How to declutter your home and make money while you do it
Selling unwanted items can help you cut clutter and earn some cash while you do it.
We could all do with a few more dollars from time to time. And sometimes the easiest way to earn a little extra can be to look close to home. Our houses are full of unwanted and potentially valuable items that we could move on for some easy money, and you may be surprised just how much you could earn by a simple clear out.
Commit to clearing out
While we go about our busy lives, it can be all too easy to forget about the loose items all around our homes. According to the US Bureau of National Statistics, an American household earning $78,635 per year spends around $20,000 on consumer goods — more than a quarter of its annual income. But while it’s all too tempting to buy the latest and greatest items, if we’re not careful, unwanted and discarded goods can be left around the house.
While they might be useless to us, forgotten items can appeal to others, and might even be worth a handsome price. Take a look around your home and you might even find one or two items that could be worth a lot to the right buyer. To maximize your chances of earning some good money though, you need to commit to doing a thorough job and being disciplined about which items you need, and which ones you probably don’t.
Where should you start looking?
Decluttering your home doesn’t need to happen overnight, and a complete decluttering may take some time. With this in mind, ask yourself which parts of the house are in most need of a clear out. From garages to spare bedrooms and even small storage units, unwanted items are usually left in rooms and areas where they aren’t in the way.
Equally, make sure you’re giving your closets a complete makeover. As your tastes change and seasons come and go, some items you may have liked once might not look quite so good anymore. Selling old, branded clothes can be a lucrative business, so don’t forget to check your closets too.
Where should you send your items?
If you’ve already got your unwanted items packed up, it’s time to think about where you should send them. The good news is that there is no shortage of places looking for your unwanted items.
First up, thrift stores are always a safe bet for unwanted items that could be used again. Thrift stores will take anything from second-hand clothing to children’s books. With a thrift store, you always know that your money is going towards helping others, so always check if there are any thrift stores near you.
If you’re looking to get a little money back for your expenses, you could try setting up shop at a flea market. You can make money at flea markets, but at the same time, you should always be prepared to barter for the best prices.
If you’ve discovered an item of clothing from a popular designer, there’s every chance you can get a great price for it online. More and more people are looking to buy second-hand clothing instead of always buying from new, so it is a good idea to check out sites like Vinted and ThredUP. For rare designer brands, you can get some eyewatering prices, so these are always worth a go.
For anything that can’t be reused, such as damaged items or things that you just want rid of, why not freecycle it? A lot of collectors like to pick things up extremely cheap before refurbishing them, giving them a new lease of life and potentially selling them on for big bucks. If you don’t think it’s worth anything, why not list it on a local freecycle site and let someone else take care of it?
What are the best websites for selling on your items?
Whatever it is you’re looking to resell, there are lots of sites and apps out there that can help you get a decent price. Be sure to check out lots of different platforms to make sure you’re getting the best price, but make sure you have a look at the following sites to get you started:
Amazon Marketplace: There’s a huge range of different products you can sell on for a decent price here, and for the right items, you could get a better price than you might think. For each item you sell, Amazon takes a fee of 99 cents, but there are also some charges you might incur, so be sure to do your research before heading down this route.
Facebook Marketplace: Similar to Amazon Marketplace, Facebook has its own resale site that lets you sell items, usually to local people. Facebook Marketplace lets you speak directly to potential buyers, so you should expect a little more negotiating here. To compensate, Facebook Marketplace is a quick and straightforward way to sell items, and with many buyers located locally, you’ll incur fewer delivery fees.
eBay: eBay is still one of the best bidding websites on the web — for both buyers and sellers. List your items on the marketplace and you’ll start receiving bids on your items. And with the addition of the ‘buy it now’ feature, you can set an instant sell price that anybody can pay to get the item.
Vinted: Ideal for selling clothes for a good price, Vinted specializes in reselling vintage clothes. All you need to do is take a good picture, upload it to the app or website, and then let buyers do the rest.
Selling your unwanted items can help you earn some extra dollars overnight — but it’s only one way of making your money work for you. Find out how else you can save money for the future by speaking to a financial advisor. Find an advisor for you on Unbiased.
Charlie Barton is a writer at Unbiased. He has been writing about personal finance and investing since 2017, with extensive knowledge of platforms and products. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics.