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How to Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

If your house looks anything like mine, you’ve got a lot of unused stuff lurking in your closets, basement, and attic. Old furniture, tools you haven’t used in years, still-working electronic gadgets that have been supplanted by newer ones, equipment for sports you no longer play — it’s all perfectly usable, but right now, all it’s doing is taking up space.

It’s probably crossed your mind that by selling all this extra stuff, you could declutter your home and put some extra cash in your wallet at the same time. But something has held you back. Maybe you weren’t sure where to sell it, or how, or you were afraid seller fees would eat up all your profit.

Fortunately, all it takes to solve this problem is a little information. Once you know about the various places that pay cash for used goods, what kinds of items they take, how to use them, and what it costs, you can get busy turning your clutter into cash.

Selling Online

These days, one of the most common ways to get rid of extra stuff is to resell it online. The two most popular sites for online sellers are Amazon and eBay, but these are by no means your only options. Depending on what you have to sell and what you want to spend, a smaller, more specialized site could be a better choice.

Here are several sites to consider if you want to sell online.

1. Amazon

You can sell secondhand items on Amazon, but only in specific categories. For instance, Amazon will take used books, electronics, home and garden goods, musical instruments, sports equipment, tools, and video games, but used clothing, handbags, toys, and games are off-limits. (There’s an exception for toys and games that are old and rare enough to be considered collectibles.) In most cases, listing items for sale on Amazon is very easy, but it can get complicated for rare items that no one else is selling on the site.

Amazon charges either $0.99 for each item you list or a flat $39.99 per month for unlimited listings. It also takes a cut of the sale price for any item that sells. For most items, this referral fee ranges from 8% to 15% of the sale price.

2. Ebay

You can sell pretty much anything on eBay, either new or secondhand. There are only a few specific types of goods the site doesn’t accept, such as drugs, weapons, and hazardous materials.

Setting up an eBay seller account is easy, but listing items for sale requires a bit of work. For each item, you must take and upload 1 to 12 photos, provide a description, and choose your sale options. You can choose to sell each item in an auction, where your goods go to the highest bidder, or a “Buy It Now” sale with a fixed price.

Your first 200 listings on eBay each month are free, and additional listings cost just $0.35 per item, per category. However, the site takes a cut of the sale price, known as a final value fee, which is 10% for most items.

3. Bonanza

Like eBay, Bonanza is a site where users can list and sell goods to each other. Top categories on the site include clothing, accessories, art and collectibles, home and garden, and health and beauty.

For most items, Bonanza charges a fee of 3.5% of the “Final Offer Value” (FOV), which is the sale price plus any portion of the shipping fee that’s over $10. So, for instance, if you sell an item for $20 and charge $12 for shipping, the FOV is $22, and your fee is $0.77. If an item sells for more than $500, the site charges an additional 1.5% on the portion of the price that’s over $500. You can opt to pay a higher percentage in exchange for having Bonanza advertise your products on Google Shopping.

4. eBid

The U.K.-based site eBid offers another low-cost alternative to eBay. It currently has close to 2.5 million listings covering most of the same categories you’d find on eBay or Amazon.

There is no listing fee on eBid, and the final value fee is only 5%. You can also upgrade to a SELLER+ account and pay a subscription fee — weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, or lifetime — to either reduce the final value fee or avoid it entirely. To see the full fee schedule, check the eBid FAQ.

5. Etsy

If you’re an artist or crafter of any kind, Etsy is the most popular site to sell your wares. In addition to handmade clothing, jewelry, toys, décor, and art, the site has listings for craft supplies, vintage goods, and collectibles.

To sell your crafts on Etsy, you must pay a $0.20 listing fee for each item plus a 5% transaction fee on the final sale price (with shipping). If you use Etsy’s payment processing system, it charges another $0.25 plus 3% of the final cost. However, this is only a little more than you’d expect to pay with most credit card processing systems.

6. Poshmark

If you have high-end, vintage, or designer clothes and accessories to sell, Poshmark is a good place to do it. Unlike most online sales sites, it’s a cross between a store and a social network. You can follow specific sellers whose style you like and join “Posh Parties” where specific people get invited to check out the wares.

