The ABCs of How to Make Money Selling All Your Stuff
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A move is one reason to sell your things. But even if you're not moving, getting rid of things can help you free up space in your garage or closets.
You can also make some extra cash.
When my wife and I moved from Colorado to Florida, we sold almost everything so we could avoid paying for a moving company.
But selling a table isn't the same as selling a backpack. And what do you do with broken lawn furniture?
Different items should be sold in different ways — especially if you need a fast sale or want to get the best price.
Here's your “A-to-Z” list of household items and how to sell them.
Craigslist is the best place to sell your used appliances.
If you can't find a buyer, put that old stove or washing machine in the free section — a scrapper will gladly take it.
Or bring it to a recycling center yourself and get paid for that scrap metal.
Backpacking.net has a forum for selling gear — and it's free to join.
You can also try selling on Craigslist (I sold a bunch of gold prospecting equipment for $50 that way).
Or put your outdoor equipment in your rummage sale (we'll get to that below).
If you need to sell them quickly, a used bike store might make a cash offer. But you'll probably get a better price on Craigslist.
Another option is to put a sign on your bike and park in front of your house or where other cyclists might see it. That trick netted me $35 for a bike I bought used for $30.
We previously covered how to make money selling books — especially textbooks.
If you need a quicker sale, find a used bookstore that pays cash, like Hastings. My wife and I once received $15 at Hastings for a bag of books.
Digital cameras can be sold at your local pawn shop for fast cash.
But, you might get a better offer from a website like Nextworth.
They've partnered with Target, so you can bring your camera to a local store and get a quote — although you'll get store credit instead of cash.
WeBuyCellPhones.net will connect you with local buyers.
To do even better, see our post on how to get the most money for your cell phone.
Otherwise, sell at a local clothing consignment store or at your rummage sale.
The fastest way to sell old coins is to go to a local coin shop.
But first check values online using a coin price guide. Shops will typically offer 60 to 80% of retail value, according to CoinTrackers. We got 95% of the “spot price” for silver coins at our local coin shop.
You can also sell coins on eBay. It involves more work and time, but could get you a better price.
The fastest way to get cash for old movies is to sell them at a pawn shop.
Expect a dollar or less (a dollar is the most we’ve ever received), and they'll probably only take a few of your movies.
The rest can go in your rummage sale.
Some buyers of cell phones and cameras also buy other electronics.
Otherwise, use the Amazon Trade-In program. You'll get Amazon credit, not cash.
Best Buy also takes trade-ins for store credit, and you may be able to do this at your local store.
If there is a 2nd Wind store nearby, sell your used exercise equipment there for fast cash.
Otherwise, Craigslist is your best bet.
Craigslist is one of the best places to sell furniture, but it can take a while.
You can also sell at a consignment store, as we did when we moved. We even made some profit, because we knew how to make furniture into an investment.
You'll pay a commission of up to 50%, but you might be able to leave your stuff and have a check sent to your new address once your things sell. We received a surprise check for over $200 several months after we settled into our new home.
Not fast enough for you? Check your area for a Coinstar machine that pays cash for gift cards.
You can get cash right away for silver or gold jewelry by selling it locally. This post on how to get cash for gold explains how to get the best price.
If an item if worth more than melt-value, sell it to a local jeweler who handles used items. If you made the jewelry yourself (and you have a lot of it), sell it on Etsy.
Don't throw out junk if any part of it is metal. Instead, sell it for its scrap metal value.
Copper, brass and aluminum will make you the most money, but just about any metal will have some scrap value.
My trip to the recycling place once netted me $15 for stuff that was otherwise going in the trash.
If it's in perfect shape, consider selling lawn furniture through a consignment store.
If it's in decent shape, sell it in your rummage sale.
If it is ready to be thrown out, but is aluminum, sell it for its scrap metal value. I once cashed in two old aluminum chairs for a couple bucks.
If you have really nice luggage, sell it on Craigslist.
Otherwise, add it to your rummage sale or to a consignment store. Before we left Colorado, we sold four pieces of luggage to a secondhand store for a few dollars each.
As with DVDs, your options are limited.
Try for a dollar each at a pawn shop, but if your tastes are eclectic, they'll probably buy only a small portion of what you have.
When we sold our CD collection, we made 50 cents for each of the few they took. Save the rest for your rummage sale.
You'll probably get the best deal selling your sports gear on Craigslist.
If you need a quick sale, try a Play It Again Sports store near you. The store buys everything from used baseball bats to skis.
Type “sell used tools” plus your city’s name into Google and you'll probably find some local buyers who pay cash.
If you live near Philadelphia and have a lot of tools, American Tool Buyers will come to you and make an offer.
To get paid right away, sell tools to a pawn shop. I got $10 for a carpet knee-kicker, and a few bucks for other tools this way.
If you have the time, you might make more money selling your tools on Craigslist.
If there’s a Once Upon a Child store nearby, go and sell your used toys.
Another option is Craigslist, or sell them at your rummage sale.
Bring your video games to a local pawn shop for a fast sale. To make more money, sell them online.
Glyde sends you a check or direct deposits money into your bank account. Plus, there’s no charge for the listings if your games don't sell.
Wedding dresses are often unique and may not sell well in a consignment store, especially in a small town.
To get the best price, sell yours online.
On PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, you can list your dress for $25 and leave it up until it sells. The listing fee is only $5 for other items, like bridesmaid and flower girl dresses.
Yard Tools and Equipment
It’s best to sell riding lawnmowers and other large items on Craigslist.
Rakes, shovels and such can go in your rummage sale.
Zebras and Other Stuffed Animals
Yes, I needed a “z” item for the list.
A previous post on selling used stuffed animals explains some of the ways to get top dollar for sleeping buddies — and there are more ways than you might think.
If all else fails, put your stuffed animals in the rummage sale.
How to Sell Everything Else
Here are four strategies for selling things that don't fit the categories above — and even things that do.
These are mainly ways to sell a lot of stuff at once — and quickly.
1. Have a Rummage Sale
You can sell almost anything at a rummage sale, especially if you use Kristin Pope's tips for hosting a successful garage sale.
2. Sell to a Secondhand Store
When we moved, we invited a secondhand store owner to our house. He bought half the stuff in our garage all at once.
Call local junk shops and similar businesses and check if they buy large batches of items.
3. Contact an Estate Buyer
Type “estate buyers” into Google with your city’s name.
Estate buyers normally buy everything left in the house when people pass away. But if you have enough stuff to sell they’ll usually make an offer.
4. Sell at a Flea Market
You can often sell at a flea market for less than the cost of advertising a rummage sale.
Plus, you'll have a sure stream of possible buyers — especially if it's a popular market.
Your Turn: Can you add to this list of ways to unload your stuff for a little cash?
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Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).