge with the larger eBay community of sellers Smiley Happy ~Audrey

sonic3503bb
Adventurer

Great post...thank you!  

by clubred97 · Adventurer
clubred97
Adventurer

Thank you for the great tips. I purchased the small light box and am looking forward to being able to do some work while traveling. Great post!

by susansgw1 · Adventurer
susansgw1
Adventurer

Great tips for someone starting out!

by *coins · Rockstar
*coins
Rockstar

Be careful removing stickers! It is sometiems a bad idea to remove prices/stickers on old items because they could actually make the item more valuable...especially for items worth a lot of money.

Also, for someome who wants to get a shipping scale, I recommend Accutech. Their eBay store (it's called super smartweigh or something like that) has auctions for scales ending all the time, and you can sometimes get a really good deal on one.

A tip for someone shipping heavy items - use the Priorty Mail flat rate boxes and the post office gives away for free. Priorty Mail can be expensive, especially if the item is going across the country, but these boxes are one cost, no matter where they go. The only negative is that you cannot resize them, the item being shipped has to be able to fit in whatever box you use.

I highly recommend using eBay labels too because they give sellers HUGE discounts..I feel sorry for sellers who don't use them. It saves so much money.

Thanks, this was a great read!

-Alex

by wolfbyte · Guide | Updated
wolfbyte
Guide

Adding to the post about keeping some USPS Priority Flat Rate boxes on hand, also have some Priority Flat Rate envelopes as well as Priority Padded Flat Rate Padded envelopes on hand which are also free. Padded is available only from USPS online. I find the envelopes to be a life saver for many items such as clothing (like jeans) and linens that can't go First Class.

 

Keep in mind that, like the boxes, envelopes cannot be folded or cut into other shapes. From what I understand, bulging is okay, but they must close on their own. It's okay to add some additional tape if needed.

zipzoomboom
Adventurer

Great article wonderful suggestions, keep it up.

harleyglasses
Thrill-Seeker

My eBay sticker dispenser

 

by inastuff · Adventurer
inastuff
Adventurer

That $10 lightbox shows $21 shipping!!

by gran · Thrill-Seeker
gran
Thrill-Seeker

What SIZE is the mini box? and it's near $12, not $10 and shipping is near $22 from UK to me in US. Otherwise, looks good

by *coins · Rockstar
*coins
Rockstar

Cool, @harleyglasses.

Did you make that?

cjstreasures_2
Adventurer

I found a magnify glass with built in light is a must for closely looking at any item I'm about to list.  Helps to see any imperfections not easily seen by the "naked" eye.  Also it is invaluable to read fine print that may be on an item especially engraving on jewelry.