To set up a Poshmark account and create your first listing, you must first download the free Poshmark app for iOS or Android. Within the app, hit the “Sell” button and upload one to eight photos of your item or take new ones with your phone. Then add a description, set a price, and click “Next.” The app will invite you to share your new listing with your friends first, if you like, before you click “List.”

When an item sells, the site automatically provides you with a prepaid, pre-addressed shipping label to stick on your package. The site keeps track of your earnings, and you can withdraw them at any time through the app.

It costs nothing to list an item on Poshmark. When it sells, the site automatically deducts a fee of $2.95 for items under $15 and 20% of the sale price for items over $15. This fee covers all of your shipping and credit card processing costs.

7. ThredUP

A good place to dispose of secondhand women’s and children’s clothing is thredUP. This site, which bills itself as the largest consignment and thrift store online, specializes in mid- to high-end brands like Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic. The site is particular about quality and only accepts items in new or like-new condition with no signs of wear. Items must be both in season and “on-trend,” so you can’t use this site to dispose of your old flannel shirts from the 1990s.

Selling items on thredUP is easier than selling on most other sites but not as profitable. It starts with ordering a “Clean Out Kit” — a large, polka-dot bag you fill with all your unwanted clothes. You ship the bag back, free of charge, and thredUP inspects, photographs, and lists your items for you. Any items the site deems unacceptable for sale are sold off to other sites, donated, or recycled, unless you pay a “return assurance” fee to have them returned to you.

When your items sell, thredUP pays you anywhere from 5% to 80% of the sale price, depending on the item’s value. Your payout goes into your account on the site, and you can either use it as store credit or cash it in via PayPal or Stripe.

Alternatively, you can choose to donate your items to charity. Just select “Donate” when ordering your Clean Out Kit. The site will send you a tax receipt for your donation and also contribute $5 to your choice of four partner charities.

8. Swap.com

Swap.com accepts a wider variety of items than thredUP. You can sell men’s, women’s, or kids’ clothing through the site, as well as toys, games, books, movies, sporting gear, and decor. Items don’t have to be trendy or like-new, but they must be in clean, working condition and have an original retail value of at least $5.

Like thredUP, Swap.com accepts items by the bag and takes care of the listing process for you. However, unlike thredUP, it charges an inbound fee to cover its shipping and listing costs. This fee is $11.90 for a shipping label alone, or $14.90 for a label with a box or bag.

When your items sell, you receive a commission that depends on the sale price. For items up to $8, it’s either 15% of the price in cash or 35% in site credit. For higher-priced items, it’s 70% in cash or 90% in credit, minus a $4.95 fee.

9. Ruby Lane

If you’re just trying to clear basic junk out of your closets, Ruby Lane probably isn’t for you. This site deals in high-end antiques, art, collectibles, and vintage fashion, and it charges high fees to match. However, if your Great-Aunt Myrtle recently died and left you a houseful of antiques in pristine condition, selling on Ruby Lane could be a better way to get top dollar for them than going to an antique dealer or holding an estate sale.

According to the site’s FAQ, Ruby Lane charges two kinds of fees. First, there’s a monthly maintenance fee that depends on the number of items you have listed. The minimum is $54 for up to 50 items, with a small additional fee for each item over that number. In addition, the site charges a service fee of 6.7% of the order total for each item you sell, up to a maximum of $250.

10. Swappa

Phones, laptops, cameras, and other old electronics can all find a new home through Swappa. This site is a user-to-user marketplace specifically for your used gadgets. Swappa accepts only devices that are in working condition and have a unique serial number, which proves that they’re not stolen and have been paid for in full.

To sell items on Swappa, you need an account with the site, which is free to create. Listing an item involves uploading some photos, writing a brief description, and setting a price. When your item sells, you get paid instantly via PayPal. You are then responsible for shipping the item to the buyer.

