Regular Household Items That Are Worth Much More Than You Think
Everyone likes to make extra money when they can. This is a large part of the reason why online marketplaces like eBay have thrived (in eBay’s case, since 1995). The good news is that listing fees are low, and posts can be created in mere seconds. The bad news? Not everything you post will be worth a lot of money. Nevertheless, there are quite a few seemingly ordinary items you probably have lying around your house that are being listed for surprising amounts of money on eBay and other selling platforms.
Now, it’s essential to realize that just listing an item for a lot of money isn’t necessarily going to bring in the amount advertised. There has to be considerable demand for the item, usually due to its rarity, usefulness, exceptional condition, and/or popularity. Those VHS tapes and Beanie Babies that are often reported being listed for hundreds to thousands of dollars? The truth is that they’re usually only listed for these amounts; they very rarely sell for those sums (if at all). So, consider this a realistic guide to items that you may be able to sell.
If you’ve ever had a Keurig, then you know what K-cups are. If not, then the reason you may have some sitting around your home is that someone gave them to you, not realizing you don’t use a Keurig, or someone simply brought them over by mistake. Hey, maybe you even bought them by mistake, thinking they were regular coffee. Or you had a Keurig that broke, and you decided it wasn’t worth spending the money to fix. Either way, the good news is that there’s no need to throw them out, at least not right now.
K-Cups sell surprisingly well on eBay, especially when put into assortments. A single box (or box’s worth) of these little cups regularly sells for $10 on eBay. That said, special holiday editions can sell for $15 or more. Large variety assortments of 100 or more have even sold for hundreds of dollars. Fairly recently, a collection of 384 Green Mountain Nantucket Blend Coffee K-cups sold for $264.99. So if you got a Keurig and then decided it wasn’t for you, this is a great way to get rid of your extra unwanted K-cups and make a little cash while you’re at it.
Pine Cones, Shells and Pebbles
Believe it or not, there are things you can pick up for free in nature that people will pay for online. If you live somewhere, that happens to have a decent selection of pine cones, seashells, and/or pebbles, that is. Giant pinecones that are intact and at least relatively clean can bring in some relatively big bucks at $10+ each. Assortments of pinecones, as well as nice assortments of multi-colored pebbles, can go for the same amount or more. Just make sure the pinecones are not the small, crumbling kind.
For the most part, shells go for about the same. The exceptions, however, are very large and generally rare shells. Polished versions regularly go for hundreds to thousands of dollars on eBay, although there have been instances of unpolished ones selling for these high amounts. General unpolished sea shell collections go for between $10 and $100+, depending on their amount and rarity. Always make sure the shells you list are not broken and in good condition.
Empty Egg Cartons
Many people just throw away or recycle their empty egg cartons once they’ve used up all of their contents. However, there is actually an even more sustainable solution. It turns out that there are a lot of people out there who use empty egg cartons for art projects, holding things, and even for storing other eggs! Small-time chicken and egg farmers actually are often on the lookout for egg cartons online, as it’s cheaper than having their own made or buying them from a larger retailer.
So, how much can you hope to sell your empty cartons for? In many cases, you can charge between 25 and 50 cents apiece, That said, one seller on eBay managed to unload 40 empty egg cartons for $24.99, while another made a whopping $27.03 selling just half of that. The great thing about selling egg cartoons is that they stack neatly and also pack fairly neatly together when packing them up in a box. In order to do things right, just make sure that each one is fully clean and stable before selling.
Rare or Discontinued Candy
Even if it’s a little past the expiration date, a lot of online buyers will shockingly jump on candy they can’t find anywhere in local stores. For example, one of the most sought-after old candy items of all is Coconut M&Ms. These lip-smacking, tasty little candy-coated chocolates first hit store shelves back in 2009. Some customers instantly took to them and snatched up as many as they could, while others rejected them outright. Mars has since stopped making them, but now even a decade later, a pack of them can sell for as much as $100 on eBay!
Oddly, there are many other types of old, unopened candy that have sold on eBay. Recently, for example, an untouched pack of Beech-Nut Peppermint Flavor 8 Sticks Gum sold for $50, while another sold for $37.49. Even two bags of Starburst Jelly Beans went for $19.99. Candy bar wrappers sell surprisingly well too, with vintage and discontinued ones regularly selling for between $20 and $40+ to collectors. So if anything, that’s some inspiration to perhaps start saving some modern-day candy wrappers. Who knows? They could be worth a small fortune someday!
