In our many cross-country moves (13 homes in 5 states in 15 years) my wife and I have typically sold our things to avoid the cost of a moving truck. That’s one reason to get rid of stuff.
Maybe you’re planning a traveling lifestyle and need to go light, or you need to free up some space in the house. Perhaps you plan to rid yourself of worldly possessions so you can join a monastery. Or you just need to raise some cash.
Whatever the reason, if you’re planning to get rid of some or all of your things, you might as well get top dollar for them.
The problem is, selling a camping tent isn’t the same as selling your old cell phone. And where do you go to sell old comics, or silver coins, or tools?
Check out the A-to-Z list below (every letter is covered!). Whether you’re selling just one item or many, you’ll find some great tips on where to get the most for everything in your home, starting with…
In states with “bottle bills,” you can return aluminum beer and soda cans for the deposit, usually 5 cents each (we got 10 cents each when we lived in Michigan). In other states you can sell them as scrap metal, but the current value of aluminum makes them worth only one or two cents apiece.
Craigslist is the place to sell appliances. If that old stove or fridge is broken, you can put it in the free section. Someone will take it away for the scrap metal, saving you a disposal fee. Or bring it to a scrap metal buyer yourself to get a few bucks. RECraigslist.com says the scrap value is $8 to $28 for most kitchen appliances.
I’ve sold gold-prospecting equipment on Craigslist, and I’m sure you can sell backpacking gear that way. But to get top dollar you’ll do better going where the best buyers are. For example, Backpacking.net has a forum for selling gear.
Small batteries don’t typically have any residual value, but if you have a car or boat batteries around, you might be able to sell them. Google “battery buyers” to find a recycler near you. There are online buyers as well, like Rockaway Recycling.
The easiest way to sell a bicycle is to put it out front with a sign on it. I got $35 that way for an old bike that I bought for $30. With a little more work (a photo and description), you can get a higher price on Craigslist. If it’s a truly valuable bicycle, see if a local bike shop will either buy it from you or sell it on consignment.
Bookscouter has a great search tool to find the best place to sell your books online. Just enter the ISBN number and see your options. Textbooks get the most money, but you can sell other books as well. For faster cash (and no shipping hassles) try a local used book store.
Most pay only in the form of store credit, but I once got $15 cash from a local store for a small stack of books.
If they’re vintage (old and interesting), you can sell calendars to antique dealers and other local vintage item retailers, like Old Seattle Paperworks, for example. You can also sell collectible calendars on eBay.
Swappa.com has no fees to list and sell your cell phone (buyers pay the fees). Gazelle buys phones directly from you. Local iPhone repair stores sometimes pay cash for phones — even broken ones, since they can fix them for resale.
Google “clothing consignment store” and the name of your locality to find a place that will sell your clothes for you. For instant cash try Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange. Either will pay cash for popular name-brand clothes. A rummage sale is the best place to sell the rest.
A local coin shop will buy your coin collection for cash, but first use an online coin price guide to see what each coin is worth. CoinTrackers.com says you can expect to get at least 60 percent of retail value. Selling on eBay is more work, but should get you the best price.
Diabetes Test Strips
If you have leftover diabetes test strips, don’t throw them away. You can get cash for the test strips and lancets from RescueTestStrips.com.
Pawn shops are the place to sell your DVDs fast for cash, but don’t expect them to buy anything other than popular movies. Put the rest in your next rummage sale.
The Amazon Trade-In program is a great place to sell used electronics, although you’ll be paid in Amazon credit, not cash (which isn’t a problem if you shop online regularly). Best Buy also has a trade-in-for-credit program. Pawn shops, Craigslist, and rummage sales are some of your other options.
What do you do with all that old fishing tackle in the garage? Try SellFishingTackle.us. But they generally buy collections, not individual pieces. A pawn shop or your next rummage sale is your best bets for the rest.
Craigslist is one of my favorite places to sell furniture. I also like furniture consignment stores, because you can get that stuff out of the house right now, even if it will take a while to sell. Of course, you’ll give up 50% or so as a consignment fee, but often we’ve done better that way anyhow, because the furniture store gets a higher price.
If you have store, restaurant, and other retailer gift cards you won’t be able to use, they can be sold for 50% to 90% of the remaining value. See our post on where to sell gift cards for more on how to cash in. We suggest Raise or Cardpool.
If you don’t have a local pawn shop or gun shop where you can sell your handguns, there are places to sell online. For example, CashMyGuns.com will give you a quote, send you the packaging materials, and then send you a check once they get your guns. They say it’s “safe, legal, and hassle-free.”
The fastest way to get cash for jewelry is to sell it to a local jewelry shop. If it’s made of silver or gold, try a coin shop or precious metals buyer. Use an online metals value calculator to determine what you should be paid, which is usually at least 75% of spot value for silver and closer to 90% for gold.
Try selling possibly-useful junk at a rummage sale. If the items are metal, sell to a scrap dealer. You can check the current scrap values of various metals online. I recently made $15 selling broken lawn furniture and other metal items to a metals buyer.
If you have hunting knives or antique knives and they are valuable, there are places that sell them for you on consignment, so you can ship them off and wait for a check. CuttingEdge.com takes knives worth more than $100, and Arizona Custom Knives wants only knives worth at least $200. You keep 75% of the sales price.
