7 Everyday Items That May Be Worth More Than You Think

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  • Selling things you no longer need can be good for both your bank account and brain.
  • People pay top dollar for nostalgia.
  • Go through your old board games, toys, records, and more to find hidden money. 

What's not to like about organizing your house and putting extra money in the bank?

A recent move inspired my husband and me to edit our basement. We spent days going through toys, old electronics that looked straight out of the '90s, and books -- so many books. We ran across a huge stamp collection that my father lovingly curated, several small tables, and home décor for every holiday. We even found a tent, lanterns, and outdoor cooking gear. That last find was interesting, given that we've never been camping.

As we hurried to get the house on the market, it never occurred to me to sell odds and ends from our decades together. Not because I'm sentimental (anything can go but my dad's stamp collection), but because I couldn't imagine our junk being worth anything. 

It's a good thing I'm not super-sentimental about stuff because our moving company lost plenty of ours. Some along the side of a Missouri highway and some between its Kansas warehouse and our home in Illinois. Two of the boxes that didn't show up were full of Pyrex glassware, those handy glass containers that have been a staple of American kitchens since 1915. 

Because I've been collecting Pyrex slowly over the years, I had no idea how expensive it would be to replace. Just today, I checked eBay and found a set of three Pyrex bowls selling for $200. Used. The bowls were used.

And down the rabbit hole I jumped, trying to find other everyday items that might be worth money. Here's some of what I found. 

1. Toys

If you happen to have a headless, nude 1960s Barbie in a box somewhere, it's worth up to $25 on eBay. Headless.

If the 1960s Barbie has a head (but no clothes), it's worth around $75.

Polly Pocket dolls from the 1990s are highly sought-after treasures for some, with a 1995 Cinderella castle for $94. 

And if you're a child of the '70s and still own a set of Klik Klak Clackers (that you "accidentally" hit your siblings with), you can expect a cool $60 for the delightful/potentially lethal toy. 

2. Board games

Board games are huge in the resale world. Several years ago, an original copy of a 1933 edition of Monopoly Atlantic City sold for $146,500. Here are a few other old games that put a little extra money in an owner's bank account:

  • 1966 edition of Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game: $340 at auction
  • Dark Tower game from 1981: $580
  • 71 Board Games from 1969: $900

3. Video games

Video games have never been my jam, although I've purchased more than my fair share through the years. Back when I was buying them as birthday and Christmas presents, I would have never dreamed that Mario Kart 64 would one day sell for hundreds of dollars. According to Wall St. Watchdog, Super Nintendo games, PlayStation 4, and Chrono Trigger resale for $300 to $1,000. 

The right video games fetch even more. In 2019, an original, unopened test-market copy of Super Mario Bros sold at auction for a little over $100,000. 

4. Denim

Whether it's an old pair of jeans, a dress, or a denim purse, it's a sure bet someone will want to buy it. The older, the better. I found an old Levi's denim jacket on eBay today for $200. Chances are, the person selling it hasn't had it on in decades, and the money will come in handy.

5. Mid-century modern classics

If you've seen the television show Mad Men, you know it's set in the 1960s. If you happen to come across anything from that era, take a second look. Nostalgia is powerful, and people will pay top dollar to be surrounded by items that take them back. 

For example, old typewriters can sell from $200 to $560. If it's old and functional, someone will want it. 

And remember those old flip clocks? Okay, probably not. They function a lot like a digital clock, but instead of using an electronic LED display to show the time, a flip clock has a wheel of printed cards that flip over as time passes. There are online communities of passionate flip clock lovers; if you have one lying around, now may be the time to take advantage of the enthusiasm. A vintage flip clock recently sold for nearly $700. 

6. Vinyl records

There was a time when the only place you could sell an old vinyl record was your local record store. However, the internet makes it much easier. Online marketplaces like Discogs make it simple to sell old vinyl. The price you're likely to receive is based on the condition and rarity of the album.

7. Vintage furniture

Do you have an extra end table from your grandmother's house or an old settee you've never known what to do with? Vintage furniture is a big seller on sites like Etsy and eBay. If you'd prefer not to ship items, try Facebook Marketplace or your local neighborhood website. Expect multiple offers if you have anything mid-century modern (typically, furniture made from the mid-1940s to 1970). 

Having extra money to spend, save, or invest is nice but it's not the only benefit of selling old stuff. According to NewsGP, research shows that clutter and disorganization have a cumulative impact on our brains. As humans, we naturally like things to be neat and orderly. We want to look at something and immediately know what it is and how we can use it. Being surrounded by too much clutter reduces our ability to focus and drains our cognitive resources.

Selling the stuff you no longer use is a win-win. It's good for the budget and good for the brain. 

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