Turn Crap You Don’t Need Into Cash

It’s five days until payday, and you’re rifling through jacket pockets and old purses, scrounging for change. But have you recently looked in the basement? Or the attic, the back of the wardrobes, the garage and the kids’ rooms?

Is clutter taking over your house? You may be able to turn some of that clutter into cold, hard cash. Selling your old stuff can be easy and cheap, whether it’s through garage sales, online auctions, classified ads or cash converter stores.

The key, regardless of where and how you decide to sell, is smart marketing,

If you say something is junk, it’s junk. But tell the story of this thing for sale — it was Aunt Ida’s before she passed away, it was a wedding gift to your parents, it was a treasure from your childhood – you capture someone’s attention and “suddenly, it’s worth more,”

How much for an old coat, embroidered with bats and a second-hand dog bed? $5,000 to you. Well, to the Ozzy Osbourne fans who forked out $3,200 and $2,200 a pop for the unwanted items the rocker put up for sale for a charity in Beverley Hills.

While you might not have a coat embroidered with bats tucked away in back of your wardrobe (after all, let’s hope you have better taste), there’s no doubt plenty more junk that is. And it could earn you a tidy sum.

Results from a UK banks quarterly Housebuyers Survey show that we all have more stuff than we know what to do with. Almost half of housebuyers are in search of more space when house hunting. Some 52% said the house they are after had to have at least one spare bedroom and they are willing to pay more to get it.

And what do we do when the clutter exceeds the available storage in our home, we rent storage lockers that cost us money each month just to house our valuable crap.

But why is this? Because we’ve got umpteen kids to accommodate? We need space for a granny flat? Or is it because our rapidly multiplying collection of pets is turning our home into a mini zoo?

A big ‘no’ to all of these questions! The answer is that we all simply have too much junk.

We need that extra bedroom, not for kids, pets or granny, but to store our clutter. And the same goes for a garage. It seems we’re not really bothered about having somewhere to keep the car safe and dry, we’re just well aware that our homes are over-flowing with junk and we’d rather pile it high in every space available than throw it away.

But there comes a time in your life to say “enough is enough.” Before we know it the summer holidays will be over Christmas will creeping up on us again bringing with it another mountain of toys, unwanted gadgets, appliances and niknaks to descend on our already cluttered homes, it’s time to take action. It’s time to start sifting, salvaging or selling all those items gathering dust or taking up valuable space at the back of the cupboard.

So as the saying goes, where there’s muck there’s brass and you might be surprised to discover that your spring clean could make you a few quid.

Under the bed can get pretty scary. If you are like me , I am sure you may have squeezed something under the bed, in a hurry thinking no one will be able to see it, only to forget that you did just that!

If you’re like most people, you have sheets, towels, board games, coats, scarves, umbrellas, scrap-book supplies, exercise videos, outdated spices, shoes, empty boxes, and hundreds of other items that you never use cluttering up your closets. Now is a great time to get rid of some of these outdated items.

Spiders aren’t the only things lurking in your cellar or attic! Holiday decorations, boxes you never unpacked from your last house move, and electronics that you convinced yourself you will one day clear some space in the house to assemble!

Is there a pair of Rollerblades somewhere in your garage? Was 1998 the last time you wore them? Unused sports equipment, camping gear, and things that didn’t sell the last time you tried to sell them yourself don’t belong in your garage. Wouldn’t it be nice next winter to actually be able to park your car inside your garage?

Bread makers, popcorn poppers, china, silver, and griddles have a way of making their way into your kitchen, never to be seen again. Either use what you own or get rid of it and make some money!

If it’s day-to-day clutter you’re keen to shift, then a car boot sale’s your best bet. It’s quick, cheap and fun. And as long you’re not after top dollar for your unwanted stuff you will find it sells easily to an army of potential bargain hunters.

If you have a family heirloom in your hands the best place to market it to the right audience and secure yourself a good price is to head to an auction house. It’s up to you whether you opt for a specialist sale, or a general one.

Auction fees can mount up, largely in the form of catalogue entries, so it needs to be a reasonable sum that you expect to fetch. And once the hammer’s gone down on a sale it’s time to hand it over, so there’s no chance to get cold feet or have second thoughts.

If you don’t fancy selling it in such a public way you could approach a dealer directly. But you are less likely to get the most competitive price. The dealer is running a business so will have an eye on selling it on at a profit. This means you’re going to be offered less than a buyer would probably stump up. But auctions are a popular option for a swift sale.

If you want, you could play the role of dealer yourself. Head to a collectors’ fair or antiques show and try your hand at selling. Do be warned though that the potential buyers will not be of the boot sale variety. They tend to be fans or collectors, so you’ll need to know your stuff and be able to answer questions about its heritage. But while finding a buyer can be hit and miss at these events, you can often get close to the true market value when you do sell.

And, of course, there’s the likes of eBay and other online auction sites. These are relatively straightforward, cheap and easy to sell on. And you get a global audience. Although don’t get too excited about your potential audience and do be practical. Sending CDs through the mail to a buyer thousands of miles away is doable. Selling a sofa bed to someone overseas isn’t going to be.

But the beauty of online sites is that sales peak in the run up to Christmas. While auction houses close down and flea market sales are unpalatable to all but the most intrepid bargain-hunter who’s prepared to brave the wet, wind and cold, the few weeks before Christmas are a prime time to flog unwanted items online. And who knows, maybe even that foot spa might be top of someone’s Christmas list!

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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