It's the Thought That Counts; Get Rid of Bad Gifts

As if the daily grind doesn't take a big enough chunk out of our lives, it's that time of year again--here come the holidays, the gift-giving season. Which in turn ushers in the re-gifting season.

It's tough enough to make it through the average day without having to figure out what to give your friends, family and coworkers. And it's even tougher to figure out what to do with gifts you get and don't need.

Click here to see how to regift or resell with grace at our partner site, Forbes.com.

Despite the craziness, the holidays bring happy times and feelings of goodwill. Don't you wish you could show your goodwill by finding the right gift for your loved ones?

But what about everyone else--the people you are required to give to? Those are gifts you really have to think about, and you usually end up grabbing something quick and hoping for the best.

The truth is that according to eBay's annual re-gifting survey (conducted by Harris Interactive) 83% of American adults receive unwanted gifts during the holiday season. This can't be just the casual-acquaintance category of gifts--it has to include gifts from loved ones too. This means that most people are potential re-gifters or resellers. Do you think the gift you gave could end up being re-gifted? The survey said that nearly half of those adults (47%) typically re-gift or resell items.

Better than re-gifting, and becoming more and more acceptable, is reselling. Businesspeople and housewives, college students and professionals are all finding their way to an Internet-driven marketplace to sell their gifts and fatten their wallets. EBay to the rescue. The same survey found that unwanted does not mean unappreciated: Nearly one-third of all adults surveyed (32%) would rather get a present they could re-gift or resell than not get a present at all.

Selling unwanted gifts on eBay requires little in the way of training and can bring in much-needed extra money to pay off holiday bills.

I've been doing this since 2000, and I end up using the proceeds to buy what I really want for myself. You can do it too. Here are a few simple tips:

Take a clear photo of the item to upload to eBay's Gallery (a picture is worth 1,000 words). This is a simple task. EBay's online widget will upload the picture automatically from your computer.

Write a descriptive title. EBay gives a seller only 55 characters for the title. Make your title count. Use only keywords that describe your item--brand name, size, color, fabric. Use only words that people might type into eBay's search engine to find the item you're selling. No adjectives, please.

Write a concise description. It won't take long. You need a paragraph or so that tells the prospective buyer about the item. Here's where you put the adjectives. Give all the details and encouragement to buyers to convince them that buying your items will make their day.

Accept credit cards. You will get more sales and higher bids if you accept credit cards. Even without being a big business, you can accept credit cards through eBay's PayPal payment service. It's simple to sign up, and believe it or not, the processing fees you pay are no higher than those an average retailer pays.

Start your auction with a low, low starting bid. Don't say to yourself, "This is worth at least $25," because--let's face it--no matter what it's worth, you don't want it. Start the bid as low as your gut will let you. You'll have a lot more bidding action if you follow this rule.

List your item for a seven-day period and watch the action.

If you get hooked on pocketing cash after you sell off your unwanted gifts, consider starting a part-time business selling on eBay. Certainly you have an entire house full of stuff you haven't touched in years. Wouldn't Aunt Martha's cloisonné candy dish make someone else very happy?

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