Swappa doesn’t charge any listing fees or other fees for sellers. Instead, it charges buyers a small fee on top of the sale price for each item they purchase. However, sellers must pay a fee of $0.30 plus 2.9% of the sale price to PayPal for processing the payment. They also have the option of paying $5 for a featured listing that shows up higher in search results.

11. Decluttr

Another place to sell your old electronics is Decluttr. This site has a somewhat broader focus than Swappa. In addition to old cellphones and other tech, it also deals in used CDs, DVDs, games, and books. In a 2020 survey, Decluttr found that the average American currently has $199 worth of unused tech they could sell in this way.

Unlike Swappa, Decluttr isn’t a site that simply connects users to each other. It’s a middleman that buys your used stuff, refurbishes it, and sells it to others. There’s no need to take pictures or write descriptions as you would on Swappa or eBay because the site handles all sales directly.

To sell a gadget to Decluttr, just find the brand and model of your device, select its condition, and get an instant valuation. Or, if you’re selling CDs or DVDs, use the Decluttr app to scan the barcode on the disc and receive your instant price. If the price is acceptable, pack the item into any box and send it to Decluttr using the prepaid shipping label it provides for you. Decluttr will remove all your personal data from your device before selling it to someone else.

As soon as Decluttr receives your items, its experts check them over to make sure they’re as described. If they are, it sends you payment the next day by direct deposit or PayPal. If you prefer, you can choose to donate your payment to charity instead.


Local Sales

Back in the days before the Internet, if you wanted to find a buyer for your old couch, you’d place an ad in the classified section of your local paper. You can still do this today, but instead of calling the paper to place your ad, you can usually submit it through the newspaper’s website. It will appear in both the print and Web-based versions of the paper, reaching both old-fashioned news readers and those who like to get their news online.

However, placing an ad this way isn’t cheap. For example, my local paper, The Star-Ledger, charges $60 to run a four-line ad for three days in the paper and two weeks online. Each extra line of text adds $3 per day to the cost, and a photo adds an extra $6.

Fortunately, there are cheaper ways to reach local buyers. Here are a few sites to try.

1. Craigslist

Started in 1995 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Craigslist has expanded to become a vast network of classified ad sites, spanning hundreds of cities and regions in more than 75 countries. Each city has its own separate Craigslist site with its own categories for posts.

In general, you can list anything on Craigslist, as long as it isn’t in one of the site’s prohibited categories, such as weapons and ammunition, drugs, alcohol, or lottery tickets. In most cases, it costs nothing to place an ad on Craigslist. You don’t even need to create an account to place an ad, though having one will make it easier to edit, delete, and re-post ads. Free ads run for 7 to 45 days, depending on the category and the city where you live.

2. Facebook Marketplace

If you have a Facebook account, you can buy and sell stuff through Facebook Marketplace. Just click on the Marketplace icon, which looks like a little storefront, in the app or on the Facebook website. Like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace does not allow ads in a few specified categories, such as tobacco, live animals, food supplements, and adult products or services. Posting an ad costs nothing and is easy to do.

One advantage of Facebook Marketplace is that every user’s account is tied to their Facebook page, so you know you’re dealing with a real person. Also, you can communicate with buyers through Facebook Messenger, so you don’t have to reveal your email address or phone number. Rick Broida of CNET claims that Facebook Marketplace is easier to use than Craigslist and gives you a better chance of selling your item quickly. However, your experience may vary depending on your local group.

3. OfferUp

Billed as the nation’s largest “mobile marketplace,” OfferUp boasts over 90 million app downloads and millions of buyers searching each day. It works like a cross between Craigslist and eBay, allowing both local and online sales with nationwide shipping. You can list items in just about any category, with a few exceptions such as alcohol, homemade food, and gift cards.

Posting a new item through the OfferUp app is simple. Start by taking between 3 and 12 pictures with your phone. Add a title, your location, and a few optional details, and say whether you want to list the item locally or nationally. Posting is free either way, but there can be shipping fees with national listings. The only items with listing fees are vehicldes, and only if you list more than three of them in one month.

