HOUSTON -- The rule is, if you have an article of clothing or an item in your closet that you have not touched in a year, you might as well toss it out. You're done with it - you just don't know it yet!

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May 11, 2009

But here's a better idea: Instead of tossing it, why not sell it on eBay and earn some extra cash?

You can sell just about anything on eBay, from cameras to cars, antiques to audiobooks.

Just about the only things you can't sell are illegal items and substances.

But some folks don't know how to navigate the site, and that intimidates them.

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Saving Cents can help. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how to use eBay:

First, register online with Pay Pal at

Second, learn how to take digital pictures. You can even use your phone for this. You'll need to take pictures of items you are selling and e-mail them to yourself. Then you can save them on your computer. if you use a digital camera, you upload the pics by plugging the camera into the computer. Just use the cable that came with the camera.

Third, register online with eBay. They will walk you through the process.

Fourth, on their home page, click "Start Selling." The site takes you step-by-step through describing your product and retrieving and uploading the digital pictures you took and saved.

Fifth, list your opening bid price. eBay works like an auction, so your opening bid price should be the least amount you will accept for your item. Then you choose the number of days you want your item to remain on the cyber "auction block."

Sixth, send your stuff. Once the auction is over, you accept the winning bid and the buyer pays the money into your PayPal account. You then mail the item to them, but make sure they have paid before you send it.

Be careful-you can get burned on profits if you don't allow for the cost to ship or mail the item to the buyer, so when eBay asks how much you charge for shipping, it might be wise to list a flat rate (something like $5) for all items you sell. That also takes some of the guesswork out of how much to charge for shipping. For any extra-heavy items, you can change that fee.

It is not free to post your ad on eBay. They charge a few bucks in monthly fees and if you want to make your ad fancier than the basics,

You'll pay a couple more bucks for things like more text to describe your item and bigger pictures. But if your stuff sells, you certainly should walk away with a profit.

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