How to Turn Your Trash Into Cash

Consignment stores are just one place to sell your vintage goods.
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Make money from your unwanted items. Turn your trash into cash: Clear out the clutter and get paid for it. You might be surprised to find your unwanted items could be worth money. Clothing, books, games, cookware and even that old metal junker rusting away in your yard. The key is where to sell what. Gather up your unwanted items and start researching.


Step 1

Look at using online auction websites. These are not just for selling but can be a guide to what your stuff is worth. Research your items in the completed auctions section for a realistic look at what you could sell your own items for. Then decide if it's worth your time to actually sell it using an online auction site or if you should use another source. Large items such as furniture are probably not going to sell well here because of the shipping costs and packaging difficulties.


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Keep in mind the time you'll spend listing, emailing, packaging and mailing your items as well as the fees charged by the auction websites.

Step 2

Look at all of your items -- leave nothing unresearched. Some common things you're getting ready to dispose of could have value. Take for example a coffee mug your tired of using or a partially used coffee gift card. Someone might buy your worn-out coffee mug and that little plastic card that has $5 left on it. Or how about that top of the line cookware you no longer want? If it has a name, look it up to determine its value.


Step 3

Place an ad in free online classifieds sources. These are fairly easy to use. They are pretty much the online version of a classified ad. You list your item, people contact you, you arrange the sale and haul your stuff away -- no packaging, no fees, no going to the post office. This works for selling large pieces such as furniture but works well for selling the small stuff too.


Step 4

Sell your leftover materials from a remodeling project. People buy used cabinets, sinks, fencing and more. If you can't sell it, list your junk for free that you might otherwise have to pay to take to the dump.

Step 5

If you are uncomfortable about having strangers come to your house when you are selling an item, you can agree to meet in a public place for smaller items. For the large things, you could have the item in your garage and leave the garage door open while showing it so you are in view of your neighbors. A porch or carport works too.


Step 6

Have a garage sale; sell your things the good old-fashioned way. It's a little more time-consuming, since you have to sort and price everything as well as mind the store all day. Expect some people to haggle over prices. It can be profitable though. Maybe some friends or neighbors can participate too, making it into one giant sale. You'll get a larger crowd this way, since people are more apt to hunt out the bigger sales. You also might sell bottled water and snacks to bring customers over.


Step 7

Sell your scrap metal. Look up your local recycling and refining centers and see what they are buying. You can sell all sorts of scrap metals -- copper wires and tubing, leftover metal pipes, that old metal swing set in your backyard, even the junker car your neighbors give you the evil eye over. If you don't want to drag it to the recycling center yourself, search for scrappers in your area. Look for ads on classified ad websites and in your local papers for people buying scrap. Gold and silver buyers are common enough that you can investigate selling your broken or unwanted jewelry or coins for a good price.


Step 8

Sell your used books at websites such as, , or and also inquire at local used bookstores. Textbooks command some decent prices.

Step 9

Get money for your used cell phones, iPods, computers, game systems and other electronics, even if broken, on electronics sales websites.


Step 10

Clean out your closet and sell your quality goods at consignment stores. Look for children's consignment stores for selling kids' clothing and toys.

Step 11

Finally, if you can't sell your stuff donate it and use it as a tax write-off. Thrift stores might give you coupons for future purchases with a donation. Then you can buy more stuff and start the cycle all over again.


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