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27 Surprising Things You Can Sell On eBay For Quick Profits Graphic © WealthPowerBoost.
I had the “mother of all clearouts” in 2020 – and I made well over $12,000 in 12 months just having a massive “cull” of my crazy mountain of stuff and listing everything on eBay that I didn’t need!
Stuff happens… especially in the modern era of “click, oops I bought it”. You probably have hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of stuff laying around, getting in the way; or possibly even costing you money to store every month!
You are probably sitting on more of a gold mine than you realize – and eBay is probably the best way to turn your “trash into cash” that exists. 🙂 People will buy all sorts of things and it’s simply amazing what can be sold now; including many items you might not have thought had any resale value.
So here is a super list of Surprising Things You Can Sell On Ebay For Quick Profits that will get you inspired and excited to get that money flowing in. 🙂
I have lots of experience as an eBay seller (870 feedbacks / 100% positive feedback) so I can help!
I found that the key to this is to have a “mega decluttering weekend” – perhaps once or twice a year (or just when you need some fast cash) – and list it all in one go. This saves time as you can for example do all the photography in one session. You can also consolidate on trips to the post office / parcel drop-off. You might even be able to empty out your storage and save money every month there too!
If you can, designate part of a room to be your ‘ebay pile’ and then comb through the house carefully, one room at a time. Ask yourself:
• Do I love it?
• Do I need it?
• Can I live without it?
• Am I sick of looking at it?
• Will someone else benefit from it more than me?
• Can I do something better with the money than with this item right now?
• Will it sell?
⭐ Pro Tip: Before listing an item, search for it to get a feel for the price they are selling for. You can also do a “completed listings” search to see recent sale prices. On the right of the search bar in eBay, click “advanced”:
and then choose “completed listings” or “sold listings”. Anything with the price in green shows that was the actual price realized:
Ok, here’s the list! 🙂
1. Old Tools:
Tools are one of those types of item that I have found “fly out of the door” when listed on eBay. When people buy new tools, they tend to keep the old ones and ‘relegate’ them to seconds… which means they probably never get used again! It’s useful to have some spares, but after a while, it just piles up….
You can even sell entire boxes full of rusty old tools, fanatics love these and there are some eBay sellers that have a “hobby business” of restoring them, especially if they were classic brands of yesteryear. Often the tools from the “good old days” were made with high grade steel and are better when restored than the modern stuff is when new! Look out also for old power tool battery chargers!
2. Broken, Untested, Or Damaged Items:
I have sold many items on eBay that were completely defunct – yet because I was absolutely crystal clear about this and gave a lot of details in the sale description, it worked out perfectly! The buyer knew what they were getting and the sale went just fine, they thanked me and I received positive feedback.
You gotta love having the ability to sell your broken old junk to someone who knows exactly what they are getting and is happy to give you money for it… 🙂
Broken items have resale value to refurbishers or people who simply need spare parts for their own item. You may not have the equipment, time or skills to test or fix certain items, or you may simply have no way to be sure if it is working; for example an obscure item of consumer electronics with a missing power supply. All these scenarios are fine, so long as you are transparent and give full details!
If your item has scratches in the paintwork or any other physical damage, mention this specifically in your item description, as well as taking a close-up photo of the damaged area. If your photo does not show the extent of the damage, say so. In one case recently I said something like “This item has some scratches on the screen which you can only really see in the third pic.”
There are some fairly standard eBay phrases to cover scenarios of this type: For example you might say something like “I have no way to tell whether this item is working or not. It may not be working, therefore it is for sale AS-IS, with no guarantees whatsoever.” Or, in another instance you might say something like “Important – this item DOES NOT WORK. However, you may be able to use some parts of it as spares.”
Direct and accurate details are considered good form on eBay (and in any business for that matter). Just be meticulously honest about things. The clearer the information you can provide about what the buyer is actually getting, the better.
3. Original Product Boxes (Empty):
Yes! You can sell the empty “original” boxes for various electronic and other items, if they are in good condition! Just have a look on eBay! Favorites include iPhone boxes, which may sell for around $5. I just sold 2 small original boxes that SSD hard drives came in for $6 total a few days ago.
When receiving new items, get into the habit of opening them carefully so as to have undamaged boxes, then storing the box plus “all the bits” – manual, instruction CD etc together. Put them inside some kind of storage crate if possible so that they stay dust-free and don’t get bashed.
4. Lumber Off-Cuts:
Lumber prices have gone through the ROOF since 2020. Some lumber types have tripled in retail price! So if you have pieces of cut oak or other off-cuts of hardwoods / exotic woods in good condition, now could be the perfect time to sell them on! You are also doing a small environmental service by “recycling” the scraps.
