Monthly Archives: October 2012

How I eBay

I’ve been eBaying for more than 10 years! That sounds much more impressive than it actually is, because I still have a feedback rating of under 100. That’s because I go through phases with selling on eBay.

(And before we get into the details, I’ll put this disclosure right up front: I used to work at an agency that worked with eBay. However, I eBayed before that, taught the staff how to do it while I worked there, and still continue to use the site. These opinions and experiences are my own.)

So here’s how I eBay:

I start by getting annoyed with toys that the kids don’t play with anymore and the plethora of clothing they’ve outgrown. We might upgrade a phone and still have the old one.

Then, I start piling things up and eventually sort to donate and sell piles. When I’m ready to think about listing, I look on the calendar to make sure I’ll be home when it comes time to ship. No one wants to wait for their stuff for too long.

I then do some research on eBay to see if the item is worth selling. You can do this by going to advanced search and checking “completed listings” to see what the same or similar items have sold for.

The most difficult part for me is usually finding boxes for shipping. For example, my dad had a couple of pool cues he didn’t want anymore, so it took me a long time to find a box long enough to ship them.

One of the best investments I’ve made is a postal scale. One $20-ish purchase (on eBay of course) and I no longer play “do I profit or do I owe after shipping.” By providing the measurements of the box and the weight on the scale, you get a more accurate estimate of the shipping cost.

I take photos with my phone, and now eBay lets you post multiple photos without additional fees. When taking photos, make sure you get multiple sides and zoom in on anything that might be important for buyers to know (including imperfections – they’ll find out about them eventually so be up front about it).

Then, I write out the descriptions for each item. It helps to add “pet-free home” or “smoke-free home” if applicable because you may get those questions from potential buyers. When you originally enter your item, eBay will pull up descriptions based on the product. However, I also like to add additional details to make the item more interesting or tell a story if there is one. (For example, I had a set of new cleats that my son never wore because he grew two shoe sizes in a summer. That helps buyers to understand why you are selling something brand new.)

When I’m ready to list, I usually put them all up at once so they end at a similar time and I can take and mail them in a batch, instead of on different days. I usually try to list on a weekend when I know I’ll have more time to answer last-minute questions.

The social-sharing feature on eBay is important. My views go up by a significant amount after I tweet an item. However, I don’t really like how eBay’s pre-populated tweet says “Look what I found.” Instead, I change the description to the title of my item and add “selling” at the beginning.

Don’t be dismayed if you have a seven-day listing and don’t have any bids on day 5. I’ve found that the majority of the bids come in near the last 24 hours because people want their item quickly and now they won’t have to wait and see if they’ve won the auction.

When shipping, it’s up to you to choose to add insurance or delivery confirmation. I’d recommend it for electronics or high value items. You could also add in a copy of the confirmation from eBay or a thank you note.

If you eBay, what else do you recommend? If not, what’s holding you back?

 

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My Mommy is a Blogger

I took my daughter to her first blogging conference last year. Well, she didn’t actually attend but she loved the kidcon during the Type A Parent Conference. In addition to the fun things that she was able to see and do, she loved a button that was in her goody bag, “My mom blogs about me.”

I didn’t actually blog then as much as I do now – I was more on the other side of the fence in public relations. However, now I have a different job and am more frequently writing here.

So at this year’s Type A Parent Conference, we received a copy of the book My Mommy is a Blogger. When I brought it home, my daughter’s eyes lit up. She immediately remembered the pin and asked if it was the same thing. Well yes, kind of.

My Mommy is a Blogger BookReading this book not only helped my daughter understand what I’m doing now, but it also helped her understand what I used to do in public relations. I was able to tell her why I traveled and why I was always bringing home fun stuff for her to discover in my suitcase.

If you’re a blogger, or in public relations, this is a must-have book. It will help you in telling others what you do and how you do it – all with a smile. The illustrations are cute and it’s very easy to read with your kids.

Disclosure: I received this book as part of my participation in the Type A Parent Conference. Review and opinion are my own.

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The return of the Scrap Crap

I was all set to regale you with photos of a trip to the corn maize with a bunch of hyper cub scouts but it was a chilly day and my husband looked at me and said “why don’t you stay home and I will take him?”

