Like many people, I get an urge to start some serious cleaning in the spring. Last weekend was no exception. My garage was full of boxes (some filled with random items, others totally empty). I had tossed them in there because there was nowhere to put them in the house. After doing this all winter, I thought it was time to clean out all the empty boxes and go through miscellaneous items from around the house.
Where to begin? Many boxes and plastic totes hadn’t been opened in years! We’ve moved several times over the last decade, and some boxes would repeatedly get shelved or stuffed into a closet and forgotten. But during my spring cleaning frenzy, I decided to go through some of these and sort the contents into categories: toss it, donate it, keep it and eBay it. At the very least, I would clear up some much-needed storage space by getting rid of this stuff that we obviously weren’t missing.
Our daughter’s craft kits from grade school? Still new, but not valuable enough to sell. Donate box. Travel-sized bottles of toiletries from various hotels we stayed at more than a decade ago? Garbage. I guess I thought I might need them someday. Two packages of Polaroid instant film for a camera I don’t own anymore, with an expiration date of 2002? My first reaction was to toss ‘em, but something told me to wait. My “eBay-dar,” perhaps?
The next day, after recovering sufficiently from my cleaning, I popped onto eBay to check on that Polaroid film. Much to my surprise, even though the film was nearly 10 years past its expiration date, people were paying big bucks for it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because it’s kitschy to take pictures that have that filmy look to them? Perhaps people just love their instant cameras, and refuse to switch to modern ones? But, to be honest, I wasn’t so much concerned about the “why” as I was about the “When can I put this up for sale!”
My seven-day auction ended at $60 for the two packages of instant film. I was hoping for $75, but, hey, $60 is pretty good for something I was about to toss in the trash. It just goes to show that if you have a hunch that something might be valuable on eBay, you should check it out before you throw it out or donate it. You may be tossing cold hard cash in the trash!
Have you nearly tossed something that turned out to be valuable? Or have you kicked yourself for getting rid of an item that you found out later was worth big bucks? Share your story below.
Rebecca Miller is Auctiva.com's Product Manager. As an eBay seller of more than 13 years, Rebecca is well tuned into the needs of online sellers, and serves as an internal advocate for merchants. She continuously monitors Auctiva's Community Forums, answering customer's questions and taking their feedback to developers for future enhancements. Rebecca continues to sell on eBay, and has experience as a PowerSeller and a Top-rated Seller.