Eat More. Be More.

How To Make Money While Cleaning Your House

What if I told you that you had $500 laying around in your house that you were completely ignoring? Think I’m kidding? Not only am I serious, I can show you how to find money you didn’t even know existed.

sell stuff online, make money from home

Flickr image by John Loo

My wife and I recently bought a new house. It’s not fancy, but it is considerably larger than our last house, which was our first after two apartments. Like most people, we collect stuff. It’s not that we collect things as much as we never really git rid of anything. I grew up in a house where you never threw anything away (except your regular trash) because there was always the possibility that you will need it later.

Here is a rule we now try to live by. If you haven’t seen it, used it, or needed it in a year, it needs to go. There are exceptions, of course. I have tools that I haven’t used in a few years, but I’m not getting rid of them. I mostly have one of each, so I keep them. But I had clothes in my closet that had been in there for nearly 10 years that haven’t fit me for almost that long.

Now that we’ve mostly unpacked and decorated the inside of the house, it’s time to move on to the boxes of who-knows-what stacked up in our garage. But I’m throwing away as little as possible. The rest, I’m going to try selling. It’s amazing the stuff people will buy. Truly, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Where Is My Money?

My wife and I made $50 today with about 15 minutes of work. We sold two bookshelves, a bed frame, and a decorative shelf. These are items that in years past I would have hauled to the trash rather than messing with them, but selling stuff online has become so much easier.

That $500 I said you had sitting around your home? Here is how to find it. Look in these spots for anything you have had sitting there for more than a year. Chances are you can sell it.

  • Attic
  • Closets
  • Garage
  • Cabinets
  • Storage room
  • Kids rooms
  • Bed room
  • Kitchen
  • ANY ROOM OF YOUR HOUSE

What would you sell out of your kitchen? Have a blender that never gets used? Or maybe a set of decorative plates sitting on a top shelf? What about those serving dishes someone gave you for your wedding that are hideous or you just won’t use? Don’t be attached to the stuff that you have no use for. Profit from it!

Some great things to sell:

  • Gently used clothes
  • Video games
  • Shelves
  • Furniture
  • Seasonal decorations
  • Guns (if allowed in your area)
  • Yard equipment

You would be amazed at the stuff people are willing to pay money for if they can get a deal on it!

How To Sell Your Stuff

The key is to not overvalue your items. There is a psychology behind the game. I take the approach that getting something for a bookshelf is better than just throwing it out. I want it gone, and if I can get a decent price for it, it’s better than me having to haul it off.

Figure out what you really want to get from the sale. I wanted $20 for the bookshelves. Then set your price where you’ll have room to come down. People will insist on negotiating because they want a deal. I asked $25 for the shelves. The first offer was for $15 and we settled on $20, exactly what I wanted.

You should also be prepared to take less if you can and nobody offers you what you’re asking. If you list a car for $8,000 and the best offer is for $1,500, it may not be worth it to sell. Set your prices high enough that you can come down, but not so high that nobody makes an offer. It’s also worth looking for similar items to see what people are asking for them.

Where To Sell Your Stuff

eBay

I’ve never been a huge fan of eBay because I never took the time to figure it out. Then people started selling things cheap and charging a fortune for shipping and handing. I was interested in a nice 500 piece set of clay poker chips. They had been selling for about $90 on average. Then I started seeing them for $35 or $40, so I decided to buy. Yeah, they were $40, but there was another $45 for shipping and handling.

There are a lot of people that still do quite well with eBay, but then you have to handle payments, give eBay a cut, wait a week for the auction to close, package it, and then ship it. Bleh.

Craigslist

Again, I know people that love Craigslist. It seems a little too anonymous for me. I have a hard time trusting anything I see on there. But I understand there are deals to be had. Just do your homework and be smart about it.

Facebook

This is by far my favorite. Finally, there is a reason to have a Facebook account. Across the globe, groups have sprung up that function as local online marketplaces. These are awesome for several reasons.

  • The page has a moderator (or several) to establish rules and keep things organized.
  • There is less anonymity because there is a FB profile (many groups check people out and require group members to join with their regular profile).
  • Selling is done locally so there is usually no shipping
  • The groups don’t charge transaction fees
  • Sales can close in a matter of minutes and usually happen within a day
  • Creating an ad is as simple as posting a picture to Facebook and adding a description

Handling the Transaction

Selling on eBay is a little more work, but is the safest because you’re handling payment online and shipping the product. It’s also the costliest and most complicated. But there isn’t any face to face meeting that has to occur.

Craigslist and Facebook are faster, easier and cheaper, but usually require meeting in person to exchange goods and money. It’s relatively simple to stay safe if you take precautions. Small items are super easy. Find out the general area someone lives or works and arrange a meeting place and time.

My wife took the bed frame today and met a lady at the Walgreen’s parking lot. Middle of the day, lots of people around, located on a busy street. Because the Facebook group is local, neither us or the buyer had to drive more than a few minutes. No transaction fees and no shipping cost. Listed the shelves yesterday got paid today. The bookshelves were bigger, so the lady that bought them picked them up from my garage with her daughter. If I wouldn’t have been comfortable with it, we could have met somewhere.

There’s Money In Them There Rooms

Unless you are an extreme minimalist (you’re not), you’ve got $500 worth of knick knacks, tools, clothes, and what-nots that you can start getting rid of today. Not only will it help eliminate clutter, but you can make some serious cash to buy more stuff (or pay off bills like a responsible person).

What 3 things can you think of that you could sell? Have you tried selling things online?


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