How To Remove Permanent Marker From (just about) Anything!

THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO REMOVING SHARPIE FROM EVERYTHING! 

Whether you’re a mom cleaning up after your kids, a reseller preparing items for eBay, or simply a weirdo who likes writing on things and then removing it, we’re here for you!

As eBay sellers and the parents of a 3 year old we’ve removed our fair share of sharpie (from skin, my chair, books, and the dog just to name a few…)  However, since this site is dedicated to flipping items on eBay w​e’ve listed our methods in the order that we use them as eBay resellers.  e.g. removing prices that unscrupulous Goodwill employees felt the need to scribble onto shoes…or clothing tags…or packages….

​So let’s get this party started!

*If you have any other tips or tricks, send us a message and we’ll add them to our list (we’ll even credit you…what an honor!)

If you have any other tips or tricks, send us a message and we’ll add them to our list (we’ll even credit you…what an honor!)

The Best General Advice

When it comes to removing permanent marker from walls, glass, skin, or what have you there is no magic household item that will remove it everytime. Life would be super cool if you could just rub some bacon on a stain and it would be gone but it’s not so. In reality, what removes stains in some places can ruin other items. So, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but be sure to spot test anything you are oging to use to remove sharpie.

Now, while there may not be a magic household product, there are some amazing cleaners that will remove stains from nearly anything that can be stained. The one in particular that you will see mentioned again and again in this guide is Amodex.

Amodex does more that just clean up marker. It cleans marker, ink, crayon, makeup (and more) from furniture, skin, clothing/fabric, leather, etc. If you are in a bind and need something to remove marker NOW! we’ll do our best to offer some alternatives. Just be sure to order a bottle or two of Amodex to have in your cupboard for the next time this happens!

Now that you’ve ordered yourself a miracle in a bottle, let’s get into the meat of the subject and talk about how to remove some marker lines!

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Whiteboard

Unfortunately, there is a student in every middle school class that thinks it’s funny to draw some parts of the male anatomy of the classroom whiteboard in permanent marker. While this might be funny to the developing brains of 13-year-old boys, it can be a nightmare for a teacher who needs to remove it, and quick!

Or maybe you’re simply in the boat of grabbing the wrong marker to use on your fridge or personal whiteboard. Whatever the case, rest easy. It is actually incredibly simple to remove permanent marker from a whiteboard and you only need one item.

When I accidentally used a Sharpie on my whiteboard I tried everything from goo-gone to oven cleaner to get it off. Don’t bother. All you need is a Magic Eraser. Get it a bit wet with either water or Windex and rub the offending marker right off!

If you don’t have a Magic Eraser handy, there is always the old standby trick of coloring over the marker. Just grab a dry erase marker and trace/scribble over the line you want to remove and then erase it before the ink dries. Easy as pie!

REMOVING SHARPIE FROM THE SOLE OF SHOES

Shoe soles comes in many different materials but thrift store employees scribble prices on them all.  Nothing dampens the sale of your $200 shoes quite like a $4.00 price scrawled on the bottom.  It’s simply bad form to leave the price there for your buyer to see so let’s talk about how to remove it!

Use:
​Nail Polish Remover
​Dryer Sheet

Don’t Use:
Goof Off – It actually melts the sole!  It’s probably better to have a price than a melted glob on the bottom of your shoe…

Luckily for resellers everywhere, sharpie on rubber soles is incredibly easy to remove.  For awhile we used Goo Gone (it does work) which required lots of scrubbing and left us with an oily mess.  Quite by accident we discovered a cheap and easy solutions….nail polish remover and a dryer sheet!  Dryer sheets are a commonly used article for people removing finger nail polish but, as far as we know, we are the only ones who use it for sharpie removal!  The ways of doing this are many but the gist of it is, get some finger nail polish on the sharpie and then rub it with the dryer sheet.  We usually use a cotton ball to dab some over the sharpie and then use a dryer sheet that has been wet with polish remover to simple wipe the sharpie away.

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LEATHER SOLES

Leather soles come in two varieties: soft and porous (impossible to remove marker from) and old and crusty (also impossible to remove marker from).  If you don’t mind a little discoloring, most household products will remove or at least reduce the appearance of sharpie.  If you don’t want to go that route then here are the two alternate routes we take:

To remove sharpie from leather soles you can buff it off with fine grit sand paper.  These is especially effective for worn soles where a little sanding won’t be very noticeable.  Your other option is to doctor the price.  This does limit your selling price but this is an option that we use all the time both for shoes and for clothing items with mark down prices on the tags.  Sold for $24.99?  Well make that $124.99!  Sold for $14.95?  Now it’s $44.95!  Just make it believable.

If you have a better way to get this done please let us know….

How to get Sharpie off leather

Use:

  • Aerosol Hairspray
  • Leather Conditioner
  • ​Clean Rags
  • If you don’t have aerosol hairspray, you can substitute white vinegar

Don’t Use:
Anything else

Steps

  • Spray a small section of your clean rag with your hairspray – just enough to dampen it, we don’t want it soaking
  • Use the damp rag to gently wipe the marker mark
  • Reapply hairspray as needed and move to clean areas of the rag often
  • Continue until you have removed all of the marker
  • Once you have the bag cleaned to your liking, be sure to condition the leather (with leather conditioner) to restore the moisture that was pulled out by your cleaning.
  • Celebrate!

REMOVING SHARPIE FROM FABRIC

Because fabirc is porous, it presents a much more difficult challenge than rubber or hard leather.  Sharpie tends to penetrate the fibers and it is very resistant to any efforts to remove it.  Do not despair however, it can happen!

MICROFIBER UPHOLSTERY

Use:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Clean Towel

Don’t Use:

  • Rough Towels – They’ll damage the microfiber
  • Anything Oil Based

Steps

  • Add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to a towel and scrub the stain for approximately 10
    to 15 minutes.
  • Apply some rubbing alcohol to a second clean towel and scrub the stain for another 10 to 15
    minutes.
  • ​Using a clean, damp towel, continue scrubbing until the stain has been removed.
  • Remove any excess moisture by pressing firmly with a clean, dry towel.

ALL OTHER UPHOSLTERY

Use:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Windex
  • Clear Nail Polish Remover
  • Clean, Dry, High Absorbent Towels

Don’t Use:

  • Colored Nail Polish Remover (It Stains)
  • Anything Oil Based

Steps:

  • ​Apply a small amount of one of the above items to a clean towel. I find that towels that closely
    match the color of your fabric work best (Light colored or white towels for light colored fabric
    and darker or black towels for darker colored fabric)
  • ​Using the wet (not soaked) part of the towel, pat the stain firmly. Continue patting and and add
    solution as needed until stain is gone. Keep in mind that you do not want to soak the fabric.
  • ​Once the stain has been removed you need to soak up the excess moisture from your upholstery.
    Use a clean, dry, and absorbent towel. Pat firmly until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • ​Place item outside or in a well ventilated area until completely dry.

REMOVING SHARPIE FROM CLOTHING

WHITE CLOTHING

Use:

  • ​Bleach

Don’t Use:

  • ​Anything Else

Steps:

  • Make a weak bleach/water solution and cover the stain with it.  For dried stains, soaking may be necessary.  Just remember that bleach has a habit of eating fabric that soaks in it for too long!  Once the stain is removed, wash the clothing immediately.

ALL OTHER CLOTHING (EXCEPT SILKS AND SATINS)

Use:

  • Acetone, Rubbing Alcohol, or Citrus Fruit
  • ​Clean Cloth or Cotton Ball

Don’t Use:

  • Anything Else!

Steps:​​

  • 1. For most fabrics, I would suggest spot-cleaning the area with citrus fruit (orange, lemon, or
    lime). Squeeze the juice onto a clean rag and pat over the area or cut the fruit in half and dab the
    cut side over the stain until the stain has disappeared. Wash immediately.
    2. For more delicate fabrics such as silk and satin, dilute the citrus juice in water before applying it
    to the fabric. Wash immediately.
    3. If you are working with sturdier fabrics dampen a cotton ball with acetone or rubbing alcohol
    and pat onto the stain until the stain disappears. Wash immediately.

REMOVING SHARPIE FROM ALL OTHER HARD SURFACES

For items such as toys, plastic, enamels, etc. there are a plethora of ways to remove sharpie.  We’ve listed them here in the order that we’d suggest, taking into account ease of removing the stain, mess created, etc.

OTHER HARD SURFACES
1. Magic eraser – Dampen the magic eraser with water and scrub over the stained area until the
stain has been removed.
2. Toothpaste and baking soda – Mix 1 part toothpaste with one part baking soda and apply a
small amount to the stain. Using a clean cloth, rub in a circular motion. This may take a little bit
of work but it should come off.
3. Pencil Eraser – Rub the eraser over the permanent marker to erase it.
4. Dry Erase Marker – Color over the stain with a dry erase marker then wiping it off with a cloth.
This process also works great on dry erase boards.
5. WD-40 – Spray some WD-40 on the affected area and scrub with a clean cloth.

*Tip: Permanent marker can easily cover up marks and scratches in most furniture. Just find a marker that matches the color of your furniture and fill in the scratched or discolored area.

