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Quick Ways to Make Cash: Selling Things You Own and Don’t Use

Updated on April 24, 2015
South African currency.
South African currency. | Source

It takes a lot of effort to do the things that follow. Not only do you have to actually have something worthwhile selling, but it’s where to take the items to get the best possible offer.

Where to Look

• Things you find in the closet

I briefly covered this in part 1 of the series, ‘Finding it’. I turf out everything in my closets and drawers at least once a year in a bid to tidy it up and make room for new stuff to clog it up. Coincidentally that time of year usually happens to be spring when everybody does their spring cleaning.

• Things you find in the garage

Think of how many things must be lying in your garage. Old power tools and other things can clog up your space and make the place look horribly overcrowded.

• Things you find in the lane or shed

Just like the garage, there are likely a lot of things that you could find here that you could take out and dust off.

• Selling gifts you don’t like

We’ve all been given something we hated for our birthday or Christmas. The next time this happens, don’t frown, but think of who might like it.

• Rare collectables

People could just be interested in the things you have lying around gathering dust; often the old things that were handed down to use by our mothers and fathers. I have a whole case full of Hummel figurines, for example.

• One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

I’m not suggesting that you steal anything, but sometimes, a friend or neighbour has let us take something for free, like furniture or crockery, that they didn’t want. Either a lot of people are lazy or they don’t know the value of things. You might just get something good.


Pawning it or taking it to a second hand store

There are probably many things that you find that you’ll think of taking to a second hand store where the saying goes: “Goods for cash, and cash for goods.”

I’ve been to a few of these stores just to look around and to try to sell things as well, many times. I can pass on a few tips in this regard from experience when it comes to dealing with these places.

• Technological goods like PCs, laptops and other items don’t always fetch a high price and sometimes they refuse to buy them at all. I walked into a store with two boxes full of stuff to see what I could get. In the end, the guy I talked to would only buy the optical mice, the old walkman and the headphones that I had.

• They are fussy about tech stuff because people often bring the things back when they can’t get them to work, and they become outdated quickly. This goes for games, software and hardware.

• They tend to like power tools and things that they can price competitively with hardware stores.

• They do like anything to do with TVs, like screens, DVD players and the like.

• They stock up on hobby items like air rifles, guitars and other things.

• They also have a wide selection of watches, lighters, and jewelry as well.

Think of these guys as magpies. They like anything shiny and expensive, but if it’s too heavy or complicated, they’ll most likely pass. Most of the things that I brought in were turned down and I wasn’t offered anything for them.

"Think of these guys as magpies. They like anything shiny and expensive, but if it’s too heavy or complicated, they’ll most likely pass."


Second hand book stores

These are plenty around where I live. Second hand book stores are very picky when it comes to buying things. They tend to go for historical tomes. I went there with a handful of books and only managed to sell one out of all of them, and it was a book about the Third Reich. They eat that kind of stuff up.

A lot of the other things, like some old gardening books that belonged to my mom’s friend didn’t fetch a price at all.

They also like comics and annuals, like Dennis the Menace, The Beano and The Dandy, and practically anything like that. Often collectors come into the store and look for items like that. I know, because I did when I was younger.

It seems as though second hand bookstores, at least in my town, don’t seem to do much business. Perhaps it’s their location, or the fact that people don’t read books anymore.

Placing an ad in the classifieds

You can try placing an ad in a local newspaper, but what people do nowadays, and I’ve tried it, is to put an ad in an internet classifieds. Then if anyone searches that particular category, they will find your items for sale. Some of these are paid for services and others are free, but I’ve come across free classifieds that offer a premium service that will guarantee better positioning for your ad.

You can even place ads on your own site; that way it’s free, and it will remain visible and not drop out of sight after a few days as new ones are shunted in, like other sites.

Selling to collectors

The best thing is when you spot a person in the classifieds who is looking to swop or buy items. Often antiques, memorabilia, militaria and rare, valuable things are items that people are after. You can try eBay for this, as selling to a collector will give you a better offer than flogging it to some pawn shop.

Yard or garage sales

If you can manage to advertise it well enough, people may be interested in coming around for a look at what you have to offer. These types are picky though and you also should watch them so that they don’t steal anything and make off with it.

They are very picky when it comes to buying things. They tend to go for historical tomes. They also like comics and annuals. Often collectors come into the store and look for items like that. I know, because I did when I was younger.



These can take place in a very formal indoor setting or they can take place outdoors as well, like at fetes or even schools. Usually at schools, sporting goods go up for auction. And at the more formal functions, paintings and other artistic pieces tend to sell well. Other items do well one day and the next day they don’t. It depends on the crowd.


You could add a twist to your items for sale; charge people for a ticket to be eligible for a raffle. That way, your goods might make more just from the ticket sales than they would on auction.

Craft Markets

There’s a difference between these and yard sales. Organizers rent a piece of land and every other weekend people get together and try and sell their homemade goods. I don’t think they’ll allow you to sell just random items, as they actually look over your application. They want niche stalls, and they don’t want too many of the same things being sold. If there are two or three tanners or woodworkers, they have to decline on your application.

My brother used to make pottery a while ago, and these things were just lying around in the kitchen cupboards. I’m not saying they were any good, mind you.

If you have some sort of skill or perhaps you just have a lot of these things lying around, perhaps you can try selling them there.

Word of mouth

Sometimes just talking to people will yield some results. In conversation you might pick up on things.

I’ve often come across friends who were looking to buy or sell something, and I have done both. They could also tell others about what you have to offer.

“Money is honey, my little sonny,

And a rich man’s joke is always funny.”

— T. E. Brown

Have you made much money doing the things listed?

See results

© 2009 Anti-Valentine


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