eBay touts that you can utilize their website to buy and sell “Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectables, Coupons and More.” Of course, “more” can include just about anything, and so it’s within this category where potential profits can hide in plain sight.
I wrote a Clark.com piece in 2017 outlining a few obscure items that sell well on eBay, like toilet paper tubes, but apparently this bizarro trend has run its course. A quick “completed listings” search for toilet paper tubes show that out of 50 listings, only three lots had sold, one collection for a mere 99¢. It’s not exactly worth the effort to collect, photograph and write up a description for a mere 6% chance that your item will actually sell!
Make extra cash selling these odd items on eBay
However, as one trend disappears other ones take its place. I asked on Facebook’s eBay Warriors group about possibly lucrative obscure categories, as I figured that their 100,000+ members would be clued into the buyers’ trends. Here are some of their tips, plus a few of my own.
Empty Altoids tins
I checked eBay’s completed listings, and sure enough there’s a market for empty Altoid tins, so instead of chucking these into the recycling bin, consider setting them aside until you have enough to justify a listing.
Empty luxury item boxes
This suggestion was completely off my radar, as my empty boxes trend more towards Cheerios than Cartier or Tiffany & Co. But once again, this tip rang true. Note to self: Keep an eye out for empty luxury brand boxes when I head out for my next afternoon of garage sale-ing!
Old perfume, even when it’s partially used up
You might think that half-empty bottles of perfume hold no value, but such is not the case. Perfume makers frequently discontinue and update lines, which means that customers will often pay up to keep backups of their signature scent.
Discontinued board games
Don’t assume that your closet full of dusty and forgotten board games holds no value. Instead, take a look to see if you own one of these surprisingly sought-after “The Office” board games. Turn “That’s what she said” into “That’s what she sold!”
Box Tops for Education
This eBay category was a surprise to me, as I stopped cutting apart my grocery packaging when my kids graduated from elementary school. However, seeing these values might inspire me to restart my old clipping routine!
Off season treats from Trader Joe’s
If you’re a Trader Joe’s shopper, you already know that their seasonal foods have ardent and loyal fans. So if you have the foresight (and self control) to set aside a few extra boxes, you can turn a tidy profit once their shelves switch over from Christmas to Valentine’s Day. Keep in mind that these completed item prices are still from December, so I can only imagine how much they sell for once more months have been allowed to pass.
Whatever you try to sell, just make sure to do a “Completed Listings” search to get a true sense of what your items are worth. Many people make the mistake of assuming that the listed price is what things sell for, when in fact many eBay items go unsold.
How to conduct your own Completed Listings search on eBay
Find the search bar on the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. Click the small blue “Advanced” link:
This will bring you to the “Advanced Search” screen, where you can customize your search, including “Completed Listings.” You can now research which eBay items actually sold, and hold much they sold for. This will give you precise and current information, which then helps you to determine whether your unwanted items are worth listing on eBay.