Other products that people have had luck with:
• Hand sanitizer
• Bug spray
• Lighter Fluid
• Sunscreen
• Baby Wipe
• Hair Spray

We hope that was helpful!  If you’ve made it to this point in the article you’ve probably got a three year old as well and have to do a lot of damage control!  But whatever you’re removing marker from, may the goo-gone be forever it your favor.  Happy spot testing!

How to Polish, Clean, and Restore Leather Boots for Resale

COPY THE METHOD WE USED TO BUY THESE BOOTS FOR $2.25, CLEAN THEM, AND FLIP THEM FOR $59.95…

HOW TO CLEAN LEATHER BOOTS FOR RESALE

If you follow our blog you’ll know that we have a penchant for buying boots off eBay, polishing them up a bit, and flipping them for a huge profit!  The leather boots shown above are the literal same pair of boots.  Not just the same model, but the picture on the left shows the listing from which I purchased the boots for $2.25.  With 20 mins of elbow grease and better picturing I turned around and sold them for $59.95 + shipping!  In this post we’ll show you how to clean your leather boots and get top dollar for them!

Will this met work for my boots?
Well, that depends on the leather. This tutorial is meant for smooth leathers.  If the leather on your shoes/boots has a fuzzy feel to it it is likely either suede (pretty much inside out leather) or nubuck (leather sanded to a velvety feel).  For these leathers you need specific cleaning and you should not use anything oil based or even wet.

THE GUINEA PIG PAIR

For this how-to I picked up a pair of leather/gore-tex Timberland boots for $9.99 at my local Savers.  (If I was smart I would have donated some non-selling duds and gotten a 30% off but I was in a hurry to share this with you…)

Not too shabby but definitely nothing to write home about.  If these boots aren’t screaming CLEAN ME! to you then you’re probably in the wrong line of business.  So let’s see what we can do to make these shine…

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

For this project, you’ll need to purchase two products, a cleaner and a conditioner.  We used the following two products because they are cheap and get the job done!  Are there better products out there?  Definitely!  But our purpose here is to clean the boots, do it quickly, and maintain our profits.  You can probably find both of these products at your local grocery store..or you can click the pictures below to buy through us so we can keep the lights on around here! 🙂

If you’re really bringing some leather back from the dead (we’re talking restoring leather boots that are cracking or dried up) then you need to also pick up some form of leather lotion such as (my favorite) Leather Honey.  It will restore the moisture in anything from couches to handbags.  Get it here.

STEP 1: BRUSHING

Before you break open the saddle soap, you’ll need to get the majority of the dirt off the boots.  This can be accomplished with either a stiff brush or with water.  For this pair, we knocked off what dirt we could with a stiff brush and then washed the boots in the tub.  This removed 99% of the dirt but just be aware that if you follow this route you’ll have to wait until the boots completely dry before conditioning them.

STEP 2: SADDLE SOAP

Saddle Soap is a traditional blend of ingredients which cleans, softens and preserves smooth leather. It contains a fine soap to thoroughly clean away dirt, grime, and even salt stains!

Once your boots are no longer covered with any major grim, take a damp rag, rub some soap onto it, and start rubbing the soap onto your boots!  (We’ve found that a circular motion works best).  After working it over the surface of the boot, wipe it off with a clean damp rag and repeat as necessary.  

When finished with the whole boot, give the boots a good wipe down and then let them sit and dry.  After they’re dry, you can buff them with a soft dry rag.  This is optional but we’ve found that it results in a great shine at the end!

STEP 3: CONDITIONING

Conditioning Oil contains a rich blend of conditioners that nourish and waterproof smooth leather.  Be aware before you start that if you’re conditioning a very light leather, oiling it may cause darkening.  Not a problem for us here so let’s move on!

If your boots are clean and dry, get a dab of conditioning oil on a rag and wipe a thin coat onto a small working area.  This part takes a bit of patience.  Work the oil into to boot, focusing on seams and creases.  Make sure to wipe off the excess as you go.

Amazing right?  Of course it is!  Just a bit of oil returns the leather to its natural color and luster.  Check our the toes of the boots on the right..

Tip:  Make sure the boots are unlaced to you can get conditioner on the tongue and into every corner of the boot.  Be thorough!  After you have wiped off the excess, let the boots sit for a day or two during which time the color will equalize.  Conditioning can sometimes leave dark spots or unequal color between the boots but some time drying has always solved this problem for us!

STEP 4: ADMIRE, PHOTOGRAPH, AND SELL!

Take a minute to step back and admire your fully restored leather boots!  Then get those boots stuffed, take some pictures, and list on eBay!  Although there is no way to know for sure, our cleaning definitely increased the value of these boots at least $20.  How long do you usually spend cleaning boots?

​We can tell you that prepping items is very important for eBay.  If you’re an eBay seller you know by now that looks sell.  If you’re a model, then by all means wear the boots and watch your sales take off.  For the rest of us, we’re relegated to saddle soap and conditioning oil.  Thanks for reading and keep working hard!

***Update*** These boots ended up selling for $79.95 + shipping.  Not bad for a $10 investment and a little elbow grease!

How to Wash Plush Stuffed Animals to Resell on eBay

We’ve all had the experience, we find a valuable plush animal…only to turn it over and find that it’s been puked on.  Or sucked on, snotted on, pooped on, we’ve seen it all.  So what to do?  Put it back and not reap the profits?  Never!  If you’re an eBay seller, you must know that there is a way to improve the value of everything.  In this case, it’s removing the encrusted grime.Washing stuffed animals can be a tricky business. Regular washer?  Regular soap?  Can it be dried?   So where to start…

**Before undertaking this endeavor be aware that washing will make an animal clean….but not new.  Washing too often can wear on the edges and shape of the animal.  But if you’re not scared: onward!


​DO NOT WASH YOUR ANIMALS IN THE WASHING MACHINE IF:

  • They have a music  or voice box sewn inside.  Water and electronics don’t mix….
  • They are very old or fragile
  • They have glued on accessories or decorations such as sequins, purses, etc.  Glued-on eyes are probably fine
  • They have small foam balls inside (think Beanie Babies)

FIRE UP THE WASHING MACHINE

First off, inspect the stuffed animal to make sure it is free of rips, fragile add ons, etc.  If your washing machine has an agitator, consider heading to the laundromat.  You’ll have much better luck washing stuffed animal in a machine without an agitator as it beats them into odd shapes.
After determining your stuffed animal can be washed, place it in a mesh laundry bag.  The mesh bag gives it an extra level of protection from snagging or being pummeled too much in the machine.  If you don’t have a bag and want a quick fix, you can also put the stuffed animal inside a pillow case.

Flip the machine to cold and gentle/delicate cycle.  Stuffed animals are tender little guys and just can’t handle anything more aggressive!  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use a warm wash but avoid hot like the plague.  Hot water can dissolve glue!
After washing, remove from the bag and hang the animal to dry!  Dryer heat – even on low – could damage plastic parts and leave the animal crunchy instead of soft.

Aaaaand that’s all there is to it!  Congrats, you just increased the selling price of your stuffed animal many times!  And in case you just scrolled all the way to the end:

The Cliff Notes Version

  • Make sure the stuffed animal can be washed.
  • Place in a mesh bag.
  • Wash on warm/cool water temperature on the delicate cycle.
  • Hang dry.  Don’t put in the dryer.
  • Profit

How To Ship eBay Orders From Home

For the first 6 months we sold on eBay we would pack up all of our orders, write what item was inside on the top of the box, and trek to the post office.  I have many pictures of my wife at the post office at 1:00 in the morning, standing at the shipping kiosk, and looking like a very angry little eBay elf.  One day, we were sitting in the hospital waiting room for the birth on our nephew, I was killing time on my phone and saw an offhand comment about a thermal printer.  I did some research and found that I could print from home anytime and it was actually cheaper than going to the post office!  I could even schedule pickups!  I might never have to leave my house again!  So if you’re serious about eBay (or any other home business) it’s time you start to ship your eBay orders from home…

PACKING THE ITEM

Hopefully you’ve had this part down for awhile.  Unless they’re very unusual, we pack all items similarly.  We have 2 different sizes of boxes, and two different poly mailers.  The idea here is to become as quick as possible.  For example: shoes always go into box #1, t-shirts, shorts, etc go into the small poly mailer.  Jackets go into the big poly mailer unless they sold for over $100 in which case they go into box #2.  Pretty soon you’ll have your own system figured out and can have this whole process streamlined!  Never be intimidated by large items, packing eBay orders is as simple as putting something in a box with padding.  

PRINTING LABELS

In our “How To Ship eBay Orders From Home” tutorial, the first questions of course is, how do I print the orders?  Well luckily, there are only two options to talk about, and only one of them is any good….

INK VS. THERMAL PRINTERS If you know the weight of your items, you can actually print your shipping labels from any home printer!  This is the most expensive home shipping option by far because of the paper and ink cost.  It is also the most time consuming as you will need to cut out and tape each label to the box.  This is a definite step up from printing at the post office because it allows you to use eBay’s shipping service and get a discount (shipping directly from USPS’s website will also give you a discount).  If you are serious about selling online however, getting a thermal printer is the only long term solution.

