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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Approx. $15 for box resizer and $5 for utility knife
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.
Approx. $5 for bubble wrap (12 in. x 30 ft) and $5 for void-fill (2.5 ft. x 30 ft.)
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.
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.”
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