A lot of people are looking for ways to make extra money. Starting a side hustle is a really common choice, and with the popularity of the gig economy, there are plenty of options available.
But not all side hustles will allow you to make money quickly.
Chances are, you probably have a lot of things in your house or apartment that you rarely use. A lot of your stuff has value, and by selling it you can make money quickly and easily.
You may think that your possessions aren’t worth anything, but that’s probably not the case. There is a large demand for used products. Some items might only bring a small amount, but others can make you a significant amount of money. Even the small sales add up when you’re getting rid of a lot of stuff.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can make money by selling your stuff, including the different ways to sell your things, and how you can go about the process.
Other Articles in This Series:
Why Sell My Stuff?
First, let’s look at just a few of the reasons why you might want to sell your things.
Make Money. Of course, the primary motivating factor for this article is to sell your things in order to make money. Maybe you’re looking for extra money to help pay off debt, to pay upcoming bills, or to start saving and investing. Regardless, selling things is a great way to make money.
Declutter. Another major benefit is that you can get rid of a lot of stuff in your house or apartment and clear out some space. Most of us tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over time, and purging the things that you don’t use is the best way to remedy the situation and open up some space again.
Other People Can Use It. Those things that you’re not using may be really beneficial to someone else. That highchair that your kids have outgrown could be extremely useful to new parents who have loads of baby stuff to buy, and would like to save some money by buying used items.
Turn It Into a Side Hustle or Business. While selling the stuff you already have can be great for the reasons already mentioned, you may really enjoy it. If you’re looking for a side hustle to make some extra money, you could buy and resell items in your spare time. Flipping can be surprisingly profitable, and fun. Some people even turn it into a full-time business!
Want to Learn How to Make Great Money Flipping Items?
Flea Market Flipper University is a step-by-step course creating by a couple that makes $100,000+ per year by working 20-30 hours per week flipping items! This is a great side hustle with the potential to be a full-time income, it’s totally flexible, and you don’t need previous experience.
Ways to Sell Your Stuff Online and Offline
Now, let’s take a look at the different approaches you can take to sell your items.
1. Apps and Websites
There are a number of apps and websites that make it easy to sell your things. Most people have used Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace at some point, but there are many others as well. Some will help you to sell your things locally (you’ll meet up with the buyer), and others allow you to sell and ship your items across the country. Some are general and allow you to sell anything, and others are specialized and allow you to sell certain types of items.
For a detailed look at this topic, please see my article 17 Websites and Apps to Help You Sell Your Stuff.
2. Consignment Shops
Consignment shops are all over the place. Most likely, your town or city has at least one of them, but there are probably several. Consignment shops will sell your things and then split the revenue with you.
Most consignment shops will need to approve items before they sell them, so you’ll have the best chance with items that are in good condition and have some value and demand. The details of the commission split will vary, and in most cases, you will get paid after the item sells.
3. Pawn Shops
Pawn shops are sometimes used to get quick loans, but you can also sell your things to pawn shops. The benefits include quick cash, but you may need to know the value of your items and be willing to negotiate in order to get a decent price. For the right types of items (especially jewelry), pawn shops can be a decent option.
If you don’t have experience with pawn shops, this article can help: How to Sell My Stuff to a Pawn Shop.
Many stores and website have trade-in programs. You won’t get cash for your items, but you will get credit towards a purchase. Depending on what you need the money for, this may be an option.
Trade-in programs are most common with electronics and gadgets.
Amazon has a trade-in program for tablets, cell phones, media players, video games, textbooks, and more.
Walmart’s Gadgets to Gift Cards program offers credit for cell phones, tablets, video games and consoles, and other gadgets.
Apple GiveBack allows you to trade in your Apple products for gift cards.
Best Buy’s Trade-In program allows you to get credit for your laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, video games, and gaming hardware.
GameStop will give you cash or credit for video games, consoles, accessories, and other electronics.
5. Yard Sale
Hosting a yard sale or garage sale is a great way to sell a lot of things in a day or over the course of a weekend. Yard sales may not always bring the highest prices for your more valuable items, but you can definitely move a lot of stuff quickly by holding a yard sale.
Many neighborhoods schedule community yard sales where multiple families and households will be selling their stuff. This is a great time to hold your own yard sale, because the community may do some advertising and they tend to draw a lot of shoppers. The is especially helpful if you live on a road that doesn’t have a lot of traffic or visibility.
The Process for Selling Things You Don’t Need
Ok, now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons for selling your things and ways to sell them, let’s dive deeper into the process you can take to make it happen.
