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How to find the 42 unused items in your home that you could sell for £3,000: Pawnbroker DAN HATFIELD’s definitive guide to making extra cash from the everyday items that are also obscure collectables


What would you do with some extra money? Perhaps you’d use it to pay an unexpected bill, fund a dream family holiday or to help cover the costs of a particularly expensive time of year. You might simply like the idea of having the sort of financial buffer that topping up your savings would achieve.

Whatever your financial goals, I can help you meet them by turning you into a money-making whizz.

Starting today, and continuing in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday, in a series taken from my new book, I will show you how to harness the skills that could make you money.

Learning the practical tips and tricks you need to turn yourself, your home, your possessions and your spare time into hard cash is so much easier than you might think.

We all have the potential to release extra funds from things that already exist in our lives —often from items and skills we haven’t yet considered might hold considerable worth.

Did you know that, as a nation, we have an estimated £48billion of unwanted goods just lying around gathering dust?

Did you know that, as a nation, we have an estimated £48billion of unwanted goods just lying around gathering dust?

Did you know that, as a nation, we have an estimated £48billion of unwanted goods just lying around gathering dust? Today, I’m going to show how you can access your own portion of that cash and put it where it ought to be sitting right now: in your bank account.

We typically each have 42 unused items in our homes along with various things we could cheerfully live without — and they could be worth up to £3,000.

So, let’s start by taking a walk around the home to identify the treasure trove of items that could be making you money, many of which are hiding in plain sight.

Where to start:   

Kitchen

Here is where you’ll find your biggest collection of unused gadgets. The popcorn maker you thought would be fun for weekend cinema nights; the bread maker you imagined was a passport to the Good Life — if you’re not using them, cash them in.

The average amount you can expect to raise from these sorts of items is £27, while big hitters such as KitchenAid food mixers can make you about £190.

Don’t forget to check the value of your vintage cookery books, too, as many of these are extremely collectable.

But the big money lies in vintage and antique kitchen items, such as weighing scales and jelly moulds.

My favourite is Pyrex. The most desirable pieces come from the 1950s up to the 1980s, but even the most common vintage pieces can still retail for £50 to £100. Some of the most valuable Pyrex dishes include Lucky In Love 1959 which is known as the holy grail of Pyrex. Much sought after, it could earn you £3,000.

The Lucky In Love 1959 Pyrex dish could earn you £3,000 as a much sought after item

The Lucky In Love 1959 Pyrex dish could earn you £3,000 as a much sought after item

The Promo Gourmet Gold casserole from 1961 sold in an online auction for £1,500

The Promo Gourmet Gold casserole from 1961 sold in an online auction for £1,500

The Promo Gourmet Gold casserole from 1961 is another treasure. One sold in an online auction for £1,500. And look out for the Avocado Spring Blossom Crazy Daisy casserole dish which hails from the 1970s and can sell for £1,250.

Dining room

These days, people often convert dining rooms into home offices, cinema rooms and playrooms — meaning they could sell all the furniture within it.

Dining tables and chairs are often expensive, keeping the pre-loved market strong.

TV sideboards from the 1960s and 1970s can prove highly lucrative. Some Scandinavian and British oak ones have reached more than £1,000, but for a mass-produced version, £450 is still a reasonable valuation.

Other saleable treasures in this room include:

  • Silver and silver-plated cutlery is very collectable. You might even be able to sell stainless steel sets. A full canteen of cutlery will sell quickest and for the most money. While most eras sell, mid-century is especially desirable.
  • China should never be thrown away without checking because the most unexpected designs and collections can be worth decent money.
  •  Crystal glass — good quality drinking vessels sell well.
  •  So do silver candlesticks and photo frames.

Bedrooms

If you’re planning a bedroom makeover then don’t take your old bedside lamps, tables and wardrobes to the tip. Sell them!

There are even better money making opportunities in your children’s bedrooms.

According to recent research, it costs between £150,000 to £200,000 to raise a child in the UK, meaning we end up with a lot of stuff bought for our kids.

Parents typically spend £736 a year on children’s clothing. You could be earning 20 per cent of the original price if the clothes are in good condition.

