eBay Dress Measurement Shoulders

Photographing, Measurement, Storage eBay Process

Dollar Flipper Process

In November last year, I started to talk about my 5 step eBay process. Purchasing an item is the easy part. We’ve talked about how I do my eBay research and prep the item by using my spreadsheet. Today, I’m going to show how I take measurements, photograph, and put my item into storage and all the fun, helpful tools that go along with that.

  1. Purchase item
  2. Research/Prep Item
  3. Photographing, Measurement, and Storage of item
  4. Clean up Photos/List Item
  5. Pack/Ship Sold item

In steps 1 and 2, I’ve gotten an item, and now I know more about it. I’ve gathered information about the market and some easy to find information about the item and stored all of this in my spreadsheet.
After I do this, it sits on a bookshelf until I actually go to photograph and measure the item. I’d love to do the whole process one at a time, but by moving the item from bags on the floor onto the bookshelf, it cleans the room up a bit. For some reason, I feel like the items are less overwhelming when they’re organized on a bookshelf instead of being in bags on the floor.


The first step of this chunk of work is to take photographs. I use poster board as the background (foam board). These can be bought cheaply at Walmart, Michaels, or even Ollie’s. I have two white ones (one is a little older and beat up, but I can use the two together for very big items) and lay the clothing flat. I also have a black one for any lightly colored items.

I’ve debated about getting a dress form, but I really don’t want to deal with one. The best part about the poster board is that it’s easy to fold up and put against a wall so it doesn’t take up much space.

For my photographs, I use a Canon EOS 1000D / Rebel XS 10.1 M Digital SLR DSLR Camera. This was my wife’s camera, and I still can’t believe I took so long to convert over from my Canon point and shoot. It was a slow transition over to a DSLR , and I’m still kicking myself to this day! This is a mid-line DSLR camera, and there are newer, more expensive models out there, but this camera has all of the necessary functions.

The hardest part about taking photographs with the item laying flat is making sure to get a good angle. If you’re not height advantaged, I’d recommend using a stool. Otherwise, a dress form might be right for you.

eBay Dress Photograph Poster Board

It’s not perfect (notice the upper right corner), but it’s good enough.

For clothing, the pictures I take are pretty standard:

  • Front – zoomed out
  • Tag by collar
  • Closeup of pattern/style/buttons
  • Any marks/issues on the front
  • Back – Zoomed out
  • Closeup of pattern/style/buttons
  • Any marks/issues on the back

For an item with no flaws (a plain shirt), I’ve done as few as 3 pictures. Front, collar/tag (which also shows the pattern of the shirt), and back. I usually take 6 to 7 photographs, but for this dress, I had 9 due to the unique pattern: Front, Back, Collar, bottom of dress opened to show interior material, and 5 of the various women’s pictures.

Once an item is photographed, it’s time to measure.


The measurements I’m going to talk about are for the dress, but I’ll include ones I take for various other clothing. If it’s not a pre-packaged item, a book, or a video game, I’m most likely going to include some measurement information about it. For other items like dishes, electronics, or collectibles, it’s always good to stick with a generic height, width, and length. Buyers will ask otherwise.

The tool I use to measure is a flexible sewing cloth tape. If you don’t feel like buying one, you can just use a measuring tape.

eBay Dress Measurement Shoulders

When I photograph, I do not include the measuring tape. I’ve seen other sellers do this, but I think it takes away from the item.

My sewing tape was actually MIA when I took these photos, so I ended up using my own tape measurer. For big items, this is actually pretty helpful since it’s a little more rigid.

I do not include metric measurements. When I first started listing clothing, I did include everything in inches and centimeters, but it’s a big pain in the butt. I sell mostly to the US, so it makes sense to have my listings tailored towards American buyers.

I always do my measurements from the back side of the clothing. This lets me avoid flipping it over again and saves me a little bit of time.

Here are the measurements I take for different types of clothing (the dress being a combination of blazer and pants):

Chest measures  inches around.
Length is  inches from bottom of collar on back.
Sleeve length is  inches starting from shoulder seam. (If there’s no shoulder seam, I’ll  measure out from armpit and note it in my spreadsheet)

Waist measures  inches around.
Length is  inches along side edge.
Inseam is  inches.
Rise is  inches. (Only for women’s pants)
Cuff is  inches around.

Width at widest part inside shoe is  inches.
Length from toe to heel inside shoe measures  inches.
Heel length is  inches (measured from floor to where the heel meets the sole at the back of shoe).

Chest measures  inches around.
Shoulder to shoulder measures  inches across. (this is super important since a tailor can’t adjust this at all)
Length is  inches from bottom of collar on back.
Sleeve length is  inches starting from shoulder seam.
Sleeve length is  inches starting from armpit.

For one-off items (dresses for example) that I don’t list often, I’ll just combine the important measurements from other listings.

Note: This information is stored in my spreadsheet and referenced during listing. I don’t touch the templates until listing.

Once I finish measuring the item, I pack it for storage.


To store my items, I place the item into a plastic bag (if it fits), close the bag with a “Give me good feedback please” sticker, and weigh the item. I’ll add some buffer onto the weight based on my experience: an ounce for something that will be in a poly bag up to a few pounds for heavy books.

I have about 15 big plastic tubs right now. These all have a letter on the tub, and when I store an item, I’ll note which tub it’s in when I’m measuring. I decide where to put a batch of items by finding a tub that has some space in it.

eBay Storage Tub Inventory Bags Items

It’s actually easier when non-similar items are stored together. They clash and the right item jumps out at you.

As a backup, I will hand-write the item number with its tub on the Thank You sticker. There’s been a few times that I’ve misplaced an item (wrong tub) or wrote the wrong number on the sticker, and having this identification number helps me know where I’m going to have to find the error. If this happens, it’s off to the spreadsheet to hopefully find some context on where I could have put the item.

eBay Storage Tubs Inventory System

There’s a hidden shelf above this that is full of unlisted items. YIPES!

My storage system has developed over time. I put it in place when I moved down here a year and a half ago. This helps me stay on top of inventory and not just have a big “pile” like I used to. It also makes it very easy when shipping – most times it just gets thrown in a poly bag, a Padded Flat Rate Mailer, or a Regional A box. If you’re trying to transition over to an inventory system like this, I recommend getting help. My family was able to help me transition to labeled hangers to a tub system. I would edit listings and they would put the items into bags and tubs. I made the transition when I was around 100 items.

Next time we talk about process, we’ll go over how I list items.

Do you measure your items? Do you have an inventory system? Please share!