6 Unusual Ways to Make Money From Home

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Feng Yu/ShutterstockYou can make money from your junk mail.
We've all heard the same-old, same-old suggestions for ways to make money from home: become an eBay seller, join online focus groups, start a blog. And while those are all great ideas, what if you're looking for something a little more ... different?

Whether you're not interesting in the usual suggestions or you're looking for something additional, here are six cool, lesser-known ways to earn some extra income from home.

1. Rent Out Parts of Your Home

In the past two years, I've earned an extra $40,800 by simply renting out the rooms in my home.

One of the easiest ways to make money from home is to -- literally -- make money from your home. Airbnb isn't just for renting out your whole house or apartment when you're on vacation; you can also rent part of your home, whether it's a guest room or a finished basement. You can also arrange short-term rentals through Roomorama or even Craigslist.

Got room in your garage, basement or an extra crawlspace in your attic? You can also rent out storage space in your home through Store at My House or StoreWithMe. If you've got an office you rarely use, you can rent it out through Desktime. You can even rent out your driveway for a fee through JustPark or Park On My Drive.

2. Pet Sit

If you're a dog lover, you can earn some extra dough by opening up your home to pups whose owners need to take a little time away. Sites like DogVacay and Rover allow you to list various services, from daycare to overnight sitting to walking and grooming, to turn your passion for pets into a nice little side business. Both sites provide insurance coverage for the animals in your care should an emergency arise while they're with you.

You set your hours of availability, then get paid to play, pet and cuddle adorable pooches in your spare time. How sweet is that?

3. Rent Out Your Car

Have a car you rarely use? Don't let it just sit there; put it to work for you by renting it out on sites like RelayRides and Getaround. Tell people when you won't be needing your car and you can get some extra cash for that vehicle that would otherwise just be taking up space.

If you're worried about someone damaging your car, these companies have you covered. Renters are required to purchase insurance policies and also to have your car cleaned and detailed if they get it dirty while using it.

4. Sell Your Junk Mail and Inserts

Most of just throw away those unsolicited offers that arrive in the mail, as well as the inserts in the Sunday paper. But there are companies and individuals who will actually pay you for these things.

Market research company SBK Center provides you with self-addressed, stamped envelopes to send all of your unwanted junk mail to it. You receive points for each piece of mail, which can then be redeemed for prepaid Visa cards. If you belong to any store mailing lists, you can also sell any high-value coupons you receive that you don't plan on using –- just create an eBay listing and let people bid away.

5. Turn Your Photos to Cash

Develop a popular enough Instagram or SnapChat following and you can court sponsorships. To make this a reality, you'll need to set up "photo shoots" at your home, backyard, local park or somewhere else interesting. You can take your pics with an iPhone; they don't necessarily need to be professional or highly edited. Just make sure each photo is high-quality and will grab people's attention: great composition, lighting, setup, awesome fashion and an engaging and lively pose and expression.

Post two or three photos per day, along with an engaging description that's personal and connects with your followers. Use hashtags so that people can find you. Comment on other Instagram photos and follow other users to build a community. Set up a website so advertisers and followers can connect with you.

Will you earn money overnight? Of course not. This isn't a get-rick-quick scheme. But if you nurture a following, you can become a mini-celebrity and start supplementing your income with sponsorships and advertising.

6. Rent Out Your Wardrobe

Bought a lovely evening gown for a wedding or party you've only worn once? Only wear half the items in your closet, even though they're all well-kept and still fashionable? You can make some spare cash from those clothes through sites like Tradesy, RentNotBuy and Loanables. You can also rent out accessories like shoes, handbags, jewelry and more.

Paula Pant quit her 9-to-5 job, traveled to 32 countries, launched her own business and became a successful real estate investor. Her website, Afford Anything, helps people create wealth and live an epic adventure.
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