Many people downsize in retirement as a way to cut back on expenses and make their lives simpler. For some, this means relocating to a smaller home or a retirement community. For others, this can just mean getting rid of stuff they no longer use anymore. If your retirement planning includes downsizing, there are numerous things you can sell to clear out clutter and add some extra funds to your retirement nest egg.
Last updated: Oct. 9, 2019
One of the key things you need to figure out when planning for retirement is where you want to live. This might entail selling your current home, which for most people is their most valuable asset. You can use the funds to buy a smaller place or put the money toward rent and deposit any leftover money into savings. Downsizing your home can not only save you money, but it also can save time and effort because you have a smaller property to maintain.
When you’re out of the working world, you no longer need to wear business attire in your everyday life. Hold onto one suit for weddings and other special occasions and sell the rest. You can sell your clothes online on sites like Poshmark and thredUP, or sell them at your local consignment shop.
If you downsize your home, you might no longer have room for exercise equipment. But even if you plan to stay at your current house, you might consider selling your treadmill or stationary bike because of other exercise options available to you. For example, you might have the SilverSneakers senior fitness program included in your Medicare Advantage Plan, which lets you visit select gyms and take fitness classes for free. In this case, there’s no need to hold onto equipment that you can turn into cash instead.
Even if you’re done paying off your car, it can still be a major expense between gas, insurance, maintenance and repairs. If you and your partner each own a car, consider selling one of them. Even if you only have one car, it might be cheaper to sell it and get around using rideshare services or public transportation.
If you plan to move to a smaller home, it’s a good idea to sell off bulkier furniture pieces that you’ll no longer have room for. You can sell furniture through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or to a consignment shop or used furniture store.
Holiday decorations and other decor items might be taking up space you won’t have if you downsize to a smaller home. Consider holding a yard sale to get rid of any miscellaneous decor items that you no longer want or need.
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If you upgraded your computer but still held onto your old one, chances are it’s collecting dust when it could be collecting cash. You can sell your computer to Best Buy with its Trade-In service and get a Best Buy gift card for its value, or you can sell it on an online marketplace like Flipsy.
Your Kids' Toys
If you’ve held onto your children’s toys for sentimental reasons over the years, now is the time to let go. Some of these toys might even be considered collectibles. If that’s the case, you can cash in big by selling them on eBay.
Books take up a lot of space and often sit there on shelves never to be read again. Unless a book has sentimental value, or you honestly think you’ll read it again, there’s no reason to hold onto it. You can sell books through Amazon’s Trade-In program or to local bookstores that buy used books.
Collectibles and Antiques
Like books, collectibles and antiques can take up a lot of space that you might no longer have if you downsize your home. It’s fine to hold onto a few things with sentimental value, but assess whether these items would be worth more to you if you turned them into cash for your retirement savings.
Realistically, you probably don’t need more than one carry-on bag and one large piece of luggage per household member. If you’ve amassed extra luggage over the years, now’s a good time to sell it.
Handbags You Don't Use
As with luggage, you might have collected a large handbag collection over time — and you probably only use one or two of them. Handbags can have a high resale value, especially if they are designer brands. Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton tend to retain or even increase in value over time, according to Who What Wear. You might even turn a nice profit by selling a bag with one of these labels.
It’s important to stay active in retirement, but you might not be making regular use out of all the sporting equipment you own. If those skis have spent more time in your garage than on the slopes, it might be time to sell them. If you end up needing sporting equipment down the line, you can always rent.
If you have old cellphones lying around and plan to downsize or move, there’s no point in bringing these with you to your new place. Now is the time to sell. You could get hundreds of dollars for your used phone depending on the phone’s age and condition. You can sell your phone online via Best Buy Trade-In, Flipsy, Amazon Trade-In, Gazelle and other sites.
Other Unused Electronics
Many of the sites listed above will also pay you for other electronics that you’re no longer using, such as tablets and Apple TVs. If you own old electronics that are just lying around doing nothing, cash in by selling them.
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CDs and DVDs
Streaming services have essentially replaced CDs and DVDs in many households. If that’s the case in your home, these items might just be taking up needed space in your home. You can sell CDs, DVDs, video games and Blue-rays via Decluttr. Simply scan the barcodes of the discs you no longer want and ship them to Decluttr free of charge. Decluttr will pay you via PayPal, check or direct deposit.
Kitchen Appliances You Never Use
When was the last time you used your juicer or pressure cooker? If you have small kitchen appliances in your home that you haven’t used in a year or more, you should sell them as you downsize.
Special-occasion glassware sets you don’t use anymore can take up a lot of space, so consider selling them as you approach retirement. The Replacements Ltd. website buys crystal glassware that’s in good condition, making it a convenient option if you’re looking to sell.
Fine china is another item that might just be sitting in your home unused. You can also sell china to Replacements Ltd.
Jewelry You No Longer Wear
Unless it has sentimental value, there’s no point in holding onto jewelry that you never wear. You can sell your jewelry online at sites like Worthy or to a local jeweler or pawnbroker. To ensure the best price, get your jewelry item appraised and then clean it so it looks in top condition.
Watches You No Longer Wear
There’s really no need to have more than one watch, so this is another item you should consider selling as you downsize in retirement. As with jewelry, the Worthy site buys watches.
Musical instruments take up a lot of space, so if you don’t play them regularly, you’re better off selling them. You can sell your instruments to a pawn shop or via an online marketplace such as Reverb.
If you decide to rent a place or move to a retirement community, you will no longer be responsible for making your own repairs. If that’s the case, there’s no need to hold onto many of your power tools.
If you plan to move to an apartment or other space where you either no longer have a lawn or are no longer responsible for mowing it, it’s time to sell your lawnmower and other lawn equipment. You can sell your mower, leaf blower, edger and other lawn gear on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Unless you’re the outdoorsy type, you’re probably not making much use of tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment in your home. These items can take up a lot of room, so you should consider selling them before downsizing.
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About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.