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How to Make Money Selling Your Junk

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You've heard the claims before: "I made $200 doing absolutely nothing", "I've made hundreds of dollars while I slept", "I made $500 in one week and there was no effort on my part", and lately, "The recession has been the best thing that ever happened to me! I make more money today than I ever did when I worked my full-time job". But can you really trust such claims?

The answer is no. The recession has brought far more scam artists out of the woodwork than I care to count. If it wasn't bad before, it certainly is now.

The truth is that a home-based business requires start-ups costs — even if it is just marketing and advertising dollars. A home-based business requires work — making contacts, selling people on your product and/or service, and actually doing the work promised, whether it's mailing a product or completing a service. And a home-based business requires time — time to build your skills, time to find clientele, time to turn a profit.

Yet, despite the claims that you can set up a website and watch the money start rolling in within a matter of weeks, or that you can "con" someone into purchasing a program that you've yet to succeed at, there are legitimate ways to bring in some quick cash when times get tough.

And all it begins with you and your stuff. That's right, you can earn money SELLING YOUR JUNK!

Step One: Detach.

The first step in selling your junk is to detach yourself, emotionally, from your items.

Don't think about how much you paid for an item. Don't think about the wonderful memories attached to the item. Don't think about how much money you're losing by selling the item for less than you paid for it.

Think about whether or not you still get enjoyment from that item. Think about whether or not you have actually used that item in the last year or two. Think about how selling that item can help your family now — when times are tough.

Step Two: Sort.

Once you've come to terms with the fact that you need to sell off your possessions, you need to start sorting through your stuff.

Always start off with the easy stuff: books you no longer read, movies you no longer watch, clothes you no longer fit into or like, and those dreaded "elephant" gifts.

Next, move onto big ticket items that take up a lot of room: that treadmill that's become nothing more than a clothes hanger, that extra refrigerator that takes up electricity but never has any food in it, that canoe you bought when your kids were younger but now find "uncool", that oversized picture that hasn't had a place in your home since the day you redecorated, that extra set of golf clubs you're holding onto just in case a buddy shows up unexpectedly and wants to play a round or two, and so on...

Once you've gone through the big ticketed items, it will be easier to tackle the smaller stuff: the stuff you've packed away for rainy days, the stuff you've held onto for the past ten years because of sentimental reasons but has yet to find a purpose, the stuff you packed away during your last redecorating spree because you thought your kids would like it one day but now you realize their tastes aren't yours, and so on…

Step Three: List on

Craiglist is a great place to sell your big ticket stuff and it's free to use! Take 3-4 photographs of each item: full shot, side views, close-ups, and damaged areas. Write up a description of each item: name of item, current retail price, price you're asking, pick-up or delivery information, and detailed description including make, model, and size. And provide a contact number or email address. (But never give your home address!)

Big ticket items can take anywhere from one day to four weeks to sell, so be patient — and don't be afraid to unlist your item and relist it every week. It could also depend on the season you're trying to sell your item. For instance, most people aren't thinking about snow blowers in July, nor are they thinking about canoes in the winter.

The key to using successfully is to be weary of scam artists who try to get your product without paying. Watch out for people who want to pay with a money order or check. Watch out for people who want to pay more than the price you're asking, then ask you to refund the difference. Watch out for people who ask you to sell your item to one person and deliver to another person, out of state.

Step Four: Sell to stores.

Locate places in town that buy used: DVD Resale Shop, Used bookstore, Nice As New Clothing Outlet, and Pawn Shops. Then take one day and devote it to visiting the "we buy used" shops around town.

Ask them what they're taking right now, and what their terms are. Then decide if you can live with those terms. If you can't, keep your stuff to sell another day. If you can, sell your items outright or sign the consignment contract.

You're likely to spend a good hour to two in each shop waiting for the clerk to sort, categorize, and buy your products so bring a book with you - and maybe a small picnic lunch. Whatever you can't sell, return home with you.

Step Five: Host a garage sale.

Contact the local paper and buy an ad, get a permit from city hall, and put out the signs.

Before you put your stuff out to be sold, consider what you'd actually pay for the item if you were the one hopping from garage sale to garage sale. Then price each item accordingly — and don't be afraid to raise the price a dollar or two to cover negotiations.

You can price individually or price by groups, the choice is yours. Pricing by groups would look like this: you place clothes in a box and label the box, "Each item in this box is just $1 each". Or you place items on a table and attach a sign that reads, "Anything on this table is $5 each."

Then look forward to spending an entire day waiting and negotiating with passersby. The key to a successful garage sale is patience. It also helps to set things up in categories, have plenty of cash on hand for change, and be willing to negotiate on the price because people will always talk you down.

Step Six: Post classified ads.

Place advertisements in the newspaper and place flyers around town.

Classified ads can get costly rather quickly since the newspapers usually charge per word so use your space wisely. Bold the name of the item you're selling, include a brief description, include words like, "paid $100, asking $35 cash" and don't forget your contact number.

Flyers are legal to post if you post in the correct spots, so find out where your town allows flyers to be posted and put up a few. Think in terms of laundry mats and grocery store bulletin boards; not telephone poles. Include a photo of the item, product description, retail price, and the price you're asking. Then include strips of paper with your name, number, and the name of the product for sale.

Step Seven: Post on eBay or other auction sites.

Write a product description that explains the history of the piece, along with product dimensions, starting bid (no less than $9.99), and shipping fees.

The key to using eBay successfully is to post rare and antique items and include plenty of pictures so think in terms of your collectible baseball cards, comic books, dishware, etc.

Step Eight: Start the process over again.

And continue to use the process until you've sold everything you've agreed to sell. (To avoid mixing up what you've agreed to sell with what you want to keep, set your saleable items off to the side — in the basement, in the garage, in the attic).

If you're wondering if reselling your junk really works, the answer is yes!

When my husband was unexpectedly laid off a few years ago, selling off some of our stuff kept a roof over our heads and our bills paid on time. We sold an old canoe for 1/2 the price we paid for it, we sold our second refrigerator for 1/3 the retail price, we sold wall art for 1/8 of the retail price, and by visiting three used shops, we were able to get $200 for several old books, VHS videos and DVDs. It was a wonderful way to de-clutter my home and do something good for the environment while earning enough cash to keep us afloat.

About The Author:

Alyice Edrich is an affordable freelance writer specializing in how-to articles for the web. To view her freelance rates, or to hire her for your next writing project visit To order one of her e-books, visit

Published - March 2010

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