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Turn clutter into cash without leaving home

File photo.
April 10, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Got clothes, furniture or musical instruments you no longer need or want? Turn your clutter into cash online.

"A ton of different sites have popped up to help consumers not only get rid of their unwanted stuff, but help you make a little bit of extra cash," said Kyle Taylor of thepennyhoarder.com.

Unlike Craigslist or eBay where you have to find a buyer for your stuff, many of these sites act like a broker, paying you up front and selling it later.

Take thredup.com. If you've got a closet full of clothes you or your kids don't wear anymore, you can send items to them and they'll send back cash.

"We send you the bag, you stuff the bag with all your outgoing stuff and you simply put it on your door and we come and pick it up," said James Reinhart.

I went on thredup.com to get an idea of how much people get for their stuff. For example, one person with 11 items, including maternity clothes, netted $72. Another sent 15 pieces of mostly baby clothes and that paid out $50. Another person with 17 items, a mix of women's pants, tops and dresses, paid out $233.

With free shipping, that adds up to some real money. Keep in mind, however, that thredup.com is looking for clothes in good shape.

Maybe you're ready to redecorate. Chairish.com acts as a virtual showroom for your used furniture. Once it sells, they send shippers to your door to take it away.

"If you're fearful of dealing with somebody on Craigslist, this cuts out that process," Taylor said.

Check out a site called usedinstrumentbuyer.com. You can sell an old sax or trumpet that's taking up room.

"They're re-selling instruments all over the world and so they're going to be buying a much greater variety," Taylor said.

Got a new cellphone? Sell your old one. You can bring your old model to an ecoATM, an actual kiosk that takes your phone on the spot for instant cash. Prices range quite a bit, but ecoATM recycles parts, so even if you have an older style flip phone, chances are you'll get something for it.

Of course, with the convenience there is a cost, with each site taking a cut.

"You're paying a lot more in commissions than you would with a site like Craigslist," Taylor said.

Remember: what you make for your items can vary considerably and each website does have limitations on which items they will accept and which ones they won't.

We want to hear from you, too! What tips do you have to save real money? Post them on Ric Romero's Facebook page at facebook.com/abc7ric.


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