I just received an email from a reader, and the contents is the title of this post. I don't know any details other than that, but I'll try to be helpful. First of all, congratulations on your purchase. You don't mention what you intend to use the space for, but I'm guessing it is NOT for selling "old lady clothes". Right?
Sometimes when you make purchases of large amounts of estate material, or, in this case, a shop someone is looking to sell, you end up with some things that you really don't want to deal with. The best way to look at it might be to ask how you can make lemonade out of these lemons? Whether you plan on using your new storefront for selling clothing or not, you can still use eBay to do a little researching before you do anything else. I just checked for you now and found that there were almost 14,000 completed listings for "lot of women's clothes" JUST in the category Mixed Items & Lots. Most of these were listed by people who didn't put much thought into their listings at all. They used terrible pictures of unfolded clothing tossed into big cardboard boxes, and then slapped an outrageously high price on the lot. Guess what? Those didn't sell at all. The end result is, these people took the laziest way possible, listed what looks like junk, and will now probably be complaining that selling on eBay stinks. If you look a little bit closer though, there are some lessons to be learned.
What is it that is actually selling?
As I look, I see that general mixed lots of women's clothing really are not selling all that well. No big surprise because, like I said, the people selling them did a terrible job of presenting what they were offering. SO... since I started this post entirely clueless about older women's clothing, I decided to do a search on Google (use whatever search engine you prefer). What I typed in was "what are popular brands of clothing for mature women". A bit of clicking brought up a few names like Talbot's, Coldcreek, and Christopher Banks. When I slapped those names in front of "women's clothing", a lot more (and better) results came back. Some individual pieces were selling for over $100 each.
So how should you sell this stuff on eBay?
If it was me, I'd continue the research on popular brands of clothing for more mature women, and compile a list. Then, do a bunch of searches on eBay for completed listings (listings that are over) like I did above. Make a note of what is actually selling and what is not grabbing anyone's attention. Next, take your list of winners, and start sorting what you have. Once you have them broken down to brand name, you might want to sort them by size. These will be the lots that you list on eBay. Of course, if you notice that certain individual pieces (like winter coats for example) are selling well individually, give them their own listing. You get 50 free listings per month, so why not give it a shot? I'm pretty sure that you'll do a lot better with this approach than those folks did who just took a picture of a big box.
I'd probably also take the other "non-name" stuff and make it into some large lots based on size. List them at a fairly low price to get some interest going. Use these listings to mention that you have other name brand listings up for auction as well. This can get more eyes on your "premium" lots. Make sense? If things don't sell, I'd probably run them again for another week or two and then think about either having a big "garage sale" at your new shop to get things cleared out, or if you just really want it gone, donate it to a local thrift store and get a receipt that you can use for tax purposes as a charitable donation.
Doing things this way can take a little longer, but the time is well spent. I think you can make some nice lemonade out of these lemons if you are willing to do a little bit of research and sorting. I hope you'll let us know how it ends up working out for you!