Moving is way too expensive: You’ll pay for the movers, the truck, the packing tape—not to mention the new home. (Sorry, actually we just mentioned it.) Why not get some of that money back?
Making money on your move isn’t as hard as you might think: After all, you already have the perfect opportunity to dig through your possessions and decide what’s worth keeping and what needs to go. The only difference is rather than donating everything or throwing it away in a panic, you sell it instead.
Not sure where that extra money might come from? Here are 10 common castoffs that you should consider cashing in on instead.
Money you’ll make: About $1 per box
Boxes pile up after a move—and considering how expensive they are to buy new from Home Depot, it makes sense there’s a thriving community of people seeking out cheaper alternatives. While you can put them on Craigslist’s “free” section, why not get some change instead? Try websites such as BoxCycle, where you can get 50 cents to $2 per box, depending on its size.
Money you’ll make: 15% to 75% of the item’s original value
Consignment stores will typically list your items at about 30% of their original retail price, of which you’ll get 50%. If the item doesn’t sell within a month or so, though, the price will get slashed. (And then slashed again.)
If your furniture collection is truly something special, try listing it on specialty stores online such as Krrb or Chairish. Be prepared: You might need to wait. Unless you’re in a high-traffic city such as New York or San Francisco, it might take a few weeks—or even longer—for the right buyer to find your special item. So the earlier you can list your vintage Eames chair, the better.
Old smartphones & electronics
Money you’ll make: Up to $250 for an iPhone 6 or similar recent smartphones, and $5 to $25 for older models
Are you a gadget churner? Have you uncovered a box of working—but old—phones, iPods, or other electronics during the move? Even your old flip phones can net you a few bucks. Your best bet is the nearest ecoATM, which analyzes your model and spits out money on the spot (you can decline any offer). Unlike online shops such as Gazelle and uSell, ecoATM accepts a wider range of devices—even old MP3 players.
Money you’ll make: Up to 50% of what you paid (with a sharp decline based on wear, tear, and style)
While taking clothes you just don’t wear anymore to your local Buffalo Exchange for upfront cash (or store credit) is a great option—especially if your clothes are standard mall “fast fashion”—you can also ship them to an online clothing consignment shop such as thredUP or Tradesy, which will photograph and sell your items, then send you a cut of the proceeds.
Money you’ll make: $1 to $20 per item, depending on how long (and hard) your children wore them
Yard sales are a classic way to unload children’s items: A lot of people shop for kids’ stuff at garage sales. Most kids grow out of stuff so fast, and then you’re left with a shirt that’s been worn two times. You can also upsell your buyers with toys and other kid gear.
If you’re not up for a yard sale (or if you don’t have a yard), consider selling the stuff on child-centric consignment sites, instead. Specialized stores such as Once Upon A Child will take everything from clothing to costumes to swimwear, meaning you can even make back some of the cost of the bathing suit little Susie wore for three weeks last summer.
Money you’ll make: $10 to $100 or more, depending on brand
If you’re upgrading to newer, fancier tool models in your move, comb through your garage looking for Craftsman, Mac, Matco, Cornwell, or Snap-on brand equipment, which can fetch top dollar on eBay. Whatever you find stowed away, make sure to price it out; even lesser-known brands turned out the occasional hit, which could garner you a healthy check through online marketplaces.
Books & magazines
Money you’ll make: Up to $20 per page for a rare item—and pennies for everything else
Considering the current plight of the used bookstore, you can’t expect much from your old stacks of bound paper. If you’re a book fiend, try to sell at a used bookstore that you like, and take your payment in trade rather than cash—you’ll get better value.
Still, if you have a pristine copy of a classic like “The Velveteen Rabbit” or a vintage set of National Geographic magazines, you might be surprised by what they go for online—intact or even just one choice page. On Etsy and eBay, you’ll find a niche online market seeking carefully cut-out vintage prints from old books and magazines. For instance, a Nike ad with Michael Jordan in a 1990s Chicago newspaper sold on eBay for $23. Not bad for a piece of old newsprint.
Records or CDs
Money you’ll make: Probably between 10 cents to $5 per album
Looking to offload your music collection? Hope you have good taste! Music retailer Amoeba Records pays 10 cents to $5 for most CDs, based on the format, artist, popularity, condition, and existing inventory. If you’re sitting on a rare Beatles album, you might be looking at a big paycheck—but you could score even with more obscure gems. Set up an account on Discogs or CDandLP to determine how much your collection is worth. While the sites do take a fee of about 8%, you’re still earning most of the record’s value.
Money you’ll make: Full value or more for rare items, or a few bucks for the rest of your collection
If you’re sitting on a stockpile of vintage Pyrex, get thee to Etsy and unload. Bright colors and funky patterns are blogger catnip, with rare models such as this turquoise chip and dip set going for $100 or more.
Anything else you need to unload
Money you’ll make: 30% or less of the retail price of your possessions
Once you’ve vanquished most of your excess belongings, what should you do with the rest? Putting one item on Craigslist per week for the past year—could bank more than $1,000 in the process.
Just don’t expect to make back everything you spent:
Most of us think our stuff is worth a lot more than the normal person would because we own it. You have to be flexible with your price to get it out of the house.
If you’re not getting any bites, Money recommends lowering the price bit by bit until you start receiving inquiries.
And don’t skimp on the pictures: Skip the dingy basement, and lug your furniture to the yard or a bright, colorful room.
It seems cleaner and happier. It will sell faster, and you’ll get more money.
Donating can pay, too
Even though you won’t walk away with cash in hand, donating your items can save you money, too. Give your castoffs to a charitable organization recognized by the IRS, and you can get a tax deduction—generally, the fair market value of those items (try a service like It’s Deductible to help you calculate). You can claim these deductions up to 50% of your adjusted gross income (although in some cases 20% or 30% limits may apply).