selling on etsy {what to sell}

etsy series - what to sell @

With several years of experience as an etsy shop owner and over 1600 sales, I hope to inspire and encourage you to take the plunge and open your own shop if you’ve ever thought about it.  I know that I played with the idea in my mind for several months before jumping in.  Sometimes you just need a little nudge.  Consider yourself nudged 🙂

With the first post in this series I shared a few insights that I’ve learned as an etsy shop owner.

Today let’s explore what you can sell on etsy.

selling on etsy

Basic Categories:  Vintage, Handmade, or Supplies

Everything you sell must fit into one of these three categories.  Vintage is anything 20 years old or older.  You can sell it as-is.  This is a great category to sell in if you love estate sales and thrift stores.  Approximately 25 percent of my shop listings right now are in the vintage category.

selling on etsy

Handmade items include anything you make from scratch or alter in any way.  About 75 percent of my listings are up cycled handmade items.

Many times I start with an item from a thrift store or yard sale and give it a new use…

selling on etsy


Or maybe just a new coat of paint.

selling on etsy

selling on etsy

One last option is to sell craft supplies.  These can be new and not handmade by you.

selling on etsy

Custom/Made-to-Order or In-Stock

In the last post I mentioned the “magic number” of 100 –> meaning, if you stock your shop with at least 100 items, you will most likely see an average of one sale a day.  So, imagine the traffic if you can get to 200 items.  Or 300.  I would love to reach 400-500, but I only have enough time in the week to keep it hovering at around 300.

However, if you can branch out to custom work instead of in-stock items only, you will greatly increase the amount of items you can list.

For example, when I made my first few sets of painted mason jars, I created a listing for my in-stock jars.

selling on etsy

When they sold out, I was able to re-list without having to make new jars.  This keeps inventory low, allows you to create only when the money is in the bank, and enhances your storefront.

custom shabby chic frame set


Listings are 20 cents each for four months.  If they don’t sell during that time, they expire, but you can re-list for another 20 cents.  Keep reading to find out how to get some free listings!

Consider the Cost

Setting up an etsy shop is free.  There is no monthly cost.

selling on etsy

To start stocking your shop, you will pay 20 cents per listing.

When the item sells, etsy will charge you 3.5% of the selling price.

If your buyer checks out with Paypal, they will get their cut too.

And don’t forget about filing with your state and paying taxes on your earnings.

It all adds up and can be a bit discouraging for me at times to see all the fees, but owning at etsy shop is still worth it.  I have a nice little income on the side that can be used to help our family with unexpected expenses or to support some of my favorite charities!  What could you do with a little extra money in the budget?


Now, don’t forget –> your etsy shop is not a yard sale!  Don’t undervalue and underprice your hard work.

selling on etsy


You can find lots of formulas online for this, so I won’t get technical, but you should price your wares at double the wholesale rate.  Meaning, if you sold your items to a brick and mortar shop that wanted to resell your pieces, you should be able to chop your listing price in half, sell to the brick & mortar people, and still come out with profit.  It that’s not working for you, then your price is too low.

What goes into pricing?  Your supplies, your time, and your fees.  Then a profit.  Then double it.

Whew!  That was a lot of information.  But I hope it was helpful.

The next post in this series will show you a behind-the-scenes view of my etsy workroom.  I will try to clean it up a bit before I give a tour!  

{Are you ready to sell on etsy?  If you open a shop using my link, we will both get 40 free listings. Send me an email at abbybanks99 at gmail dot com for that special link!}

Adoption Update: Home 3 months

It has been harder than we could have imagined.


It has cost much.


It has been an emotional roller coaster.


It has stretched us.


It has opened our eyes to the least of these.


It has increased our faith.


It has shown us how big our God is.


And it has been so very worth it all.



{Our special thanks to Keri McLaughlin Photography for these precious photos!}

Selling on Etsy {an insider’s view}

etsy series - an insider's view

In a few short months, I will begin my 4th year of selling on etsy.  What began out of necessity as we were needing extra income to help start the adoption process soon turned into a great part-time job for me.

selling on etsy

I have had countless friends ask me about running an etsy business, so I know there are people out there who are curious.  So from the perspective of a small etsy shop that has consistently grown these past 3 years, I’d like to pull back the curtain and share what I’ve learned along the way.  Who knows?  Maybe you will decide that selling on etsy is right for you!

painted mason jars

First let’s talk about the benefits of owning an etsy shop.

Work from Home

Working from home is a great benefit to me, as I have five children and we homeschool.  I am able to “work” whenever it fits my family’s schedule.  Sometimes it’s only at nap time.  Sometimes it’s in the evening as my chance to decompress from the day.  Some days I never work on my business, but I still earn profit.  I even leave my shop open when I go on vacation, manage emails from away, and keep selling while I’m on the beach.

custom library card invitations 4onemore

Low Overhead

I started selling on etsy when I had no craft or hobby room.  All you need is internet access and your saleable goods.  You don’t have to rent a storefront.  It’s even more cost effective than selling at craft shows, in my opinion.  Craft show tables cost a bit of money, plus your time for a whole day or two, and you’re not guaranteed a good return.  You’re not guaranteed to sell on etsy either, but the risk is lower.  {keep reading to find out how you can list for FREE on etsy!}

selling on etsy

Do what you love & get paid for it

I love my etsy business!  I get paid to go thrifting, yard sale-ing, and crafting.  Creating is “downtime” for me after being with 5 littles all day.  It’s great to have this creative outlet.

But here’s the thing with etsy, as with all of life….

You get what you put into it

If you list 10 items and expect to sell out quickly, it just won’t happen.  Somehow there’s a magic number on etsy of about 100 listings.  That is, if you work on your shop enough to have 100 items listed, you will probably start seeing sales nearly once a day.

selling on etsy /

It took a while to build my shop, but if you keep at it, listing several items or a dozen each week, you will get there.  I try to keep my shop at around 300 items.  Sales drive sales on etsy.

