Guest Blog – Submitted by Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers
My household seems to accumulate “stuff” pretty quickly. No matter how many times I clean out the drawers and closets, it seems like clutter always fills my home. Some of the extra items include clothes that my son has outgrown, toys he no longer plays with, electronic gadgets that I no longer use, and old clothing.
So how can you stay ahead of the curve and keep your house relatively clutter-free? More than likely, you have already considered having a garage sale. Although this seems like a natural solution when you need to de-clutter, having a garage sale may not be the best way to get rid of items in your home.
Before you place a classified ad and begin pricing your children’s old clothes, consider these alternatives to having a garage sale:
1. Donate Your Items
Donate unused items to get rid of them. If you donate to your church or any qualified charity, you can write off the amount of your donation on your taxes if you can prove the items were in good used condition. Keep accurate receipts of your donations throughout the year, keep records that prove the worth of the items donated, and value your items accurately. Learn more about tax deductions for charitable donations if you decide to go this route.
2. Sell to Pawn Shops
Consider selling your items to a pawn shop. Pawn shops buy items all the time for resale. Unwanted jewelry, especially unwanted gold, is selling at an all-time high and pawn shops pay more for gold now than they ever have in the past. Your other household goods may not get much in return, but you may still get more than if you have a garage sale.
3. Sell to Consignment Stores
Sell your gently used clothing and household goods at a consignment store. You typically have to pay a nominal fee to sign up for a new account with a consignment store, and then as items sell you receive a portion of the sale price.
4. Post a Classified Ad
Place a classified ad to sell some of your items. Use an ad to sell large items such as furniture, a large television, or lawn equipment. Classified ads work well for finding a targeted group of potential customers who want to buy your unique items and antiques. Many classifieds can be posted online for free.
5. Sell Online
You can also sell your items online. If you have ever purchased anything online, you can learn how to sell an item online. You have to set up an account, list your items, manage your account, and pack and ship your items to buyers. Whatever website you use to sell your items, utilize Craigslist and eBay to learn more about market values for the items you want to sell.
6. Hold an Auction
You can sell items through a local auction house. If you have memorabilia, collections, or antiques, you can make a lot of money when you sell your items at auction. You can offer items to the auction house on consignment, or negotiate payment based on the auction outcome.
7. Hold an Estate Sale
Instead of selling the items yourself, you can contract with one of the many companies that hold estate sales. Contrary to popular belief, estate sales do not only occur when someone has passed away. Many people who need to make extra money, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of a garage sale, hire estate sale agents to hold the sale. You have to pay a commission to the estate sales company, usually a percentage of the total sale.
8. Host a Swap Party
Organize a swap party to de-clutter your home. Get friends, neighbors, family, and their gently used items together for a thrifty night of trading. Spice it up a little by serving drinks and appetizers, or have everyone bring some food to keep costs down. You can get rid of the things you no longer use, pick up something you actually need for free, and have fun socializing with friends and family.
I employ a combination of all the alternatives that I listed above to get rid of items that my family and I no longer need. I donate some items, I take some things to pawn shops, I place classified ads, I sell items online, and I’ve hosted a swap party. I really enjoyed the swap party, and I became acquainted with quite a few of my neighbors during the event. In the end, you have a number of profitable options available for selling your unwanted items. The traditional garage sale should be your last resort.
Do you have any other options for getting rid of your stuff? What has worked best for you as an alternative to garage sales?