THERMAL PRINTER

If you decide to get a thermal printer, say goodbye to buying ink!  Thermal printers use heat to transfer an image onto a label.  They can print a label in under 2 seconds, cost less than $0.02 a label, and make you look much more professional than taping a giant piece of paper to your box.  Many people are reluctant to take the dive into buying a thermal printer but here’s a secret, you have to spend money to grow your business.  If you are dragging your feet, your business growth will slog along as well.  We consider buying a thermal printer one of our best investments for our home business and have used it to ship thousands of labels so far.  If you have to save for one, start now.

OUR SET-UP

We spent around $200 total (we already had the laptop) to get everything we needed to start shipping from home. This included the printer with all the necessary cords and software, a scale, and enough labels to ship everything we own and then some. While it can be done much cheaper, (or for free if you have a home printer and scale already), we chose a long term option that could grow with us as with scaled our business.

TO GET STARTED, YOU REALLY NEED 3 THINGS:

Scale: Smart Weigh Digitial Postal Scale (Get It Here)
Why we chose that one:  It was literally the one one we could find with everything we wanted!

  • Detached monitor.  If the readout is on the scale it is impossible to see when you stick a huge box on there.
  • Both AC and battery power options.  If we have a box that’s too big for the desk, we can unplug it and weigh in on the kitchen floor using battery power.
  • 110 lb Capacity
  • Price: At less than $30, this scale is a total steal

Printer:Zebra LP2844 Thermal (Get It Here)
​Why we chose that one: The LP2844 is the workhorse of thermal label printers.  It has been used for many years in both home and commercial businesses.  Because of this, there are not only a ton of refurbished models for sale, but there is a huge amount of support and information available on setting up and using these machines.  We know of sellers who have printed 20,000+ labels through one of these with no issues.  Look for them on both eBay and Amazon.

Labels: Generic
​Why we chose that one: Labels are labels.  We choose low cost 4×6 thermal labels and buy them in bulk!

OUR SUGGESTION

If you look on eBay or Amazon you can actually find a package which will give you everything you need for under $200.  Just make sure you’re buying a reputable dealer who can give you tech support if your printer malfunctions or you need help setting it up.

SHIPPING FAQS

​​DO YOU ACTUALLY WEIGH THINGS AS YOU LIST THEM?

I admit it, I no longer weigh items as I list them.  The reason we stopped weighing items is that we are familiar enough with the weight of the items we sell that we can guess their weight closely enough.  If you ship flat rate, there is never a need for weight guessing.  If however you choose to ship by weight, as we do, USPS prices change by the pound (For priority mail anyway).  For example, a 3lb 4oz box is the same price as a 3lb 15oz box.  So we figure we can get within that 1lb range.  We do however weigh items precisely for shipping.
People who should weigh items as they list:
New sellers
Those who ship a lot of first class packages
Those who send alot of packages overseas

WHAT IF I OVER/UNDER CHARGE SHIPPING?

If you undercharge for shipping, oh well!  Make it up out of your pocket.  You are prohibited by eBay’s policy from asking for additional shipping (not to mention the fact that it would be immoral).  If we overcharge, we keep the change as compensation for materials used.  You win some, you lose some, and overall it evens out.  We never refund shipping as we figure the buyer was willing to pay that amount.  We do however do our best to charge accurate shipping and, if we guess, typically guess on the light side to save the buyer money.  Just be sure to hide the shipping amount on the label.

​​WHERE DO YOU GET PACKING MATERIALS?

If you ship flat-rate, USPS provides packages free of charge and will deliver them straight to your door!  Request flat-rate boxes here.

As we prefer to ship via calculated shipping, we are always on the lookout for supplies!  We buy boxes in bulk from a local shipping company (buying boxes one at a time “as needed” is 10x the price…).  Our packing material comes from various other places.  We snag stacks of newspaper/ads as stores through them out, use recycled products from a local college, and even received a bale of last weeks edition from a local paper.  Call around to stores/publishers in your area and tell them that you’d be happy to take what they have off their hands!

14 Must Have Tools For eBay Sellers

What is eBay to you?

A lucrative hobby?  An easy part-time income?  A serious business?  

When we first started out we though we’d wait until we had some success until we started purchasing things to streamline our business….but we were backward.  It is the streamlining that allows your business to grow!  We put a ton of thought into this list because we wanted to recommend only the best items, the ones that we use every single day in our business.  While there are other items that might help you take cuter Instagram photos, the following tools are hardworking items that will help the rubber meet the road.  So if you’re serious about selling on eBay, don’t be caught without these!

We often find that the main measure for how successful someone is, is how much they have invested in their business.  eBay is an incredible opportunity because you can start making money with absolutely no investment.  You can find something in you house, take pictures on your phone, and have it for sale within minutes.  While this is a great starting point, you always get out of things what you put in and having the right tools for a job will make you much more effective!

1. A Thermal Printer

If you are serious about eBay, you should be shipping all of your orders from home.  Not only is it cheaper, but you don’t have to wear pants.  Buying a thermal printer and shipping straight from eBay has saved us a ton of money and time.  Printing with an ink printer is both expensive (ink prices are out of control) and time-consuming (we hate taping paper labels to boxes).  Using a thermal printer costs less than $0.02 a label and ours is still going strong after almost 10,000 orders.

For under $200 you can get a thermal printer and several thousand labels.  When we picked ours up a couple of years ago prices were still over $300 and I felt like it was well worth it!

We have written about our favorite thermal printers on this site a couple on times but, if you don’t have time to read our full reviews here is the spoiler: The Rollo Label Printer won by a landslide. It is the best printer available (and among the cheapest). While it won’t win any beauty contests, if it’s still on sale, don’t wait until tomorrow to pick on up!

If you have a bit more time to read, finish this article and then hop over to one of our thermal printer reviews to see what would be the best fit for you!

2. Shipping Scale

Whether you decide to invest in a thermal printer or not, a good shipping scale is integral to any eBay business.  Guessing wrong on the weight can leave you with either a buyer who is angry to have overpaid, or leave you out money when you have to make up the difference.  The scale we use can be powered either by a cord or by battery (useful when you need to set in the middle of the kitchen floor to weigh something large), and has a detached screen.  A detached screen is important as you still need to be able to see the readout when there is a large box on the scale!

It’s cheap, it’s super durable, and it’s the best home shipping scale for eBay. We’ve actually bought 6 of them now because we like adding shipping stations as we go! (and I stepped on the readout of one and dropped another on concrete…)

In addition to shipping, we’ve found dozens of uses for our scale (such as proof of weight in a listing)

If you’re less accident-prone than I am, you can find a great scale for about the price of 34 dollar menu hamburgers!

3. CARTON RESIZER/REDUCER

If you are unfamiliar with the Frankenbox, it is time you became a true eBayer!  A Frankenbox is what occurs when you don’t have a box that is the right size for whatever you are shipping, so you cobble together several boxes into one ambiguous tape-covered shape to hold your item.  While making a Frankenstein box may make you feel accomplished and clever, your buyer can’t help but be a little bummed when they receive something that looks like a bomb in the mail.

The alternative to this is using a box sizer like the one pictured. It will help you cut any box down to size beautifully and uniformly. Not only will your box look better but it ships cheaper (it will be smaller) but it will require less void fill (more savings) and it will be handled better by the shipping company!

Be professional and get one!

4. Label & Sticker Remover

One of our local thrift stores (which we visit at least once a week) seems to put super glue on their labels.  Removing the labels leaves pieces behind, tears, or sometimes even stains the item.  Enter the Label Scraper.  This handy dandy little guy easily removes labels from all of our eBay items!  It can’t help with the stains, but for once in our lives, the Goo Gone can stay on the shelf because our labels are all coming off in one piece!

There are many options available (go for metal ones instead of plastic) but there is one we have found that these ones give us the best bang for our buck

5. FREE PACKING SUPPLIES!

Packing materials are one of the most overlooked costs in eBay selling.  We have spend almost $50 for supplies to ship a single order (it was a huge set of china and needed lots of bubble wrap) and, if you don’t have a cheap supplier, you might loose your shorts!  The best supplies are free supplies so check out some of our favorite sources:

  • USPS.  You can get free boxes and mailers from USPS delivered straight to your door!  Just be sure to order them ahead of time as it can take a week or two to recieve them.
  • Dumpsters.  While it’s not as much a hobby for us anymore, there was a time when we would stop at dumpsters and pull out boxes and bubble wrap (and saved a ton of money doing so).  We routinely found large rolls of bubble wrap, excellent shipping boxes, and even sellable inventory!  Just be sure that you’re being safe and not trespassing if you go down this route.
  • Local Newspapers and Grocery Stores.  Newspapers printers are notorious for creating huge amounts of waste.  Whether they are misprints or just leftovers, large bales or newspaper gets recycled or thrown away all the time.  In conjunction with this, grocery stores that stock free newspapers/classifieds/etc. end up throwing away all the extras when they get new stock.  Reach out to your local stores or Newspapers and ask if they have a day when they toss things and offer to take it off their hands for free!
  • Stores. If you are shipping a speciality item, odds are you can score a free box from a friendly local store.  When we ship bikes or guitars we head down to our local bike or guitar shop and ask if they have any leftover boxes.  More often than not the answer is yes and you can get a box meant for you item for nothing!
  • Craigslist/FB Marketplace.  After people move they typically end up with tons of boxes as well as packing material.  You can either put an ad up saying you’re looking for packing materials or simply search for ads of people trying to give their away!
  • Friends & Fam.  We have a spot in our garage for random boxes and the pile grows and changes slightly every time I look at it.  Family members and friends know not to throw their boxes away and make regular drop offs to our garage stash!

