Making Money from Your Unwanted Stuff


If you are someone eager to earn income in as many ways as possible, you probably enjoyed our articles about earning money by recycling, affiliate marketing and even by selling blood plasma, but did you know that you might have untapped sources of revenue all around your home, as well? From the used printer cartridges to that basket of old wine corks that you kept for no reason you could think of, there are many ways to make money from your unwanted stuff.

The amounts you might make vary quite widely, and it can go up or down based on how much effort you are willing to put into finding the best prices. For instance, if you asked a few financial experts about the places you might visit to make money from your unwanted stuff, they might rattle off a relatively straightforward list of real world and online sites that would include:

  • Pawn shops
  • Consignment stores
  • Craigslist
  • Flea markets
  • Ebay
  • Yard sales, and other similar options

Yet, if you are eager to make money from your unwanted stuff, and get the most competitive prices, you’d also have to consider methods like:

  • Amazon, eBay and other similar sites
  • Various buyback programs
  • Social media
  • Parties hosted in your home
  • Any number of websites ranging from Etsy and GameStop to the countless apps dedicated to specific items or markets, such as Reverb for instruments or ThreadUp for clothing

If you are truly eager to make money from your unwanted stuff, and get the most possible (rather than just getting a bit of cash instead of simply donating a car load of goods), take the time to shop around. Start by the category, i.e. musical equipment, clothing, electronic, collectibles, precious metals, and so on. Google search straightforward terms with your geographic location, such as “sell used banjo Scranton, PA”. See what sort of local options might be available for a fast cash deal. For example, you might have a pawn shop or instrument buyer nearby who will give you cash that same day – and perhaps even a very good amount.

If you are not in a big rush, you can make money from your unwanted stuff via online and app options, instead. As one expert advises, though, “First, get organized… Next, search the item online to get a good idea of how much it’s worth.” Though it is tempting just to do some fast searches on sites like eBay or Etsy, if you have collectibles or antiques, it is a good idea to learn what any single item is actually worth. Websites like is helpful, but if you think it is worth more than $1k, it is best to get it appraised by an expert. The Statricks website is very helpful with general prices and values, too.

After that, you can find out if there are local buyers or where the best electronic spot for selling, trading in or recycling for cash is available.

Where to Make the Most Money From Your Unwanted Stuff

A quick rundown of options would include:

  • eBay – Keep in mind that you lose out on listing fees, premiums taken by eBay and any shipping material costs. Alternately, try which is modeled on eBay but at a much lower price bracket. This site also links to Google shopping giving you a big audience. eBid is another, lesser known site operating like eBay and Bonanza.
  • Facebook – Many people have yet to tap into this amazing opportunity, yet it is a great place to sell your old stuff for cash. You can post just about anything in the Facebook Marketplace, and you can also join any local or regional yard sale groups. This can be a much better way to list large items that have to be picked up at your place or wherever they are stored as the buyers will all be within your town, county or state.
  • Etsy – More than just a site for handmade goods, Etsy is now a stop for many collectors, fans of vintage goods and more. It costs less than eBay to post a listing and they take much less than eBay in fees. There are more than 23 million shoppers on the site, so don’t miss it if you have old clothing, collectibles and designer items.
  • Location based smartphone apps – The list of apps that help you sell locally is already extensive and growing. Some of the most popular include 5miles, letgo, OfferUp, and Listia. Each requires a smartphone with location activated. You just photograph your item, add descriptive texts, set your price and wait for local buyers to get in touch.
  • Craigslist – Ideally suited to larger items, and even real estate, it has gotten a less favorable reputation for its attractiveness to criminals. If you are going to use it to sell, do so very carefully and never meet anyone who responds to your ads on your own or without others knowing about the transaction. Every deal should also be done in a very public setting for safety’s sake. Though this makes it sound grim, millions of people have great success selling everything from firewood from trees downed on their property to old pianos and even cars.
  • Apps and buyback programs specific to electronic gear – There is a growing range of apps and websites through which people buy and sell technology, and particularly used phones. The most common apps in use include Buy Back World, Gazelle (which can also become an affiliate marketing opportunity for some), Glyde, Swappa, and NextWorth. Each operates differently, but can be the place to get some welcome cash for old Android and iPhones, tablets and other electronics. Don’t overlook the real world locations like Best Buy, Walmart, Apple stores, and GameStop as they too often have trade-in and/or buyback programs (though they don’t often extend the best prices).
  • Amazon Buyback Program – This deserves a special spot on its own because it lets you tackle an array of trade-in items at once. They currently offer Amazon gift cards in exchange for books, video games and consoles (as well as many components), laptop computers, tablets and all associated gear, and cell phones. Clearly, the Amazon Buyback Program is unlikely to be the most competitive pricing, but it is a streamlined way to quickly eliminate a load of items and get funding towards the purchase of goods or even services you require – since Amazon is one of the world’s largest marketplaces.

