smart spending

Where to sell your junk for cash

But the concept might be better for general items, rather than specialty collectibles, says Schepp. At a store, workers "are going to know how to take pictures and write a good listing," he says. "But they might not know the jargon for a particular area and may not know how to best frame what you have."

Like consignment stores, they operate independently and rules and rates can vary. So shop around to get the best deal.

The goods that sell best on eBay and at eBay stores: specialty clothing and musical instruments and commodity items such as books, CDs, DVDs, cell phones and modems.

Garage sales: If it works, you make some money and clear some space. If it doesn't, you can put in a lot of work for very little return.

As with real estate, success sometimes comes down to location, location, location, says Carbone. If you have lots of cars going by your house on the weekend, you've got a great garage sale spot. One friend holds a successful yard sale at her beach house every Fourth of July weekend, Carbone says. That's one time she knows there will be tons of traffic going by.

One trick to draw foot traffic: Display a real show-stopper prominently, says Carbone. "A nice piece that makes not only women stop, but men."

Garage sales also take some preparation getting organized and tagged. One winning technique: Carefully hang clothing on a portable rod or even a swing set, rather than throwing it in a box or on a table.

Try to present small objects to their advantage, she says. Find a friend or relative who's good at the garage-sale game and have them arrange the items on a table with a velvet cloth.

It doesn't hurt to recruit a few extra people to help on sale day in case someone has questions or needs help loading an item into a vehicle.

The goods that sell best at garage sales: items for which you know the value (and don't mind bargaining); things you don't want to move yourself or ship (think washing machine, lawn mower, weight set), or items where the real value is in clearing space rather than a profit. Typical garage-sale fare: used clothing, tools, sports equipment, furniture, knickknacks and costume jewelry.

What you don't want to sell: anything valuable. If you've got antiques, jewelry or anything even possibly rare or valuable, you're going to make more selling it in another venue.

Flea markets: If you don't have a lot of traffic in front of your house, or if you want to sell a few household goods or some homemade crafts, try a flea market, says Carbone.

"The one good thing is you get your money that day and you can get rid of a lot of things," she says. "You can also go around and see what else is selling."

Use the same basic principles as a garage sale: lay out an attractive presentation, use an eye-catching item to draw attention and try to anticipate what a buyer might need. (Selling hats or scarves? Bring a mirror so that customers can see how they look.)

You can find flea markets in the Yellow Pages or the weekend section of the local paper. Be prepared to pay a nominal fee to lease a space and for a table if you need one, says Carbone. You can also bring your own.

The goods that sell best at flea markets: garage sale items or handmade crafts, linens, tools, sporting goods, crockery, cookware, clothing, accessories or kitchen goods.

While there are many places to sell your used things, a lot of it just comes down to personal preference.

There are a lot of great ways to sell your old stuff. "It's hard to know which is the best one," says Carbone. Analyze the type of merchandise you have, get an expert opinion on the value of anything that might be worth something, look at the venues available to you and you may find yourself gravitating toward one in particular.

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