25 Ways to Get Rid of Your Junk When Selling a House

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You’re selling your home and have to get rid of junk that fills every space imaginable, and being paid to do it would be even better.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, on average, people live in their homes for 13 years before moving, giving households a long time to create their own living time capsules. But instead of dumping it all into a landfill, you prefer better options that could put some cash in your pocket.

Not sure where to start? Our top real estate expert Shari McStay, who has over 10 years of experience in the Beverly, Massachusetts area has helped home sellers make smoother moves after dealing with their clutter.

According to McStay, asking yourself if the item is necessary or bringing you joy will usually determine if it’s time to get rid of it.

“People tend to hang onto stuff for sentimental reasons too, and one of the things I’ll tell people is take a picture of it and make just one small album of these items that you want to remember, but you really don’t necessarily have to keep the item,” says McStay.

Trying to Sell a House Full of Stuff?

Preparing a home for sale is stressful, especially when you have a lot of clutter to deal with. HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform makes things easier by providing all-cash offers for homes in almost any condition. Skip repairs, showings, and staging and request an offer whenever you’re ready.

Household junk buyers: 11 websites that will pay for your junk

There are lots of options for selling your junk that will be treasured by someone else. Whether it’s clothes, books or other items that need a new home, the following websites can help you clean up and cash out.

  • thredUP – Online consignment shop where you can sell new or gently used women’s, children’s or maternity clothing by using their clean out kit and shipping label. They buy mostly well-known brand names. Once they accept your items, they’ll send you a payout percentage that can either be for cash, credit for thredUP, or other participating stores.
  • Alibris – Marketplace that allows a casual seller to list their books, movies and music for sale online. In order to set up an account you pay a $19.99 annual fee to start selling on their website and also pay a fee and commission to Alibris for every item sold. In most cases, the seller will ship directly to the buyer.
  • Cash4Books – Textbooks that you no longer need or want can be sold to Cash4Books. Once they agree to buy your textbooks (usually no older than 3 years old), you mail the books to them using a prepaid shipping label they send you. They inspect the condition of your books and send the payment via Paypal typically in 13 days.
  • Powell’s – Sell your books online by entering the ISBN numbers (of at least seven books), and if interested, Powell’s will email an offer and will provide a prepaid mailing label for your box. If the condition is acceptable, they’ll send a payment to your Paypal account.
  • BuyBackWorld – Buys items that include phones, video games and cameras. The price is instantly quoted, along with free shipping, and then the final price will depend on the condition of your device. If the price is lower and you change your mind, they’ll send it back to you for free. Payment is made via Paypal, direct deposit or prepaid credit card.
  • Vinted – A free platform for listing pre-owned men’s, women’s, kid’s clothing, and household items. Sellers ship directly to the buyers and the sales proceeds are deposited into your Vinted Wallet that can be transferred to your bank.
  • Gazelle – Using Gazelle’s website, you look for the same model of smartphone or tablet that you want to sell, carefully describe the condition, and typically get a quote sent to you along with a prepaid shipping label. Once Gazelle verifies the condition they pay you via PayPal, Amazon or check.
  • uSell – Phones, computers, gaming consoles and other technology can be sold through their website where you could receive several offers from their network. Once you select an offer, you get a prepaid shipping label and ship the item to uSell. After reviewing the device’s condition, they’ll send the payment to you via Paypal or check.
  • Amazon Trade-In – If you have qualifying tablets, speakers, security devices, routers, or other devices, you could get an offer for a trade-in credit in the form of an Amazon gift card. If your device doesn’t qualify for resale, you can also use Amazon’s free recycling program to have those items recycled properly.
  • Poshmark – This is a website where you can sell women’s, men’s, and kid’s clothing. For items under $15, a flat fee of $2.95 is charged or you’ll receive 80% of the sale if the item is above $15. A free prepaid shipping label is provided for packages weighing 5 pounds or under, and the payment is sent to your Poshmark account where you can transfer to your bank account once the sale is completed.
  • Swappa – A place where you can sell used (but not broken) technology such as phones, computers, and watches directly to the buyer. The seller and buyer each pay a 3% fee to Swappa and the buyer pays for the shipping and any sales tax of the item. The seller is paid through Paypal and the seller also pays a Paypal fee for each sales transaction.
People tend to hang onto stuff for sentimental reasons too, and one of the things I’ll tell people is take a picture of it and make just one small album of these items that you want to remember, but you really don’t necessarily have to keep the item

Online sellers: 7 sites where you can sell your unique or larger items

In addition to selling smaller items, you may consider the following options to sell those unique or heavier items that can take up lots of space and could become more profitable for you once they move out of your house.

