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A Tidy Profit - How to Make Money Out of Unwanted Items

April 24, 20225 min read

It has been a topical theme recently, but it’s a timeless one for many of us: how do we make our household budgets go further? As a professional organiser, it is a fantastic perk of the job to be able to offer my clients the opportunity of extra cash (through them selling valuable but unwanted items) or money saving options through tidy, organised workflows.

A box with clothes, a blue bowl, a pair of trainers and a watch.

I have created a roundup of some handy ways in which your clutter can become someone else’s treasure, with you making some cash in the process. Think there is not much money to be made out of your unloved items? Think again. A study by the online lender MYJAR estimated the average adult had unwanted stored goods worth £1,600.

So start removing stale belongings one drawer at a time and reconquer space in your home while earning cash. All you need in most cases is your smart phone, a can-do attitude and the right option of platforms – you can pick depending on your needs from my tried and tested recommendations below:

Have rather large objects that can’t be easily packed and sent through post?

Use Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree – both are localised and can be particularly handy for larger items that need collection, like large toys, garden items and furniture. Be prepared for negotiation on price.

Have a variety of smaller items that are still valuable but not useful to you?

For money collections to sunglasses and jewellery, try Vintage Cash Cow. This platform is one of my personal favourites,  that I often recommend to clients. A great way to earn some money from things you have lying around the house. They accept a range of items including old jewellery (including broken items), costume jewellery, old, obsolete or foreign money, watches, sunglasses and writing instruments.

Simply check their website for details of what they accept, attach one of their labels to a box of items, send it off and they will contact you with an offer. If you accept, they put the money in your bank the same day. If you decline, they simply send the items back to you free of charge.

“I just wanted to say thanks to Kate – I always read her updates and advice, as there are often little nuggets to take away and work with! A recent one highlighted Vintage Cash Cow & the potential to clear out & make a little money too! So, I gave it a go after seeing that recent post – it was a great experience from start to finish and I now have a sum of cash I wouldn’t otherwise have had, for things that would still be sitting in my loft!! Thanks Kate for the great advice as always and for the prompt!!”

If you are looking to empty your wardrobe of unwanted but still wearable clothes

If you’re decluttering your wardrobe, you can list your pre-worn pieces for free with Vinted via their app. There are no selling fees, so you keep what you earn. Once you have sold and shipped your items, you simply wait for the buyer to confirm all is well and then the payment is deposited into your Vinted Balance. From there you can use the funds to buy from Vinted, or withdraw them to your bank account. This is particularly good for selling higher-end high street brands. Do bear in mind the amount of time you will need to spend photographing, listing and packaging/posting the items and weigh that up against potential income.

For designer items, you might want to check out Vestiaire Collective.

For hardcore fans of old fashioned face to face haggling and a full day out

Look for local car boot sales. Car boot sales require quite a bit of preparation and can be very weather dependent, but with a bit of planning it can be a great way to sell a volume of items in one go. Put in the effort to make things look as appealing as possible – a little dusting, cleaning or ironing can have a positive impact on how attractive items will be to potential buyers.

A typical car boot sale day can leave sellers with around £80 in profit (Source).

Top tip – for items that don’t sell, drop them off at a charity shop on your way home.

Make money out of unwanted electronics, CDs, DVDs, Lego and more

Music Magpie – Not only for music! They also pay cash for a host of other items including old phones and electronics, LEGO, textbooks, CDs and DVDs. It can be time-consuming to scan barcodes, and the return can be fairly minimal, but it can be a convenient and simple way to clear some space, make some income and keep items out of landfill.

Looking to place precious books into loving hands?

Search for book dealers – if you have a substantial collection, some rare or first editions or signed copies, it is worth getting in touch with them to discuss. You can send photos of the books in situ so they can give an initial indication of whether the items will be of interest. Or you can sell them individually online via Amazon Marketplace or eBay, or any quantity via We Buy Books.

Getting ready to part with valuable art objects, collections or furniture?

Look for auction houses – ideal for art, ornaments, jewellery, antique furniture and collections of items i.e. stamps, coins, cigarette cards. Get in touch with your local auctioneer to discuss items which might be of interest along with their expectations in terms of value.

Remember, the best way to keep finances and clutter in check is to use up what you have, love things for longer where possible i.e. clothes and toys, and not spend unnecessarily. A method like the one I describe in A Better Organised Home in 30 Days* can be a great way to keep your possessions in check and move on quickly once something has stopped bringing that desired sparkle into your life.

I hope you find my recommendations for making money while decluttering useful and a good place to start turning unwanted items into money. Still feeling overwhelmed by the task? I offer virtual and in-person services to help. Take the first step with a free consultation with me – simply use my calendar here to book a first conversation around your decluttering and organising goals.

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Kate Galbally

Kate Galbally is a professional organiser based in Glasgow. Kate is passionate about supporting female professionals to achieve a more balanced, calm and productive life. Whether at home or in your working environment, Kate will help you with all of your decluttering and organising challenges.

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