There’s no doubt about it, Americans have too much stuff.
Several years ago the Wall Street Journal reported that Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on goods and services they don’t actually need. And according to the Orlando Sentinel, nearly one out of 10 American households rents a storage facility, costing anywhere from $125 a month to $165 a month. Of those who rent, 65% have a garage, 47% have an attic and 33% have a basement. Clearly, we have too much stuff!
If you have old items just collecting dust, why not turn them into some extra cash? Here are tips to sell old stuff for top dollar — including anything from furniture, to clothes, to accessories, to used electronics.
Read more: 30 ways to make extra money each month
49 ways to turn your clutter into the most cash
First, get organized
If you have a lot of stuff you want to sell, it can be overwhelming to think about how to sort it and figure out the best place to sell it.
A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used or worn something in at least two years, that might be a clue you really don’t need it. Go through each item in your house and put it through the two-year test. Then, put all the items in a central location and sort them by category. Next, search the item online to get a good idea of how much it’s worth. After that, read on to discover the best place to sell it!
You can’t talk about selling used items online and not mention eBay. The popular online marketplace was the forerunner of selling used merchandise on the Internet in the 1990s. To get started, create an account, list your items, upload pictures, and wallah! You have instant access to an online marketplace of over 160 million people.
But, due to eBay’s listing fees, which can be $.30 per item plus 10% of the sale price of the item, other players have gotten into the market of selling used merchandise online.
For a step-by-step how to on selling on eBay, check out the secret to making extra money with eBay.
Bonanza.com is one such alternative.
Bonanza is structured similarly to eBay, but the cost for listing an item is a little bit less. According to its website, sellers pay 3.5% of an item sold under $500, and $17.50 plus 1.5% for an item over $500.
You can also send items you’re selling on Bonanza to Google shopping. The struggle for the newer site has been volume, however. Since eBay is more established, you might find the traffic outweighs the cost in deciding between the two.
Also, you might want to consider eBid. eBid is very similar to eBay in site design and auction-style selling. Plus, the fees are very competitive. According to the site, you’ll never pay more than 3% of an item’s final price.
Etsy is similar to eBay and Bonanza in that it is an online selling marketplace, but Etsy specializes in handcrafted items versus used items unless your items are considered “vintage” — 20 years or older.
To list an item, it’s $.20, and if your item sells, Etsy takes 3.5% of the sale price and 3% plus $.25 for payment processing. But, given the site retains 54 million members and 22.6 million shoppers, it has become a great place for artists and designers to sell and market their unique creations online. Check out the site’s vintage section here.
Did you know you can sell your old stuff on Facebook? Not only can you sell pretty much anything via the Facebook Marketplace, there are thousands of Facebook yardsale groups you can join in order to sell your used stuff online. (And, if you ever need to buy something in the future, this is another good place to look to get it for a good deal!)
Apps to sell just about anything
If you just want to sell something quickly, there are a few location-based smartphone apps that allow you to sell almost anything to people in your neighborhood! But, you’ll want to remember to abide by each app’s safety guidelines, especially if someone is coming to your home to take a look at what you’re selling.
Following selling something on a site like eBay or through an app like the above, consignment stores might be your next best bet. But, be advised that it could take the store a while to sell your items, if they sell, and can take as much as a 50% cut on your merchandise. But, they might be able to sell you items for more than you’d be able to sell them online, and it might be more convenient to let a consignment store sell them than going to the trouble of listing the items yourself. You’d just have to decide what works the best for you.
Craigslist can be a great place to sell something locally. But, you’ll need to be careful — Craigslist has become a hiding place for crooks and thieves — and even murderers. Many people have great success selling on Craigslist, but it is definitely an “at your own risk” activity. If you want to sell something, never accept or send a wire transfer, and always meet the buyer in a very public place, such as a busy gas station.
I’ve always been a fan of The History Channel show Pawn Stars. In the show pawn shop owner Rick and his son and father (and a few other characters) place bids on some of the most unique collectibles and historical items people bring in that were hiding out in their basements and garages. Pawn shops can be a good place to sell gold, firearms, musical instruments and collectibles. You might not get the most money for them as you would if you sold them yourself on eBay, Craigslist, or other person-to-person avenue since the pawn shop still needs to make money. But, it might be a win-win if you’d prefer the convenience of having someone else sell you items, if you need the cash immediately, or if the pawn shop has access to those buyers who are willing to pay top dollar.
Yard sales are great if you want to get rid of items that aren’t too valuable but taking up space. You could host a yard sale at your house — but that’s not the only place you could have a yard sale. Gsalr.com, Varage Sale and Bookoo have also become great places to sell you old items to people who want them who live nearby.
And, like we said before, you could also join a Facebook yard sale group and list your items to sell to people in your community. But, if you have a lot to sell, traditional yard sales are still great ways to get rid of unwanted items and make money doing it.
Read more: 7 ways to make more from garage sales
How to get top dollar for used electronics
Here are the best places to get the most money for your electronics.
- Swappa.com for Android devices
- Gazelle.com for Apple products, plus Android, BlackBerry and other phones
- Gizmogul.com lets you sell old phones for cash and donate to charity at the same time
- BuyBackWorld.com or BuyMyTronics.com for all electronics
- NextWorth.com for phones, cameras, tablets and games
- Glyde.com for gadgets and games
- NewtonsHead.com for Apple products, even damaged iPhones
Bigger stores such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, and Apple also have their own trade-in programs. Although you’d probably get a better deal from the independent players listed above, you’ll usually get the most money by selling your phone yourself on eBay.
Selling musical instruments and equipment
It can be difficult to get what you want for musical instruments when selling to a music store or pawn shop, since these places have to turn a profit on the items they sell.
However, Reverb is an app specific to musical instruments and equipment where you can list your item! eBay is also an option for instruments and musical equipment.
Selling clothes, designer clothing and wedding dresses online
If you have any designer clothes or a wedding dress to sell, check out these sites to get the most cash for them!
Selling wedding dresses
Selling collectible items or antiques
If you have collectible items you want to sell, there is a website that can help you place a value on them. Collectors.com is an invaluable resource when it comes to getting top dollar for your collectibles. But, if you think you may have something that is worth $1000 or more, you should really get an appraisal. The American Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of America, and the International Society of Appraisers can help you find qualified, local professionals.
In addition, you could check out Statricks to check the value of an item you have.
Selling precious metals such as gold or silver
If you’re selling precious metals such as gold, you’ll want to be careful in order to get the most money. You could sell your gold at a gold party, local jewelers, pawn shops, or mail-in buyers, but according to Consumer Reports’ Money Adviser, the best way to get top dollar for your gold is to sell it to gold refiners. However, since refiners buy in bulk, you may not be able to sell to them if you don’t have enough gold. The next best place to sell your precious metals is a local jeweler or pawn shop.
If you have an engagement or wedding ring you need to sell, IDoNowIDont.com is an online marketplace where you can sell diamond rings and other jewelry to buyers safely and risk-free.
De-cluttering and selling used items can be overwhelming, but take it one step at a time. You’ll be overjoyed once you’ve gotten rid of old items you don’t really need. If you have items that didn’t quite sell, you could still donate them to a place like Goodwill and get a tax deduction on them. All in all, selling used stuff is a great way to live lighter and earn extra cash too!