Friday, September 5, 2008

Turn Your Trash Into Cash

Clear out the clutter and get paid for it. You might be surprised to find your unwanted items could be worth money. Clothing, books, games, cookware and even that old metal junker rusting away in your yard. The key is where to sell what.
  • ebay - Use ebay not just for selling but as a guide to what your stuff is worth. Research your items in the completed auctions section for a realistic look at what you could sell your own items for. Then you can decide if it's worth your time to actually sell it on ebay or if you should use another source. Large items such as furniture are probably not going to sell well here because of the shipping costs and packaging difficulties. However I once sold a vintage drum set on ebay and the buyer was more than happy to pay for professional packaging as well as the shipping costs.

Look up all of your items - leave nothing unresearched. Some common things you're getting ready to dispose of could have value. Take for example that Starbucks coffee mug your tired of using or even that used Starbucks gift card. Yes, there are people who will buy your worn out coffee mug and that little plastic card you thought was garbage. Or how about that cookware you no longer want? Revere Ware, Le Creuset, Saladmaster, Corning, Pyrex, etc. If it has a name - look it up! You can even sell your worn out dirty socks on ebay, but use your own judgement on this one.

Ebay can be a great source to sell some of your stuff, but keep in mind the time your going to spend listing, emailing, packaging and mailing your items as well as the fees ebay charges. In my opinion ebay has become more complicated over the years and I choose to use it only as a last resort for selling.

  • craigslist - This is my preferred source for selling stuff. It's free and simple. Pretty much the online version of a classified ad. You list your item, people contact you, you meet face to face, they give you money and haul your stuff away. No packaging, no fees, no going to the post office. Great for selling larger pieces such as furniture but works well for selling the small stuff too.

Sell your left over materials from a remodel project. People will buy used cabinets, sinks, fencing etc. If you can't sell it, list your junk for free that you might otherwise have to pay to take to the dump.

Some of the things I find useful when selling on craigslist are:

Don't use your email address in the ad, only list your phone number. This way people have to call you and you'll avoid playing email tag. You can quickly answer questions the potential buyer may have, set up a time for them to come and view your item, give directions to your house, etc. Also you'll weed out a lot of the craigslist flakes and no-shows this way. Be sure to get their phone number in case you need to reschedule or if you need to call them and say "where the heck are you?"

If you are uncomfortable about having strangers come to your house you could agree to meet up in a public place for smaller items. For the large stuff you could have the item in your garage and leave the garage door open while showing it so you are in view of your neighbors. A porch or carport works too.

Search the "Items Wanted" section of craigslist to see if someone is looking for your stuff. You can also do a Google search to find people in other states and beyond who are looking for your items. For example if you go to Google and search "items wanted craigslist Starbucks" you will find want ads placed from all over. You can then contact that person and see if they would like to purchase your item by mail. Sort of like selling on ebay without the fees. However, do this at your own risk since there is no way to check references or feedback on these people.

  • Have A Garage Sale - Yep, the good 'ol fashioned way to sell your stuff. It's a little more time consuming since you have to sort and price everything as well as mind the store all day. Not to mention the people who will haggle you to death. It can be profitable though. Maybe get some friends or neighbors to participate making it into one giant sale. You'll get a larger crowd this way since people are more apt to hunt out the bigger sales. You also might want to consider selling bottled water and snacks.
  • Sell Your Scrap - Metal prices are at an all time high. Look up your local recycling and refining centers and see what they are buying. You can sell all sorts of scrap metals - copper wires and tubing, left over metal pipes, that old metal swing set in your backyard, even the junker your neighbors give you the evil eye over. If you don't want to drag it to the recycling center yourself be on the lookout for scrappers in your area. Look for ads on craigslist and in your local papers for people buying scrap. Of course any gold and silver you have is commanding high prices as well, so now is a good time to sell your broken or unwanted jewelry, coins or even gold fillings.

Other Sources :

* Sell your used books at , , , or check your local used bookstores. Textbooks command some of the biggest prices.

* Get money for your used cell phones, ipods, computers, game systems and other electronics - even if broken at .

* Clean out your closet and sell your quality goods at local consignment stores. Look for children's consignment stores for selling kids clothing and toys.

Finally, if you can't sell your stuff donate it and use it as a tax write off. You'll find many thrift stores give you coupons for future purchases with a donation. Then you can buy more stuff and start the cycle all over again.


Karen said...

I love selling on ebay and craigslist but I prefer ebay because then I don't have to actually see anyone! I'm amazed at what people want to buy on ebay too! You never know!!

Cheap Cindy said...

Yes, I see your point. I have to admit for some of the lower dollar items I've sold on craigslist I've left the item on my porch and had the people leave the money under my doormat so I would'nt have to deal with anyone face to face.