How to profit from spring cleaning
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Cleaning out your closets and basements can be therapeutic.
It feels good to get rid of clutter. But if you're savvy and plan ahead, you also can make a tidy profit from selling your cast offs.
If you've ever watched "Antiques Roadshow," you know that one person's junk can be another's treasure. Perhaps the old rug you plan to toss isn't worth $150,000, like the rare tribal antique that a woman rescued from a trash bin, but taking the time to plan a yard sale, visit an appraiser, or sell your stuff online may bring you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Here are a few ways to make money by decluttering.
1. Hold a garage sale
Put price tags on your items, asking a steep discount to what they'd cost in mint condition, and expect some shoppers to haggle. That doesn't mean you have to cut prices on your goods, however, especially early in the sale, notes Chris Heiska on her blog, yardsalequeen.com.
Heiska, who lives in southern Maryland, also advises to clean yard-sale items, organize them well, and display them neatly. "If you try to sell your stuff, make it look the nicest you can," she says.
2. Have valuables appraised
If you think you've found an attic treasure that could help fund your retirement, it might be time to contact a reputable appraiser.
Whatever you're looking to sell, the Appraisers Association of America has a searchable database of appraisers based on location and specialty. You might also check nearby auction houses and see if their appraisers are members of the AAA and whether their reports follow Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice guidelines.
The Antiques Roadshow website offers tips for determining the value of your items.
3. Use a consignment shop
This is an option for other items you consider too valuable to sell in a yard sale. High-quality clothing and furniture in excellent condition are good candidates for consignment shops. According to howtoconsign.org, shops will typically pay you 40% to 60% of the sale price.
4. Sell on the Internet
Most people know you can sell items on eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon. But there are also a whole range of specialty sites to consider. Decluttr, for instance, offers a market for selling used CDs, DVDs, and video games. Poshmark enables you to list clothing and accessories through its mobile app.
The popular marketplace eBay offers numerous tips for successful selling. Among them:
- Use descriptive words to prompt buyers to look at your listing
- Use listings and completed sales of similar items in considering your pricing
- List specifics about your item, including condition
- Add high-quality, well-lit photos to listings
- Offer free shipping to attract more buyers
5. Pare your book inventory
Bring books to a used-book store that will buy them or give you store credit. Powell's will buy used books online, as will Amazon. Bookscouter.com, which allows sellers to compare price offers on used textbooks from more than 50 buyback vendors.
6. Cash in your coins
Did you inherit rare-looking coins? The American Numismatic Association offers a dealer directory on its website. If they're gold bullion coins, look up area coin dealers after checking spot gold prices to determine their approximate value. You also can find local coin dealers through the U.S. Mint, which lists authorized sellers of its gold bullion.
7. Give it away
If you lack the time or motivation to sell, you could donate to charity, such as a nonprofit thrift store. Your donation may be tax deductible and be helping people who need it.
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