Why trash all of those things you don’t need when you could make some money off of them? In this guide, we’ll walk you through how you can appraise your items, where to sell them to make the most cash, and how to avoid getting screwed in the process.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to declutter is because we look at an item that we don’t need and remember how much time or energy or cash it cost from us to obtain. Selling that stuff may not bring back the time or energy, but it can bring back some of the money—money you can put towards the things you really want, (or save for your future).
Of course, you could definitely donate your unwanted items to worthy charities that will accept them, and even get valuable tax deductions in the process while helping a good cause. But if you’re looking to make a little more money back, that’s what we’re going to focus on here.
This is the nature of appraisal and bartering. We’re not going to suggest you barter all of the junk you want to get rid of, but we are going to talk about how you can look at the junk you think has no value at all and figure out how much it might be worth to someone who wants it. Here’s how:
Look up the item’s retail value, brand new. The first thing to do is find out how much it would cost you to replace an item you want to get rid of. While you’re searching, pay attention to how easy it is to obtain the item again. If you can’t find the same item, look for reasonable, similar replacements and note how much they cost.
Look up the item’s sale value, used. Now look around at sale sites like Amazon, Craigslist, Fendies and eBay to see how much people are selling the same item for. Make a note of how much they’re asking for, and what prices auctions close around. Also keep an eye on how many people are selling the item and what condition they’re selling the item in.
Then, determine your selling price. If you see the item widely available new but not available used, you may be able to sell your item easily as long as you price it well. In contrast, if you see the item is difficult to find new but widely available used, you may have a hard time selling unless you’re willing to undercut everyone or the condition of your item is better than most. The same is true if an item is easy to find both new and used. However, if your item is difficult to find both new and used but sale prices are high, you may have something unusually rare and can price accordingly. Assess the condition of the thing you want to sell, compared to the sale listings you’ve seen, and set your price. Don’t shoot for new retail unless you know your item is rare—your best bet is to use other used or sale prices are a barometer.
You can follow these steps for just about anything you want to sell, assuming you want to get the most possible money back for it. Remember, there are other factors to consider: if you’re selling to someone online, you have to account for shipping and insurance. If you’re selling locally, people may expect values because they’re picking something up or taking it right off your hands.
Similarly, if you plan to sell at a garage, yard, or community sale, the culture may play a role in how much you can get—not just the value of the item. We’ve discussed some of these specifics before, and we’ll offer item-specific tips later, but keep it in mind when you’re appraising the things you want to clear out of your home.
Finally, remember: if you can find someone to whom the item you want to get rid of is extremely valuable, moreso than it is to you, make sure to get how much they think it’s worth. That’s what made Kyle’s experiment a success.
Electronics, Books, Video Games, and Computer Equipment
Here’s a crash course in your best options for consumer electronics:
Art, Collectibles, and Other Personal Items
Art and collectibles are tricky things to sell because you really want to make sure you get your item in front of someone who explicitly wants it. It’s not impossible, but in this case it’s absolutely critical that you do your homework before selling to properly judge its value. If you don’t think you can do it alone, or if you’re looking at something you know is antique but have no idea how much it’s really worth, stop now and get it properly appraised by a professional. Photo by _e.t.
That professional can then give you some advice on where to sell your item to get the best result, or even work with you (for a cut of the sales price, of course) to get it in front of the people who are most likely to buy it, whether it’s at auction or a private sale. If you have a lot of antiques, collectibles, or other items in your home you need to get rid of, consider holding an estate sale to get rid of it all quickly.
If you have collectibles that don’t warrant that kind of attention, you can always head over to Fendies or eBay to list it with other collectibles there.
Go Forth and Sell, But Don’t Get Screwed
If you’ve been following along, you should have options to sell all of your excess junk for the most possible money. Remember, the best way to sell furniture isn’t necessarily the best way to sell electronics, and that’s not the best way to sell books or clothing. Regardless of what you sell and where you sell, check out our tips to avoid getting scammed to make sure your transaction goes as smoothly as possible.