OfferUp includes in-app messaging to help you communicate with potential buyers, negotiate over prices, and set up a time and place to meet. Good communication with buyers can help you earn positive reviews, which will encourage buyers to shop with you in the future.

OfferUp has recently merged with letgo, another local sales marketplace. Sellers who already have accounts on letgo can easily transfer them over to OfferUp. However, any items listed for sale on letgo must be reposted.

Pros & Cons of Local Selling

One big advantage of selling items on Craigslist and other sites that help you reach local customers is that you don’t have to deal with shipping. Not only does this save you trouble, it means your buyers don’t have to pay for shipping costs, which can sometimes dwarf the price of an item itself. It’s much easier to find a buyer when you’re offering an old TV set for $60 than when you’re offering it for $60 plus $150 shipping.

However, selling this way has its drawbacks too. There’s always a risk that a buyer will agree to pay for something and then never show up to claim it. On OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace, you can minimize the risk of this by reviewing a buyer’s profile ahead of time. This lets you make sure you’re dealing with a real person and see feedback from other sellers if there is any.

Another problem is that you have to meet in person with a complete stranger. For safety, experts recommend meeting the buyer in a public place — such as a shopping center, coffee shop, bank lobby, grocery store, or police station — rather than in your home. You can also bring a friend with you for protection.

Lastly, when you list an item on Craigslist, you have to provide either an email or a phone number for buyers to reach you. This can expose your contact information to spammers. One way around this is to use Craigslist’s email relay system, which forwards messages between buyer and seller without revealing either one’s real address. If you sell on Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp, you can do your communicating through the app.


Secondhand Shops

If you’re into secondhand shopping, you already know that there are lots of different places to buy items used. And, of course, any one of these places to buy secondhand goods — furniture, clothing, books, and so on — can also be a place to sell them.

You probably won’t get as much for your stuff if you sell it to a store as you would selling to a buyer directly. A store costs more to run than a website, so store owners have to take a bigger chunk of the final sale price if they want to meet their expenses. On the other hand, selling to a store is less work. You don’t have to write listings, take photos, or ship items to buyers; all you have to do is hand over your goods to the store owner and take your money.

What type of store you should choose to turn your clutter into cash depends on what you have to sell. Here’s what you should know about a few different types of stores and how to sell to them.

1. Antique Stores

Antique stores generally deal in items that are at least 100 years old. A typical antique store will have a selection of furniture, decor, housewares, jewelry, and maybe some clothing.

Selling to an antique store can be as simple as taking your items to the store and asking the owner to make you an offer. However, experts caution that if you do this, there’s a good chance the dealer will try to stiff you. In 2001, undercover reporters from ABC News took valuable items to several antique stores in New York state to find out how much dealers would offer for them. While some dealers gave the sellers an accurate estimate of their items’ value, others offered them only 6% to 8% of the price for which they eventually sold the items.

To avoid this problem, experts interviewed by ABC recommend taking these precautions:

  • Appraise Your Items. If you can afford it, hire a professional appraiser to tell you how much your items are really worth. According to Consumer Reports, appraisers charge between $200 and $400 an hour, but that’s less than you could lose by selling a valuable antique for a fraction of its worth. There are also online appraisal sites such as ValueMyStuff that can give you an expert appraisal for $30 or less.
  • Check Values. If you can’t hire a pro, do some research yourself. Consult price guides in libraries and online, such as WorthPoint, and see what similar items go for in stores and on sites like eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane.
  • Understand Pricing. Once you know how much your item is worth, don’t expect the dealer to pay more than about half that price. After all, the store needs to make a good profit to stay in business. You might be able to get more if you find a dealer who’s willing to sell your item on consignment. In this arrangement, you don’t get paid until the item sells, but when it does, you can get between 60% and 80% of the sale price.
  • Get Several Offers. Instead of selling your items to the first shop you visit, try to get bids from at least three stores. Look for dealers who specialize in the type of item you’re selling, such as antique jewelry or rare coins.
  • Know What to Say. When you talk to the dealers, ask them how much your item is worth, not how much they would pay for it. Also, avoid saying anything like “I need to sell this” or “I want to get rid of this.” That makes it sound like you’re desperate to sell — or at least not that concerned about getting a good deal — so you probably won’t be offered one.

