Trash To Cash: Convert Abandoned & Spare Household Goods Into Money

I’ve made hundreds of dollars $ recently by selling things I rescued from neighbours moving out and household items we didn’t need any more that were taking up space. Unfortunately we live in a throwaway society. You can make money by taking advantage of people who are too lazy or time poor to fix small problems with unwanted household goods like consumer electronics, furniture, vaccuum cleaners, heaters, fans etc.

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Every week from Friday to Sunday night items appear in the basement common bin room area of my apartment block and outside on the street kerbside.

There are often valuable items dumped there by neighbours who are cleaning their home but the best items are almost always from people who have had to move home suddenly and don’t have time to sell spare household stuff.

So keep an eye out in your apartment building bin room / street side / neighbourhood before each bin night or annual cleanup day.

What’s Valuable With Resale Value?

Some of the things are useless like broken/rusted furniture, mattresses or undamaged but have no resale value like fiction books and DVD’s.

There are always exceptions to a rule eg boxsets of popular TV/Movie box sets and higher end hardcopy or specialist books like University textbooks.

When you spot items that are in good physical condition, perhaps a bit dusty/dirty but easily cleaned, these are the ones you should consider rescuing, tidying up and reselling.

Examples of good potential sale items include picture frames, heaters, vacuum cleaners, furniture, consumer electronics, children’s toys, brand name fashion items eg designer glasses frames, interesting glassware especially vintage eg Pyrex or Corning Ware, sports gear, retro/nostalgia items eg record players or old video games like Super Nintendo,

Timing

Bear in mind that some items are more valuable at particular times of year eg I sold a heater at the beginning of Winter and it was bid for swiftly. In comparison selling a heater at the beginning of spring will result in little interest and not much money even if you get a sale.

Setting Prices and Maximising Buyer Bids

From my experience more buyers are likely to bid and offer larger amounts of money for a 2nd hand item if you include at least one if not more high quality photos of the item, a proper description of all it’s features, whether the manual/user guide is included and whether you are selling it with the original packaging and receipt.

Make sure you set a reasonable price by checking

  1. Online stores to see what the item costs to buy new, if your item is in good condition you might set your price at 75% of the new price. Obviously you will rarely resell an item for more than a new version that comes with a warranty but it is possible on occasion with highly popular fashion/gadgets.
  2. Marketplaces like Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook buy/sell/swap groups to find out what other people are selling the same item for. If you set a price that’s too high no one will buy but if you set it too low then you’ll miss out on easy $.
  3. The cost of selling items by post/courier. If your buyers are likely to live far away then you may need to pay for packaging material and postal/courier fees to send them the items they buy secondhand. Obviously this has to be included in the price you set. I prefer to sell to local buyers who are willing to pickup items they win bidding for, as it saves me a lot of time dealing with my local Post shop and couriers.

Entrepreneur.com has some more good tips for setting prices when trying to sell used and collectible items:

Ultimately, pricing used products for resale is very much what the market will bear, but you can greatly increase the odds of securing top dollar by selling products that are in good condition, work, and are in demand, and by selling through the right venues and to the right audience.

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