Craigslist, furniture consignment stores, and a rummage sale are the best options (in that order) for selling used lawn furniture. It it’s junk, but made of metal, sell it to a scrap metal dealer.
Craigslist is again a good way to go, although my wife and I have also sold used luggage to a second-hand store, and rummage sales are always an option.
There are online tutorials on how to sell magazines. It’s typically only old ones that have value, and they can sometimes be sold locally to places like Old Seattle Paperworks. Sometimes it’s just the vintage ads that have value, so you can make more by cutting them out and selling them on eBay.
If (a big if) you have popular titles, you might get as much as a dollar each for your CDs, at a pawn shop. My wife and I once got 50 cents each for just 4 of 20 CDs we wanted to sell. The rest went in our rummage sale.
Newspapers generally have value only if they’re old. You can sell them by birth-date on eBay (people buy them as gifts for friends’ birthday celebrations). Or you can clip out old ads to sell; check out the vintage ads for sale on eBay to see what you might get.
Anything that’s old could have some cash value at an antique store. You can sometimes determine this with a quick check on eBay, but look for items with actual bids or sales to get an idea of the real value (sellers can ask anything, after all, but it doesn’t mean they get it).
Recycling centers in many cities buy plastic bottles (and soda bottles are returnable for the deposit in states with “bottle bills”). At the moment you’ll get only about a half-cent each, so you’ll need a lot of them to make it worth your time.
You might be able to sell old postcards at an antique store, and we’ve seen them for sale at used book stores too. Online, you can sell them at CardCow.com.
NewerAntiques.com has radios on their list of items they buy (it generally has to be old). Of course, a pawn shop is a possibility, and when all else fails, put it in your rummage sale.
Play It Again Sports buys everything from used baseball bats to snowboards. If you have one of their stores near you, that’s probably the fastest way to get cash for sports equipment. But you may get a better price selling on Craigslist.
Toilet Paper Rolls
Yes, you can sell you used toilet paper rolls — the cardboard part leftover. Toilet paper rolls on eBay sell for about $20 for 100 rolls if you include shipping. People use them for craft projects.
Local buyers, like American Tool Buyers in Philadelphia, for example, will come to you and make an offer if you have enough tools. Just Google “sell used tools” with the name of your locality. Pawn shops are your second-best bet, and then there is Craigslist and that rummage sale.
Believe it or not, you can sell the trees around your home, if you have enough. A friend had a few acres around his house “select cut” and made several thousand dollars. If you can’t find a local lumber company that will come to you, check out SellYourTrees.com.
The letter “u” was a tough one for this list, but there was that case of the guy who sold his urine for $20 per ounce on Craigslist. Buyers need the urine to pass drug tests, so to do this you have to be drug-free and willing to participate in their deception.
A local pawn shop is the fastest way to cash in, but you may get more selling your video games online, using a website like Glyde.com. You can also sell directly online to places like VIP Gamestore or Princeton Record Exchange.
PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com lets you list your dress for sale for $25, and charges only $5 to list bridesmaid dresses. Your other option is a local clothing consignment store.
Sell them on eBay for up to 25 cents each. The price depends on the type, shipping costs, and the size of the batch. Buyers use them for craft projects.
If you have x-rays from medical or dental procedures you’ve had done, don’t throw them out. They have valuable silver in them! BW Recycling buys x-ray films in all 50 states, as does Cash For Silver USA. You may need more than one x-ray for them to be interested.
Yard Tools and Equipment
Larger items, like riding lawn mowers, are best sold via Craigslist. Smaller tools (clippers, rakes, edgers) can be sold at a local pawn shop, or in your next rummage sale.
Zebras (Stuffed Animals)
Yes, I needed at least one thing starting with “z” that might be found around the home, and can be sold for cash. Where do you sell used stuffed animals? Well, my wife and I used to sell them at flea markets (they were one of our best sellers), but vintage stuffed animals are probably best sold on eBay.
Selling Everything Else
If you don’t see it on the list above, or even if you do, you might want to try one of the following ways to sell your stuff.
Have a Rummage Sale – This is usually the last stop before just throwing things out or donating them to a thrift store. Tip: To generate more traffic, advertise a few large or valuable items on Craigslist and note that they can be seen at the rummage sale.
Sell to Pawn Shops and Second-Hand Stores – When my wife and I moved from Colorado to Florida, we sold large batches of stuff to the owner of a second-hand store. He even came to the house to get it all. Pawn shops are more selective, but they’ll buy many odds and ends.
Try Craigslist – This is one of my favorite places to sell anything worth at least $20 (it’s not worth fielding the phone calls for lower-priced items).
Sell at a Flea Market – Many flea markets have inexpensive daily rates, and you’ll have more potential buyers looking at your stuff than you’ll ever get at a rummage sale.
Sell to an Estate Buyer – These companies commonly buy a whole house full of stuff at a time. Google “estate buyers” and your city to find one. To get them to come and give you a quote you may have to first move and then offer them everything left in the home.
If you have a few of your own tips on how to sell everything you own, please share them with us below … and keep on frugaling!