Friday, June 26, 2015

6 ways weve turned our clutter into cash (without having a yard sale).

one of the things that has surprised me most with this whole de-cluttering situation is how weve been able to turn quite a bit of our old junk into actual money, especially considering that we live in an apartment on a major boulevard and having a yard sale is completely impossible for us. its not just that we were able to bring in some money that surprised me (though that was a really nice side effect of this big purge), but also just now many yard sale alternatives there are out there. which is great, because, frankly, yard sales are basically the worst thing ever. i mean, theres all the prep work and the obscenely early mornings and the haggling and the still having to take 95% of that crap down to goodwill anyway... but i digress. 

my point here is that there are tons of ways you can make money from your old junk without having a yard sale. honestly, this may have been one of the most important things ive learned through this whole process. now, i do need to put a little disclaimer here and point out that we havent exactly been raking in the dough this way, and this is by no way implying that you (or anyone) is sitting on a fortune and can solve all your financial woes by selling junk (unfortunately ive seen this attitude a few too many times on personal finance blogs), and really letting go of the junk should be a reward in and of itself. the extra money is just icing on the cake.

so how exactly can one go about doing this? well... here are a few suggestions to get started (though, i feel like i should point out that this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, and some suggestions may not be available to you locally). 

1. craigslist. this one is the most obvious, but also my least favorite. if you live in a major city (like we do) you probably have access to a pretty large and active craigslist community ready and willing to snap up whatever it is you post for sale. provided that you manage to get it in the right category at the right time on the right day of the week so that it actually gets seen. craigslist seems to be the best way to get rid of big-ticket items like furniture and appliances (this is how we were able to FINALLY get rid of the old dressers), however, theres also the downside of dealing with crazy lowball offers and flaky people. 

2. local resale groups. this is something i JUST learned about, and i REALLY wish i had known about it sooner. these local groups usually exist on facebook, and are typically a closed group for a very specific area. because the pool of people is smaller, its a little easier for people to see what youre posting for sale, and (at least in my local group) there has been a LOT less haggling and flaky buyers than on craigslist. also, i have been very surprised at the things people are willing to come pick up that wouldnt have even gotten a second look on craigslist. 

3. book off. book off is a local (southern california) chain of used bookstores, that buys your old books (and video games, dvds, etc.) for cash on the spot. obviously theyre turning the books around to sell at a profit so they payout isnt great, BUT theyll take almost any book in decent condition with a valid ISBN number. if you have a lot of books (like we did, 4 or 5 large bags at one point) to get rid of, this is a great way to make a few bucks, AND hopefully get your old books into the hands of someone who will actually use them. 

4. thredup. thredup is basically a HUGE online consignment store, meaning, theyll buy your old clothes (as long as theyre in great condition and meet their strict brand guidelines), and pay you a portion of the selling price. but unlike typical brick and mortar consignment stores, they take womens, kids, AND baby clothes and you dont have to take anything anywhere. you just order a clean out bag, and send off your goods (its completely free!). whatever they decide to sell, they pay you for, and whatever you dont, they donate. also, if you order anything through my referral link, we both get $10 to spend. just saying. 

5. if you dont live in an area with a book off store, have a lot of texbooks or bestseller-type books to get rid of, or dont mind taking a bit of extra time to get rid of your old books, selling them on is super easy and can bring in a surprising amount of money. you can search your books by isbn, price your books a little lower than what theyre currently selling for, and after you ship them off, will pay you (the sale price, plus a shipping fee, minus a little commission) via direct deposit. 

6. instagram. recently, when we were having a hard time getting rid of the huge mirror from our bedroom set (no one on craigslist OR the local resale group was interested), i decided to put a post up on instagram to see if any local friends or followers could use it. i figured, what could it hurt, especially since i only have about 250 facebook friends (and nobody sees anything i post because of how choosy facebook is with what they show people), and about 700 IG followers (some of which HAVE to be local, right?). so i took a couple minutes to put up a post, and it turns out my cousin (who doesnt have a facebook) wanted the mirror and picked it up a couple days later. so, long story short, even if you DONT have the time/energy for a full blown instagram shop or closet sale, instagram can totally be a valuable way to sell things quickly. 

do you have a favorite way to sell things you no longer need? let me know in the comments! 

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  1. I love these tips! I may need to look into thredup. Thanks for sharing!

  2. glad i could help! thredup is great because you just mail off the bag and dont have to go anywhere!

  3. yeah, thats totally one of the things i totally look forward to when we can finally move to a "real" house. when we moved back from arizona we lived in a bad area for yard sales (on the edge of a forest), so we got a space at the local swap meet and yeah, it definitely did better than any yard sale ive ever had.

  4. Ooh, I need to check out Book Off and buy some used books!

    We're getting ready to move and I should really look into those local resale groups for selling things. I'm not in panic mode yet, but I don't want to get down to the last week and have any major pieces of furniture left sitting here!

  5. book off is really fun, a little crazy, but you really never know what youll find!

    so far ive had a GREAT experience with the local resale groups, and after several last-minute moves, i definitely recommend NOT having big things that need dealt with at the very end...

  6. I'm sure you can! some of them are private or invite only (at least the one in my neighborhood is) so you may need to ask around, but they are SUCH an awesome resource.