Under my crawl space, in a Rubbermaid bin, I’ve stored a collection of porcelain chickens. I don’t particularly care to keep them, so I’m thinking of selling them. However, I’m not sure how much they’re worth.

Before selling them, I need to do a check. I’m pretty sure, just from eBay, that at least one of them is “worth” something around $75. But, seeing as some of these chickens are bone fide antiques, I’m thinking I might want them appraised before I try to sell them.

Of course, no matter what anyone says they are worth, those chickens are only worth what someone is willing to pay me for them. As you consider what your stuff is worth, and the price you could probably fetch for various items, it’s a good idea to think about where you should sell certain items, and how you are likely to make the most money from them.

Garage Sale

Many people like to have garage sales. They’re quick, and if you do your yard sale right, you can get rid of a bunch of stuff, and have quite a bit of money left over. Your best bet with a garage/yard sale is to focus on small, portable items like clothing, toys and household items. Baby clothes and toys can be huge sellers at yard sales. However, if there is something that you suspect could be truly valuable, don’t offer it at a garage sale — people expect to get bargains, and there are yard salers just looking to pay pennies on the dollar for items they can sell to collectors.

Local Classifieds

If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to sell larger, bulkier items, the local Classifieds might be the way to go. People expect that they will have to come pick up such items, and make the proper arrangements for a large enough vehicle. You can also use Craigslist for such items, listing them in your local area. You might have to haggle with potential buyers, but you are still likely to get more money selling your items this way than you would get at a garage sale.

Online Sites

In some cases, you can sell less valuable collectibles, and other items, online. However, you want to try to make sure you limit yourself to smaller items; you don’t want to pay a great deal for shipping. You should also be careful to pack items properly so they don’t get broken. Look through completed listings for items similar to what you’re selling to get an idea of what you might be able to get.


One of the increasingly popular ways to earn money on your stuff is to use consignment. Consignment shops are cropping up all over. In this arrangement, a store sells your stuff on your behalf, and splits the profits with you. We actually used a consignment store before we moved cross-country to unload some of the things we didn’t want to take with us. It worked really well. Make sure you understand the agreement before you sign it, though, and be careful of what you offer.

Auctions, Antique Dealers and Pawn Shops

If you have items that are truly valuable (have them independently appraised first), you might do best if you arrange to have the item sold at an auction, or if you offer it to an antique dealer. Even some pawn shops will pay outright — and well — for unique and valuable items. Be sure that you understand the true value before you go in to deal, though.

Bottom Line

There are a number of ways to get cash for your stuff. Even if you can’t sell it, you might be able to barter on a site like Freecycle, or you can donate items in good condition to a thrift store, and receive a tax deduction (be sure to get a receipt).

Creative Commons License photo credit: brum d


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