As unsettling as it may have been to think of selling old, fossilized candy, the fact that dentures tend to sell so well on eBay raises some questions. However, it really all comes down to the fact that dentures are normally very expensive when coming straight from a dentist’s office. So, some people take to the internet for savings. Recently, a set of full upper dentures sold for $40, which is not uncommon. If you have some extra (preferably unopened) dental wash and care items lying around, you can sell all that too.
A full set of upper and lower dentures can go for far more. One person even managed to sell a set of older dentures for a surprising $202. There’s also a big market for cheap “snap-on” teeth, which are not exactly dentures but rather go on over your existing teeth in order to give the appearance of a brilliant white, straight smile. Often used by pageant contestants, these teeth typically go on eBay for between $5 and $10.
Discontinued Toys and Collectibles
Not all will be worth a fortune, so it pays to do your research. Nevertheless, old toys that were discontinued and ones that are collectible (and not too modern) can go for quite a lot if they are in good condition. Original 1975 pet rocks regularly go for around $50 on eBay, while discontinued video game consoles (especially from the late 80s and 90s) are often sold for hundreds of dollars. A Lite Brite in good condition from 1994 recently sold for $154.95.
Remember View-Masters? Those can be worth a ton, especially if you can throw in at least some working reels in good condition. A vintage Gamlestadens view master sold for $625, while a special edition Batman view master (still factory sealed) sold for $500. Most will go for far less than that, but still for decent sums of money between $40 and $100. Considering most were initially purchased for far less, that’s value go up.
Arts & Crafts Supplies
If you look around your home, you’ll likely find a lot of things that can be put together in an easy arts and crafts kit. From unused construction paper and printer paper to random odds and ends, creativity often knows no bounds. Even a collection of old toilet paper and paper towel tubes can serve as valuable crafting components. In fact, large collections of these tubes have sold for $20 online. You know what they say; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Going along with this, leftover fabric pieces can also get a decent amount of money. Large lots of small pieces typically go for between $8 and $10 on eBay, while a few leftover yards of scrap fabric can sell for around $15. Large collections of different fabrics can sell for upwards of $30 and even more, depending on the quality and the amount. Just make sure all fabric is clean and neatly folded before you ship it off, as a courtesy to the buyer.
Old Instruction Manuals
Have you ever tried to make some old equipment work only to get frustrated that you don’t have the manual anywhere? Well, plenty of people online have felt that exact same way, and they’re willing to pay for the missing manuals. And for vintage manuals, some even collect them just for fun. Car manuals and video game manuals are particularly hot sells, with customers often offering $10 or more for a single one (if you’ve got a lot, that adds up). Vintage computer manuals meanwhile sell for $30+, and collections can sell for a lot more as many people use them as educational resources.
Of course, none of that even compares to some of the top-selling manuals in eBay’s recent years. For example, a vintage 1920s tractor manual sold recently for $176.99, and a vintage set of three manuals for a 1960s Porsche went for slightly more at $179.99. Knocking all of that out of the park, however, was a Harvard Mark 1 Computer Manual first edition from way back in 1946. Its selling price? A whopping $1,500! Chances are you don’t have some ultra-rare manual like that just sitting around in your house, but of course, it never hurts to look.
Instead of just throwing your empty and unused boxes away, trying posting them online to see if anyone will pay for them. If you do it right, there’s a good chance a buyer will come running as fast as their clicking finger will allow. Sets of empty boxes (you can send them folded up and compressed inside another box) are very useful to a lot of people and can bring you a few bucks per bundle.
That said, the real money to be found here is in more unique boxes that you may already have just sitting in your house gathering dust. Boxes to various kinds of tools and equipment can sell for $9 or more. Meanwhile, doll boxes (such as those for American Girl Dolls and Barbie Dolls) are considered vital to collectors and often sell for between $10 and $20 each. A vintage empty Barbie box regularly will sell for even more (one recently went for $26), while a set of American Girl Doll boxes and shopping bags recently went for $81.00.