2. Consignment Shops

Consignment shops are a specific kind of thrift shop where secondhand clothes are sold on consignment. You bring in your items, and if they sell, the store gives you a share of the sale price. According to a 2014 piece in HuffPost, most stores keep between 25% and 60% of the proceeds and pass the rest on to you.

However, experts say you shouldn’t expect to make a lot of money selling on consignment. You only get paid if your items sell, and even then, you may have to wait a while for your money. According to Reader’s Digest, many consignment stores pay their suppliers with a check every three months for everything that’s sold during that time.

If you have older clothes in good condition to sell, you could get more for them by choosing a consignment shop that has “vintage” in its name. Vintage clothing stores specialize in clothing and accessories that are clearly from another era, but not old enough to qualify as antiques. They’re the kind of stores where you’d find anything from a 1920s evening bag to a pair of bell-bottom jeans from the 1970s. Any item dating from later than the 1990s is probably too new to qualify as vintage.

3. Plato’s Closet

If you’d rather not wait until your clothes sell to receive money for them, check out Plato’s Closet. This chain deals in gently used brand-name clothing and accessories for teens and young adults. It focuses particularly on designer clothes and on-trend looks. Plato’s Closet takes sizes 00 to 30 (XS to 6X) for women and 28 to 42 (XS to 3X) for men.

To sell clothes to Plato’s Closet, simply bring them to the nearest store along with a valid ID. The employees will sort through your items, discarding anything that’s stained, worn, or outdated. Then they’ll make you a cash offer for everything. If you accept, you get paid on the spot.

According to users on Reddit, you won’t get a lot of money for most items at Plato’s Closet. Typically, the store prices its items at 20% to 40% of their retail price, and sellers get only 30% to 40% of the expected sales price. That means a pair of jeans that cost you $120 to buy new will likely fetch only around $13.

Plato’s Closet is only one of a larger family of retail shops that sell different types of items. You can sell upscale women’s clothing at Style Encore, children’s items at Once Upon a Child, sports gear at Play it Again Sports, and musical instruments and equipment at Music Go Round.

4. Used Bookstores

If you have a bunch of books gathering dust on your shelves, you can probably get the most money for them by selling them directly through a site like Amazon or eBay. However, if that’s too much work for you, you can turn them into cash faster by selling them to a used bookstore.

One of the biggest chains that deals in used books is Half Price Books. This store also accepts a variety of other items, including CDs, DVDs, board games, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, computer games, and game consoles.

Half Price Books can’t accept every item it’s offered, and it can’t make any promises about price without seeing the merchandise first. However, you can get some idea what for your books are worth by checking listings on the store’s website. The more items similar to yours tend to sell for, the better the chances you can get a good price for yours.

One type of book that’s always worth more is a rare first edition, the first printing of a particular book. If you have books of this kind, take them to a store that specializes in rare books, which will recognize their value. Book Riot offers some pointers on how to tell whether your book is a first edition and how much it’s worth.


Trade-In Programs

Secondhand stores aren’t the only ones willing to pay you for your used goods. Some stores that carry mainly new merchandise also have trade-in programs that offer either cash or store credit for an old item when you buy a new one.

Retailers that accept your used goods for trade include:

  • Best Buy. The trade-in program at Best Buy accepts a wide variety of electronic gadgets. You can trade in old cellphones, tablets, video games and game systems, computers, cameras, TVs, and wearable technology in exchange for a Best Buy gift card to use on a new purchase. How much you can get for your items depends on their age and condition. There’s a tool on the website where you can enter the details about your item to find out what it’s worth.
  • GameStop. At any GameStop store, you can turn in old video games, game systems, phones, and tablets in exchange for in-store credit. Like Best Buy, the store has a feature on its website that estimates the trade-in value of specific items.
  • Patagonia. Patagonia has built a reputation as a sustainable clothing retailer that cares about the environment. Its Worn Wear program plays into that by taking used Patagonia clothing in good condition and reselling it online. You can turn in your men’s, women’s, or kids’ clothing at any Patagonia store and receive a credit of up to $100 to spend in the store or on the website. The program also accepts used Patagonia luggage. Alternatively, you can mail your gently used clothes to Patagonia. The store takes $7 off the trade-in value to cover shipping and handling costs.
  • Target. The Target Trade-In Program accepts a variety of electronic devices, including phones, tablets, game consoles, wearable technology, and smart speakers. In exchange, you can get either a Target gift card or cash via PayPal. To trade in a device, simply enter its name on the website, get a quote, ship it to the store for free, and wait to receive your gift card.
  • TGW. Golfers who want to upgrade their clubs can get credit for their old ones from TGW. To use the program, visit the website and enter a description of the club you’re trading in. TGW will accept any club that meets its minimum standards for condition. The site will tell you the trade-in value for your clubs and give you a free shipping label to send them in. Once the store receives them, it will email you a gift certificate you can redeem on your next TGW purchase.
  • Walmart. Walmart’s Gadget to Gift Cards program accepts old phones, tablets, laptops, game consoles, and smart speakers. After you enter information about your device on the site, it will give you a free FedEx Ground shipping label. Once the store receives your items, it will evaluate them and send you a Walmart eGift Card to use in the store or online.

Yard Sales

If you have a whole bunch of miscellaneous items to dispose of, sorting them out and selling them one at a time is likely to be a big hassle. A better way to shed all your extra stuff is to hold a yard sale or garage sale. You won’t get top dollar for high-quality items this way, but it’s your best chance of finding a buyer for anything that’s in less-than-perfect condition. You can sell nearly anything at a yard sale if your price is low enough.

Here are a few tips for holding a successful yard sale:

  • Pick the Right Date. To attract as many customers as possible to your yard sale, pick a date when lots of people will be out and about. The ideal date is a Saturday or Sunday in spring, summer, or fall, but not one that’s part of a holiday weekend when lots of people will be away. If your town holds an annual town-wide garage sale, schedule your sale to be a part of it so you can take advantage of all the out-of-town visitors the event will attract. Also, if your town normally requires a permit to hold a yard sale, it’s likely to be waived for that day.
  • Advertise. There are several ways to make sure people know about your sale. One classic method is to make several large signs and post them in well-traveled spots around the neighborhood, listing your address and the date. You can also place a free ad on Craigslist or sites specifically dedicated to yard sales, such as Yard Sale Search. Placing a classified ad in the paper is only worth it if you’re having a really big sale; otherwise, it’s unlikely to pay for itself in increased earnings.
  • Sort Your Items. Customers are more likely to stop and browse your wares if you make it easy for them to find things. Group similar items — furniture, books, knickknacks, and so on — instead of jumbling everything together. Also, make sure it’s easy to sort through items. Lay books out on a table with their spines facing up, and hang clothes on a rack if at all possible. If your customers have to dig through a big, unsorted box of items, they’re likely to lose patience and walk away.
  • Price Items Right. Clearly label all your items with prices. If customers have to approach you just to find out what something costs, some of them won’t think it’s worth the trouble. When setting prices, remember that people go to yard sales looking for bargains. If you ask for more than 20% to 25% of the price of a new item, you probably won’t get it. A guide at Angie’s List offers specific suggested prices for various types of items.

Renting Out Unused Stuff

Unused stuff isn’t always the same as unwanted stuff. For instance, maybe you have a bike you haven’t ridden in months because of an injury, but you’re still hoping to hop back on once you’re recovered. Or maybe you have a garage full of power tools you haven’t needed in a while, but you just know that the minute you get rid of them, you’re sure to need a repair that requires one.

However, there’s no need to leave these items sitting around gathering dust. By renting them out, you can put them to good use and pick up extra cash at the same time.