  • Craigslist – Popular items such as furniture, building materials and tools can be listed for free. However, if you’re selling a vehicle that listing could incur a seller’s fee. Also, if you are selling an item on Craigslist be sure to follow their safety guidelines.
  • eBay – Outdoor recreational and gym equipment, as well as pet and gardening supplies are popular items to sell via auction or the buy it now option on eBay. After deducting their fees, eBay pays you directly through their managed payment system once the transaction is complete.
  • Bonanza – A marketplace where you create a seller’s booth to sell a variety of items including jewelry, collectibles and household items. There’s no fee to list items for sale and the seller is charged a 3.5% base fee once the item sells.
  • Facebook Marketplace – Bulky furniture, tools or seasonal items are popular to list on Facebook Marketplace which is geared more to finding buyers in your local area for selling items you don’t want to move. You create a free listing and buyers generally pick up the items.
  • Etsy – You can sell articles you have handmade, craft supplies or vintage items (at least 20 years old) by using the Etsy marketplace to list your products. The listing fee is $0.20 for each item, along with a transaction fee of 5% (increasing to 6.5% on April 11) and a payment processing fee of 3% + $0.25 and also a potential advertising fee. Payment is made directly into your bank account.
  • Carvana – If you have a car that’s taking up garage space that you want to sell, Carvana may be the answer. Tell them about your vehicle, including the condition, and snap a photo of your odometer. If they offer to buy your car, you can arrange a drop off or pick up. If the car matches your description, you’ll be paid by a check or direct deposit.
  • RVT.com – Haven’t had the chance to go glamping in a long time? Perhaps you’ll want to sell your old RV, camper or travel trailer to make those big vehicles hit the road. Different price packages are available for listing your recreational vehicle on their website.

Best practices for selling your stuff online before you move

For the best online selling experience, consider the following:

Decide how involved you want to be – Some online sites will track sales, process transactions and offer free shipping for selling your items and others are more self-serve.

Read the terms and conditions carefully – Every website has different policies regarding the items you’re allowed to sell. They also follow specific fee structures, payment terms, taxes and return policies.

Clear photos will attract more buyers – If you follow the sizing and resolution guidelines when posting photos, buyers will likely be drawn to your listing versus photos that are too small, dark or blurry.

Descriptions should be detailed and accurate – Highlight all the good things about your item, such as the brand, condition and features. Also, clearly spell out any flaws, the total costs and shipping process.

Other options: Avoid the landfill by being charitable and neighborly

After selling and recycling as much as you can, with your open house date fast approaching, you’re pressed to get rid of the rest and could possibly help your community by utilizing these free options.

Donating your items

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Is a home improvement and donation center for items such as building materials, appliances and fixtures that are new or gently used. The Restore sells these items to raise funds for building low-income housing.
  • Goodwill – Accepts new or gently used items such as clothing, collectibles, and sporting equipment. The proceeds go towards their training and job placement program.
  • Savers – Donations of gently used clothing, toys and household items are accepted by Savers on behalf of a nonprofit who is paid for those items that are then sold in the thrift store.
  • Freecycle – A website that allows people to post free items such as old furniture, fixtures and appliances locally and arrange with the interested party to pick up the item.

Haul-away companies: If you just need the junk to go

When you whittle down your junk, there may still be some things that need to be removed by a professional haul-away company. But if your moving date is close, paying these companies to get rid of your stuff is helpful and sometimes they’ll even sort out the recycled material they take.

  • Junk King – Takes items such as old furniture, appliances and other trash. They follow an eco-friendly mission to sort and recycle as much as possible from the junk.
  • 1-800-Junk-Refund – After you pay to have your junk hauled away, if there are any items that can be sold, the company will sell them and refund some cash back for those items.
  • 1-800-Got-Junk? – Items such as exercise equipment, furniture, tires are hauled away. They will donate and recycle as much as possible from each job.

Search tips for haul-away companies

The best way to find your local haul-away company is to do a Google search with the search term “haul away companies near me” or “haul away companies + your city name.” Also check for reviews and ratings on websites such as Angi, HomeAdvisor and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Typical cost to remove junk

According to McStay, most junk removal companies will charge by the weight of the item, along with the number of trucks and the crew members needed. Depending on the extent of the job, the cost typically ranges from $500 to $2,000.

Q&A: Other things you should know about getting rid of junk

Generally, how does seeing lots of junk influence the buyer?

When walking through a client’s property, if McStay sees an old shed in the yard that is kind of dilapidated, she’ll suggest removing it. “Not only does it look bad, buyers don’t necessarily want to have to deal with the effort and cost of removing it.” McStay continues to explain that when buyers see things that are not well kept, the perception is that there are other deferred maintenance issues in the home.

What about getting rid of your hazardous waste?

Things you can’t put in the trash like pesticides and paint can be disposed of safely based on your city’s hazardous disposal rules. “A lot of cities and towns will have hazardous waste days a couple days a month and people can definitely use those to get rid of those items — those are things that the buyers definitely aren’t going to want left in the house,” says McStay.

Is it a good idea to get a storage unit?

McStay says that storage units can be helpful for in-between and temporary situations, but she doesn’t advise clients to get a storage unit because “clutter is unmade decisions” that could be resolved instead of moving the items from one place to another.

Conclusion: Takeaways for tackling your junk

When buyers can see all the fabulous features of your home without the distraction of junk and clutter, the value tends to increase because potential problems have already been addressed. For the best results remember to:

  • Sell your stuff and make money – Check the terms of websites to find the one that works for you
  • Donate to a charity or freecycle – Help your community or neighbors who can use your items
  • Hire someone to haul away the rest – Get a estimate and find a pro who recycles and donates

Ready to dump the junk and prepare your home for sale? A top real estate agent will have the local connections you need to get the help you want for decluttering. This will help ensure an easier journey to your next home.

To find a top agent in your area, consider using HomeLight’s free Agent Match tool, which analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.

Header Image Source: (Nasim Keshmiri / Unsplash)