Often people will buy a small piece because they only need a small amount and don’t want to make a big purchase. Or you could sell a box of scraps, especially of the same type.
So if you do any sort of woodwork, start keeping the scraps and organize them by type.
You could probably also sell the shavings – especially if you use one of those hand planes that makes those lovely thin ribbon-like shavings.
5. Broken Small Appliances:
I should have listed my old toaster oven instead of taking it to the dump! Non-op kettles, coffee makers and so on can all be sold for spare parts, helping another item get a new lease of life. 🙂
6. “Junk Boxes” And “Job Lots”:
These are a bargain hunter’s paradise! If you have a “junk drawer” full of bits and bobs from the old days, these can be sold complete and can be quite popular.
If you have a big box of something of the same type – records, tools, IEC cables, you name it – you can very often sell it as a “job lot” or “box full of _________” and this is of course a lot less hassle than listing the items individually.
7. Anything Electronic:
Whether working or faulty, if priced correctly and described accurately, these will sell. MP3 players are a popular favorite. Old TV remote controls, headphones, cameras, “old skool” car audio from the 80’s and 90’s… all of it.
8. Old Golf Balls:
If only I had known about this before! I live near a golf course and if I go for a walk down the lane, I almost always see abandoned / lost golf balls in the hedgerow.
9. Vintage Electronics, Especially Japanese:
Most consumer goods have what is known as a “value curve”: When new, it is at the top of the curve, and the value goes down as it gets older. Then, something mysterious happens. It becomes rare and value starts to go up again – perhaps even going up way past the original price! Most items (there are some exceptions) have such a value curve – especially if in excellent condition.
Vintage electronics can sell for fantastic sums – especially if the condition is “near mint” and the item has the original box and manual.
⭐ Pro Tip: Look out for Japanese electronic brands of yesteryear (such as Sony, Akai, Korg, Sansui, and Panasonic). These items, while less technologically advanced than the consumer electronics of today, were in many ways of higher quality: The components and build standards of those days were often superior – hence these items are revered by those who used to use them and still prefer them to the modern devices!
Look out especially for vintage synthesizers and drum machines; the market for vintage gear of this kind has gone absolutely insane. Some of these, from the 80’s and before, now fetch a small fortune. For example the original Roland 808 drum machine can be seen now priced in the thousands of dollars!
Another surprisingly valuable item: “High end” cassette decks – including Nakamichi (these fetch top dollar) and Sony Walkmans (upper range models such as D3, D6, DD series, DC6, TPS and “pro” models are often selling for several hundred dollars in good condition – I was blown away!)
10. Old Lego:
We gradually accumulated heaps of it when we were kids, then when we decided that we had grown out of it, I think we just gave it away. Genuine brand Lego bricks can sell “by the pound” – but prices are much higher if you have the original boxes and complete original sets. Same goes for many old toys – especially if they have the original boxes and are in great condition.
11. Instruction Manuals:
If you have a stack of old instruction manuals for equipment / appliances etc you no longer own, then you are in luck as these can often sell for a few bucks each.
These deserve a special mention as textbooks often fetch significant money on resale. There is sometimes a very wide disparity in prices. There are now even online courses teaching people how to flip textbooks for profit – obtaining them both online and offline and re-listing them on eBay, Amazon and other places. Check Bookfinder.com to get price comparisons across several websites.
13. Uncommon Coins (And Postage Stamps)
Very old coins and stamps are of course a highly desired collector’s item and should be valued by an expert; however another possibility is modern coins of an unusual type. In the UK, the Royal Mint cleverly created interest in coin collecting by minting very limited numbers of coins with artistic designs. These immediately started selling on eBay for much more than their face value.
Other coin varieties such as uncommon dates can fetch high prices, depending on the rarity and condition. If you know the rare dates, keep an eye on your change. The rare types continue to go up in value over the years.
14. Old Trophies:
These are popular with crafters.
15. Blank Media In Old Formats:
Blank media in old / obsolete formats sells surprisingly well. Cassettes, VHS and Betamax tapes, CDRs, DAT tapes and so on – especially in great condition with original wrapping.
16. Electronic Components / Parts:
I had a small audio mixer that had a “missing knob”. I was amazed to find that someone was selling the knobs on eBay for a few bucks each – and they were selling! The same applies to all sorts of other electronic components – especially older, obsolete, rare and in-demand items. If you have the means (and the patience) to strip down, test, photograph and list such items, you could possibly sell the components for much more than the full item. Some types of IC / silicon chip that are now obsolete have high resale value and this market seems set to grow, though you would need expertise in these items and the equipment to test them.
17. Empty CD / Cassette / DVD / Game Cases:
If the cases are in good condition, these have resale value!
