Will Anyone Actually Buy This?

Whatever kind of old junk you have lying around the house holds some valuable.  Someone, somewhere out there, wants it.  And in most cases, it's worth trying to get in contact with them and seeing what they are willing to pay for your things.  What makes it even better is that now, thanks to the internet, it has become easier than ever to reach out to that person who's treasure is your trash.  Below are some of the best ways to clear up that clutter for cash:

1. eBay

eBay is perhaps the most well known way of selling things online.  It's great if you have items that are a bit more out of the way or uncommon, such as antiques or collectibles.  That old dusty special edition mug you got as a mail in order from a cereal box 20 years ago?  eBay is your best bet at reaching a buyer.  The primary downside to using their service is their very high fees (between PayPal taxes and an approximate cut of 11%, you lose quite a bit.)  However, that is the price you pay for being able to sell to such a large market.

eBay v. AmazonCredit: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/robertwood/files/2011/11/Ebay.jpg

2. Amazon

Chances are, you've been an Amazon buyer in the past.  What you probably didn't know is just how easy it is to be an Amazon seller.  Have you ever gone to the Amazon sales page for a DVD that retails at $14.99, and seen the little links that say "23 new from $12.99, 18 used from $6.99".  You can be one of those 18 people selling used.  

Of course, people tend to shop for different things on Amazon than they do on eBay.  A good bet for Amazon is to only sell items that you would probably see on the shelves at your local Wal-Mart.  This is because the way to reach buyers on Amazon is through the previously set up sales pages.  So CDs, DVDs, video games, and books are good things to list up.  The types of items that you see people exchanging on the popular show "Pawn Stars" will likely be unpopular for this type of marketplace.  As far as downsides go, Amazon does take a rather large fee too, but unlike eBay, it doesn't cost you a penny to list your items for sale, so if nothing sells, you haven't lost anything.

3. Craigslist

Forget your local newspapers classifieds Craigslist is the next advancement in the line of local exchanges.  There are several advantages to selling on Craigslist that you won't get elsewhere.  The first is that everything is local to you, so you don't need to worry about shipping fees or items being lost in the mail.  This makes Craigslist a great place to sell items that are heavy or oddly shaped- your postal office and wallet will thank you!  The other advantage to Craigslist is that you control all of the finances.  There are no fees, you control what price you will take, and if there's something else you are looking for, you can say you're open to trades as well.

Craigslist is not all fun and games though, and there are some things to keep in mind.  Those scary stories you hear about Craigslist meet-ups are true.  Buying and selling on Craigslist can be perfectly safe, but you have to make sure you are smart about it.  That means you always meet in a public place (personally, I always pick the parking lot of my local Target) and always tell a friend or family member where you are going before you leave, as well as when they can expect you back.  If you have a larger item, such as furniture, and they need to come to your house to move it, then have a couple of other people over before you invite the stranger inside.  Craigslist mays seem scary or intimidating, but it really isn't as long as you put in a bit of preparation.

4. Etsy

If you have something home-made, Etsy is the best place to find a buyer.  The site thrives off of creative shops and sellers, and is all about homemade crafts and items of artistic as well as intrinsic value.  If you're into the new trend of making items out of duct tape- Etsy is full of your people, and they've got money to give you!  Original clothing also sells well here, so if that's the business direction you are interested in heading, Etsy is a great place to get started, or at the very least, test the waters.

5. Listia

Unlike the previous items on this list, Listia does not allow you to earn money for selling your items.  However, by posting an auction on Listia, you can give away your old junk, and earn Listia credits.  Credits can then be used for bidding on auctions in which other members are giving away their stuff.  As for what members give away, it varies greatly.  It all depends on who wants to get rid of what, and you have to check back every day for thousands of new and different giveaways.  There are gift cards, video games, books, laptops, electronics, jewelry, and just about anything you can think of.

ListiaCredit: http://s3.amazonaws.com/crunchbase_prod_assets/assets/images/resized/0005/5340/55340v10-max-250x250.png

6. uSell

uSell, among other similar sites, began as a website for helping recycle used cell phones to new owners, but now has expanded into much more.  The site is very simple and easy to use, and while you may not get the most amount of money possible for your item, it's also very fast and gives you an almost instant cash quote.  Let's say you want to get rid of your old iPod.  You select which kind of iPod you have (shuffle, nano, touch, etc.), you pick the generation, and then select what kind of condition your item is in.  You'll then get cash offers from various companies that want to buy it.  You ship them out your item, they inspect it to make sure you were honest about the condition, and then they send you money!

7. Half

Half.com is now owned by eBay, and the similarities are now very distinct.  However, Half remains a better place for selling than eBay for one particular type of item- books.  Many people in the past have expressed frustration at the low resale value of books.  A hardcover book you paid $30 for will fetch a fraction of the price on Amazon, even if it's in flawless condition.  I've bought books off of Amazon for as low as $0.01- all I've had to do was pay for shipping!  But among all of this, Half remains a strong marketplace for used books, particularly if you are a college student looking to get rid of last semester's material.


If you continue to have trouble selling your old junk, don't despair.  There are some selling tips that will come to you over time.  Continue to test different techniques- take better pictures from different angles, adjust your prices and shipping fees, change what day and time you list the item for sale, etc.  You may think that no one wants what you're selling, but with the millions of people buying stuff online, the more likely option is that you just haven't found the right customer yet.