You can use the “for sale” section on Craigslist to list items for rent, but it’s not ideal. People visiting that site are more likely looking to buy, not rent, so you might not get many offers. However, there are several peer-to-peer rental sites online to connect people who need something with people who have it. Some are all-purpose, while others specialize in particular types of equipment.

1. Zilok

Both businesses and individuals can list items for rent on Zilok. The site hosts listings for all kinds of things, including cars, bicycles, tools, electronics, furniture, appliances, camping gear, baby gear, and party supplies. You can even rent out entire buildings, such as a vacation cabin.

To rent out items on Zilok, first sign up for a free account. Then make a post by typing in your location, your item, and the date it’s available. Upload a picture, set your price, and list the payment methods you’ll accept.

If someone in your area requests the item, you’ll receive a notification by text or email with the potential renter’s contact info. You can then set up a meeting to transfer your item and arrange for its return. Once you have it back and have been paid, you can evaluate the renter so other Zilok users know what the person is like to work with — and they can do the same for you.

Zilok charges no listing fees for individual members. However, if someone rents your item, you must pay the site a commission that varies based on the value of your item. This fee starts at $1 for items worth up to $10 and goes up to $26.60 plus 5% of the total value for items worth $2,000 or more.

2. Fat Llama

You can “rent (almost) anything” through Fat Llama — or rent out almost anything you have to spare. The site is UK-based, and most of its listings are in British cities like London, Birmingham, and Cambridge. However, there are some listings in U.S. cities such as New York.

To use Fat Llama as either a lender or a borrower, you must first create an account, complete with a photo and phone number. You can then list items by providing a name for the item, a category, a description, a photo, and a price. The app notifies you of rental requests, and you can use it to set up the exchange and receive payment. Fat Llama also provides insurance of up to £25,000 (about $34,000) per item.

In exchange for these perks, the site charges a fee equal to 25% of your rental payment for any item you lend out. It automatically deducts this fee before sending you your payment. Borrowers must also pay a 25% fee for any item they rent through the site. This makes using the site costly for both borrowers and lenders. You can probably make a better profit — and get more offers from borrowers willing to pay the price — by listing your items on Zilok.

3. Spinlister

The bike sharing service Spinlister connects bicycle owners and with potential renters all over the world. It protects owners by verifying the identities of all renters and by making them sign a rental agreement. This makes the renter legally responsible for any damage to the bike and prevents them from suing the owner if they’re injured while using it. If your bike is stolen, you can fill out a claim on the site within 24 hours and get reimbursed.

Listing your bike for rent on Spinlister is free. You must provide a photo and certain details about the bicycle, such as size. The site provides an availability calendar so you can show which dates your bike is available. You can also choose whether to offer renters the option of having you deliver the bike to them directly in exchange for an extra fee.

When someone requests your bike, the site sends you a notification. If you approve the request, you name the spot for the renter to pick up the bike, and the renter sends your payment through the app. Spinlister deducts a fee equal to 17.5% of the price before transferring the payment. It also charges the buyer a fee of 12.5%.

4. The Quiver

Spinlister offers some rentals for snow and surf gear as well as bikes. However, for a site that really specializes in surfboards, The Quiver is the place to go. You can sign up, list your board, and be all set to receive rental requests within minutes.

The Quiver does not charge seller fees. Instead, buyers must pay a 10% transaction fee when they book a board through the site, in addition to the PayPal fee. PayPal is the only accepted form of payment on the site. You can choose to require partial payment up front before handing over your board or wait until you get it back before collecting.

5. BabyQuip

Babies grow up quickly, and that means all the pricey baby gear you buy for them — cribs, car seats, high chairs, strollers, and more — is only useful for a short time. With BabyQuip, you can put all that outgrown stuff to good use and earn extra money, too. This service is like Airbnb for baby gear. It that connects vacationing families with the equipment their babies need, so they don’t have to lug everything with them.

However, becoming a BabyQuip supplier is a bit more complicated than just listing a room on Airbnb. To become a BabyQuip “Quality Provider,” or QP, you must fill out an application and go through a detailed training process. You also must pay a $200 fee to cover your training and all administrative costs.

