Tips for Turning Your Clutter into Cash

Decluttering is all the rage, and for many of us, the notion of downsizing and clearing out things we don’t need is an attractive one. Of course, donating or handing down items is an option, but if you want to try to convert your unwanted items into cash, there are several ways to accomplish that goal.

The first step, of course, is to sort through the items you don’t want and determine what you can sell and what needs to be recycled or trashed. Once you’ve done that, there are several options to consider. Three of the easiest are eBay, Craig’s List, and consignment stores. Let’s look at what’s involved with each.


Selling items on eBay is easy to do. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Set up an eBay account (eBay and PayPal are linked, so if you have a PayPal account you can use it to sign in to eBay.)
  2. Take photographs of the items you wish to sell. The best thing to do is to take photos from multiple angles in good light.
  3. List the item. You should include a detailed description and set an asking price. EBay provides you with the choice of selling items outright or auctioning them off. You can specify large items for local pickup only if you choose.
  4. Ship the item after it has been purchased. The customer will pay you through eBay and you’ll get your money after the item has been shipped and eBay has collected their fee.

The most important thing to keep in mind if you want to sell on eBay is that you must be prepared to ship items out quickly once they are sold. If you aren’t prepared to do that, choose one of the other options.

EBay’s fees are relatively low. Your first 50 listings each month are free. You’ll pay $0.30 for each additional listing, plus a small fee based on the purchase price. You keep the rest.

Listing items on Craigslist is also free, and there is no limit on how many items you can list for sale. One of the nice things about Craigslist is that all sales are local. You don’t have to ship or deliver anything unless you want to, and there are no fees at all.

To list an item on Craigslist, do the following:

  1. Go to Craigslist and choose your state from the list.
  2. Click the “Post to Classified” button.
  3. Choose the “For Sale” button and choose the appropriate category.
  4. Fill out the listing form with the requested information.
  5. Post pictures of the item you are selling.
  6. Check to make sure that your listing is accurate.

Once your listing is live, Craigslist users can contact you through an anonymous email address provided with the listing. You can choose how and when to respond and make arrangements for the buyer to pick up the items. Payment can be handled however you choose: cash, credit, PayPal, or personal checks are all options.

Consignment Stores

Every metropolitan area has its share of consignment shops. A consignment shop – sometimes referred to as a thrift store – accepts items for sale. They will set an appropriate price and give you a percentage of the purchase price after the item sells. You may be able to give them some guidance on where to set the price, but you should expect them to have a good idea of what is reasonable.

The primary benefit of selling on consignment is that you don’t have to do anything other than drop the items off at the store and learn what their consignment terms are. While a 50/50 split on price used to be the norm, many stores have started to require a 60/40 split. In other words, you’ll be giving up a significant part of the price in return for selling your items in their store.

All three options may be viable depending upon your needs. Even if you end up selling on consignment, you can still earn a significant amount for selling your old items – and you’ll have a clean and decluttered home, too.

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