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10 Ways to Make Money Off Unused Items Around Your Home

10 Ways to Make Money Off Unused Items Around Your Home
Victoria Heckstall Nov 16, 2016
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

You might not be aware of it, but there may be hundreds of items in your home that can potentially make you money. A study shows that the average household in the US has unused items worth up to $3100. Most people never consider that they could use them to make money.

The easiest way to make money off unused items is to sell them, yet there are plenty of other options to consider. We’ve put together a list of 10 quick and easy ways to make money off of unused items around your home.

1. Lease Items for a Regular Income

While it’s not a very common thing to do, leasing out some of your bigger items in your home could yield you a small side income without having to actually get rid of it.

One of the best examples of leasable items is power tools. Unless you’re a professional, you’ll rarely have any use for them. This is the same for most people who don’t want to purchase them. Having to buy an entire set can cost upwards of up to hundreds of dollars. Renting out your power tools on a one-time basis can give you a small income and make keeping those tools profitable. Here are examples of some of the sites that help you with renting your site:

2. Use Them as the Basis for Your Business

Do you ever look at something and wonder how you got it in the first place? If you happen to be in this situation, you could use some of your unused items as the basis for a new business. The easiest option on the table is to start selling them, but think outside the box and you might notice a few superior options on the table.

For example, if you have a bunch of landscaping or gardening tools in your garage and are looking for a new job, you might consider opening your own landscaping business Don’t just think about what you can get for one of your items – think about how they can be used. They can quickly turn into assets that triple in value.

3. Host a Garage Sale

A garage sale is a very typical way to make money off of unused items in your home. Grab a few tables, line up your items in a logical fashion, and start selling. These sales traditionally take place on Saturday or Sunday, but you might want to operate on both days to maximize your earning potential.

It requires a lot of work to setup a garage sale, but you don’t have to pay any commissions or worry about any licenses. These sales work better in tight knit communities that are well aware of events similar to this.

Conventional household items work best, but putting a few collectibles in there will get people interested. We strongly recommend that you avoid putting any rare or big-ticket items in your sale. People will show up for a bargain, and they’re not going to give you the best price on a unique item.

4. Take Unique Items to a Specialist Sale

Unique items include anything from a classic car to an antique portrait. It’s not as easy to make money from these unused items since you’re usually better off holding onto them so that they increase in value. However, once they’ve reached that point, consider taking them to a specialist sale.

There’s a specialist sale for every kind of unique item, including watches, paintings, wines, and more. Taking your item to a specialist sale will help you to get the best price and ensure that you’re getting a fair deal.

Additionally, while waiting for these items to become worth more money, (such as a classic sports car), you could always lease them out. This can yield hundreds of dollars a year while your items continue to increase in value.

5. Take Items to Consignment Stores

Another way to make the most of your unused items is to send them to consignment stores. These are stores that will put your items on their shelves, similar to how pawn shops work. The only difference is that you only get paid when they sell.

If you change your mind, you can always get your items back at any point on the condition that they haven’t sold yet. Your cut of pay depends entirely on the consignment store and how valuable your item is.

Expensive brand names will be able to command more of a cut. It might be worth shopping around at a few different stores before you settle on one.

6. Strip Items Down and Sell the Parts

The first thing that comes to mind is an old car. Its value as a car is practically nothing, but the engine, tires, and other smaller parts are worth something. It might be best to take the items to a garage to sell it for its parts.

This same principle can be applied to almost any other item. Selling parts is often more difficult than just selling the item itself. However, if you do some digging, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the value you’re looking for. There are plenty of specialist marketplaces online for this. You could even try including some common parts at a garage sale.

7. Use them as Collateral

There are times when you may need money fast, and there’s no way to get it. Those with poor credit will struggle to get an unsecured loan because lenders simply aren’t willing to take on the risk. The situation has become even more desperate today since lenders have become more conservative due to the financial crisis.

Try using these items as collateral to get the loan you need. Many people put up old cars, power tools, and jewelry to tide them over for a while. You’re unlikely to be able to walk into a bank and put your engagement ring on the counter, but you can definitely do this at a pawn shop.

Short-term loans are relatively easy to obtain through your unused items. Being able to get that loan could definitely help you out in the short-term if you really need the cash.

8. Turn Your Unused Items into Cash Online

A lot of people use the Internet to get money for their unused items. The problem is that most people don’t know how to effectively do this. Putting your items online and expecting them to automatically sell is never going to work, so it’s important to have some sort of strategy.

Find the Right Marketplace

eBay and Craigslist are the two most common marketplaces for people who want to sell their items. These marketplaces are effective for selling most common items, but keep in mind that you’re unlikely to find a specialist audience here. You need to dig deeper for specialist marketplaces.

If you’re item is in good enough condition, you can even use Amazon’s Trade-In Service. They tell you how much they’re willing to pay for your used item and give you an Amazon gift card in exchange.

You can also try to sell on Etsy if you’re selling custom made items. Niche marketplaces will give you access to your preferred audience.

Show Your Item in the Right Light

The key to selling any item online lies within the pictures. Some marketplaces will limit the number of pictures you can take. In general, the more pictures you can upload the better.

We recommend taking at least five or six. You should aim to take your images in HD and your item should be set against a blank background. For example, you might put it up against a white wall. The item should be well-lit and you shouldn’t conceal any visible marks or blemishes.

Be Safe Online When Selling

Sadly, there’s always a risk with selling online. You’ll never be 100% safe, but you can avoid getting scammed by going out of your way to stay safe. A marketplace that uses an escrow system is ideal because it allows you to confirm that the money has been paid before you send the item.

State a clear postal policy and clear refund guidelines in your listing. If you’re not willing to offer refunds after 30 days, it usually needs to be clearly stated.

9. Repair and Resell Your Old Items

Another option is to take those items that are completely unusable and to repair them. Get a valuation on the cost of repairing an item and figure out what you could sell it for. This requires more time and effort, but it can be worth it if the repaired item increases dramatically in value. This is a more viable option to those who have DIY skills or are willing to fix things.

Those who don’t know how to handle a set of tools may find it better to simply sell the item as it is. Recycling items is not only a great way to extract value, but also a great way to reduce waste.

10. Sell Them to Locals Via Apps

The digital age has made selling items quickly quite easy. One app that allows you to do this is OfferUp. Take advantage of these apps, and use them to bring in some quick cash. To sell to locals, all you need to do is download the app, take some photos of your stuff, post a description, and add a price.

If someone likes the offer, they’ll send you a message. Once you are ready to make the transition, go meet the buyer in a public place and trade off your unwanted item for cash.


If you have a lot of unused items in your home, consider following one of these steps to make the most of their value. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!

Victoria Heckstall

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