6 tips to make money off old stuff

IMG_INCENTIVES_jpg_1_1_HPODDS4_displayCleaning out your closet or garage? You can always donate your old things to a charity, of course. But why not get paid for them?

I know, you’re saying you don’t have time to hold a garage sale.  But hre are some other ideas to sell your old stuff.

JUNK CARS Lots of people donate their old junk cars, sometimes to shady sort-of-charities, because they don’t realize they have residual value. A junker will come and pick up your car and take it to a junkyard for parts, or directly to the scrap metal yard. Expect to earn around $300 for a car in any condition. I just called around and got rid of my old car, by calling numerous places I got the offer up to $400. You need to have the title in hand. If you don’t have a title, order one from the DMV. Just do an online search for “buy junk cars” and you’re going to find lots of places to call.

CRAIGS LIST I know, a lot of people worry they’ll get scammed somehow on Craig’s List or they don’t want strangers in their house. Well, I just meet prospective customers outside in my front yard. Make sure you post a photo of the item on your listing, and ask a little more for it than you’ll actually take, so people can bargain you down.  If you don’t want to meet strangers at your house and your item is portable, meet at a fast food place instead.  I actually bought furniture for my son’s room out of the front yard, where the sellers had hauled it so I wouldn’t be inside their house. Made it easier to take home, too.

AUCTIONS If you have nice furnishings, office equipment, home items or jewelry you want to get rid of, you can sell it at auction and take home a check.  South Coast Auction in Santa Ana is one company that will get rid of things for you. You bring your items to them, they auction them off on Wednesday afternoons, and you get the money, less their commission. Very simple and straightforward. It’s also a good place to look for items, too.

PAWN SHOPS People are less leery about going into a pawn shop these days, after the success of TV reality shows like Pawn Stars or Hardcore Pawn that feature how they work. You can pawn items–essentially get a loan against their value–but you can also sell things there. Pawn shops typically want smaller items, depending on the store, but they often buy musical instruments, golf clubs, electronics, jewelry, if it’s small and reasonably valuable, in good condition, they might be interested. Remember to bargain.

GOLD BUYERS If you want to sell your gold jewelry or coins, go to more than one broker. At the first broker, get an offer in writing. Always ask if they can do better. Then, take your jewelry to a second broker, with the offer in writing, and see if they’ll give you more. Get the second offer in writing as well. Do this a few times, and you’ll find your offers going up and up. Never take the first price offered anywhere, and don’t be disappointed if it’s less than you expected. If you discover that your jewelry isn’t solid gold, you might still be able to sell it at a pawn shop or vintage shop.

ELECTRONICS KIOSKS If you just bought a new iPhone and you want to sell your old one fast, check out the buy-back kiosks you can find in dozens of malls around here that buy cellphones, MP3 players and tablets. You place your device in their ATM-like machine, it’s automatically read in some sort of magical way, and then you’re offered a cash price. If you accept it, you get cash on the spot. You must provide a valid ID and thumbprint to deter sale of stolen goods. Check out ecoATM.com and look for locations.


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Author: Marla Jo Fisher

Marla Jo Fisher is the Frumpy Middle-age Mom and the Deals Diva columnist for the Orange County Register, where she tries to be funny and save you money. Web: http://marlajofisher.com

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