“I bet I could sell this.” An excellent idea or famous last words?
You have a lot of stuff. There’s no shame in that. One of the fastest growing sectors of real estate is public storage. That means that you are not alone! We all have stuff—the things that we can’t quite throw away, that will someday find a home, or that we are sure could be “worth something.” It may be a set of baseball cards, some fine crystal or even Dad’s old saxophone… it seems valuable, so we hold onto it. It moves from dorm room to first apartment, perhaps to a friend’s basement for a while, and finally to storage. It’s definitely safe and sound, but why not take the big leap and sell it?
If you have things in storage—whether a rented storage unit, your parents’ basement, or the hall closet of your apartment—that you are planning to sell, there’s no time like the present. Let’s say you have an entire box, already labeled “To Sell.” In that case you are one step ahead of the game: you’ve identified what to sell and you are ready to part with it. (If you don’t have that box, now is a good time to grab an empty box and start tossing “To Sell” items into it.) Once you have gathered up your “To Sell” items, it’s time to discern the best place to sell them.
There are four general categories into which consumer-marketed items fit: items that will gain value (anything made of precious metals is a great example!); items that are popular today and will sell quickly (i.e., the designer jacket you bought on sale but have never worn); niche items with a known value (collectibles fall into this category); and one-time wonders. Let’s take a look at each category.
Items that will gain value
Coins, gold, silver… our great grandparents knew that these were good investments 100 years ago, and they remain so today. For these items, as well as fine jewelry, many people rush to a “We Buy Gold” shop. Before you do that, seek an appraisal. You can go to a jewelry store, a coin expert or a certified appraiser. Knowing the value of your items is empowering—it puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to selling. With your written appraisal in hand, you can sell to jewelers, collectors and direct buyers.
Did you get three Nespresso® machines as wedding gifts? Head to eBay and conduct a “completed items” search for “Nespresso NIB (New in Box).” This will give you a sense of the online value of what you are offering. Be sure to add lots of photos and keywords (those are the words people will use to search for your item) to your listing to make it magnetic.
What do Hello Kitty, John Deere and Elvis have in common? They are adored by millions and, as such, any items that resonate with fans are highly collectible. First, find out as much as you can about what you have. Next, if you are wondering about the value of your collectibles, check online sales portals like eBay, RubyLane.com and Etsy. Then write a great description, add photos, and sell!
This is the least predictable, and most fun, category. When you have something that doesn’t quite fit anywhere, yet you know in your gut it’s got sales appeal, it very well may fall into this category. It could be the result of your one and only foray into throwing pottery. Perhaps it’s a little trinket you picked up that summer you were traveling through Central America. Or, on a much more pragmatic note, it’s the inappropriately expensive gift from the guy or gal you never saw again. If you have no emotional attachment to it, sell it! A great place to start is Etsy. It’s simple and inexpensive to list and the site has millions of visitors. Who knows? Your “bad pottery” may be someone else’s “fine art.”
No matter where your “To Sell” items are currently stashed, selling them will free up some space in your life and give you cash to pursue your next big dream.
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