Winter will turn to spring before long, and with spring will come the nearly irresistible urge to purge your house of all the extra stuff lurking in the closets, the garage or under your kids’ beds.
A yard sale can be a quick and easy way to unload all that clutter, but you’re unlikely to get top dollar for your stuff from local bargain hunters. If your goal is to make as much money as possible, you must know where to sell.
Following are some of the best places to sell various types of wares.
If you have brand-name or designer duds in good condition, your best bet is probably to take those items to a local consignment shop, whether an independent store or one that is part of a chain like Style Encore or Plato’s Closet.
Depending on the shop’s policy, you might be paid either upfront or when an item sells.
How much you get also depends on the store. In addition, you might make more if you accept a store credit instead of cash for your items.
If nothing else, turn in your old clothes at a local retailer with a recycling program and receive a discount in return. We detail these programs in “9 Retailers That Will Reward You for Recycling.”
Stores selling used books are a dying breed. But if you have one nearby, see what your book collection would garner there.
If not, see how much Powell’s might give you. This independent bookstore chain in Oregon will cover the cost of shipping if you sell your books to it.
Otherwise, there are websites like Decluttr that can help sell your old titles.
To find out how much you could get selling your books online, head to BookScouter’s website, which lists offers from more than 30 book buy-back programs.
There’s no shortage of ways to sell old electronics. To name a few, you can go through:
- The Amazon Trade-In program
- One of many brick-and-mortar retailers’ buy-back programs
How much you get and how you are paid will differ from site to site and program to program. So, get quotes from a few places.
If you have outdated or nonworking electronics, read “9 Retailers That Will Reward You for Recycling.”
Regardless of how you sell an old electronic device, don’t forget to wipe the hard drive of any personal information first.
Movies, music and video games
The Amazon Trade-In program accepts video games. And Decluttr is also an online option for clearing out old CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.
Collectibles and antiques
If you have a truly valuable antique or a collection of highly prized items, you’ll likely get the most money through an auction house. Look for one that specializes in your type of item to ensure it is able to attract the right buyers.
If you have antiques or collectibles that aren’t quite auction-house caliber, look for an antique store that might be interested in either purchasing them or selling them on consignment.
You can also test the waters with eBay, but unless it’s an item with a devoted following, your auction might get lost in the millions of other listings. Try listing with a “Buy It Now” price if you’re hoping to get a specific price.
China and dishware
Even good-quality china and dishware can be difficult to sell for any significant amount of money nowadays.
Of course, these sites are going to turn around and sell the items to others for a significantly higher price. If you want to cut out the middle man, you can try selling on eBay. But, as with antiques and collectibles, your listing can get lost in the competition.
Research the going rate for your particular brand and style of china. Then, consider selling individual pieces rather than the whole set to maximize your profits.
Some resale chains such as Play It Again Sports specialize in used fitness equipment.
You can also turn to Craigslist for sales of sports equipment. If you do sell on Craigslist, be sure to follow some simple safety precautions.
To avoid getting caught up in a scam, stick to local transactions paid for with cash or money order for an exact amount.
If possible, meet the buyer in a public place rather than having someone come to your home. If you are selling something large like a treadmill, try to move the item to a garage or entryway to limit a stranger’s access to your house. Also, have a friend — or big dog — home with you at the time of the pickup.
Some old musical instruments are a dime a dozen, and you’re lucky if you can give them away. However, others might have some value.
Before selling an old instrument, your first stop should be a music supply store. It might cost you a couple of dollars, but ask whether the store can give your instrument a once-over to clean it up, check for any defects and estimate a value. Then, ask if they sell instruments on consignment.
If not, contact local school music departments and let them know you have an instrument for sale. Band teachers might be happy to pass along the word to families in the market to buy.
Or, if you live near a specialty resale store like Music Go Round, find out what it would pay you.
If neither of these options works, try Craigslist.
Unless a piece of furniture is a valuable antique that might be of interest to an auction house, you are likely to come away with the most money by listing it on Craigslist or in local classifieds. Or, if you have a way to transport the item there, look for a furniture consignment store in your area.
You can use the Splitwise furniture calculator to determine how much your piece has depreciated. However, be aware that the depreciated price isn’t necessarily the same as the fair market price. Depending on your area, you can end up selling practically brand-new furniture for 50% off.
Finally, we come to everything else: the kitchen gadgets, the toys, the knickknacks, the picture frames and all the rest.
Except in rare cases, most of this stuff is, sadly, not going to fetch much. These are the items that are primed for your yard sale.
Alternatively, load everything up and take it to your local thrift store. In some areas, the thrift store will even pick up your boxes of unwanted treasures.