The New Year brings resolutions, holiday bills and closets clogged with Christmas gifts you can't use. Now would be a good time to prune your unwanted belongings to bring in extra cash and keep your mind off that diet.
What you consider junk others may consider treasure, so here are five ways to turn unused items into cash.
1. eBay Auction
Auctioning items on eBay exposes your sale to millions of buyers, but it's important to understand the process and how best to market your items. eBay is a good outlet for lighter items you can pack in a box and take to the post office without risking a hernia.
To ascertain the worth and marketability of your item, search for similar items at eBay's "Completed Listings" list under "Advanced Search". You must register first, but there is no charge for registration. Before you post your listing, read through eBay's seller's recommendation guide.
You'll pay roughly 10 percent of the money you earn in fees, including posting your listing, completing a sale and receiving payment through PayPal.
2. Amazon Sales
Amazon.com allows you to sell all kinds of products, not just books. You'll pay fees to Amazon only if your item sells. Commissions range from 6 to 15 percent of the sale price, depending on the product. Amazon also charges $.99 for each transaction and levies a closing fee that varies by item.
3. Consignment Shops
These retail stores resell your merchandise and keep a percentage of the final sale price. Many shops specialize in clothing, but you also can find shops that sell furniture, kitchen items, antiques, etc. It may take some time for larger items to sell, but you're likely to earn more than if you sold them through a garage sale. Check with a consignment store to make sure they sell such items and make sure all are in good condition.
Bartering Web sites and clubs are becoming quite trendy, with sites dedicated to various products you might want to get rid of and general-product sites, such as the barter portion of CraigsList. For example, you can swap clothing at RehashClothes.com and Swapstyle.com, books at BookMooch.com and PaperBackSwap.com, and children's items at TotsSwapShop.com and Kizoodle.com. BarterClub.com includes a listing of barter clubs by type of business and location.
5. Garage Sales
While it's rather early to start thinking about garage sales, now is a good time to start setting aside items for next summer's sale. The best items to sell include small household goods, clothing, basic furniture (such as dressers, beds, etc.) and baby gear. Make sure all items are in relatively good shape and price them as you set them aside to avoid confusion the morning of the sale. Your local newspaper's classified ad section is still the best place to advertise a sale, but you also can post your sale at CraigsList.com, GarageSaleHunter and YardSaleSearch.