Could you use an extra $500? How about quickly and easily and without having to leave your home?
What would you do with an extra $500? You could:
- Help pay off debt
- Pay a bill
- Invest the money
- Save for a trip (or take an inexpensive trip right away with the extra money you made)
- Buy something you need without dipping into your savings
My absolute favorite way to make money quickly is by selling things from around your home. Many of us in North America have way too much stuff. We are surrounded by stuff. Our stuff is on top of other stuff. We have closets and boxes and basements full of stuff. We even buy stuff (boxes, shelving) to store our stuff. It’s too much.
There was a reason why Marie Kondo’s book became so popular.
Although I like the idea of less clutter and living simply, I am not an exception to this too-muchness. There are many things I have multiple of or just don’t use at all. Does anyone really need six spatulas? Yes I used to own a bakery, but I don’t anymore and it’s hard to justify owning all those multiples. How about just keeping two really good spatulas, one small and one large? I think that’s a good start.
Some things from around our house that we have sold recently:
- My old Blackberry when I bought a new Blackberry (Yes I use a Blackberry – I love them!) It was in fantastic shape and easy to sell. I could have got a store credit of $50 for trading in my phone but decided to keep it to see if I could get cash instead. I sold it for $75.
- Two end tables. I made $75 for the pair.
- A dresser. Sold for $60
- A manual lawnmower. We had three lawnmowers and a teeny tiny yard with very little grass. We did not need this many lawnmowers. I sold this for $45.
- My husband sold a bunch of Volkswagen parts that he had in the basement. He made over $250.
You can see just for these items we made over $500. Not bad at all! And these were all things we either weren’t using or were cluttering up our house. We have much more than this that I would like to pare down that we could sell.
Items around your home you could sell this week
Do you have extra clothing that you could go through and reduce the size of your wardrobe while making some money? Today the average American woman owns 30 outfits (not items of clothing – whole outfits). As a comparison, the average American woman in 1930 owned 9 outfits (Forbes). Do we really need that much clothing these days? Most people only wear a fraction of what they own. We all have our favorite pieces of clothing that we wear over and over. Keep those. The other pieces consider selling.
Do you have electronics lying around that you don’t use? Many people upgrade or change their cell phone every few years. There is a great reselling market for used cell phones. I had my old Blackberry tucked away and probably would have just sent it to a recycling depot at some time with other old cords and whatnot. I am very glad I looked into the possibility of selling this phone as a small amount of research and posting an ad brought in an extra $75.
If you were recently in school you could sell your used textbooks. A tip: Don’t do what I did and hold onto them for too many years – they will definitely lose most of their value. But if they are only a few years old there is a market for used textbooks. A good guideline is to sell textbooks that are three years old or less. You may be able to sell some older textbooks depending on the demand/rarity of the book, so look it up.
Kitchen tools and equipment
Have you held on to that ice cream maker or waffle maker for a decade, yet only used it three times during those years? Even if you have good intentions on using it and you like the idea of homemade waffles or ice cream, the fact is that you just aren’t using it that much. Maybe it is time to move that item along. Like I have mentioned, I have gone through my kitchen items and have sold things. I got rid of items I had too many of and passed along a (cough cough, that example was about me) waffle maker (I liked the idea of homemade waffles more than I enjoyed actually making them!!). Maybe you have accumulated way too many measuring cups and spoons, or baking trays, or muffin tins. If they are in used but decent shape, you can sell them.
Again maybe you can learn from my mistakes here. Years ago I was trying to eliminate the clutter of having so many CDs around, yet at the time I wasn’t ready to part with any. So I got rid of all the CD cases (recycled them) and put all the CDs into three CD binders which decreased their footprint quite a bit. All that was positive until recently when I decided to look into selling used CDs. There is still a big market for CDs and some used CDs will fetch a price only a few dollars less than the new list price. But this is only if they are in their cases with the original paper sleeves. Bummer for me! You can sell CDs without cases but you will not get nearly as much money for them. If you plan to sell your used music, keep the cases!
Other quick tips
There are many more items than I could list that you could sell to make some extra money. If you are wanting to get rid of something or just curious if there is a market for your item, spend a little time on a computer and look it up.
Go through your basement and see what you are storing down there that you could part with. I have moved several times and some lidded Tupperware boxes have basically moved along with me from basement to basement. They have never been unpacked or had a chance to live at ground level. I haven’t missed whatever is in those bins so that is a good indication that there are probably things in there I could sell.
Another piece of advice: definitely look for bigger items around your home that you would like to sell, but also don’t discount those littler items. Clothing, shoes, kitchen items, etc. may not net you as much as selling your old iPhone, but those other things will add up. And they are not making any money by just sitting there in your home, not being used and probably collecting dust (or is that just in my house?).
13 simple ways you could sell things you own
1. Hold a garage sale either by yourself or with a neighbor
We will start with the low-tech route. You don’t need to create any online accounts to sell things from the comfort of your lawn. You just need a few tables, whatever it is you would like to sell, and hopefully a sunny day. My mom regularly holds garage sales with a neighbor or two. Instead of being competition, they work together, and the combined increased number of items for sale draws more people who might happen to be driving by. People want to stop for a bustling sale that looks full of things and full of life. More people are apt to drive by a lone table or two with a single seller sitting there waiting for customers. If you have lots of things to sell or someone to help you on the day (partner, friend, children), great. Otherwise consider teaming up with a neighbor or friend.