6. CHEAP PACKING TAPE THAT DOESN’T SUCK

We have had our share of mishaps when it comes to buying packing tape and, since we typically buy in bulk, we have ended up with bunches of useless tape more than one.  Two specific instances come to mind:

  • We like 3″ wide tape as it bridges gaps better and we don’t have to double tape boxes together.  We bought a box of 12 rolls of 3″ tape from an eBay seller only to find out that they had deceptively described it as 3″ tape because the inside hole measured 3″ (it all does).  We still used the tape but were pretty bummed out.
  • Another time, we found a great deal on tape that really was 3″.  Unfortunately, when we got it it was so thin that it would tear when going on boxes and barley stuck enough to keep boxes closed.  In this instant we didn’t actually use any of it because we didn’t trust it to get our packages to our buyers safely!

These days, we buy tape from a single source while is a great deal and sticks like glue!  Trust us, don’t bother buying inferior tape, you’ll reget it.

7. POLYMAILERS

The day we made the shift to poly-mailers was one of the happiest of our life.  There are better than boxes in so many ways:

  • Lower weight reduces shipping cost
  • They are much faster to pack things in
  • They are much cheaper than boxes
  • They are easy to store and take up very little space

We ship almost all of our clothing items in polymailers and figure it saves us around $1 an order, not to mention all the time saved!

Not all poly mailers on the market are created equal.  There are many versions that are thin (they tear easily) and have a very weak adhesive.  We typically buy from SJPack on Amazon and get our mailers in 10″x13″ and 14.5″x19

*If you have an eBay store subscription be sure to use your quarterly shipping supplies credit before buying extra

8. THE PERFECT PICTURE TAKING HANGERS

There was a time when we took almost all of our clothing pictures using mannequins.  We had 3 different sizes on hand and thought it really made us stand out from the crowd.  These days, I firmly believe that a mannequin is unnecessary for the majority of sellers and we only use our for 10% or so of the clothing we picture.   Flat-lays and hangers allow you to picture items much faster and, in my opinion, is easier to make look nice.  

If you are set on mannequin, we use this one for men’s clothing and this one for women’s.  Otherwise, get yourself the following hangers and you’ll be set.

Cute Hangers: This should be obvious.  If you’re trying to sell cute clothes, hang them on a cute hanger.  These have the added benefit of adding color to any picture which can give you a more accurate color balance.

Extra Wide Hangers: One of the main errors that eBay seller’s make when taking pictures of clothing is that they use too narrow of a hanger.  If the hanger is narrow, the clothing has no shape and the body/arms just drape down in a mass.  Wide hangers, on the other hand, mimic much closer a flat-lay.  

​​9. ​LIGHT KIT & SOFT BOX

The fine print for the the idea that you can take nice pictures on hangers would read, “as long as you have good light.  If you work at unusual times (like us) or in places without good natural light (like us) you’ll want to invest in a good lighting kit.  Do not get suckered into buying anything overboard.  Pretty much any kit that doesn’t catch on fire will provide adequate lighting to set you items apart.

Before we bought a lighting system, there were be whole days that we couldn’t take a single picture because we couldn’t get the lighting just right!  The picture is your customer’s first point of contact with your item and, if it’s poor, it can turn them off from even clicking on your listing.  The lighting system that we use was incredibly budget friendly and very easy to set up.  For around $60 you can get set up to take perfect pictures anywhere, any time of day.

If the light kit is too much of an investment for you, here are two cheaper tricks you can try out: pick up some floor lamps from a thrift store and stick daylight white bulbs in them.  Or, if you want a more permanent solution, check out this DIY.

​10. DRITZ SWEATER STONE (OR SHAVER)

Ever since we figured out how to clean the pills of of sweaters and fleece, we have been buying all the fleece jackets we can find!  It takes less than 10 minutes for us to turn a cheap, pill covered, worn out looking jacket or sweater, into something that looks beautiful and almost brand new!  Our  weapon of choice used to be the Dritz Sweater Stone.  In fact, we loved it so much we wrote a guide on how to use it here!  While I still love the results it gives, I got tired on it getting dust on everything and cutting up my fingers.  These days I’m partial to a battery powered shaver and pick only really nice items to de-pill.  Just be sure to get a clothing shaver that has a AC Cord like this one.  The first one we bought was battery powered only and we used up two sets of D batteries on a single cardigan.

​11. AN AWESOME CAMERA

Is a camera necessary to make money on eBay?  No, not at all.  We did over $10,000 a month for two years using only our phones and didn’t feel like we were missing out.  That is, until we got a camera.  Our colors were more accurate, we have more attractive looking textures and details, we could take awesome close-ups, white out the background more effectively, etc.  Our main stipulation was that it had to be effortless to transfer pictures onto our phones since that’s where we do all of our drafting and listing.  We finally settled on the Nikon J5 which takes awesome pictures at a great price and transfers pictures almost instantly with it’s own app!  I can just open the app on my phone, view all the pictures on the camera, and choose which ones to download. ​While a camera isn’t necessary if you are content as a hobby seller, as soon as you want to scale up and/or hire help, invest in one!

12. A SHOE CLEANING AND PICTURING KIT

Believe it or not, it’s possible to do $100,00 or more on eBay just selling thrifted shoes.  If you specialize in footwear, it’s not trick at all to recognize half a dozen pair at a thrift store that are worth picking up every time.  We have found shoes worth over $300 at Goodwill and routinely pick up shoes in the $100 range.  (Check out this article for shoes brands that sell well on eBay).

Finding shoes is only half the battle however.  No one wants to buy stinky shapeless looking shoes.  Since your pictures are the only real interaction your buyer has with your item you better….put your best foot forward.  Beyond the obvious items (shoes polish, etc) we use the following items to make sure our shoes are looking awesome:

Shoe Forms: These can give any rumply shoe a decent shape again and are an absolute necessity for dress shoes.

Clear Shoe Inserts: These are dirt cheap and we use them for everything from sandals to heels.

Boot Shapers: Tall boots are some of the most difficult footwear to photography attractively.  Some sellers simply stick a chopped off pool noodle inside to keep the boots upright but we prefer the more attractive option of Resinta Boot Shapers.  Just be sure to state in the auction that they aren’t included!

13. A DECENT BACKDROP

Let’s face it, nobody want to buy your used clothes off of eBay when they’re laid out on your kitchen floor or table (or worse, your dirty floor).  A professional backdrop gives your buyer the sense that you are, in fact, a professional.  Since you’re a hustler at heart, you’ve probably already figured out that you don’t need expensive vinyl backdrops to get the job done.  After all our years on eBay, will actually take most of our pictures using rolls of paper from Michael’s as a background.  Wood grain on one side and white on the other.  We simply thumbtack it to the wall and nobody knows that it’s not a $100 backdrop!  If it gets dirty or tears, it’s cheap enough to buy another roll!  If you aren’t close to a craft store, you can find the same ones we use here on Amazon​.

While the paper is awesome for hanging on the wall, I will admit that it falls a bit short for flat-lays.  The paper quickly wrinkles and tears if you move it too much.  For flat-lays, we recommend a long hair rug or sheepskin.  You want something with a neutral color but lots of texture!  IKEA sheep skins work nicely as will a couple yards of faux fur fabric from your local craft store!

14. To Follow Our Facebook Page!

This is probably the most necessary item on this list!  Well, maybe not quite.  But I can tell you that every single member who had joined our site and put in the work has been able to grow their eBay business and increase the profits.  It’s free to follow us (obviously) and you also have the change to ask us questions, talk with the eBay community, and more!

Rollo Printer Review: The Best Label Printer?

It’s the #1 label printer on Amazon, it claims to have the most hassle-free product, it looks a bit like a stapler, and it shares a name with one of my favorite candies.   It has taken me a while to warm up to it (I don’t like change) – but after finally giving into the hype and buying one, I can finally answer the question, “Is the Rollo Printer for you?”  Probably.

When we first transitioned into working full time at home, we bought a Zebra LP2844.  I had used them at a previous job and was able to get it working without too much hassle.  It was an absolute game changer.  We didn’t have to ship things at the post office and we didn’t have to use a normal printer and tape the paper label onto the package.  All of a sudden, shipping things was twice as fast and way cheaper!  At first we thought this was because we had bought the most awesome printer in existence! Alas, it was not so.  All the advantages we were enjoying were simply because we had finally grown up and bought a thermal printer.  Unfortunately, we had chosen a mediocre model which came with a host of drawbacks.  So when I finally got tired of our Zebra printer randomly disconnecting, it was time to shop for a new model.  But what thermal printer would work best for us?

A quick look on Amazon, and you will be shocked at the number of thermal printers there are available.  However, it’s a pretty quick process to cut out the bottom 80%.  We would never buy a printer that is not from a major company with a proven record.  While they might have an okay product, small companies just can’t provide you with the level of customer support you may need, they won’t be how-to videos on YouTube, and if your printer breaks…well…bummer.

Buying a thermal printer is one area where it does not pay to be different.  So what is everyone using and loving right now?  The Rollo of course!

We had seen it around for awhile and several of our reseller friends had recommended it to us, so it was time to bite the bullet and see what all the fuss is about.  But first: why is there any fuss in the first place?