You can always take your old books to local buy and sell stores or even websites like Amazon or Decluttr. The downside to most of these options is that you need to sell a lot of books at a time in order to make any actual money from the venture. Likewise, you can also list them on eBay. While not a guaranteed sale, eBay makes it possible for you to either sell a lot of books at once as part of a set, or individual books on their own listings for a better chance at maximum per-book revenue. In most cases, you’ll be making around a dollar at most per book, sometimes a little less.
So, what kinds of books are actually selling? For the most part, you’re safe if you have either vintage or really rare editions, or you have a very popular book that everyone is currently reading. Trendy modern books typically sell on eBay for around what people would pay in stores for them, which is great if it happens to be an extra copy for you (or you simply didn’t like it when you read it, and you would not like to make your money back). Meanwhile, vintage books have sold for hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on what they are and their condition.
Used and Retro Clothes
There’s no better feeling when de-cluttering your belongings than going through your wardrobe and removing everything you no longer want or wear. And if you’re like many people, you probably have a tendency of taking that clothing straight to the already-crowded local Goodwill or otherwise dumping it somewhere. But the truth is that you can actually make quite a bit of extra cash selling it. While eBay does have extensive clothing sections divided into categories for men’s, women’s, and children’s styles, the truth is that this is just one option for selling. Clothing on eBay tends to do well, especially when it comes to vintage items in great condition (this often goes for $100 or more, depending on the exact design).
Meanwhile, another great website to check out while selling clothing is Poshmark. This now well-established platform is devoted entirely to clothing, and your customer audience may be wider. Whenever selling clothes online, though, always browse around looking at similar styles to determine what you should price yours at (it varies extremely!). If you want to skip the online route for this on altogether, you can also try bringing your clothing to buy and sell stores like Buffalo Exchange. Be forewarned, though, that their standards are often quite severe, and they usually only take seasonally-desirable clothing with established designer labels.
Unwanted Gift Cards
If you’ve ever been given a gift card for something that you just won’t use or want (for example, a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery, despite the fact that you don’t live anywhere near one), the good news is that it’s not a total loss. Especially if you can collect a few of them, some people regularly search online for deals on unwanted gift cards. You probably won’t be able to get the full value for it, but hey, it’s not like you were the person who paid for it in the first place. On that note, it’s probably best not to tell everyone you’re selling your gift cards.
Need some motivation? A Ruby Tuesday restaurant gift card valued at $50 sold on eBay not too long ago for $45.99. In fact, most of the gift cards being sold via this online marketplace are simply priced for just $5 lower than their actual value. That’s not bad at all, and the earnings can be significant if you have multiple gift cards to sell (while you can sell individually, try offering them in a bundle to stand out and draw in buyers). Partial gift cards can also draw in money, and successful online sales of these have just been reduced in price to accommodate the new balances.
Old Chargers and Cords
If you’re like many people, you probably have a bunch of old device chargers and cords just sitting around that you don’t use anymore. But before you throw them away, you should know that there are many other people out there who lost the charger they need or perhaps are just one coaxial cable short from being able to watch TV. None of them will go for a lot individually (unless, perhaps, they are very vintage and connect to something that’s still functional), but a few bucks here and there adds up.
For example, older MacBook chargers regularly sell for between $20 and $40 because they are getting harder to find despite many people still using their old laptops. For other laptop models, chargers regularly go for $15. Even a seemingly outdated landline standing phone charger recently sold for $14. Meanwhile, regular everyday cables like USB connection and charging cable only go for between $3 and $7 on average, but they do tend to sell well.
Old or Extra TV Remotes
Chances are you’ve got a remote or two stuffed somewhere that no longer works with anything in your home. Perhaps you already sold the device(s) they belong with, leaving them without an actual purpose. But that’s also why so many people go online looking for “missing” remotes. Whether they broke their own, lost it, or simply never got it in the first place, your old remote gives them a chance to make everyone finally work.
Now, the actual prices that old or otherwise unwanted remote controls sell for online varies greatly depending on the device and their connectivity. For example, a SmartTV Alexa Voice Control remote recently sold on eBay for $575, and it was pre-owned! Meanwhile, a GE Universal TV remote recently sold for $3.99. That said, bulk collections of Universal TV Remotes tend to sell quite well, for hundreds of dollars to even over 1,000 (but this is a lot of remotes and came most likely from a store or hotel switching their technology inventory). So, take stock of what you have, and think realistically about what you can sell it for.
