One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. That’s true. But how much that trash is worth varies depending where you sell it.
While some things — like your tattered copy of Catcher in the Rye or your old Indiana Jones DVD collection — may sell quickly at your garage sale, other items would fare better on the Internet than on a rickety plastic table in your front yard.
Here’s a look at what you should sell online, rather than at your next garage sale (or anywhere else).
I took four English classes my junior year to satisfy requirements for my major. Each course required me to buy 10 or more books, and I racked up a bill that felt almost as high as my tuition.
At the end of the school year, I tried to make some of the cash back by selling the books to the campus bookstore — and I was only offered a few dollars.
I thought about selling my books at a yard sale, but with specific editions for different classes, finding a buyer would be a nightmare. You’ll find a much larger market for your Psychology 101 textbook online than in your local neighborhood.
If you live in or near a big city, you can be sure that there are at least a dozen new transplants desperately scouring the web for specific furniture items. And when they want a specific item, like the perfect “15-by-15 black kitchen table with rounded edges,” they’re usually willing to pay a bit more for it.
No more putting your wardrobe out on the lawn and hoping that the right person drives by. Head to Craigslist, type in the necessary keywords and wait for the buyers to come to you.
Let’s face it: Nobody is going to buy an old iPhone with shards of glass dangling off of the cracked screen at your yard sale.
But that doesn’t mean you should toss it in the trash or let it wither away in your junk drawer.
Companies like USell and Nextworth will pay cash for your old cell phones and accessories. If you want a gift card instead, Amazon and Best Buy both have trade-in programs for your unwanted electronics.
4. Collectible Antiques
One morning, my friend stumbled upon a large, antique Coca-Cola bottle at a yard sale.
After trying (and failing) to haggle with the owner, who demanded $20 for the bottle, he left… only to return 20 minutes later after a little online research showed him it was worth more than $200.
The moral of the story? Google your knickknacks so you know what they’re worth. That way, you can sell your old Beanie Babies and GI Joes for the most money.
5. Designer Purses
The purse business is fickle. Just when you’ve grown comfortable with one purse, the market changes, “forcing” you to swap out a “spring” purse for a “fall” purse and amass a mountain of hardly used designer bags.
Rather than shove them all into one pile at a yard sale and call it a day, why not try to sell them online?
My grandmother is a yard sale guru.
Every Saturday, she leaves the house at the crack of dawn with her yard sale listings and her fanny pack of “tools,” including a small magnet she uses to test if certain coins are real or fake, a little trick that helps her earn about $50 a trip.
Many sellers empty their coin collections into a bowl and name a set price without considering the value of each piece, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Rare coins can carry high price tags, earning sellers up to $1,000 per item.
If you find yourself with a bucket of change hanging around, don’t be so quick to throw it on your front porch where market-savvy grandmas can snatch it up for cheap. Do your research and sell it online — you never know what’s in your wallet until you check.
Your Turn: Are you guilty of selling any of these items at a yard sale? Will you sell online next time?
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Tyler Vendetti is a recent college graduate who hopes to win the lottery and lead a carefree life, or if that doesn’t pan out, work in television. When she’s not traversing the world or liking cat pictures on Facebook, Tyler can be found on Twitter @HeyThereFuture. You can also reach her via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you feel so inclined.