Though not active in the U.S., this is an extremely popular buy-sell website in Canada. If you are Canadian and going for the most number of eyeballs looking at your product you want to sell, go Kijiji.
3 and 4. Ebay and Craigslist
I have grouped these two behemoths together because most people know about them or have used them. Craigslist is great for local and for bigger heavier items, but there is always the possibility of the buyer not showing up. Ebay has listing fees where Craiglist lets you list for free. With Ebay you can sell items to a wider area geographically and because there is bidding you could possibly sell your item for even more than you wanted to get for it!
My husband and friends have posted items they have for sale on Facebook, from a coffeemaker to desks. They were able to sell within their circle of friends (or friends of friends) and it was as easy as writing a quick post and uploading a photo of the item for sale. There are also many local buy and sell groups on Facebook precisely for this reason. Look up your local group and post your goods there. Facebook Marketplace was also recently launched and you can post items geographically and by category. There are no fees to post so this is an advantage over some other sites.
This is one of the newer online marketplaces, based out of Seattle. There are no listing fees on Bonanza. There are selling fees but they are said to be quite a bit lower than Ebay and Amazon.
Do you have an old cell phone lying around? How about an old tablet or laptop? Consider looking into Swappa to sell your goods. This is a marketplace for electronics: cell phones, tablets, smart watches, laptops, and video games and systems. There is no fee for the seller to post or sell. The buyer pays the small fee, not the seller. This is a different business model than many other buy and sells and is great for our purposes here as sellers and people who would like to make $500 easily and quickly.
8. Gift Card Granny
If you have gift cards lying around from a birthday or wedding gift and you just don’t love the store, why not consider selling them. There is no point in using a gift card for a store you don’t really like, just to buy something so you can use the gift card. I will admit that I am guilty of doing that but in my defense I had not heard about Gift Card Granny at that point. A quick search on their home page shows people selling gift cards for: Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy, and iTunes. A pretty eclectic mix. You can make up to 92% of the value of the card in cash. A huge bonus of selling gift cards is that gift cards are super easy to ship.
This is another online marketplace for electronics. They have categories for selling smartphones, tablets, laptops, iPods, action cameras (ex. Go Pro), wearables (Apple Watch, Samsung Watch, certain Fitbits), and portable audio (Bluetooth speakers). You can choose to get paid via Paypal or a check. You can get a quote on their website for whatever item you want to sell. If it is an agreeable amount to you, you ship it in to NextWorth for free. The processing times they state on their website are super quick so you can get money for your old/unused electronics very quickly! After an inspection of your electronic (which only takes a few days after you mail it in), you can have a Paypal money deposit within two business days.
BookScouter is a bit like Expedia for the book selling world. It is an aggregate website that searches many other book selling websites and displays what those different sites would pay for the book that you enter. You might think that there would only be a difference of a few dollars between selling your used books to different sites. This is not the case. I did a quick search for a textbook on Nutrition that new at the time of writing is selling for $81.37. There are offers from different vendors to buy that textbook from $10.00 all the way up to $61.50! That is a huge range. Some of their vendors include Amazon, BooksRun, BuybackExpress, MyBookMonkey, SellBackYourBook, TopDollar4Books, and many more. Some of those vendors I am certain you have heard of, others probably not. It is not necessarily the largest or most well-known businesses that will offer the most money to buy your used books.
The beauty of this website is it does the work for you to determine how much money the different vendors would offer you for your particular book. You then decide which one you would want to sell to. Definitely you could choose vendor based on which one would pay you the highest but there could also be other considerations like ease of use of their website/any associated fees/speed at which they send you the money, etc. You can get paid through Paypal or can request a mailed check. Most vendors will pay you between one and three days of receiving and processing your books. You can receive your money faster if you choose Paypal over waiting for a check (that could take up to a week – still not bad at all!).
This website specializes in buying and selling textbooks. If you have any (relatively recent – see my tip above!) textbooks, it is very easy to enter the ISBN and get a quote for what that book is worth. Textbooks generally cost more money to buy than say a popular fiction book so you could potentially make more money selling them back after you are finished with them. Keep your books in good condition – no highlighting or pen marks or folded pages if you want the best chances of making the most money when you are ready to sell. They will also pay you via a check or through Paypal.
This is a pretty new site which has been gaining in popularity. Think of it as an online garage sale (bet you smarty-pants readers guessed that already with the name, didn’t you). Most buy-sell websites you are allowed to be anonymous but you have to be yourself on Varagesale, just like at an in-person garage sale. You sign up using Facebook Connect and your name and profile photo are visible. This makes some buyers and sellers feel safer so is an advantage for this site. This could explain why 80% of their users are female.
Though you might think Etsy is just for the crafty crafters amongst us, Etsy is one of the best places to sell used goods you own if they are older or “vintage”. Think vintage books, clothing, jewelry, toys, etc. If it is an older, interesting, unique item, Etsy would be a good choice to try selling. There is even a category just for vintage items.
Does it take motivation and effort to go through your belongings and list them for sale? Yes it does. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Not only will you make extra money, you will be simplifying and decluttering at the same time. And your extras will go to someone who (hopefully) needs them more than you do.
Now is anyone looking to buy a spatula? Or five? 😉
Have you tried selling things around your home to make some extra money? Let me know in the comments below!