Cut Out Box Tops (For Education)
For those unfamiliar, Box Tops For Education is a program that is essentially a fundraiser for schools. Found on many food package cardboard boxes from cereal to toaster strudel, Box Tops are cut out and collected during certain periods of the year by young students and their parents, then handed into school. For each one that the school then submits to the program, 10 cents is earned. It may not seem like a lot at first, but the numbers add up quickly, with a lot of people working hard to collect as many as possible for their child.
The thing is, a lot of parents forget to do so until the last minute. That’s when they head online and start looking at places like eBay to see if anyone is selling them. You won’t be able to get much for them (and for principles’ sake, you should probably charge less than 10 cents per Box Top), but many parents have shown they are willing to shed between $5 and up to $20 for large collections of them. In a rare but feasible instance, eBay users even sold a massive collection of 1,500 Box Tops for a whopping $125.
Coffee Mugs and Tea Cups
If you have too many coffee mugs bursting through your cabinets, there’s good news. People will buy them! Rather than spend time trying to collect their own or shell out a lot of money for fancy new sets, people regularly purchase them on sites like eBay. Most sell for between $6 and $10 apiece, which quickly adds up. Full sets of six or more mugs tend to go for $50 or more. Travel mugs in good condition regularly sell for upwards of $20.
Likewise, teacups can also sell quite well. The best are those in teacup sets with no missing components (like saucers, if applicable). A set of two teacups can sell for $20 or more, while full games (teapot included and all) have recently sold for between $68 and $100. If you want to make your set more appealing and add some more value to it, try throwing in an assortment of tea bags or even some stirring sticks along with it. If you have some small extra spoons that you never use, they can also add value to the set and bring you some more dough.
Got an old board game gathering dust? If it has all its pieces, you may be able to sell it for a small fortune. For example, vintage board games like the 1986 Fireball Island game sells on eBay reasonably regularly for between $300 and $400, while a good-quality 1991 edition of the Tornado Rex board game often sells for between $100 and $200. Quite recently, a 1989 used edition of Hero Quest sold for almost $200.
And it doesn’t just have to be discontinued games or vintage board game editions. For example, if you have an extra set of a popular game like Settlers of Catan, you will be able to sell it for at least slightly below its store value, but a lot more if it includes extension editions. One Catan board game recently sold for $60 on eBay, which isn’t crazy, but it’s still a nice chunk of change. Even regular board games that aren’t as high in popularity regularly sell for an average of $20.
Cash for gold! But in this case, you have the option of selling online vs. taking old jewelry to the local pawn shop or even jeweler and getting only minimal compensation in return. Gold items almost always sell well, with many pieces going for hundreds to thousands of dollars (especially around the December holidays and Valentine’s Day). Always make sure you can authenticate that the piece is real gold first before advertising it as such.
Sometimes, getting it appraised can help (especially when setting a fair price). This will also help you realize the rarity of the jewelry item in question, as some older and rarer pieces have sold for more than $30,000 on eBay. It’s a stretch for sure, but many nevertheless bring a small fortune in their own right. If you do want to go the straight cash for the gold route, make sure you are getting as close to the going market rate as you can get. The good news is that current gold prices have steadily remained at a high for the past couple of years.
Remember that not everything lying around your house will sell for much if you post it online. If you’re unsure about an item, you can search an item on eBay and only display the “sold” listings. You should also look up seller fees as well as packaging and shipping expenses in order to get a realistic picture of how much you stand actually to make from the sale. Then, start your bidding at a reasonable price in order to attract buyers and consider offering free shipping. Even if the shipping cost is really just built into the price, it’ll look more appealing.
In order to attract even more attention, post high-quality photos, and provide as much detail about the item as possible. And if you are using eBay as your selling platform, it’s important to take note of the user ratings on there. While you will get all kinds of customers, this rating system is more in place for them to review sellers. This is why you should take care always to ship sold items on time (once payment is received, of course) and always to remain pleased with your buyers. One bad rating can cause you to lose a sale in the future.
Now, in the cases where your item is not doing as well as you’d hoped, it’s a good rule of thumb to just stop posting an item if you do so two or three times without making a sale (or being offered a bid that is too cheap to be worth it). For various reasons, sometimes things just don’t sell.
You can always donate the item to charity if you really don’t want it lying around your house anymore. After all, in addition to making some extra money, part of the point of selling your stuff is to help clean out and de-clutter your space!