3 easy ways to resell your stuff for quick cash

By Jackie Lam

Reviewed by James Heflin

Jul 13, 2023

Read time: 2 min

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Are you in a financial pinch? Is rent due, like tomorrow? If your options are slim and you need cash ASAP without falling into a debt trap or selling a kidney, try selling your stuff for quick cash.  

When you're short on cash or simply trying to boost your income, guess what? Your home is a great place to search for buried treasure. As they say, one person's trash is another person's treasure. And you could transform your trash into a buyer's treasure if you decide to sell your stuff. 

Here are three ways you can sell unwanted belongings and get the cash flowing: 

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1. Set up a good old fashioned garage sale

Dust off that homemade "yard sale" sign and set up shop in your front yard or apartment complex. A garage sale is a simple way to unload anything you don't want and make some cash in the process.

To prep, go through your belongings and choose items to get rid of. This might include: 

  • Clothes 

  • Household items

  • Furniture 

  • Holiday decorations

  • Toys 

  • Tools 

  • Books 

  • Sporting equipment 

(Don't forget to check high closet shelves, under your bed, and other easily-forgotten corners and areas.)

Clean up your stuff—because shabby or dirty things are harder to sell. Then, figure out the prices. Buy labels or use masking tape to price everything. It’s easier than trying to price on the spot when people are asking. 

You'll need a chair, tables, shoe racks, and clothing racks, but don’t buy them. Check the "Free Finds" section of Nextdoor or ask for loaners in your local Buy Nothing group. If all else fails, you can display your goods on large blankets on the ground. You’ll probably want some shade so bring a canopy if you have one. If not, wear a hat.

The bigger the sale, the bigger the crowd. To attract more shoppers, organize a group yard sale that includes your friends and neighbors. Advertise it on Nextdoor and social media.

Some cities require you to have a permit to hold a garage sale. Plus, there might be a cap on the number of times a year you can have a garage sale. So make sure you read up on the rules and secure a permit as needed. 

Pro tip: Selling your stuff is a great way to jump start a plan to get out of debt on a low income

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2. Split your profit with a consignment shop

People browse consignment shops because the goods have already been hand-selected. Check out neighborhood boutiques and used furniture stores, as well as larger resellers like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads. 

The way consignment shops work is like so: You bring in your gently used items. They will compensate you in one of three ways for whatever they agree to sell in their shop: 

  • Pay you on the spot. The amount will be a percentage of what they think they can sell it for (i.e., $5 if the item will go for $20 in the store). 

  • Pay you after the item is sold. The percentage can vary, but you might get 50% to 80%.

  • Give you store credit. This is usually more than if you received cash (i.e., $15 store credit for an item that will sell for $20). 

Trendy, in-demand, new, and well cared-for used items have the best odds of getting picked for consignment. 

Pro tip: Consignment shops are a great way to buy nice things second-hand and avoid overspending.

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3. Find even more buyers on online marketplaces

There's no shortage of online marketplaces where you can sell anything under the sun, from car parts to that unwanted giraffe lamp from your Aunt Jane lurking in the corner of your bedroom. 

A few well-known, widely used platforms to consider: 

  • Ebay

  • Craigslist 

  • Facebook Marketplace 

  • Mercari 

  • OfferUp 

You can also go niche. If you have a valuable piece for the home, try an upscale marketplace like Chairish or search for others that cater to interior designers. Etsy is great for crafty items. Poshmark, Tradesy, and Depop are popular clothing and accessory resale platforms. BicycleBlueBook is a place for all things bicycles.  

The benefit of selling on a site that focuses on a particular type of item is that you have a greater chance of selling to those who understand the value of what it is you're listing.

The key to selling your items online is to post several photos of the item. Make sure the images are clear and well-lit. Include all angles, as well as all markings or tags. Plus, write thorough descriptions with plenty of details. 

If you're selling locally on a site like Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp, consider logistics, such as where and when you’ll meet up with the buyer. A safe, public place, like in front of a coffee shop or supermarket, is a good idea. 

Should you need to ship your item, many platforms have built-in shipping calculators. When you set your price, don’t forget to factor in the cost of packaging supplies. 

Pro tip: Selling your stuff is a great way to pay off credit card debt.

Selling those unused space-fillers is a no-brainer. You can do it quickly, in a way that's easy and puts money into your bank account in no time.

Jackie Lam - Author

Jackie is an Achieve contributor. She is an accredited financial coach (AFC®) who has written for Business Insider, BuzzFeed, CNET, USA Today's Blueprint, and others. She coaches artists and freelancers.

James Heflin - Author

James is a financial editor for Achieve. He has been an editor for The Ascent (The Motley Fool) and was the arts editor at The Valley Advocate newspaper in Western Massachusetts for many years. He holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MA from Hollins University. His book Krakatoa Picnic came out in 2017.

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