Saturday, May 3, 2014

Need Money? Sell Your Stuff!

I don't see clutter, I see $100 in my pocket.
Image Source: Flickr: Davidd 
Strapped for cash to pay rent?  Want to go on vacation this summer, but don't have the funds?  Sick of all of that junk cluttering your home?

It has never been easier to make money off of the unused items in your house. You will be shocked at how easy it is to get rid of your stuff and make money off of it.

Deciding Which Items to Sell

The first question to ask is: What items have I not used this year?  Anything you haven't touched in the past year, you will probably never need again.  We keep things we don't need at the off chance that someday we will need them again.  That is one of the most dangerous lies we tell ourselves.  That set of golf clubs sits in the corner of our garage, untouched for five years, thinking that someday we'll find our swing again.  In the meantime, you've taken up another hobby, and let's be honest, you're never going to play golf.  

One of the things we struggle with the most as humans is the idea that we change.  We hold onto hobbies we no longer enjoy because we like the idea of our former selves.  For example, I used to be a surf bum in college.  I'd spend every minute I could at the beach, riding my big red board on Southern California's finest breaks.  Unfortunately, I moved away from my favorite beaches five years ago and have only used my surfboard once since then.  I hold onto the idea that I am still a surfer on the inside, that someday I'll pick back up my beloved hobby.  But, the chances of me surfing even a few times a summer are small, making it more practical to sell the board and rent one for ten bucks when I do head to the beach.  I just can't get myself to sell it though!  Every time I look at it leaning against the wall, I remember the early mornings of surfing with a pod of dolphins on a crystal clear break.  So, I understand how difficult it is to let go of your things. 

What Items have value?  The more demand for an item, the more money you will get, and the more worthwhile it will be for you to spend time selling the item.  For instance, a book that sells for $0.99 on Ebay might not be worth the gas and time expended to drive to the post office and wait in line to ship it.  However, if you have a lot of books, say the entire Little House on the Prairie series, you might be able to get $12-20 for them and make the time spent worth your while.  

Where to Sell Your Items

For items with high demand such as electronics, sporting goods, collectibles, and household items, Ebay is a quick and easy option for letting your items get bid up.  Within 5 minutes, your item can be up for the whole world to bid on.  Items with high demand can be priced low and participate in a bidding war.  If it has low demand, then it might take a couple of tries to get it to sell. 

If you need quick cash today, Play it Again Sports will take your used sporting goods off of your hands and give you cash in return.  They don't pay extremely high, but will take in almost anything in season.  for instance, I sold three pair of hiking/running shoes and a name brand beanie, and walked away with 16 bucks.  The items would have gone for almost $400 new, but $16 is a whole lot better than no money and clutter. 

For clothing, two of my favorite places to sell my used fashionable items is The Buffalo Exchange and Plato's Closet.  Typically, high end used clothing stores only take name brand items, which is great because they usually pay better than less discerning places.  It's good to know that a Michael Kors skirt holds value! 

For high end jewelry, your neighborhood consignment shop is an easy way to offload gold and diamonds.   The problem with selling them online, is that the buyer doesn't know what they are getting, making it hard to sell.  Some of the higher end consignment shops I've been to have an in-house jewelry expert who can properly value your item.  However, you will only get about 50-70% of the value of the item because the shop needs to make a profit off of it.  For broken jewelry, places like Express Gold Cash, will give you a percentage of the metal value of your items.  They don't pay very well, but for a broken gold chain, at least you're making some money off of an unuseful item.  

Tips For Decluttering For Cash

  • Go through all of your personal items and pull aside everything that you absolutely won't ever use.  Selling the items you absolutely don't care about first will give you the "seller's high" that will propel you forward. 
  • Read, How to Emotionally Detach From Objects for tips on how to have a healthy emotional relationship with your possessions. 
  • Once you've made the decision to get rid of something, immediately post it on Ebay or put it in your trunk to drive it to a used goods store.  Once it's sold or posted on Ebay, it will be out of sight and out of mind.   What's done is done! 
  • Dwell on what you're getting from selling your items, not what you are losing: Bills paid, more space, room for a new item you really want, less clutter, money for experiences like travel or activities, no more upkeep for the sold item, less mental clutter, ect. 
  • My article, Tips for Becoming a Minimalist, walks you step by step on how to remove clutter from your life and take up a lifestyle of simplicity. 

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