1. Check Your House/Closets/Basement/Garage/Shed/Storage Unit for Things You Don’t Need
Go through your house and find things that you don’t need or no longer use. Deciding to let go can be a challenge sometimes, but remember that you can get money for something that is just sitting on a shelf collecting dust.
If you’re having trouble deciding what to keep and what to sell, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- When was the last time you used the item? If it has been longer than a year, chances are, you don’t need it.
- Does it have any sentimental value to you? Some things may be important to you, even if you don’t use them.
- How much is it worth to someone else? Is it an item that might bring a decent amount of money?
- How big is it? Clearing out bigger things will free up a lot more space in your house or apartment.
I like to go through my closet and drawers once per year to find clothes that I don’t wear to sell or donate. I’m not as good about checking places like the garage or shed, but that’s where I find some of the best items to sell (old tools, lawn equipment, and other things that I no longer use).
Wherever you tend to dump things in your house, be sure that you are going through things and you should find plenty to sell.
2. Clean It Up
If the item is dirty, be sure to clean it up. If you’re selling clothes that have been sitting in the closet or a drawer for a long time, wash them before you sell them.
If you’re selling things online, you’ll probably need photos of the item (more on that in a minute). You want your photos to show a clean item, not something that looks dirty and beat up. You won’t need photos if you’re selling at a yard sale, but cleaning up your items for a yard sale is equally important.
Potential buyers will make a judgment based on the cleanliness and appearance of the item. If it looks dirty, they’ll assume that it’s not well cared for. But if it looks clean and appears to be in good condition, they’ll have more confidence buying it, and you’ll probably get more for the item.
Cleanliness is especially important for some items, and you need to think about who will be buying the item. For example, baby items should be very well cleaned. No parent wants to use baby items that aren’t clean, and even though they are very likely to clean it themselves before using it, they’ll tend to stay away from products that look dirty.
3. Identify the Most Valuable Items
Obviously, if you want to make the most money you’ll need to sell some items of value. Not sure what has value? This article on the easiest things to flip for profit is a good start.
Listing and selling items takes time, so you’ll want to prioritize the items that can bring in the most cash. After you’ve gone through your stuff, I recommend identifying the most valuable items and starting with them.
4. Take Photos
Before you list your items for sale online, you’ll need to take photos of the item. You certainly don’t need to be a professional photographer to get decent photos of your items, but here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you to get the best photos:
- Make sure the item is clean before taking photos
- Pay attention to the background. Don’t photograph your items with piles of junk in the background. Take it somewhere, like near a wall, where you can get a clean background with no distractions.
- Take the photo in good lighting. If possible, use natural light.
- Take multiple photos to show different sides and angles.
- Include any accessories or parts that come with it in the photo.
5. Find the Right Platform
Once you have identified the valuable items and gotten them ready to sell, think about the best ways to sell them for the most money. Yard sales are great for getting rid of a lot of stuff quickly, but you’ll probably make more money by selling your most valuable items in other ways.
For example, if you have some designer clothes that you don’t wear, you could sell them on one of the websites that specialize in clothes. You’re likely to get a lot more for these items there than you would at a yard sale.
Likewise, for electronics, you may want to look at one of the sites that specialize in electronics. For kid and baby items, try a site that has a large audience of moms.
→ Related reading: 17 of the Best Apps and Websites to Help You Sell Your Stuff
Don’t underestimate Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace. These sites allow you to reach a large audience, and if the right person sees your listing you may get a decent price. You can also use these sites to research and see what other people are asking for similar items.
6. Write a Good Description
Writing an effective description is a big part of selling your things online. Remember that many people will find your listing via search, so use all of the keywords (including brand names and models) in your listing description.
List things like the age, condition, what it’s used for, and everything that is included or not included. You want to present it in a positive light, but be sure that your description is accurate. Don’t hide significant flaws. Most buyers know that used items will have some wear, but you should be honest about any issues with the item, otherwise you could have problems after they receive the item.
7. Host a Yard Sale for Everything Else
After you’ve sold some of your most valuable items, now you can have a yard sale to sell the smaller items that may not be worth the time to list online. You can also sell any of the more valuable items that failed to sell with other methods.
Of course, if you prefer not to host a yard sale you can try to sell everything online or with other methods.
Personally, I like the yard sale as a way to sell a lot of things in a single day (or a few days). Last summer, my wife and I made more than $400 with a yard sale (she did most of the work). This year we’re planning another one and I’ve already been more involved with finding and sorting things to sell. For me, decluttering is the biggest motivator, but making some extra money is always great too.
Now that you’ve read about how to make money selling your stuff, put it into action by getting started. Take some time to go through your house or apartment and find things that you can get rid of. You may be surprised how much you find!
Be sure to check out Flea Market Flipper University if you’re interested in learning about how to make money selling used items.