Now, keep in mind that this was just looking at ways to make money from your unwanted stuff in a more broad and general sense. If you were eager to start earning money from a specific sort of stuff, such as your hundreds (maybe thousands?) of books, you can also use very specific resources for that.

Make Money Selling Unwanted Books

It is quite surprising to learn how much you can make selling or reselling books online. If you have an array of books you already own and want to get rid of, you don’t have to go the “old fashioned” route. This would have entailed you loading up your car with the choicest volumes, booking an appointment with a book buyer, driving to their shop and allowing them to pick and choose freely from the books available.

Whatever they did not buy, you would have to then tote home and wait for another opportunity with a different book buyer. Though this might net you nice amounts quite quickly, it is labor intensive and not a guarantee of a sale.

Thanks to the Internet, though, you can take advantage of online sales options as basic as Amazon and eBay. However, before you list anything, use a trusted resource like BookScouter that will point you towards the highest price for the book. Just type in the ISBN and they can tell you where you’ll get a good price. They point you to the sites with buyback programs and used book buying programs, listing the prices and helping you get the best deal.

If you are looking for a steady stream of income, the site also has “Campus Rep” programs that let you earn rewards when you get students to sign up and sell current textbooks.

In fact, if you are looking for an easy way to begin earning reasonable amounts of extra income, you can rely on a site like BookScouter and buy unwanted books from students, then turn around and resell them for tidy sums. Just use sites like Amazon and eBay where used copies go for peanuts and then resell them to the main textbook buyback sites.

As an example, you can use a website like eBay to find the most popular textbooks. Check the condition then use a site like BookScouter to see who is paying the most for the book. Is it more than being charged at eBay? If so, and it is enough to make your efforts worthwhile, you should make the sale. If you are very lucky, you might find that a website like Amazon is willing to pay for shipping in order to get that same book, often netting you even more.

Is it really a good way to buy and sell unwanted stuff? Absolutely. Typically, eBay has more than a million textbooks for sale at any given moment. Just look for the top to mid-range titles and start exploring pricing and selling options. Even if you net $5-$10 per transaction, you need only sell five to ten books each day to start making a nearly full-time wage while dedicating only an hour or two per day.

It is not technically selling your unwanted stuff, but if you have a library of your own that you have already sold off, this textbook model is a good way to keep on doing what you were doing!

Thus far, we’ve looked at some incredibly easy ways to earn cash from the stuff that might just be laying around your home and gathering a lot of dust. Yet, with the holidays ended and even more items entering your home, you might wish to find ways to get rid of the less obvious stuff. In particular, gift cards.

Make Money from Unwanted Gift Cards

It is surprising how many people might buy you a gift card that you would never really use. It could be that you are a vegetarian and got a gift card to Outback or you are a tea drinker who avoids sweets and yet you got several Dunkin Donuts cards. What can you do with them? Use a gift card exchange to trade up for cards you might prefer or even to get cash.

How do you do it? There are a few ways:

  • Look for a Coinstar Gift Card kiosk – Just visit their site and enter your zip code to find out if there are any kiosks nearby. Then you take the card to the kiosk and follow the on-screen instructions to trade that card in for cash – right on the spot!
  • Sell to one of the many online buyers – Visit a site like Gift Card Granny to see if there is anyone interested in purchasing the unwanted cards you currently have. You can also use CardPool to exchange cards. also buys cards directly.
  • Check the mall – Many malls have kiosks where you can negotiate a price for an unwanted gift card, and you can usually bank on around 75% of the value.
  • Target – This amazing retailer actually accepts many different gift cards in exchange for Target gift cards. It’s not cash, but it is the same as cash and lets you buy whatever you would like in the store.

So, if you need a cash injection or just wish to empty out the spare room, garage, attic or closet, use these methods to get cash for those unwanted dust collectors.


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