Make money from your unwanted junk

One man's junk is another man's treasure – or so the saying goes. So, if it's been a while since you last had a good clear-out at home, you could be freeing up space and generating cash in one fell swoop.

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Finding the easiest and cheapest way to sell your unwanted clutter is a good place to start. Here we show you how.

Selling online

These days, the first place many people think of when it comes to selling unwanted items is the internet. And this presents several options.

Ebay: You can sell pretty much anything on this auction website, whether it's a sofa, children's toys or your wedding dress. But the one thing you need to watch out for is the fees.

The fees can be a tad confusing so it's vital to read through them carefully before deciding whether or not this is the option for you. After all, there's no point paying out more in fees than you'll earn from the items you're selling. Here are some of the fees you might face:

-Insertion fee: To sell on eBay you must create a listing and when you do this, you'll be charged an insertion fee. How much this is will depend on the starting price of your item, but it shouldn’t be more than around £1.30.

-Final value fee: If you successfully sell your item, you will be charged a final value fee. This is typically 10% of the final selling price, up to a maximum of £75.

-Listing upgrades: Should you choose to add a subtitle or extra picture to your listing, you'll be charged for this. Again, how much you pay depends on what the item is, but could cost a few pence or a few pounds.

Having paid the fees, you will want to make the most of your selling opportunity. When describing your item/s, be sure to give clear detail and state the honest condition. Be aware that many people do their buying at the weekend, particularly on a Sunday evening, so it's well worth having your advertisement in place by then.

You'll also need to state how much you want the buyer to pay for postage. Do some research first to find out what it is likely to cost, but be aware that if you can keep postage costs to a minimum, you are more likely to get people to bid on your items.

If the item is particularly large, you might want to add that the buyer must come and collect it in person.

Amazon Marketplace: Another online selling option is Amazon Marketplace and here the fees are slightly more straightforward. You will pay a completion fee of 86p per item plus a referral fee which is a percentage of the sale price and ranges between 8% and 40% depending on what the item is.

Because this isn't an auction site, it's worth researching what the price of your items should be first to ensure you're selling at the right level. Again, be sure to describe the item clearly.

Preloved: If you'd prefer not to pay any fees at all, take a look at Preloved. You may not be reaching such a large audience but the site allows you to place advertisements free-of-charge. You will need to include a photo of the item(s) and you can update your advert as often as you want to. Be sure to research your prices carefully as you want to get the best price you possibly can, without putting people off.

Musicmagpie: If your living room is full of DVDs, CDs and games that you no longer use, consider selling them on Musicmagpie. The website specialises in these kinds of goods and, again, is completely free to use. The downside is that you have to painstakingly enter or scan the barcode of every CD, game or DVD into site's 'valuation engine' to find out how much it’s worth and, in fact, whether you will be permitted to sell at all. Be aware some valuations returned by the site may only be worth a few pence so this route is only worth taking if you have a lot of CDs/DVDs to get rid of.

If you do go ahead and achieve successful sales, you will need to package up your goods, take them to one of the site's collecting points (or arrange for them to be collected), and await the arrival of your cheque. The site also allows you to send in electronics, gadgets and clothes.

Mobile recycling websites

In the excitement of receiving a brand new mobile phone, it's easy to forget about the old one and leave it cluttering up a drawer somewhere. But making the effort to seek it out could actually make you a tidy sum of money as there are stacks of shops and online services that recycle mobile phones and pay you cash in return.

Make sure you know what price the make and model you have would fetch first though by visiting which will give you a current valuation (for free). If you had a Samsung Galaxy S2 to get rid of, for example, you could get as much as £40 for recycling it.

Old fashioned local adverts

If you'd prefer to go down the more traditional route when selling your unwanted items, you could simply post an advert in your local newspaper or even on the notice board in your nearest library or newsagent – fees would still be charged but in many cases, could be nominal. This route could be particularly worthwhile if you're looking to sell large items such as furniture. After all, if someone from eBay was going to collect them, they are likely to live locally anyway.

Advertising locally could also be a good option if your kids have outgrown their uniforms from the local school – especially blazers or overcoats.

Car boot sale

Another more traditional option is the old-fashioned car boot sale. Granted, you will need to free up your Sunday morning and be prepared to stand about in a field come rain or shine, but it’s easy, quick and – if you get the family involved – could even be fun.

You will need to pay a fee for your slot, typically at least £10. And you may have to be prepared to sell some items for less than you intended. On the other hand, others may fetch more than you thought.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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