If you’re in a hurry, take my word for us, this is the absolute best printer at the best price (at least it is if the price hasn’t gone back up)

WHAT MAKES THE ROLLO LABEL PRINTER SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT?

ACCORDING TO ROLLO:

ACCORDING TO US:

  • Works with any Thermal Direct Label.  While it sounds like it should be the norm, this is actually a huge deal.  Several companies (DYMO being the main culprit) have purposefully designed their printers so that you have to use their own brand of expensive labels.  Such companies pretty much turn buying a thermal printer into a subscription service.  While there are knockoff labels available for such companies, using them typically voids the warranty and will not get you any sympathy if you ever need to call customer service.  Rollo, on the other hand, encourages you to use whatever thermal printer label you want in a huge variety of sizes!
  • High Speed Printing at 150mm/s.  While this wasn’t a huge selling point for us, there is no doubt that the Rollo prints lightening fast.  It’s almost twice as fast as most of its competitors and takes less than 1 second to print the average 4×6 label.  If you print a lot of labels at once, this may be a huge deal to you!
  • Compatible with all major shipping platforms.  If you go to Amazon and read the questions about specific printers, almost half of them are people asking, “Is this compatible with PayPal (or Stamps, eBay, Click-n-Ship, FedEx, etc)?”  With a Rollo, the answer is pretty much always yes!  eBay sellers, Etsy Sellers, Poshmarkers, or almost any home-based shipper will be able to use the Rollo with the platform of their choice.
  • Rollo offers 5-star U.S. based customer service via Phone, Email, and Remote-Desktop…supposedly.  We’ve never actually had to deal with customer service (we haven’t had any problems), but from what we’ve heard, their 24-7 customer service is extremely friendly and helpful.
  • Easy to setup with short how-to videos.  When we bought a dedicated shipping computer (instead of just using my laptop), I spent several hours trying to get our printer at that time (a Zebra LP2844) to work correctly with it.  In the end, I ended up setting it up on our main home desktop (for some reason it worked on there) for several weeks, until I had the time to deal with customer service and figure it out.  We didn’t have any such issues with our Rollo!  Your computer recognizes it as a normal printer and we didn’t have to deal with finding and downloading any of the archaic control software or drivers that we’ve dealt with in the past.  If you can’t figure it out on your own, there are simple videos on both YouTube and Rollo’s site to help!
  • Prints labels from 1.57″ to 4.1″ wide with Automatic Label Identification.  We got so tired of switching labels in our old printer every time we needed to print Amazon FBA labels that we actually bought an entirely separate printer.  With the Rollo, you simply have to load the labels and push a button.  It will automatically analyze the type and size of labels you are using!
  • No Maintenance!  Most thermal printers don’t need much love to keep them happy, but the Rollo is particularly stalwart.  It does not need regular cleaning, oiling, part replacement, or anything of that sort.

WHAT YOU GET:

We paid $169.99 for our printer brand new in a box, straight from Amazon.  It is a heck of a lot of printer for that money.  I actually spent just over $300 for a fully refurbished model of our first printer (the Zebra).  For $170, you get (almost) everything you need to get going!  We didn’t realize quite how the labels were loaded when we ordered our printer, and ended up having to order the label tray as well (you’ll want one).  So for under $230, we got a printer, the tray, and 1800 labels.

OUT-OF-THE-BOX SET-UP AND IMPRESSIONS:

rollo label printer unboxing and full review

“Well that was easy!”  We had the printer out of the box (it’s heftier than I expected) and printing within 15 minutes of receiving it.  It’s as close to plug-and-play as you can get with a true label printer.

When we first set it up, we didn’t have the label tray or the labels we like (we prefer rolls…), so we just set the stack of fan-fold labels directly on the desk and it pulled them through just fine.

My one gripe with the printer is that I can’t move it around like I could with my old printer.  When my shipping area gets hectic, it’s nice to be able to simply move things around, but with the labels not loading directly into the printer, this is not really and option.  I guess I’ll just have to keep my desk cleaner.  Oh well!

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Is the Rollo perfect?  No.  Is it the best printer on the market for the price?  A resounding YES!  It is cheaper up front, and then cheaper to operate than nearly every other printer we looked at.  We pay less than 2 cents apiece for our labels and have put over 3,000 through this printer with no issues.  The way things are going, I won’t be surprised in our Rollo lasts another 10 years, but if it died tomorrow, I’d probably buy another one.


The Best Thermal Printer for eBay Shipping Labels

When my wife and I first started selling on eBay, I would work at my “real” job from 3-11, get home around midnight, pack the things that sold during the day, and head to the post office to ship them!  We would stand at the shipping kiosk for more than an hour some nights while I punched in information and paid for the labels, and Kirstie put them on packages and wrote our return address.  In hindsight it seems ridiculous (alright, just plain stupid) that we didn’t ship them from home.  However, we didn’t know anyone personally that sold on eBay and we were doing our best without any real guidance.

When it comes to shipping from home, most people start off by using their regular inkjet or laser printer.  This is totally fine for a low volume of orders (just like it’s fine to pound in a nail with a screwdriver), but if you have lots of nails (that is, orders to ship), you better get the right tool for the job.  While you still get the online discount, the two main problems with using a regular printer to print labels are:

  • You have to buy ink.  This is a huge bummer as costs can add up very quickly if you’re shipping a dozen packages a day.  
  •  You must either buy very expensive labels and print them using a troublesome template, or print labels on regular paper and spend your time taping them onto your packages.

Luckily, there is a much better option out there.  One that’s meant to be cost effective, time saving, and last for thousands and thousands of labels.  That option is a Thermal Label Printer!  While it might cost slightly more up front, a thermal printer will still be printing low-cost labels (since they don’t use ink) long after a regular printer has eaten up hundreds of dollars worth of ink and died.

So the natural question is, what is the best thermal printer for online sellers?


ARE YOU A MAN/WOMAN OF ACTION?!

Do you just need a printer that will do the job flawlessly for years to come and save you tons of money?  If you don’t need all the reasoning behind the decision, we get it!  You came here for an answer, not so you could read all the info and figure it out yourself.  So if you want to get moving now instead of reading the reasoning behind our decision: here you go!  The best label printer for home use:

ROLLO LABEL PRINTER

rollo thermal printer review

Why it’s the best:

  • It’s the easiest to set up.  Your computer treats it just like a normal printer.
  • It’s the fastest printer available, printing a 4×6 label in under one second!
  • It works with all major shipping platforms.
  • These offer friendly, world-class customer service.
  • It automatically identifies the size and type of labels you’re using.
  • It needs virtually no maintenance or upkeep.
  • It’s the printer we’ve put over 3,000 labels through in the past year with absolutely no issues!
  • Read our Full Review of the Rollo Printer Here

SO WHAT MAKES A GOOD THERMAL PRINTER?

Let’s be honest, the average home or small business owner is not going to heavily tax a thermal printer. They are made to be used day in and day out without breaking down.  Because most printers will be capable (at least at a base level) of doing the job, our criteria are simple.  It must be:

  • Easy to set up
  • Reliable
  • Cost effective
  • Capable of printing high quality labels quickly

EASY TO SET-UP AND USE

The first thermal printer we bought for our home based business was a Zebra LP 2844.  We bought it in refurbished condition from a certified dealer (on eBay of course) and it came with a bunch of cables, install disks, a manual, and a customer support number to call.  While it would have been very nice if the printer was plug-and-play, we were able to get it set up and working on my laptop in about 20 minutes.  After moving a couple times, we were finally in a position to have a dedicated shipping computer and it was time to set up the printer again.  Only this time, we had lost the install disk.  We called the manufacturer and they told us that all the drivers we needed were online and we just needed to download the right ones.  2 hours later, I was foaming at the mouth and ready to chuck that printer straight in the garbage.  I just could not get it set up.  Whether it was the printer or Windows 8, it didn’t matter, no amount of googling or fiddling would make it work.  So I took it downstairs to my personal desktop (with Windows 10) and had it installed in about 10 minutes.  While it was nice to have it working, the whole experience was frustrating and not one that I’d wish on someone who might be even less tech savvy than I am!

PRINTS HIGH QUALITY LABELS FAST!

Unless you are an Amazon seller that is printing off hundreds of labels at a time, the speed of a thermal printer is probably not a major consideration.  While some are definitely faster than others, if you are printing one label at a time, or just need to print off your labels in the morning for 20 items that sold, pretty much any printer on the market will handle the job fast enough. 

When it come to printing fast, however, many printers sacrifice quality and darkness for speed.  Because the paper has to be heated to change color, going too fast often results in a lower quality or light print.  So, the perfect printer will be able to find the perfect balance between speed and high quality.

COMPATIBILITY & VERSITILITY

I use windows, you might use a mac.  That doesn’t make you a bad person…just weird.  But, we still need a printer that will connect to whatever you choose to hook it up to!  We’ve talked to several different eCommerce sellers who have had troubles hooking up their printer to Windows 8, but the majority of printers seem ready to go right out of the box.​

THE 5 PRINTERS WE HAVE USED:

During the time we’ve been selling on eBay, we’ve personally owned 3 printers and had the chance to use two others.  The ones that didn’t make it onto this list are:

  • Zebra GK420D.  Seth used this printer briefly during a college warehouse job.  Excellent printer, but too expensive for our tastes.  There are cheaper options that can do the job better.
  • DYMO LabelWriter 4XL. For some reason, this is one of the most common printers found in the homes of small business owners.  However – it is not super durable, pretty much everyone we’ve talked to has issues with it, and if you use anything besides their super expensive DYMO brand labels, it voids your warranty.
  • DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo.  We actually still use this printer.  It’s our dedicated Amazon FBA printer and we keep it full of the smaller labels required.  I don’t love it, but it’s small, cheap, and does the job.

