It is surprisingly easy to find cheap stuff to sell. It is all around you, and you probably don’t even know it.
Let’s start with your home. Hopefully, somebody at your house is a pack-rat and you haven’t had a garage sale in several years. Here is the most important thing to remember. Almost everything has a value to somebody. You just have to find that person or group of people to sell your stuff to.
Start looking around your house, and then look again. The second time, try to see your belongings through a collector’s eyes. Do you have any old toys that are collectible? How about old biker’s jackets, vintage T-shirts or retro dresses. All of this stuff is collectible. Do you have old books or comics? What about your old collection of marbles, baseball cards, or buttons? These are all collectible. What about that old box of stuff your uncle gave you with his old racing trophies and the broken Commodore 64 computer in it? Yep. Collectible.
Once you start looking, you will be surprised what people collect. Old playing cards, yes. Matchbooks, yes. Beer caps and cans. Yes. Just start gathering stuff that you look at and say, hmm… maybe somebody collects this. If somebody ever thought that the item was cool, I will guarantee you that somebody still thinks it is cool today, and therefore worth money. I will show you how to determine value later.
Another place you can make some quick money is with non-functional electronics and appliances. If it’s been broken for a long time, it may very well be collectible and worth fixing now.
Several years ago, I found a Simon electronic game in a ‘Free’ box in a garage sale. I grabbed it and brought it home. It didn’t work, so I opened the battery compartment. It only needed to have the terminals cleaned, and it worked like new. I sold it in a week for $50. It is amazing how often broken stuff can be fixed for free and with very little effort.
Also, high-end equipment can be sold for parts, even if it is not repairable. For instance, the cushioned feet on high-end audio equipment can sell for $25, and that’s just for the feet.
Many of the components can be sold on EBay, even if the item hasn’t worked in years! You can also scrap larger appliances for scrap value. Junk computers may have $20 or more in scrap gold, silver, and copper inside them, as well as having usable components that you can sell separately. The trick is to find where on EBay to sell the scrap and parts.
If you are willing to do some work, you can even scrap whole vehicles and sell many of the resulting parts on EBay. Then, you can scrap the remaining steel auto body for up to $250 at a scrap yard.
Do you have any decaying cars, snowmobiles, or lawnmowers in your yard or pole barn? Have any 25 year old bikes in your garage? They are probably worth at least $50 apiece. You can see where I’m going here. Check the list at the end of the book for more ideas about things to look for.
The bottom line is, if you have something that you can sell at a garage sale, you can probably sell it for considerably more on eBay.
Now that you have cleared out your collectibles, move on to clothing. Vintage clothing should be sold individually. Many jackets, headwear, suits, ties, shoes, dresses, etc. can sell for more than what you would think on EBay. Next, gather your clothing that is in good shape, but you don’t wear anymore, or the kids have outgrown. You can sell clothes lots on EBay for a good profit, or you can take them to a second-hand store and set up an account and have them sell clothes for you there. You get a percentage of each sale. Take your remaining clothes and put them in your Goodwill box. Keep track of what’s in the box, because you will be writing the value off on your income taxes.
Next, if you have kids, gather all of their toys and games that they have outgrown or don’t play with. Check Amazon first. I was amazed by what I have been able sell used toys for on Amazon. It the toy has a box with a bar code, it’s very easy to find and sell them. Simply type in the numbers under the bar code into the Amazon search bar.
Even toys without boxes can be sold by searching for the name of the toy. This is true even of smaller Tonka toys, action figures, baby toys, etc. It sometimes takes a while to sell, but they often sell for a lot more than on eBay. Board games can sell very well on Amazon, too, but toys can sometimes take a long time to get off your shelves.
What you don’t list on Amazon, check on eBay. If your toy or groups of toys have sold well on EBay in completed listings, make a listing and sell them. Remember to always check discarded toys for usable batteries before listing them or getting rid of them. Batteries are expensive! They also add to the shipping weight, and should not be shipped inside of toys or electronics for fear of the batteries leaking and causing damage.
OK. All of the toys that have not been listed on Amazon and EBay can be put in a box. Cut off anything with a copper wire or brass pieces and save them. Look and see if there is anything worth disassembling for parts. Tip: I have sold battery compartment covers, cases from electronic games, board game pieces, and lots of other parts that are easily broken or lost on eBay for good money.
Everything that can’t be sold or scrapped should go in the Goodwill box. Write down all of the toys in the box for your taxes.
Next go to your storage areas, closets and attic. Go through all of your junk boxes. Take out everything that might be collectible and check values in EBay completed listings. Most any everyday item that is usable and in good condition can also be sold on EBay. Put all of your electronics and appliances in one area. If they work, check completed listings and see if they have value on EBay. If they do have value, sell them. If they don’t, scrap them for metal value.
Keep metals separated, especially copper and brass. Many scrap dealers will also buy electronics by the pound for scrap value. You can sell the electric motors inside of electronics, as well as any parts containing solid copper (not wires) as ‘copper breakage’ for good money. I will provide you with a sample list from a scrap dealer that shows how to scrap appliances and what you can get per pound for the pieces.
Check all of your home décor items (knick-knacks, curios) on EBay to see if they are worth selling there. Many have decent value. Some you can group together in a lot (Hallmark ornaments, collectible plates, bells, etc.). If you have anything that looks like it is made of brass or is copper colored, check them with a magnet. If they don’t stick to a magnet, they are pure copper or brass and should be sold as such. Currently, spot price for copper is over $3 a pound and brass is over $2 a pound. You can either save these metals for scrap value, or sell on EBay if you think you can make more than the spot price per pound. If you have high value items like Longaberger baskets, nice antiques, or Hummel figurines, make sure you know what they are worth before listing them, or have them appraised. They can be worth big bucks.
Now go to the garage or tool shed. Take any power tool that you don’t use and see if it works. If it does, and there is value on EBay, sell it there. Most power tools sell well on EBay. If it does not have value and the tool has a rechargeable battery, the batteries are often worth as much as the used sale price of the whole tool, if the battery has good life left. The battery charger should also be sold with the battery, or separately if the battery is dead.
Hand tools can be sold in lots or individually, in some cases. Everything left that is made of metal, put in your scrap metal pile. Anything electric that doesn’t work should at least have the power cord cut off for copper scrap. Heavier items should be disassembled for copper breakage and other scrap value. Check anything that contains a battery to see if the batteries or battery holders are usable or sellable.
We have completed the home sweep. You probably found a bunch of other sellable stuff that I did not even mention, once you got searching. You now also know where to look for good stuff in your relatives and friends homes. Most of the time they will give you this stuff for free, especially if you are willing to do some work and clean up the boxes and other stuff lying around their homes for them.
Additionally, metals like copper, non-magnetic aluminum and brass can be easily collected in a small box by your family and friends, and then you can pick up the boxes periodically when you visit them. Perhaps you feel generous, and decide to give them a little cash for their trouble.
Once you have practiced at home, you will come up with all sorts of places to find similar items for cheap. Sellers at garage sales, second-hand stores, Salvation Armies, Goodwill Stores and flea markets often have not done their homework on what they have for sale, and you can get high-end items for under a dollar, especially at garage sales.
Check the road-sides for free metal, especially anything with a power cord.