I've been hustling to make some extra money this year. It all started with some bank fraud, after which I realized that it was helpful to have extra cash around while also allowing me to spend less of my paycheck. I started off using LetGo and Facebook Marketplace to sell everything from luxury pocketbooks to pieces of furniture and was doing pretty well with the things I had.
But then, the great purge happened.
In the last 14 or so months, my life has been pretty hectic. Just when I started to settle into a routine, a friend moved in with me for a few months, my travel schedule at work picked up, and some other things were happening in my personal life that left me with little time. Mail piled up — mostly junk — on my desk. Nothing was put in a place; it was just thrown about and shoved somewhere out of sight for the time being. So, I literally woke up one day and was like, "Everything is going."
And it went.
I had no idea what to do with the stacks of books I had accumulated as an English major (and masters student, as I couldn't stop at four years of torture) and major bookworm over the years. The same goes for the DVDs I no longer watch because, hello, Netflix! And how could I forget all the old electronics I found while I was cleaning out my life, the ones that fit into an astounding 13 garbage bags?
I knew I didn't want to deal with the hassle of listing my stuff on eBay or a similar site, and I wanted everything out fast. In other words, keeping the items around me as I waited for people to bid on them was not ideal. So if you, like me, find yourself looking to make some extra cash, here are a few under-the-radar places you can look to in order to sell back those things that are just taking up space and take your life back from your belongings in the same way that I did.
I use Amazon for everything, but I had literally no idea it had a buyback program. Amazon Trade-In allows you to send your books, DVDs, video games and consoles, cellphones, tablets, and laptops back for Amazon credit. Not everything you own will be accepted for trade-in, and it is slightly time consuming, as you have to look everything up one by one and have the right specs/edition. But after you're done, you get a list of your returns and a label, box it up, send it back, and poof! The Amazon fairy appears and you have some money to spend on dog treats. Or paper towels. (Don't judge me, I'm boring.)
Textbookrush.com has a website where you can look your books up by ISBN number for trade-in value, but it also has an app that is awesome. I downloaded the app and sat down with hundreds of my books piled around me. I zapped each of them using my camera as a scanner, and the app told me if each book was eligible for buyback as well as how much I would get for each one. Talk about therapeutic. From there, I could decide what I wanted to do (sell, sell, sell!). There are two options for payment — you can opt for a PayPal deposit or store credit. If you choose the store credit option, you get a bit more money per book. They, too, give you a prepaid label for easy return.
Decluttr.com takes back everything from DVDs and electronics to, get this, CDs. I will not lament about how bummed out I was that I threw out all of my CD cases years ago in favor of a space-saving spindle. This was definitely a situation Alanis Morissette would call ironic. Decluttr.com not only promises to pay the full amount quoted, but also pays out the day after the items are received. Thumbs up for fast money.
When you find your old flute from fourth grade band, there aren't that many choices for getting cash for that. You can scrap it, but you can also check out Reverb. Reverb helps sell your musical instruments and accessories and takes a 3.5 percent cut of the profits. You can use the site's direct checkout to receive payment or opt for the PayPal version. The site also has a price guide so you can check out what your goods are worth so you have a pretty good estimate of what you can spend on new clothes before you get your check. (What? Doesn't everyone do that?)
OK, I'm not a hoarder or a clutter person, but it has been so long since I cleaned out my house (honestly, I moved in in 2011 and I'm pretty sure everything I boxed up from my apartment came with me) that I found an iPod. Yes, an actual iPod. I know Gazelle has been out there for a while and is a little more well-known, but it's a great way to get rid of electronics that are a bit more outdated. And, while I have to say that I was pretty heated about the fact that my iPod wasn't worth more — isn't it a collector's item by now? — my wallet still feels heavier than it was and my home definitely feels lighter.