Research suggests that children have at least four toys that they have never played with, and that they get bored of a toy after about 36 days. Don’t be one of the one-in-three parents sending perfectly good unwanted toys to landfill. Sell them instead!

Garage

There are 11.4million garages in the UK, yet it’s reported that we only use half of them to park cars in — the rest end up as dumping grounds.

That could mean there are 5.7million garages filled to the rafters with items that could be sold on. Here are some of the gems lurking in people’s garages:

  • Children’s car seats can sell for 30 to 50 per cent of their original retail price. You have to be sure they are in perfect condition as safety always beats profitability. Each platform will have specific safety requirements to sell this item, so ensure you adhere to their regulations.
  •  Prams typically cost £340. You can sell them second-hand for roughly 40 per cent of their RRP. We spend a similar amount on cots which can also yield 40 per cent of the original price if in good condition.
Unused bikes can be especially profitable with some children’s bikes securing £80 to £130

Unused bikes can be especially profitable with some children’s bikes securing £80 to £130

  •  Brits have an estimated £1.5 billion of unused gym and sports equipment and unused bikes can be especially profitable. Depending on condition, make and model, the average adult bike can sell for £100 and some children’s bikes can secure £80 to £130.
  •  We spend £20billion on tools a year and research suggests that at least £2billion of these are unused and 10 per cent haven’t even been opened. Power tools and even hand-held tools are a massive market, so a clear-out can make you a lot of money quickly.

Attic

Old magazines, newspapers and their supplements could be worth a small fortune, with the right headlines.

Especially valuable are publications covering these big stories from the past:

  •  Cuban missile crisis, £500
  •  Death of Elvis Presley, £300
  •  The Great Train Robbery, £200
  •  Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding, £200
  •  Death of Diana, Princess of Wales, £100

Remember to be flexible…

Whenever you put your home through a sieve, remember to keep an eye out for rare items that can be worth a fortune.

Operate room by room, only moving on when every cupboard and drawer has been searched, and you’ve checked what’s been tucked away on top of the wardrobe and behind the sofa.

Be flexible on pricing. Everyone loves a bargain so being able to offer small discounts can help you to seal more deals. The trick is to price your items at fair and market competitive cost, but leave yourself some wiggle room.

If you decide to sell your items at a car boot sale, then you’ll achieve your higher prices in the morning when everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed.

As the end of the sale draws near and the crowds begin to disperse, allow yourself to reduce your prices to clear your haul.

HOW TO GET THE PRICE RIGHT

Before you sell your treasure trove, you need to work out the right selling price. Too high and you’ll price yourself out of the market. Too low can make some buyers think it’s too good to be true.

There are multiple selling platforms that will help you work out the sweet spot.

Google app

This is the trader’s secret weapon. Simply open the app and head to the search bar up the top, then click on the camera icon to take a picture of what you have. The app will recognise your item and bring up objects similar to what you have.

Scroll along to the shopping section and you’ll find prices that your item is selling for.

The app doesn’t always match exactly so sometimes you may need to add further information to get realistic prices.

eBay app

Once you’ve opened the app, clicked on the search bar and then the camera symbol — you’ll then be directed to the barcode symbol. You can point your camera at the barcode of your item and the app will scan this and list identical products for sale.

I always click on the ‘sold items’ section to see what price items have gone for. You can use this app without the barcode function just by using pictures.

Go direct

There are so many enthusiasts, online forums, groups and fan clubs that you can join to better understand the value of your items.

Talk to people who actively buy and collect these items to learn more about how much they are willing to pay for some of the things you may have.

Ask a specialist

If you stumble across something you think could be valuable — maybe a rare toy, limited edition item or inherited jewellery — get specialist advice.

An insurance valuation is a good starting point, although it will be higher than you would be able to sell it for.

Pawnbrokers like me have a broad range of knowledge so can pretty much give you a valuation for most items.

Auction houses often have open days offering free valuations.

Imperfections and wear and tear can impact how much you can charge and be prepared to negotiate.

The second-hand market is a lively and fascinating arena, but it is well populated, so place yourself slightly cheaper than your biggest competition and also be willing to accept a little less. Remind yourself of the original retail cost of your items brand new.

You can use this within your sales strategy — highlight the RRP and then give your second-hand price to reinforce the bargain you are offering to the customer.