If you’ve always wanted to take the plunge into selling on etsy, I would say go for it!  It really is low risk, and you may just end up loving it.

Are you ready to sell on etsy?  If you open a shop using my link, we will both get 40 free listings. Send me an email at abbybanks99 at gmail dot com for that special link!

Next up, I’ll tell you about my shop set-up at the beginning and now and share some tips I wish I had known when I first started selling.

etsy insider selling tips @Making Room 4 One More


Do you already sell on etsy?  What tips would you add?  Go ahead and add your shop link in the comments — I’d love to come favorite your shop!

5 Reasons We Love Using the Mystery of History in our Homeschool

It’s that time of year again when many homeschool families are gearing up for the new year, making plans, and ordering curriculum.  Today I want to share what we use for one of our favorite subjects — history — and why we love it!

5 Reasons We Love MOH


First, a few things you should know about our homeschool:

1.  While not purists, we do follow a Classical Education Model.

2.  Our family has been using the Mystery of History for seven years.  We have used this curriculum through the grammar stage and now the logic stage, and it has served us well.

3.  I have four energetic boys who have been captivated by our study of history!  With their interest piqued, they are eager to continue studying the topics that have fascinated them the most.

5 Reasons We Love MOH

Why do we love using MOH in our homeschool?  Here are my top 5 reasons.


You wouldn’t read the chapters of a novel out of order.  Why on earth would we teach history and do it out of order?  Have you ever looked at how most traditional history curriculums approach the subject?  In about second or third grade, the history textbook teaches about the Pilgrims just in time for Thanksgiving.  You might have a little Revolutionary War excitement thrown in around February.  And of course, a coloring sheet on Abe Lincoln for his birthday.  Really?  Kids can handle the real story, in order, from the beginning!

I am a certified social studies teacher with classroom experience, and it pained me to see how most middle schoolers entered my classroom at the beginning of the year — totally bored to death with history and geography!  But of course they think it’s boring.  A mishmash of dates and names to memorize without a coherent flow would make anyone frustrated with the content.  Not so with our homeschool.  The boys ask to do more than one lesson many days because it is just so very interesting.  Who doesn’t like a good story?

5 reasons we love MOH -

With MOH, my kindergartener and preschoolers and I started with the very beginning of Creation and progressed from there.  Of course, the first time through with mostly young children, we could skip certain topics that were just too deep for them.  But because this curriculum is chronological, my kids have a good basic understanding of the whole flow of world history.  I can’t say I had that until college!

Christian World View

This curriculum is written from a Christian World View.  We loved learning the Biblical stories right in line with world history.  This kind of study fights against the compartmentalization of our faith.  And Biblical history makes so much more sense when you know what’s going on in the broader world at the same time.  As a Christian, I believe that all of human history is God’s story of redemption.  This curriculum supports me in my endeavour to pass that worldview on to my kids.

Multiple Ages

This fall we will study the third volume of MOH with a 7th grader, 6th grader, 5th grader, 2nd grader and toddler 🙂  The beauty of this curriculum is that instead of juggling four different levels and topics of “graded” history curriculum, we can all enjoy learning together.  Of course I have a different set of expectations for my 2nd grader than my middle schoolers.  But this curriculum gives activities, projects, extra reading resources, and map activities that are divided among Younger, Middle, and Older student levels (in keeping with the Classical Education Model).  The more subjects that can be learned as a group, the better.

5 reasons we love MOH in our homeschool

Open & Go

If you try to use curriculum that was written for a traditional classroom, you may have to wade through excessive teacher’s manuals.  The MOH is a breath of fresh air in this regard.  I have followed the book’s recommendations to copy the maps prior to the start of the school year.  This has been helpful, but it’s not required.  Prepping timeline materials is also helpful.  But really, this curriculum is “open & go” — no need for lesson plans or detailed prep work!  There is plenty to do each day by listening to the lesson, checking out the atlas or a good history encyclopedia, and completing timeline work.  If you want to do extra activities, then go for it!  If you’ve got to much going on that day, not a problem.  I find this curriculum very user-friendly and not a stressful option at all from the homeschool mom’s point of view.

Cost Effective

I love the idea of a curriculum that can be used over, and over, and over again without extra cost for each child.  And because MOH is meant to be used in three cycles during your child’s schooling (Young/Grammar Stage, Middle/Logic Stage, Older/Rhetoric Stage), with ever-increasing levels of understanding and depths of study, you can feel confident buying these books once for your kindergartener and use them all the way through!

why we love MOH

How We’ve Used It — then & now

Finally, I want to briefly share how our use of MOH has changed in these last seven years.

First — we use the audio version now.  It saves my voice and the boys like to listen to Linda Lacour Hobar read the lesson.  While they listen, they draw a picture in their history timeline notebook with the date and lesson title.  If you don’t homeschool, you could listen to the audio version in the car!  Great resource.

5 reasons we love MOH l

Second — when I had four littles and we started Volume I, we did the super large timeline on the foldable board.  The boys loved it!

5 reasons we love MOH

Now that they’ve grown older, they prefer their own hand-drawn timelines in three-ring binders.  They enjoy looking back and reminiscing about their lessons.

Third — we were heavy on activities when the kids were little.  We loved creating salt dough maps, Viking masks, and cuneiform writing. These days we haven’t done as many projects.  Looking forward, we’re going to incorporate more historical fiction and biographies relating to our MOH study.  I also want to focus on narration and and a short written analysis of each lesson this year.

5 reasons why we love MOH

I highly recommend this curriculum and am confident that my children are receiving a solid history education.  I only wish it had been around when I was their age!