So what do we recommend?  Well, the other two printers that we’ve used are both excellent options for home business.  Whether you are a new eBay seller or a high-volume eCommerce business owner looking to expand, these will work for you.  While most people who write reviews include tons of options in “The 10 Best Thermal Printers” articles (not to mention the fact that they have never used all those printers and are just summarizing Amazon Reviews), we find it unnecessary to talk about so many different models.  We have put thousands of labels through the Zebra LP2844 and the Rollo Label printer and highly recommend both.  Which one is right for you?  Well, let’s see!

ZEBRA LP2844 REVIEW

The Zebra LP2844 is truly a workhorse of label printing.  It has been around forever and is used in the warehouses of thousands of online businesses.  Its ubiquitousness is one of the main reasons we decided on it as a first printer.  We thought that since it had been around forever, we would be able to find a solution for pretty much every problem just by googling…and you can.  Which is good,  because it’s not going to be 100% smooth sailing.  We used the printer for more than 3 years and printed over 10,000 labels through it.  While we never had any major issues, we did have some serious trouble to get it to connect with a new shipping computer, the printer software is dated and not the most intuitive, and there was a strange night when I heard it printing and went to our office to find out that it had spit out over 200 labels onto the floor…

With all that being said, we do not hesitate to recommend this printer to people if you find a good deal.  It’s bulletproof, tried-and-true, compatible with just about anything, and prints decent quality labels at an acceptable speed.

PROS

  • ​Very durable base.  Ours has needed to be reset and coddled at times, but was still going strong when we decided to upgrade.
  • Lots of tutorials, guides, and customer support is available.
  • The labels go inside the printer.  This one piece construction makes it easier to move around and store, unlike the Rollo.

CONS

  • Prone to jamming if low quality labels are used.
  • Even when printing is slowed down, the print quality is low.
  • We’ve had to uninstall and reboot our printer software several times when we were unable to connect to the printer.

ROLLO LABEL PRINTER REVIEW

best thermal label printer

A newcomer to the market, the ROLLO printer is quickly making a name for itself.  After seeing several high-volume sellers swear by theirs, we decided that it was high time we upgraded!

This was, without a doubt, the easiest printer to set up that we have ever used.  They have some short video tutorials on their site (if you need them) and world class customer service if you need it (we haven’t…but we hear their amazing).

It does print fast, but to be honest, that isn’t much of an issue for us.  My Zebra printer never made me think, “Man, I sure with this was 1/3 of a second faster per label…”

We have put about 3,000 labels through our printer thus far and have had absolutely zero issues.  No botched labels, no random lost connections, and none of the weird “I’m going to print a million blank labels” issues that we had with our LP2844.

While we haven’t used it for as long as our first printer, we have been super happy with this printer and have no desire to use anything else.  The only minor gripe that we have is that since the labels have to sit behind the printer in a tray, we can’t move it around when our desk gets cluttered like we could our other printer.  But if that makes us keep our shipping station cleaner, I guess that’s a win after all!

PROS

  • Designed to work with any thermal label, no matter the brand
  • The fastest printer available (it takes 1 second to print a 4×6 label)
  • Automatically detects the size and type of label you’re using
  • Needs virtually no maintenance
  • Connects to your computer just like a regular printer: no need to download software or interpret lists of instructions

CONS

  • Unlike the other two printers we had used at home, the labels do not install into this printer.  Rather they have to go behind it, either sitting in a stack or a roller (which we purchased separately).  Since our work-space is usually cluttered, it’s a pain to have to keep things together and lined up.

ONE PRINTER DOES NOT FIT ALL: WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Long story short, I don’t know!  ​Just because you saw another business use a specific printer does not mean that it’s right for you.  Also, just because there is a printer we recommend doesn’t mean you should run out and get it!  We’ll give you 2 reviews of the best printers that we have actually used, but then before buying, you need to ask yourself:

  • What are you actually going to use it for?

Odds are, you do not need the best printer on the market.  You’d be better off to save money on your printer choice and invest the leftover into inventory!  Unless you are planning on scaling your business and want to keep using the same printer, go for “good enough” rather than “the best there is.”

  • How technically savvy are you?

Some printers are just easier to set up and use than others.  If you are not very tech savvy, go for the simplest-to-use printer (the Rollo).  You will be much happier with a printer that will just connect and print every time you want it to, rather than a rocket ship printer than needs constant fixing.

SHOULD I BUY A USED PRINTER?

If you’ve ever sold anything on eBay, you know how foolish it is to always buys things new.  Refurbished printers can be had for less than half the cost of a new version.  Since the Zebra LP2844 has been around forever,  you can find killer deals on used/refurbished units online.  Given the choice, always look for printers that are refurbished as opposed to “used.”  Dealers go through the printers and replace everything that is broken or worn in any way before selling them with all accessories, and a warranty to boot!  As it is newer, we have seen only a couple of the Rollo available on the used market.  Maybe you’ll get lucky, though!  We bought our Zebra used off of eBay but had to pony up and buy the Rollo brand new as there wasn’t another option.


THERMAL PRINTER FAQS

1. Do I need to buy name-brand labels?
​Definitely not.  In fact, we would encourage you to buy the cheapest labels that actually do the job!  That being said, we have used several off-brands that didn’t line up correctly, were too think to peel off nicely, or didn’t adhere to boxes like they should.  After some trial and error, we decided on these labels.  They are very good quality for the price (under 2 cents per label) and the larger roll size means you only have to change out rolls half as often!

2. How do you clean/maintain a thermal printer?
One of the advantages of a Direct Thermal Printer is that you don’t actually have to do much of anything to clean or maintain them.  When we replace our label rolls we take a quick look inside and make sure everything looks clean, and that’s about the extent of what we do.  If things are dirty, consider wiping the rollers and sensors down with isopropyl alcohol and blowing out the dust with compressed air.  With that level of maintenance, your printer should be happy for 10 years or more and spit out tens of thousands of labels!

3.  Does a thermal printer actually save me money?
It absolutely does! For two reasons actually.  The first is the obvious: you do not have to buy ink, thermal printers last longer, and you don’t have to maintain them.  Secondly, time is money.  Before we had a thermal printer, we messed around with a normal printer (taping the labels on) and with Avery labels.  Both are a hassle which become impossible to deal with if you are selling high-volume.

I HOPE WE HELPED!

Given the wide range of options available, I hope I was able to shed some light on which thermal printer is right for you.  As a long time eBay seller, I can honestly say that the purchase of a thermal printer was one of the biggest steps for us: something that truly made us realize that this was a serious business and no longer just a fun side hobby.  If you’re hesitant, remember you’ve got to spend money to make money!  What’s more, our printer paid for itself within a couple months of use.  Whether you decide the time to get serious is now or later – get out there, work hard, work smart, and have fun!

How to Remove Pilling From Sweaters and Fleece Jackets

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve put back sweaters and jackets because they have more pills than Brittany Spears.  Fleece jackets such as The North Face and Patagonia brands which are great for reselling are particularly prone to pills.  Not only do they pill, they tend to gather pet hair, lint, etc. which manages to worm it’s way into the fibers.  I’ve spent countless hours trying to pick each pill off with my hands, tweezers, and even duct tape.  None were very effective and, more importantly, they took a ton of time.  If you’re trying to clean pills of a sweater or jacket then this tutorial is for you! 

Before you start, be warned: this method removes the top layer of material.  If you’re too vigorous or do it too often, you will wear the fabric thin.  This method is best for polyester and cashmere but can also work on wool or cotton.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED…

A sweater stone.  Very similar to a pumice stone, these have sharp edges which remove lint, pills, etc.  These can be found at most any fabric store or you can get the one I use here

  • Lint Roller
  • Something that needs de-pilling…obviously.
  • Just a smidgen of patience

This is what I started with.  A very typical example, this jacket looks like it has received typical wear and just been thrown in the washer/dryer when needed.  It has a glorious amount of pills, lint, and some hair.  If you have a mannequin, put your article of clothing on it for an easy working surface.  If you do not (as most people don’t) lay the sweater out on a flat hard surface such as a kitchen table.

Grab your sweater stone.  You’ll want to leave the paper piece on the stone or it will do to your fingers what it is doing to the sweater.

Slowly drag the stone down the sweater with smooth even strokes and medium pressure.  If you push too hard you run the risk of removing excess material.  Not hard enough and you won’t remove all the funk.  Just experiment until you get it right as it’s pretty hard to mess up.

Continue to work your way over the jacket/sweater, moving from top to bottom.  Starting at the top simplifies things as it allows you to simply brush the excrement onto the ground as you go.

When you reach the bottom, run your lint roller over the jacket/sweater to remove any remnants.  You’ll also pick up some bits of stone which crumble off as you work.

Half way there!  Can you you tell which side is done?  This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes or so and the improvement is huge!

