Make Money by Selling Your Stuff

Corey —  August 25, 2009

       You know all that extra Stuff you have? The Stuff that’s piled in corners, packed in boxes, gathering dust in the garage, or sitting in a storage unit could mean lots of extra cash for you if you’re willing to sell it. Either it’s worth something or it’s just costing you money by taking up space. Here’s how you can make some space and some money by getting rid of your Stuff.

Ignore Your Inner Pack Rat

       Your inner pack rat is telling you that you’ll use all that Stuff someday. Or maybe it’s whispering sweet nothings about sentimental value. The first thing you need to realize before you can make money by selling your Stuff is that you must ignore your inner pack rat! He’s what got you into this mess in the first place!!!

       To really cash in on your Stuff, you’re going to have to get rid of all the junk that you never use. Then you need to go through the rest and figure out if you really need it or not. Be ruthless! If it’s something you haven’t used in the past 3 months, plan on selling it. Of course, you don’t have to sell everything to make some money. But you’ll make a lot more if you’re willing to part with all that extra Stuff you never use.


       Your first stop for selling your Stuff should be eBay. It’s a great way to sell items for much more than you’d get by having a garage/yard sale – and you don’t have to sit outside at home all day on a weekend either. Not everything will sell very well on eBay, so think about it before you start listing items. There is a cost to this, but the higher prices you’re likely to get will outweigh that. Take quality pictures, use a good title, and write a detailed description to make sure you have the best chance of selling your Stuff at a good price.


       For larger items that don’t ship easily, you’re better off using your local Craigslist classifieds. It’s absolutely free and requires little effort on your part. Just make sure to include a good picture, use a good title, and write a detailed description. Be prompt about responding to inquiries, and be courteous by deleting your posting when you’ve sold the item. Be careful about setting up meetings with potential buyers, and be prepared to deal with no-shows. Your best bet is to deal only in cash as checks could easily bounce.

Have a Garage or Yard Sale

       This will take a bit more work than the other two options because you’ll need to organize all the stuff you want to sell, indicate prices somehow, and sit out with your Stuff all day while you wait for potential buyers. You’ll want to advertise by putting up signs along major roads near your house the week before and using any free resources like community newspapers and bulletin boards. Be prepared to negotiate with buyers, and don’t overvalue your items. The best way to sell nothing is to price everything too high.

Donate to Charity

       Finally, donate whatever you’re unable to sell to charity. The Salvation Army and Goodwill are easy places to make donations of a wide variety of Stuff as well as church yard sales. If you itemize deductions on your tax return, you can deduct your donation and possibly reduce your taxes or get a larger refund. Even if you don’t itemize, you’ll have done something good while getting rid of your Stuff. You’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling, and you’ll have more space so you don’t have to pay for a storage unit. You might even decide to downsize your home and save even more money!

Don’t Waste the Money

       Now that you’ve cashed in on your Stuff, be careful you don’t waste all that money. Build up your emergency fund, pay off debt, save for retirement, or give it to the needy. Just make sure you don’t go out and buy more Stuff that will start piling up again in all that space you cleared out!

Stop the Stuff from Taking Over Again

       Now that you’ve cashed in on all that Stuff you accumulated before, take time to figure out how you can stop Stuff from taking over your space again. Why did you buy all that Stuff in the first place? Learn your weaknesses, then find ways to avoid the temptation to buy useless Stuff in the future. You’ll save money, time, and the hassle of having to purge all that Stuff again in another few years.



Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

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