18. Car, Motorbike And Bicycle Parts:
There is always a market for auto and bike parts in good condition. This one is likely more work, and items may need to be cleaned up / degreased / stripped down / etc – however the potential is there – especially if you have an old classic. Selling the parts individually may yield significantly more than the scrap value, though of course you have to put the work in.
19. Old Power Supplies / Adaptors / Chargers / Power Cords / Plugs:
Most people have a drawer or box full of old phone chargers, or perhaps the power cords for various old devices that went to recycling. Old “wall wart” power supplies can often fetch around $10, perhaps more. Be sure to take a photo of the label with all the important details i.e. voltage, pin polarity etc. Old USB cables are a difficult sell because there are mountains of them – but old style monitor cables (DVI, serial etc) can sell.
20. Old Prescription Glasses:
If you go to the optician and are informed that you need new glasses because your eyesight has changed…. the old glasses end up in a drawer and forgotten. And because prescriptions are unique, you would assume that these old specs are no use to anyone else. However people purchase these for the frames! Brand name and designer frames of course sell for good money. Same of course with vintage brand name sunglasses, which even though you might think are completely out of fashion, become collectors’ items, often of surprising value.
21. Wine Bottles And Corks:
Empty wine bottles are popular with crafters and can fetch a couple of bucks each! Corks – not worth much if you only have a few; but if you have a big pile of authentic corks, these sell well for decorative and craft purposes – netting perhaps $10 for 100 corks.
22. Pine Cones:
You may have pine trees galore in your area and think nothing of them; however not everyone lives in an area where they have pine trees – and these are always in demand for craft projects. The really big ones are popular and could fetch up to $1 each – however even the small ones can be sold; especially in the run up to the holidays. Be sure to pick undamaged ones and blow out any dust using an air compressor if needed.
What other natural items can you think of that might have value? Sea shells? Dried leaves and flowers? I haven’t looked these up but there are probably more!
23. Old And Even Broken Phones:
Many people have several old phones laying around. What’s interesting is that you can sell these even if they are non-operational; so long as you are clear about the condition. They contain valuable components and might be usable for parts or refurbishment. In addition to eBay you could also try DeCluttr, however there are more options, for example CeX, MusicMagpie (UK) and Sell My Mobile. Note – be sure to erase your device fully before selling!
24. Old Magazines:
Depending on the magazine and the condition, yes these will sell. Some will fetch a dollar or more per “standard” issue, however special pull-out supplements and commemorative issues can become collector’s items. If you have a large stack of a certain type of magazine, it might be better to sell in bulk than individually due to the logistics of photographing every item individually.
25. Incomplete Games:
An incomplete board game can still be sold – someone else out there has an incomplete game and needs the missing parts! The same applies of course to incomplete sets of anything else.
26. Empty Ink Cartridges:
These have resale value for businesses who refill them. A good service that has environmental benefits.
27. “Trash” For Crafts:
Amazingly, all sorts of things that you might consider as trash have craft uses. For example, crafters will buy toilet and kitchen roll tubes, buttons, old ‘junk’ coins, wool scraps, egg boxes, beer bottle caps, plastic bottle tops (yes really), glass jars, coat hangers. Check on eBay to see the current prices these things are selling for! Make sure items are clean and in good condition.
Packaging materials in good condition (clean bubble wrap, packing peanuts, unused moving boxes, padded bags). However if you start selling on eBay you will probably want to start keeping all these materials for your own re-use! I used to tear into everything like a kid at Christmas, now I open everything carefully so as to preserve the packaging for re-use. 🙂
Items To Avoid Selling:
• Restricted Items. The list of these is different in different regions so be sure to check the eBay restricted items list in your region – as well as the rules of the postal service in your location. There are a few surprises here, for example in the UK there are restrictions on shipping of perfume bottles and this makes sense as a leaking perfume could ruin other goods. Other items with restrictions / special rules include lithium batteries and items with sharp blades.
• ‘Complicated’ items that you don’t really understand and thus are not able to describe accurately (although this can work if you are clear about your lack of knowledge on the topic).
• Very large or heavy items (difficult to ship).
• Anything with a high failure rate.
• Anything highly fragile – although if you are a “packaging pro” you can of course do this.
• I listed a mountain of stuff in 2020. Audio gear and tools “flew out of the door”. The items that in general seemed to be the slowest to sell and generated the least interest were books and CDs – apart from a few rarities which went quicker. There is no real “problem” with selling books and CDs other than the fact that they will probably sit there for weeks / months – and then even when they sell, by the time you have taken out shipping and eBay costs, there isn’t much profit left.
Learn More About Selling On Ebay:
For a more in-depth tutorial on eBay with TONS of useful tips and helpful ideas, check out my free tutorial 26 Insider Tips For Ebay Success