I’ve lived in my apartment for 10 years, but soon I’ll be moving. As I’ve been clearing out my storage, I’m finding a lot of old stuff and trying to remember how I came into possession of it. When I came across my pasta bowl filled with wine corks, fuzzy memories started to materialize, and I thought, “oh, yeah, that’s how.”
I remember having big plans for my wine corks. I was going to do something crafty and green, and make all my friends swoon over my shabby-chic cork creation. The problem is, I’ve never been a ‘crafty’ person, so I never came up with an idea for the corks, and I’m not sure why I’ve been adding to the collection all these years.
Now, I’m faced with a reality check.
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My next apartment is going to be smaller, and let’s be honest: it’s ridiculous to keep a bunch of wine corks. So I decided to let them go. It felt like defeat – all that wasted time and space spent hoarding the corks. Unless, that is, I could find someone else who has a purpose for them.
I happen to be an experienced and trusted eBay seller with only excellent customer reviews (don’t mind me, I’m just brushing the dirt off my shoulders). So now, I’m selling my collection. If you’re in a similar boat, here’s how you can, too.
1. Separate the real from the fake.
You can sell both natural and synthetic corks, but don’t sell mixtures of them. Trust me – there will be markets for both of them. Also, another tip is to ditch the champagne corks. For some reason, they’re not a huge eBay hit.
2. Be specific without going crazy.
Specifics always make a listing better, but if you have a variety of corks from different wineries, you don’t have to list the names of all of them. However, if all of your corks are from the same winery or you have duplicates, definitely include that information. A buyer might need just what you have – whether it’s corks from that specific winery or the uniformity of 100 corks.
3. The going rate is about 10 cents per cork.
You can try to charge more if you have some type of rare cork you think is worth it, but if you just want to move your merchandise, price accordingly.
4. First Class Mail should be sufficient.
When I sell on eBay, I offer the cheapest shipping option available – usually First Class Mail, which has a weight limit of 13 ounces. This shouldn’t be a problem when shipping corks, unless it’s a large quantity. With First Class, you have to pay for tracking separately and it’s definitely worth the extra dollar.
On that note, you can also sell your old (empty, of course) wine bottles if you have them lying around. My empty wine bottles usually go in the recycling bin shortly after they meet their end, but if you have the space to keep the bottles until they sell, here are some tips for listing those:
1. Keep the boxes.
If the wine made it safely to your home in a box, then the bottles will be able to ship in the same box. If they didn’t come home with you in a box, you can pop into your local wine store and ask for one.
2. Clean out your wine bottles.
You don’t have to clean the corks, but you do have to clean bottles before selling them. You don’t have to peel the labels off, though. People using the bottles for crafting might like the labels. On the flipside, people using them to bottle their own wine might want to put their own labels on them. How much work you do is really up to you.
3. Be specific about the bottle type.
A Bordeaux bottle is different from a Riesling bottle which is different from a Champagne bottle. You can absolutely sell a mixed box, but since you’ll probably be selling in smaller quantities than corks you should get specific as to exactly what you have. Good news: unlike their corks, Champagne bottles do sell!
4. Price accordingly.
Standard clear and green bottles go for 50 cents to a dollar. Fancy bottles like frosted or blue cobalt can go for more than $3 a bottle. In fact, I’ve been seeing some empty Dom Perignon bottles listed for $20. As for shipping, it ranges from between $12 and $18. You can get a specific price at the post office or offer ‘Free Shipping’ and just tack an extra $15 onto the price of the bottles.
Why go through all this?
Remember: you don’t have to. I like to at least try to find a new home for my stuff before I throw it away. If I can make some money doing that – especially enough money to buy a new bottle of wine – then it’s totally worth it.
Mara Montalbano is a multimedia journalist living in New York City. She loves drinking wine and driving her Mini Cooper…but not in that order. Follow her @MaraMontalbano.