Spring cleaning: 20 household items to sell for extra cash

Spring Cleaning: Turning Clutter Into Cash
Spring Cleaning: Turning Clutter Into Cash

It's time for spring cleaning, but before tossing away any seemingly worthless items, it's worth giving them a once-over to see if they're worth selling. According to a Nielsen survey conducted for eBay, the average home has $3,100 worth of unused items, mostly clothing and electronics. If you look carefully, you may find that your attic, garage, and closets contain valuable stuff that can put money in your pocket. Here are some common household items that others are willing and ready to purchase.

Related:From Gift Cards to Used Cars, Online Markets for Just About Everything

Vintage Toys.

Older toys are in high demand, and parents of grown children may be surprised by the value of the playthings sitting in their closets. On eBay, vintage pogo sticks sell from $10 to $90 or more. Original Cabbage Patch Dolls are listed for hundreds of dollars. And some old Matchbox cars are listed for thousands of dollars, including this "mint" Lamborghini for $1,000.

See what all your old toys are valued at today:

Comics and Magazines.

Even if you aren't a comic book collector, you might have some valuable comics lying around. Early issues of X-Men, Flash, and Strange Tales are selling for as much as $375 an issue on eBay. Collectors are also looking for vintage issues of Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and Time magazine.


Scan bookshelves for interesting titles and first editions. There are lots of online resources for estimating the books' value. The popular used books website AbeBooks lets you search by author, title, or ISBN number. As a general rule, the rarer the book, the higher its value. For example, AbeBooks is selling a signed first edition of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" for $12,500.

Designer Clothes.

If there's a designer label among the clothes, shoes, and accessories lurking in the back of your closet, you can cash in. Prices for many used and vintage designer items can be surprisingly high. For example, a pair of Christian Louboutin heels are selling for close to $700 on Tradesy, an online designer consignment shop. Other potential marketplaces include Craigslist and consignment shops.

Gaming Consoles and Accessories.

Old video game consoles from PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo don't usually sell for thousands of dollars, but you can still cash them in for a third or even half of the original selling price. For example, used PlayStation 2 consoles, which debuted in 2000, are selling for about $35 to $85 on eBay, while an unused PlayStation 2 is listed for an impressive $600. Another eBay user listed a Nintendo Game Boy for $70. Pawn shops are also a good place to sell old consoles and games.

Stereo Equipment.

Old audio equipment is in high demand. Stereos made in Japan in the 1970s are particularly desirable, so if you have an old Pioneer or Marantz receiver sitting in the closet, you may want to put it on eBay or Craigslist. Boomboxes from the 1980s are also gaining value, as are Sony Walkman cassette players.

Small Appliances.

Many people have small, rarely used appliances tucked away in the kitchen. They're relatively easy to turn into cash through various online marketplaces. An Oster mixer from the 1960s might bring $100, while a vintage Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer from the 1950s might be worth several times that. More recent kitchen equipment in good working order is also in demand, for prices that are close to new.

Costume Jewelry.

Jewelry is a big seller online and buyers aren't always looking for expensive gems or stones. Costume jewelry is typically made of plated metal and other inexpensive materials and can appear to be worthless. Before you toss dull-looking or gaudy jewelry aside, try pricing it on eBay, which has a large costume jewelry category -- you might be pleasantly surprised. Local pawn shops readily purchase costume jewelry as well. And if you have an abundance of costume pieces, try setting up an online jewelry boutique on Etsy.


Furniture may not be easy to ship, but mid-century modern furniture is easy to sell. Interior designers, collectors, and the design-savvy are always looking for unique furniture, and pieces with a Scandinavian look are extremely popular right now. Chairish, an online marketplace for used and vintage furniture, helps coordinate the sale and shipping in return for a 20 percent cut of the price. Prices are robust; one mid-century modern table lamp is going for $499, for example. Etsy is another online marketplace for furniture; a vintage vanity listed there recently sold for nearly $500.

Vinyl Records.

If you don't have any vinyl records, you may know someone who does. Most vinyl records are vintage at this point, and records made by certain artists can be worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Music stores are the best option for selling old records, and eBay has fairly extensive listings as well. One eBay user has listed an Elvis Presley record collection for $4,500.

Board Games.

Vintage board games don't sell for as much as other household items, but they still may be worth their original price or better. Monopoly and Mahjong are two of the most sought-after board game sets. For example, several 1991 collector's edition Monopoly sets were selling for on eBay -- one for as much as $360.

Glass Bottles.

Glass bottle collectors will pay top dollar for old bottles. Collectors focus on bottles from the 1800s and 1900s, with mouth-blown and imprinted bottles receiving the most attention. Collectors Weekly maintains a useful list of the most-wanted specimens. Some of the bottles on the list are fairly common, so there's a good chance some may be in your house.


Even though the technology is outdated, buyers are willing to pay $100 or more for old typewriters. Rare metal-plated typewriters receive high bids on sites like eBay. But even ordinary typewriters of more recent vintage are worth something. Typewriters were a household staple for many years, so there's a good chance many people still have one somewhere.


Some old photographs, especially those with celebrities or from specific eras, sell for good money. Old Photographic, an online vintage photography magazine, buys rare and vintage photos, albums, and negatives, and some vintage shops also buy old photographs. One photographer sold a collection of Beatles photos taken by an amateur at Shea Stadium in 1965 for 30,000 pounds ($46,000). You never know what pictures you may have tucked away in old family photo albums. Pictures of generals, celebrities, old war equipment, or famous events could bring in hundreds of dollars.

Workout Gear.

Surprisingly, brand name aerobics and fitness attire from the '80s and '90s is now a hot commodity. For example, a vintage Adidas windbreaker is going for $120 on eBay. Old equipment is selling, too: A vintage belt massager is listed on eBay for more than $260.

Vintage Eyeglasses.

Many wearers of eyeglasses have an extra pair or two lying around, and they could fetch more than imagined if they were manufactured more than 25 years ago. The current vintage craze has resulted in higher prices for many ordinary items including vintage eyeglasses. The more exclusive the brand, the more money sellers can command. However, just about any pair of glasses reminiscent of previous decades can bring $50 or more.

Gift Cards.

Chances are there's at least one gift card stashed in a wallet, purse, or kitchen drawer. Luckily, most gift cards don't expire and they can now be resold on various websites (Gift Card Granny compares offers). Pharmacy, gas, and electronics gift cards are among the most popular on eBay.

Military Memorabilia.

Personal military gear is a hot commodity on eBay. Radios, helmets, and clothing are just a few of the quick-selling military items. One seller sold a rare Vietnam War era jumper for $158, while another sold a pilot survival kit for $103.


Before throwing away soon-to-expire coupons, head online to eBay to see if they're in demand. Although coupons don't sell for as much as vintage items, they do have a 97 percent sales success rate, according to TeraPeak, a provider of online sales data. Baby formula coupons are among those in highest demand. One seller listed and quickly sold baby formula coupons for $17.50.

Vintage Handmade Quilts.

A quilt made by grandma for just a few dollars could be worth thousands of dollars today. Handmade quilts passed down from the early part of the 20th century are the best sellers. One example listed by an antique shop on eBay is selling for about $375 and has several interested buyers.

RELATED: 15 things to throw away for spring cleaning

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