THE FINISHED PRODUCT!

Once you get good, you’ll be able to clean up a sweater/jacket in about 20 minutes.  I do this to resell so I can never forget that time is money!  This makes a definite difference in sales.  Linty pilly sweaters are a dime a dozen but well cleaned clothing that has the appearance of gentle use is what most people are looking for!  Thanks for checking out our guide to removing pills from sweater and jackets!  Best of luck!

ANOTHER EXAMPLE:

Before the stone and lint roller. Skirt is: 63% Polyester 32% Rayon 5% Spandex.  It’s actually supposed to be dry clean only but I took the chance for you! 

After 20min use of the sweater stone and quick roll of a lint roller. Super happy with these results!

How To Clean Velcro (and remove that stubborn lint)

We’ve all been through it, our velcro doesn’t seem very sticky any more and we look down to find that it’s clogged with lint, hair, strings, and who knows what else!  Whether you’re looking to resell the article of clothing or simply clean it up for your own use, cleaning velcro is incredibly easy.  Follow along if you want to know how to clean lint out of velcro and make it look like new again!

WHAT YOU NEED:

A t-pin.  That’s it.  Really.  In fact, you don’t even need that!  Any pointy object can work

Let’s get started…

Grab that nasty old velcro and your push pin.  Slide the pin in between the grooves and simply pull the lint up and out.  After the pin slides free, grab what you can with your fingers and simply pull it out.

Keep going….

And just like that, you’re done!  Look at that beautiful finished product!  If it needs a little more help, a little toothbrush work with some soap and water with have it shiny in not time!

A word of warning, you’re better off to get a sturdy quality pin that will last the journey.  Normal pins may work but they’ll end up looking like ours did after our first project!

And there you go!  Easy as can be!  Whether you’re an eBay seller looking to clean velcro or simply walking to clean up a coat, jacket, (or your kids shoes?) then we hope this helped!  Let us know what else you’re in need of help with.  Keep working hard!

21 Outdoor Clothing Brands To Sell For Huge Profits on eBay

Kirstie and I were leaving for Washington in 3 days.  Kirstie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and would be at home there, but I knew that I wanted to fit in I needed to do three things, eat lots of granola, get some Chacos, and buy a Patagonia jacket.  I had cruised eBay for a Patagonia Torrentshell (a rain jacket) for weeks but hadn’t been able to find a color I liked in my size.  The few that did come up were selling for over 75% of retail!  Imagine buying a used jacket for only 25% off the new price!  The thing is, I gladly would have paid that amount if I knew it would be there in time.  Instead, I ended up buying from an outdoor website for full price and paying $25 for two day shipping.  If only some eBay seller had come through for me…

As my Patagonia jacket search shows, many outdoor brands are notorious (notoriously awesome that is) for holding their resale value on the used market.  I’ve seen beat up down jackets covered in patches sell for over $100 and even rain shells with broken zippers that were able to bring in $50+  Now all we need to figure out is the best way to get you a piece of that pie!

NON-BRAND THINGS TO LOOK FOR

a If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you may be surprised to find that people pay just as much for outdoorsy clothing as high-end fashion clothing.  Well, maybe not quite.  But $400 snow-pants or $800 jackets are all within the possibilities for finding and flipping from both thrift-stores and places like Craigslist.  Given that, several items that you can find for resale will be valuable no matter what brand they are.  For example, a cute St. John top will always be worth selling on eBay.  A top of the same cuteness made by Merona is worth absolutely nothing.  While brand does matter for outdoor items, it matters far less.  For example, Gore Tex is an expensive fabric.  While a Patagonia Gore-Tex shell will be valuable, so will a Gore Tex shell made by Merona.  So let’s talk about some of the non-brand things and types of items you should be keeping an eye for for while sourcing: 

GORE ITERATIONS

Gore-Tex is a stretched teflon fabric which allows water vapor to pass through but stops liquid.  In other words, it stops rain from getting through but, when you sweat, it allow the fabric to breath so you don’t overheat.  Gore-Tex was a proprietary fabric and had a corner on the market for almost 40 years.  During that time, nearly every brand used Gore-Tex Fabric to create their apparel (The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Arc’Teryx, Oakley, etc.) This use was always noted by a large “Gore-Tex” brand logo on the inside of the clothing.  Because Gore-Tex was a monopoly market, clothing using it was very expensive and you should look up anything you see made from Gore-Tex including coats, pants, shoes, hats, etc.  
Now that the main patent has expired other companies have been able to develop their own similar fabrics but many continue to use Gore-Tex as it is recognized as quality by so many people.  Also be on the lookout for other “Gore” fabric types such as Gore Windstopper.

DOWN

Anytime I see a puffy coat or jacket on the rack at a store I stop to check if it is down filled.  With very few exceptions, down filled coats are almost always worth picking up.  High quality jackets are often sold by “Fill Power” which you should be able to find somewhere on the jacket.  Top put it simply, Fill Power is a measure of how fluffy the down is.  High numbers are better.  Flufflier down is warmer while not being heavier.  700 fill down is the standard of high end outdoor gear but you may find fill powers up to 900 if you’re lucky!

PROTECTIVE GEAR

While this might be blurring the line between clothing and hardgoods, protective gear is wearable so I’m going to include it here.  
Any sort of sport specific gear has value but be on the lookout for padded snowboarding/skiing gear, padded cycling shorts and bibs, helmets, etc.

SNOW-SUITS

I can never figure out why thrift stores price snowsuits so low.  I mean, pants and coat in one?  Yes please!  Let’s be honest though, average people don’t wear snowsuits.  So profitable suits fit in one of two categories:

Fun Suits

These are the brightly colored suits that are worn by teens or crazy fun loving people on exhibition ski days.  They don’t have to serve any real technical purpose other than looking as rad as possible.  It should go without saying that  the crazier the colors and patterns the more you can get!

Technical Suits

There are actually highly techincal snowsuits meant for serious use that sell for thousands of dollars.  Worn by mountain climbers, snowmobilers, backcountry skiers, etc. they are more difficult to find but typically more valuable than the “fun” variety.  While we haven’t found any super expensive ones, we have found suits made of both Gore-Tex and Down which sold for several hundred dollars.

LOOKOUT FOR LOGOS!

For some reason, every company that decides to make promotional jackets for it’s employees chooses an outdoor brand.  At least half of the time we pull a Patagonia item on the rack it has a logo on the sleeve or chest.  While these usually does decrease the items value a small amount, it is rarely a deal-breaker.  We still pick up logo-ed items and just make sure to include “*LOGO” in the title and snap a close-up picture of it.

OUTDOOR GEAR TERMINOLOGY

SOFTSHELL

Soft-Shell jackets are typically not waterproof but are highly breathable.  They function more like a fleece jacket than a Hard-Shell and tend to feel softer, hence the name.  Softshells tend to be made of less technical fabric and are usually worth less than hard shells.

HARD SHELL

In the simpliest terms, Hard-Shells are coats or jackets that are meant to keep the rain off.  They usually have hoods and are made of an expensive stiff fabric such as Gore-Tex.

PUFFER

Puffer jackets are the easiest to recognize…they’re puffy.  “Puffer” can be used to describe both down and polyfill jackets but, if you’re jacket has goose down in it be sure to include “goose down puffer” in the title.

3 THINGS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR TITLE

More that perhaps any other clothing item, your title is incredibly important for selling outdoor clothing.  You may get away with a title like “Super Cute J.Crew Top Blue *FREE SHIPPING*” normally but that won’t cut it here.  (For more help in writing title for normal clothing check out this article)  For maximum exposure (and more sales) be sure to include the following in your title.

  1. Brand & Style – It seems like it should go without saying but the Brand should be the very first thing in your title.  Outdoor folks are very brand loyal and often want a specific thing.   For example, when I was looking for a rain-shell, nothing but a Patagonia Torrentshell would do (silly I know).  However, after looking at them on outdoor websites I went to eBay and typed in the exact brand and model of what I wanted.  I had money in my pocket ready to spend right then but If someone hadn’t included it in their title, their listing didn’t come up.  Model is included for much the same reason.  People want what they want.  You can typically find the model by either typing a description of the item into eBay and hoping that someone else’s listing has the style name, or by googling the style reference number (typically found on or by the materials tag)
  2. Material – Whether you item is Gore-Tex, 700 Fill Goose Down, Merino Wool, or whatever, people want to know about it.  When I was looking for new baselayer (a fancy word for outdoor underwear) before a mountain climbing trip this past year I knew I wanted something made of Merino Wool because of its specific properties.  However, I didn’t really care about brand in this case so I simply wanted the cheapest baselayer made of Merino.
  3. Special Features (hood, etc) – By way of another personal story, I hate jackets without hoods.  I know it’s all crazy irrational preference but in my opinion, outdoor jackets without hoods are less useful and just look plain dumb.  So when I was looking for a down jacket this past winter I, of course, needed one with a hood.  Much to my annoyance, most people selling down jackets didn’t include in the title whether they were hooded or not!  So I had to inspect the pictures of hundreds of non-hood-jacket listings to find what I was after.  Whether the item you’re selling has a hood or a pair of pants, think to yourself, what are its selling points?  If something wanted this specific article of clothing, what would they type in that would distinguish it from another item.  The more specific you are the less competition you have and the more likely it is that someone who is looking for what you have will find your listing.