Ah, those magic words. You know once that phrase is uttered, you have to take it and seize it. So I stayed home – alone – while the boys were off and the girl child had a playdate.

So I did what any normal mom would do: I started cleaning. Specifically, I ventured down into the place that shall not be seen, the basement. It exists as a laundry chute, place to play video games and where toys go to die (or have a Toy Story-esque rave).

This was waiting for me:

Messy scrapbook tableIt’s what my husband calls Scrap Crap. My winter habitat on cold weekend days is usually spending time at my scrapbook table, organizes photos and exploring my inner arts and crafts self. But come spring, the table becomes a dumping ground for school papers that I want to keep, school and sports photos and any other pictures I’ve managed to print. And through in a few kids’ toys that were rescued from a dog’s jaws.

In two weeks, I’ll be headed to a semi-annual scrapbook weekend. For those of you who don’t partake, it’s actually a girls weekend in disguise, complete with scissors and tape. But it’s cathartic and helps me relax and take some time for me. I managed to make a good dent and you can now see parts of the table.

The boys came home just a little bit shaken up after a corn maze misadventure but I chalk it up to father-son bonding time. After all, I came away with a cleanish table.

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Fall, football and frenzied fun

That pretty much sums up my fall. Oh, and fundraising – I’ll take your Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and raise you with an elementary and middle school, travel baseball league and football team. Friends and family fear the emails.

My son, with his cast, was out of football for a bit and we actually had a few nights where no one had activities and we wondered how the evenings could be so long and you could actually cook, clean up and get organized – or you could sit on the couch, too.

Without clearly thinking it through, my son also tried out for a travel baseball team, and was accepted, so now we’ll have to battle our work travel schedules with a baseball schedule that will take us to different cities in the evenings this spring.

In addition to little kid football, college football is a large part of my professional work experience. But being able to bring my son to some games and giving him the experience of getting on the field of the largest college stadium will be something neither of us will forget.

Oh, and there’s dance. The dancing and the dancing with the old people, too. This year, our dance center created some adult classes, so I’m in class at the same time as my daughter. Mind you, not the same room, but instead of sitting on a bench and waiting for her to be done, I have an hour in which to sweat and trip over my own feet. It’s glorious.

And there’s the never-ending travel planning. I get to travel to Nebraska (new state on my list) for college football, as well as back to New Orleans for a conference. And more college football – if my employer’s team heads to a bowl, that will be our New Year’s-ish holiday destination. But we have to wait until the beginning of December, which is not my strong suit. We’re also cooking up an exciting trip where the kids and I can tag along with my husband in January. I’ll be bouncing off the walls if it comes true.

So happy fall, happy football and go Detroit Tigers.

 

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Summer travel recap – Pure Michigan, 5 states and Mexico

At the beginning of summer, I had outlined our travel plans and added a couple of possible trips and a wish list. We ended up pretty much on track with a couple of additional trips thrown into the mix.

Here’s what we did with our summer vacation (not that I was on vacation all summer but it sure seems like it by looking at this list!)

  • The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor: This is one of our favorite places. We kicked off summer on Memorial Day weekend with a trip to Northern Michigan.
  • Cabo San Lucas: Gorgeous resorts, swimming with the dolphins and kayaking on the ocean. Definitely on my list to return.
  • Charlotte, NC: Besides my favorite blogging conference, Type A Parent Conference, Charlotte was a great place to visit – and eat.
  • New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania: We had a whirlwind family tour of the big city, a waterpark and a relaxing riverside retreat. A perfect combination.
  • Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City: No Michigan summer is complete without a visit to Traverse City. The water was so warm in August.
  • Kohler, Wisconsin: We ended our summer with a Labor Day drive to Wisconsin. Golf, tennis, spa and the best french toast I’ve ever had.

A trip to Ontario, Canada, that I had mentioned ended up being just my husband for his work in the fall. Niagara Falls is still on my list as a family trip.

Onward and upward: What started as planning for a family trip to London during Easter break is morphing into a trip to Hawaii in mid-January. We’ll have to take the kids out of school for a couple of days but I think it’s worth it for the life experiences that they will gain. My husband’s job is requesting that he go, so we’ll tag along in the background.

How was your summer?

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