If you’re planning to move, downsize or you just need to clear the clutter, some of the most common advice from organization experts is to make three piles: keep, donate or sell. But how do you decide between donating or selling? After all, donating is basically boxing up items and dropping them off, while selling takes more effort and time.
Here’s how Tom Winter, CRO at Eye One, handles it: “When deciding between selling and donating your household items there is a simple mantra I always follow — will the profit I make from selling outweigh the hassle of actually doing it?” Winter said that often the answer will be no.
However, there are some items that you should almost always sell instead of donate. Read on to find out if you have any of these sellable items lying around, so you can make some space, get some cash and give someone else the opportunity to put your unwanted item to good use.
Last updated: Sept. 29, 2021
Anything you use for outdoor recreation can be pricey if bought new. If you have some of these items, they are great to sell instead of donate, especially during warmer months when people are looking to enjoy time outside.
“I am an outdoor enthusiast and my kids grow up spending a lot of quality time outside,” said Thomas Sorheim, the founder of Leisure Hiking. “As the kids grow older, we tend to store away lots of great outdoor equipment in the back of the garage. This summer we decided to clear it out and found a kids bike seat, a bike trailer and the old trusted child carrier backpack. We decided to put our old outdoor equipment for sale and, in less than two weeks, we had an extra $340 in our pockets. All for stuff we even forgot we had lying around.”
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If you own or have inherited an old typewriter that you know you’ll never use, think twice before donating.
“Old typewriters can sell at a reasonable price when you meet the right vintage collector,” said Joshua Blackburn of Evolving Home. “Vintage collectors love to display their authentic old typewriters in their homes. If you have an old typewriter at home that you want to throw in the garbage or donate to charity, I recommend selling it first. The chances are high you’ll get a good amount of cash from it, especially if it’s in pristine condition.”
Video Games and Consoles
Don’t assume that you won’t be able to make a tidy profit off of old video games and consoles. First, check out eBay to see if anyone is selling your items and at what prices, and go from there.
“Having gone to hundreds of yard sales, the first things that go every time are video games and consoles,” said John-Paul Cody of Trends & Tactics. “There is a massive market for both new and old video games by collectors who view them as an investment or buy them to relive childhood memories. One time I found a copy of Paper Mario on GameCube for a couple bucks, and sold it for $50 a few days later on eBay.”
You can make money selling gently used, good-quality children’s clothing, especially items that are holiday-related.
“Selling children’s clothing is an easy way to make some cash,” said Steffa Mantilla, a certified education instructor and founder of the personal finance website Money Tamer. “People look for nice holiday outfits their kids will wear once before outgrowing. They also look for bundles of clothing. So if you have everyday clothing in good condition, bundling it together for $40 or so is a great way to sell it on a platform like Facebook Marketplace.”
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Due to the pandemic, many people started working out at home and some will continue to do so. Additionally, there’s always someone who wants to get fit but doesn’t want to buy full-price exercise equipment. If you have pieces of exercise equipment you no longer use, sell instead of donating.
“Anytime we are in a financial bind or looking for ways to make more money the first thing we look for are things we can sell that are laying around the house,” said Kelan Kline, co-owner of The Savvy Couple. “Our rule of thumb is if it’s worth more than $50 it’s worth selling over simply donating or trashing. Recently we sold an old Nordic Track machine for over $450 on eBay that was just collecting dust in our basement.”
“Used furniture is a great sell, too,” said Olivia Tan, co-founder of CocoFax. “There is always someone needing furniture but can’t afford to buy it brand new. Both older furniture and newer furniture will sell well if priced right. Older items are very popular with people looking for a DIY project (old oak pieces are perfect for this!) and bargain shoppers will buy the newer furniture.”
“I would also recommend selling any musical instruments that you may have because they can often fetch a pretty penny online, even when sold secondhand since most new instruments tend to be overly expensive,” said Eden Cheng, co-founder of PeopleFinderFree. “In my case, I had an electric guitar that I no longer had any use for, which I managed to sell online for a rather sizable amount of money.”
“Pokemon cards, baseball cards, Yu-Gi-Oh! cards — tons of people will toss these out or sell them for cheap when there’s actually a huge market out there for them,” said Chloe Choe of Off Hour Hustle. “Many of these cards are worth in the hundreds if not thousands. A Charizard recently sold for $480,000! If you have these and they’re in good condition, make sure you go to a local professional sports authenticator and get them graded to see how much they’re worth. You might be pleasantly surprised!”
Some books can be resold for a profit, rather than just donating them. Here are some good ideas.
“Old hardcover books are sought after to be used as decoration,” Mantilla said. “The covers and spines usually have gold or silver printing on them and look great in a home library. You’re more likely to sell them if you have more than one book. Having an old set of encyclopedias could fetch you $100 or more.”
“If you have books that are bestsellers and relatively newly published, sell them on FB groups for booklovers,” said Rebecca Danko of Rebi Simple Living.
“We’ve found used baby items to have a very active market on Facebook Marketplace,” said R.J. Weiss, CFP and founder of The Ways to Wealth. “This includes cribs, nursing chairs, bassinets, strollers, and even in-demand toys. Furthermore, the donation centers often don’t take anything baby-related due to the liability. So selling or giving away free to a friend is the only way to avoid throwing these items away in the trash.”
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