If you’re accepted, you become responsible for finding customers, tracking orders, cleaning and sanitizing all gear to BabyQuip’s standards, and delivering it to renters. It’s more like running a small business than just casually loaning out items. The plus side is, you get to keep 80% of all rental and delivery fees, plus tips. According to the site, QPs earn an average of $600 per month from this side gig.

6. ShareGrid

Photography fans all over the U.S. use ShareGrid to buy, sell, and rent cameras and photo gear. In addition to providing extra cash, it gives you a chance to connect with people in your area who share your hobby.

Listing your items on ShareGrid is free. You can control rental dates, so you never have to rent out your camera when you need it yourself. If you approve a rental request, the renter comes to your home to pick up the camera.

The ShareGrid app protects owners by verifying renters’ identities and requiring them to carry insurance. It also provides payment processing and customer support. In exchange for all this, it charges a service fee equal to 15% of your rental cost.


Donating to Charity

There’s one other way to get cash for your unwanted items: donate them to charity and take a tax deduction. Organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army can take your old clothes, appliances, furniture, and household goods and give you a receipt listing their resale value. You can then list this amount as a charitable donation when you file your taxes.

How Much Donations Are Worth

Donating won’t get you as much money as selling your items outright. When you donate to charity, you can deduct the amount you’ve given from your taxable income, not from the actual amount you pay in taxes. The amount you actually save is only equal to the tax you would have paid on that income.

For instance, if you donate $30 worth of items, and you’re in the 25% tax bracket, you’ll only reduce your taxes by $7.50. Furthermore, you can only get this much if you take the trouble to itemize your deductions. If you take the standard deduction, you won’t get anything at all for your donation.

Other Benefits of Donating

However, donating to charity has other perks. You’ll get the satisfaction of helping others, not once but twice. Your old items will go to someone who really needs them and probably couldn’t afford to buy them new, and the money they spend will go to help a good cause.

Studies in happiness economics show that using money to help others makes you happier than spending the same amount on yourself. If you sell your old stuff for $30, you could buy yourself a new shirt, but that purchase probably won’t bring you as much lasting satisfaction as your donation will. So if your happiness is the bottom line, donating your items can give you better value than selling them.

There’s one other advantage of donating your items: It’s easy. All you have to do is take everything to the store, hand it over, and get a receipt. That’s a lot less work than listing each item online individually or holding a yard sale. If the store isn’t too busy, you can be in and out with your receipt in hand in 10 minutes.


Final Word

There’s no one “best” way to sell your unwanted items. It all depends on what your priorities are. If your goal is to get as much money as possible for your stuff, selling it locally is probably your best bet. It could take you a while to find a buyer since you’re limiting yourself to your local area, but you won’t have to pay anything for your listing.

If you want to turn your items into extra money as quickly as possible, your best bet is to sell them to a secondhand store or use a trade-in program. You won’t get as much for your stuff, but you’ll be able to walk into the store with something you don’t want and walk out with cash or credit in hand.

If you want to sell your items quickly but also get a good price for them, listing them online is a good deal. You’ll be able to reach a wider variety of possible buyers, increasing the odds that you’ll find a buyer quickly. You’ll have to pay a fee to the website, but you’ll still get to keep a good chunk of change for yourself.

Renting makes the most sense if you have items you think you might need again some day. By renting them out instead of selling them, you can have your stuff you ever need it but also pick up a little spare cash in the meantime.

If you have a lot of items in so-so condition, that’s the time to hold a yard sale. Yard sale shoppers aren’t picky, so you’ll probably be able to get rid of most of your stuff, even if you don’t get much for it. And if all you want is a completely hassle-free experience, donating to charity will get that old stuff out of your life quickly and give you the satisfaction of helping a good cause to boot.

Amy Livingston
Amy Livingston is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, "And from that you make a living?" She has written about personal finance and shopping strategies for a variety of publications, including ConsumerSearch.com, ShopSmart.com, and the Dollar Stretcher newsletter. She also maintains a personal blog, Ecofrugal Living, on ways to save money and live green at the same time.

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