In college, I liked to show off my movie collection.
The shelf stood proud in my living room, not far from my TV. It was like a status symbol -- in my mind, at least. When people came over, they knew they had options.
Over the years, I’ve amassed about 100 movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray.
Looking back, I’m not sure which status it might have bestowed on me. At what point do you cross the line from hobbyist to hoarder?
But I was proud of it.
A decade later, the collection is less something I brag about and more something I’m forced to deal with every time I move.
So far, it’s been easier to wrap my movie shelf in packing tape and shove the whole thing into a U-Haul than to actually sift through and decide what’s worth keeping.
But I’m getting married this year, so maybe I’m finally feeling like an adult. Maybe.
My fiancee and I have been listening to The Minimalists podcast lately, and it’s making us look twice at all the junk we have lying around.
The podcast raises the question, “Does this add value to my life?” If not, why keep it?
These DVDs and Blu-rays used to, in one way, add value to my life. But now, they just collect dust in a cabinet.
But now I’ve found a way to make them literally add value to my life.
Even though I hate the clutter, I hate the idea of throwing away perfectly good movies way more.
And I don’t want to just dump them at a thrift store. I paid good money for those once!
There are a few ways I could go about selling them.
I could list everything individually on Amazon or eBay -- but for dozens of titles, that sounds like a nightmare.
I’ve seen some people do OK selling CD and DVD collections on eBay. But even those aren’t guaranteed to sell. And if they do, I’d have to deal with shipping and, potentially, an annoying buyer.
Extra closet space doesn’t seem worth the trouble.
Instead, I tried Decluttr.
Decluttr buys your old media and electronics. The service saves you the hassle of managing a listing, handling payment and dealing directly with buyers.
They accept CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods.
It looked like a simple way to unload some of our junk, so I decided to give it a try.
I had no idea what to expect going in.
I’m a huge movie fan, and even I haven’t touched most of these DVDs, Blu-rays and Playstation 3 games in years. Would they be worth something to anyone else?
I did some research, and other people who have sold their collections to Decluttr report getting about 50 cents per item.
One user, Gil Flores, sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs -- he had so many, he said, that he’s not certain of the exact number anymore -- and made $275, an average of $1.57 each.
Flores had tons of media just sitting in his garage, because he’s moved everything he wants to watch or listen to over to his digital library. He was ready to clear it out -- and why not make some money while you’re at it?
My collection was less impressive, but I had 86 items to sell. It could definitely add up.
I downloaded the Decluttr app and used my phone’s camera to scan the barcode of each item I wanted to sell. The app gives you an instant offer.
For most of my DVDs, the offers were consistent with my research -- between 10 cents and $1 each.
A few surprised me.
I got a $2.10 offer for “MacGruber” (the 2010 Will Forte “Saturday Night Live” spinoff movie) on DVD. I can’t believe I just let it sit on the shelf for six years! I only watched it once, but not for lack of trying. My friends just don’t get the humor.
These are some of the best offers I received:
Altogether, Decluttr offered $54.60 for a combo of 86 titles, including DVDs, Blu-rays and a few PS3 games. Shipping is free, and they take everything in one order, up to 500 items.
Not a bad way to make a little extra money.
More recent and easier-to-sell titles command the highest offers. Reddit users discussing the service note offers of up to $3, $4 or $5 for a few titles in each order.
With about standard prices, a few things about Decluttr stood out and made me choose it over similar services.
While you might earn the same amount of money selling to Amazon Trade-In, it only pays in Amazon gift cards.
Decluttr pays in real dollars, via Direct Deposit, and the payment hit my bank account the day after the company accepted my order.
When we compared offers from similar marketplaces, Decluttr came out on top for prices on electronics.
For example, we asked Decluttr for a quote on an iPhone 4, which my co-worker has been thinking about selling. The site quoted her $75.
Compare that with just $31.85 in her pocket through Glyde, which quotes a marketplace range, connects you with a seller, takes a 15% cut and charges $1-$6 for shipping.
Just for kicks, we looked up what a 32GB iPhone 5 would go for -- it could net $120! The same item would only get $45 from competing site Gazelle.
Decluttr also offered me $55 for my 32GB Playstation 3 game console. I recently upgraded to a PS4, so I only use the PS3 for Netflix -- might as well get paid for it (and have six months of Netflix free).
Speaking of sending your order, did I mention Decluttr covers it for you?
Once you accept the offer, the company emails you an order pack with shipping labels to cover the cost. Just print the labels, pack your items in any box and ship it.
Make it easy and free for yourself, and ask for a box from your local grocery store. They’re usually happy to hand them over -- and it’s environmentally-friendly.
I packed my DVDs in a box I got at the nearby dollar store. You can use any box you have lying around the house.
I’ve held onto these DVDs for years, partly because selling items directly on Ebay and Craigslist is a ridiculous hassle.
As Flores put it, when he found out he could sell his clutter with a simple app, “A problem became nothing.” The hassle is gone.
My main goal was to get rid of these things. That’s what Decluttr is really good for.
You don’t have to manage several individual listings and wait to catch a buyer’s interest.
You don’t have to deal with sales, payment and shipping for dozens of buyers.
And you don’t get stuck with those duds in your collection absolutely no one wants to buy. Typically, you can unload your most unsellable items through Decluttr.
It was much easier getting offers for my movies from Decluttr than it would have been to find a seller for each in the market.
Decluttr reports that they make an offer on nearly every item customers scan -- over 97% of barcodes are usually accepted.
Who’s looking for a “Stripes” DVD, if I’m being honest with myself? I mean, someone should be: It’s a classic.
Fifty four bucks might not sound like much, but it’s basically free money for something I would’ve either thrown away, donated or left unused in a box in the closet.
And, Clements pointed out, when you get rid of CDs, you don’t even lose the media. He still has access to any music he wants through iTunes.
Even with a relatively small clearing out like I did, the extra money can add up! And my experience isn’t unusual. According to Decluttr, the average basket price is between $50-$60.
Plus, enter PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% for your trade-ins!
As you might expect, it would be a pretty big risk for Decluttr to guarantee money for your items, sight unseen.
They’ll determine the final amount you receive after they look at the items you ship in.
All of my items were accepted, and I received the full payment of $54.60 after Decluttr reviewed my order.
Almost all items will be accepted, users report. Decluttr boasts a 97% acceptance rate and operates on a "reasons to say yes" strategy when going through your stuff.
Here are a few helpful tips from Decluttr’s terms and conditions: All items must have a barcode, and artwork must be intact and in good shape -- no tears, marks or stickers.
However, it doesn’t matter if the disc itself or the case is slightly marked. When you ask for quotes for electronics, be clear about their condition.
Decluttr’s site explains what “good,” “poor” and “faulty” condition mean, so make sure you get a quote based on the honest condition of your items.
The company guarantees to pay the first price a customer was offered for any electronics, or the customer can request to have the item(s) sent back for free, no questions asked.
Overall, scanning barcodes into an app and packing the movies into a recycled box was simple enough work to earn $54.
I think we’re really going to enjoy this minimalist thing.
Better get to work on the spare closet next.
Know anyone who needs a surfboard?
Your Turn: Do you have a collection of CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games or electronics laying around?
Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Decluttr for working with us to bring you this content. It's rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!
Matt Wiley (@wile_style) is assistant editor at The Penny Hoarder. Find him skateboarding around Tampa Bay and frequenting local breweries, dingo in tow.