With all this focus on titles, don’t forget to take great pictures!  While pictures are always important however, they are less so with outdoor gear than with normal clothing.  If people are looking for something specific they mainly want to see that it is the correct thing and in good condition.  So spend your time finding great things rather than tweaking your backdrop and ISO!  Speaking of finding great things, I think we’re finally ready to talk about some of the best outdoor clothing brands for eBay.  Let’s do this.

1. KUHL

​Kirstie has got to be sick of me finding Kuhl items to resell.  Every time I come home from thrifting we have the same conversation,
“Hey I found some Kuhl pants today?
“Why are they cool?”
“I don’t know…they’re just Kuhl…” hahaaaa…

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Outdoor Pants.  Kuhl pants are some of the easiest outdoor items to find and we typically pick up a couple pair a week.  They retail for $80-90 so don’t be tempted to short-change yourself.  Price them at $30-40+shipping and just wait for them to sell. 

Tips:

  • ​Every Kuhl item has a specific model name that will increase its resale value.  You can usually find the model name by searching solds on eBay or (in the case of pants) simply printed on the inside.

    Several brands have changed their logos or re-branded at some point in the lives but, in the case of Kuhl, they actually changed their name.  Pre-KUHL they were called ALF.  ALF items are still work picking up but typically don’t have the brand recognition and aren’t worth quite as much as new pieces.

2. BOGNER

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Bogner makes some EXTREMELY expensive outdoor clothing.  Look for embroidery, unusual patterns, and bright colors.  While these are difficult ot find, some of these items can sell for $500 or more in used condition.  This past winter we found matching snow pants and coat in a small girls size that sold for just under $300.

3. NAPAPIJRI

We like to think of Napapijri Geographic as the European version of The North Face.  They originally produced casual wear and high quality bags but have since branched out into all types of outdoor clothing.  The pullover above is by far the most common article of their clothing to be found in thrift stores.

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Look for fleeces and jackets with a large flag and logo on the front.  The more prominent it is the more valuable the item.  Also look for normal outdoor clothing such as pants, rain shells, etc

4. PEARL IZUMI

Pearl Izumi makes cycling and cycling casual wear.

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Look for jackets, cycling jerseys, and cycling bibs (the tight onesies).  Older items are worth much less so make sure to look up anything you find that doens’t feel current to make sure it’s worth flipping.  
  • Large sizes are more difficult to find but sell better.

Tips:

  • ​Logos or sponsors covering cycling gear can actually increase it’s value.  Even jerseys from specific races can be desirable so don’t shy away form things that are covered in words.
  • When picturing bibs or cycling shorts be sure to include a picture of the inside pad (called the chamois).  People want to make sure it isn’t gross.

5. HELLY HANSEN

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Look for rain shells, down jackets, and base layers.

Tips:

  • ​Like The North Face, Helly Hansen’s rain jackets seem particularly prone to peeling inside.  Before buying, make sure the inner rain lining is intact as any damage to it can significantly reduce value.

6. PRANA

prAna started out life as a small independently owned company that sewed it’s own yoga clothing.  From it’s humble beginnings it has morphed into an outdoor giant that is owned by Columbia.

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Men’s Rock Climbing Clothing (mainly shorts and pants)
  • Women’s dresses (especially knit ones).  Look for the style name to increase value.
  • Button downs and jackets: especially those with plaid patterns.

7. MAMMUT

Mammut traditionally prodced only trekking and climbing gear (such as bags and rope) but their more recent forray into the outdor clothing world has been even more successful.  

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Any wool items (base layers, hats, pullovers, etc.)
  • Down items (jackets & sleeping bags)
  • Any other outdoor items!

8. OBERMEYER

Obermeyer is a German sportswear brands and one of the few expensive outdoor brands that does not hold its value well.  The majority of Obermeyer products can be left right where you find them on the rack.  There are, however, a few highly profitable exceptions:

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Snowsuits!  We love selling snowsuits and have sold them year round.  Look for vintage suits in good condition, especially in bright obnoxious colors or prints.
  • Snowpants and bibs, particularly older ones made of wool/wool blend.

9. THE NORTH FACE

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Rain Shells (The “Hyvent” line)
  • Down items.  Be sure to include the fill power number in the title.  It is typically found on the sleeves cuff of technical jackets.
  • Snow pants
  • Pretty much anything besides worn out fleeces and women’s t-shirts!

Tips:

  • ​Don’t miss out on kids and babies clothes!  They don’t see nearly as much use and can often be had for cheap.

10. ROOTS CANADA

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Items from the Olympics made by Roots
  • Hoodies & Jackets

11. CARHARTT

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Jackets, pants, and hoodies all sell well for us.
  • In addition to work clothing, keep an eye for camouflage hunting gear
  • Vintage Carhartt can do really well, as can really beat up and worn out jackets
  • Unusual sizes: look for large sizes as well as Carhartt’s tall line

12. MARKER

Marker is one of the most bread&butter brands on this list.  There really isn’t much special about their clothing.  It isn’t very interesting to look at, it isn’t unusually nice, but for some reason it continues to sell well for us!

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Pretty much anything besides basic shirts will sell.  Look for coats, snow pants, and vests.
  • Marker has made Olympic clothing so keep an eye out for it.
  • Snowsuits are some of the most valuable items we’ve found from Marker and we’ve gotten $75+ for them.

13. DESCENTE

Descente is Japanese outerwear company that has been making clothing for outdoor adventures (and Olympic teams) since 1932.

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Bright and unusual patterns are some of the best sellers.  Descente makes most things is crazy colors but fleeces sell the best for us.
  • Look for special olympic items (mainly coats)
  • This should come as no surprise….snowsuits!
  • While we have found mainly snowgear, Descente also makes cycling clothing, baseball clothing, and motorcycle gear.

14. REI

REI is actually as much of a brand as a store.  They sell a wide variety of brands as well as their own in-house brand: REI.  As with most house brands their items are not considered very high end.  In the outdoor world however, things can still sell well if they serve a specific function or are made out of high quality material!

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Sweaters.  Particularly wool blend sweaters and/or those with elbow patches
  • Hiking pants, especially ones that convert into shorts
  • Down items
  • Newer jackets and shells have done extremely well for us.  If something is new enough that you can find it’s style name you can get a much better price for it.  We recently sold a puffer jacket (not down) from REI that we were going to price $40 or so.  Luckily, we were able to find the style name which helped someone who really wanted it to find it and we sold it for $65.

15. COTOPAXI

Even if you don’t find any interesting items to resell, you should be supporting Cotopaxi.  Their “Do Good” motto and dedication to improving the lot of everyone in the world has been inspiring people since their beginning!

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Cotopaxi has a reputation for sewing items out of scrap fabric so look for unusually bright pieces made up of several different colors, especially windbreakers.
  • Backpacks, sweaters, and jackets all are worth picking up to resell.  The more unusual they are, the better.


Tips:

  • ​The size tag for Cotopaxi items is often in the pocket.
  • Be sure to check your Cotopaxi items for logos as several companies near us use Cotopaxi items as their company jackets.

16. MARMOT

Marmot is a well respected middle of the road outdoor company that makes typical middle of the road outdoor items.  In other words, keep your eyes open for anything that would regularly be valuable: rain shells, down, nice shorts, hiking pants, etc.

17. PATAGONIA

Patagonia is one of my favorite outdoor brands to find and wear.  And sometimes sell.  Pretty much anything you find with the Patagonia logo is worth picking up.  Literally.  Like I have sold Patagonia Boxers that I found at the Goodwill Outlet (on Mercari though since you can’t sell used undies on eBay). Men’s, women’s, or kids, it doesn’t matter, it will sell.

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Fleece pullovers with crazy colors
  • Vintage (out-of-production) items
  • Down jackets
  • Base-layers

18. COLUMBIA

Columbia is another bread and butter outdoor company.  While they do make expensive things, the majority of things you find at thrift stores will probably sell but certainly won’t be home runs.

Specific BOLO Items
:

  • Look for hiking shorts/pants, nice fleeces, hoodies, & jackets
  • Columbia PFG (Professional Fishing Gear) sells very well, particularly in large sizes.

19. ARC’TERYX

Pretty much any Arc’Teryx item you find can be sold for a profit.  Polo shirt?  Easy $30+  Down jacket that the thrift store is selling for $50?  All day long!
Specific BOLO Items:

  • We will literally pick up almost anything from the brand.  I have sold items with large patches, broken zippers, etc.
  • T-shirts sell consistently for $20-25 in good used condition.

20. SPYDER

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Items with a large Spyder logo.  This are usually older pieces but people love them.
  • Items from ski or snowboard teams
  • Spyder bibs, snow pants, and snowsuits all do well
  • Look for Spyder’s Dermizax label.  Dermizax is their proprietary waterproof material and is a great selling point.

21. Mountain Hardwear

As with several other companies on this list, Mountain Hard Wear is a subsidiary of Columbia.  They might most of the same things at a slightly higher price point and Mountain Hard Wear typically holds its value better.

Specific BOLO Items:

  • Monkey Man fleeces.  Made for both men and women, these are thick plush fleeces that are very desirable.  The heavier the better.
  • Stretch Down series puffer jackets
  • Mountain Hard Wear’s Conduit series of hard and soft shells

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