Finally, don’t forget to include any fees you might have to pay when pricing up your goods.

WHERE TO SELL

eBay is the monarch of online platforms that facilitates the sale of goods between buyers and sellers. It’s a broad all-rounder in terms of what you can sell with more than 135million active users, worldwide.

Preloved is great for general household items. This platform has grown quite quickly over the past few years and has about 10million users.

Facebook Marketplace is good for selling kitchen equipment quickly and locally, without the hassle of posting.

But for anything vintage — especially those valuable Pyrex pieces — Etsy’s even better. The great thing about Etsy is that there are 40million buyers and only 2million sellers.

Cross reference any vintage tablecloths you have on Etsy as there is a market with international buyers for some specific types.

Pawnbrokers are a great resource to take your electricals, jewellery, art, antiques, watches, memorabilia, books and loads more. Pop into one to see what items they sell and discuss what you have.

Gumtree is a broad all-rounder, long established and well-trusted. Furniture and larger items tend to do well here, as does fitness equipment, outdoor items, clothing, sports equipment and also bikes.

Shpock is like all the excitement and fun of a car boot sale without having to leave your home. This digital version of a car boot sells everything you’d usually find at the Great British tradition and has 12million users.

I love the real-life hustle and bustle of an in-person car boot, but this site is great for those of us short on time and you can flog most things here at any time of day.

There is also a relatively new platform called stuffusell.co.uk which sells on eBay for you but does all the hard work of pricing, photographing and listing the item. This comes at a premium of 35 per cent of the sale value, but if you have no time or idea how to do this for yourself, it can be a good option.

Another option is to sell your items via specialist online resellers. You take a hit on what you make using these because they are taking the risk and putting in the effort to sell your items, but this does put money in your pocket quickly and with less work.

Take a look at these:

  •  Books — Webuybooks.co.uk
  • Vintage and antiques —Vintagecashcow.com
  •  General items — Ziffit.com or Textstuff.uk
  •  Music and computer goods — musicmagpie.co.uk
  •  Mobiles – mazumamobile.com or Fonebank.com
  •  Sports equipment — webuygymequipment.com
  •  Tools — cash4tools.co.uk and thetoolsquirrel.co.uk

HOW TO BARTER WITH YOUR BUYERS

I have never come across a successful entrepreneur who hasn’t mastered the art of bartering. It’s a skill you need when you buy and when you sell.

So what is the best way to barter with your buyers? I hear you ask. Well, there isn’t an exact science but there are lots of tips and tricks I have picked up over the years:

n Never be confrontational or annoyed if someone offers you a price far lower than the price you’d like to achieve — they are merely exercising their right to barter to get the best deal.

Take the emotion out of it; this isn’t a personal attack. Keep your cool and have a few fun retorts up your sleeve.

‘Do you want the shirt off my back, too?’ is one of my favourites

  • Do your market research when it comes to deciding the price point for goods or services. People will always try to barter you down so be confident with the lowest you can go without it being a money loser. This has to include all costs to get this sale to market. If you have spent out to sell this item, you need to cover all of these costs and see a profit.
  • Understand the buyer. To successfully barter, you need to understand who you are bartering with. What is motivating this potential client?

Are they in a hurry to make a purchase? If so, you can secure a deal pretty quickly. Are they desperate for the item?

Knowing their motivation puts you in a stronger position when it comes to agreeing a final price. The keener they are, the stronger you can hold firm.

  •  Keep it friendly and respectful. It has been proven that we are more inclined to buy from those we like. Approach bartering with a kind yet assertive manner.
  •  Provide incentives to secure a deal. If you start to feel you are losing the sale, think about what you can offer to secure it. It could be a discount or a buy one get one free offer.

Helping buyers to realise they are getting a great deal because you have offered something extra is a valuable part of the bartering negotiation. It’s human nature to want more for less, so work out in advance what additions you can offer without compromising your profit.

Adapted from Money Maker: Don’t Just Save It, Make it! by Dan Hatfield to be published by Catalyst (Hodder & Stoughton), at £16.99. © Dan Hatfield 2024. To order a copy for £15.29 (offer valid to 16/03/24; UK P&P free on orders over £25) go to www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937.



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