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How to Make Money by Selling Your Unused and Unwanted Stuff

Updated on December 19, 2011

Let's face it. We all have way too much "stuff" and most of it sits in the garage or attic or closet gathering dust and moths.

My family has always collected stuff - lots and lots of different kinds of stuff. When we decided to move out of state from a 2000 square foot home into a 300 square foot camper, we knew we had to do something. We sold many things but ended up giving a lot away. When we moved, we also rented four - count 'em - four storage units for the "stuff" we didn't think we could part with but wouldn't fit in our camper. After a couple of years, we bought a 1000 square foot home that we love but all that stuff would still not fit in our house!

When we came to our senses and realized we were paying good money just to store our stuff, we snapped out of it and got busy.

Do you use CraigsList or Ebay to sell your stuff?

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Slowly and methodically we traipsed to the storage facility and began to sort through the piles and boxes and bins, one unit at a time. This is time-consuming and not terribly fun but rewarding in the end. The first thing to do is throw away the trash. This is stuff that is beyond repair and of no use to anyone.

We sold quite a few things in a couple of yard sales at our home. However, we are not located in a "prime" yard sale location. We didn't do nearly as well as we had when we lived in a neighborhood. A yard sale is also a lot of work. Bring all the stuff out, organize it, price it and if it doesn't sell, put it all back.

We turned to CraigsList to sell some of our things locally with little effort. We have made an amazing amount of money doing this. I know many other people who use Ebay. Whatever your choice, there is money to be made in this market. Posting a detailed and accurate description of an item and adding photos to the ad are all that needs to be done. Accept call or email inquiries about your product and arrange a meeting place to seal the deal. Deliver the goods and get paid. Ta da!

Furniture - Is there a sofa, chair, dining table, dresser, lamp, bed or entertainment center that you no longer use or like or want? How about wall art, a filing cabinet, desk or rocking chair?

Sports Equipment - Bicycles and helmets, exercise gear, bats, gloves, balls

Musical Instruments - Piano, band instruments, sheet music

Building Materials - Do you have leftover supplies from your remodel that you no longer need? Lumber, nails, power tools, paint, fencing

Books/DVDs - I admit to not using CraigsList for these. We have a used bookstore nearby that accepts trades and since I'm an avid reader and we're movie watchers, this works better for us. The store does offer cash for books and DVDs, but it is significantly less than trade in.

Electronics - TV, stereo, sound equipment, headphones, boom box, DVD player, IPod, IPad, MP3 player, e-reader (like Kindle or Nook), laptop, computer, printer, ink, telephone

Clothes - The only clothes I have listed are what I call "specialty" items. I have attempted to sell some prom-type gowns. I know baby clothes do well. Most other clothing I donate.

Kitchen Stuff - Blender, bread machine, ice cream maker, pots and pans, a set of dishes, silverware, utensils, tablecloths and napkins

Pets - Animal crates or carriers, food bowls, dog house, pet bed, bird house or birdfeeder

Luggage - Backpack, suitcase, carry-on bag, duffel bag, purse, laptop case

Holiday Items - Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, outdoor decorations, holiday flags, Easter baskets

Jewelry - Check the current prices for gold and silver. If you have jewelry that's at least 10k gold or silver, your best bet here is to check with local jewelry stores. Many offer "cash for gold and silver." A class ring, ID bracelet, earrings and other good jewelry can bring quite a few dollars.

Collections/hobbies - Stamps, coins, Hummel figurines, beer steins, sewing machine, yarn

Antiques - If it has no sentimental value to you or your family, why do you still have it? Get an appraisal from a reputable dealer. Offer on consignment at an antique shop.

Toys - Get rid of those toys your child(ren) no longer play with.

Clean up all the stuff you want to sell and make sure it's in working order - or if it doesn't work, be sure to state that in your ad. Your trash may be someone else's treasure - and you both benefit!

I am proud to say that we were able to consolidate four storage units into one by selling a lot of stuff. So, not only did we make money selling our stuff, we gained the monthly storage fee for three units!


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