Cash for Clutter: 15 Household Items You Can Sell

Consumerism: Garage sale posted in suburbs. Home, summer.
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By Tahirah Blanding

It's time to rethink your household junk. What may appear to be useless clutter could actually be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 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. rounded up some common household items that collectors are looking for.

Vintage Toys. Older toys are in high demand and you may be surprised by the value of the kids' playthings sitting in your closet. On eBay, a pair of vintage pogo sticks are selling for $50. Original Cabbage Patch Dolls are listed for hundreds of dollars. And some old Matchbox cars are worth more than $1,000.

Comics and Magazines. Even if you aren't a comic book collector, you still might have some valuable comics lying around. Early issues of X-Men, Flash, and Strange Tales are selling for $50 an issue on eBay. Collectors are also looking for vintage issues of Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and Time magazine.

Books. Scan your shelves for interesting titles and first editions. There are lots of online resources to help you estimate the value of your books; the popular used books website AbeBooks lets you search by author, title, or ISBN number. As a general rule, the rarer the book, the more you are likely to get. For example, AbeBooks is selling a first edition of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" for $13,500.

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 high heel shoes that sold for $675 new are listed on Tradesy, a high-end online consignment shop, for $556. 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, a PlayStation 2, which debuted in 2000, is selling for $100 on eBay, while an unused PlayStation 2 is listed for an impressive $1,800. Another eBay user listed a Nintendo Game Boy for $139. 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 of us 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. 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; a mid-century modern-style table lamp is going for $499 on Chairish, for example. Etsy is another online marketplace for furniture; a vintage Danish-style sofa bench is currently listed at $795.

Vinyl Records. If you don't have any vinyl records, you may know someone (such as a parent) 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, a 1991 collector's edition Monopoly is selling for about $52 on eBay.

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.

Typewriters. Even though the technology is now outdated, buyers are willing to pay $100 or more for old typewriters. Rare metal-plated typewriters receive high bids on sites like eBay. The most expensive typewriter currently on eBay, a Sholes & Glidden Remington 1, is priced at $14,999 and more than 100 potential buyers are watching the auction. 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 you still have one somewhere.

Photographs. You can make good money selling old photographs, especially those with celebrities or from specific eras. 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 currently a hot commodity. For example, a vintage Adidas windbreaker is going for $49.99 on eBay. Old equipment is selling too: A 1961 belt massager, which originally sold for $94.95, is listed on eBay for more than $200.
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