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Consignment Auctions: Make Money Selling Your Junk

zula By zula on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Finances Expertise:
Local Auction House, Photo Copyright 2011 Zula

Everyone has tossed out what they consider "junk" at one time or another. Often, we give usable items to local Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army stores, and local churches, which is a great way to help the community. However, have you ever considered turning some of your junk into cash? The easiest way to do this is to sell your items at a consignment auction.

What is a consignment auction?

Consignment auctions are live public auctions held in an auction house and involve multiple sellers. An auctioneer will sell your items for you and keep 20-30% of the sales for their services. They take care of everything, including setting up your items for the auction. Sometimes, you will set up your own items in a designated area or space.

Most auction houses have regularly scheduled auctions. In our area, auctions are held every Tuesday and Thursday. On the day of the auction, the auctioneer will sell your items to the highest bidder. Typically, you will receive a check in the mail within a few days, depending on the policies of your auction house.

Is your junk really sellable?

You may consider your junk worthless, but you might be surprised to find buyers eager to buy your items. For example, an old handmade quilt, tattered and worn is a treasure to someone who uses old "cutter" quilts in their craft business. Linens such as crocheted doilies, embroidered dish towels, feed sacks, ladies handkerchiefs, and vintage fabrics are also desirable.

Do you have old toys from your childhood? Old toys are very collectible because they bring back childhood memories. Some popular toys include games, comic books, die-cast cars, dolls, space toys, TV character toys, and wind-up toys. The list is endless, but anything with a little nostalgia will be a good seller.

Gardening items do very well at consignment auctions. You may have unwanted items in your garage such as an old wheelbarrow, flower pots, water cans or garden tools. Items such as chairs, benches, gates, and shutters are often converted into beautiful garden furniture and decor. Gardeners are always looking for unusual items for artistic garden projects.

Paper goods such as books, magazines, comics, cook books, and old catalogs are good sellers. Also, buyers are looking for vintage greeting cards, maps, movie posters, photographs, postcards, trade cards, valentines, etc. Like other collectibles, condition is everything! Paper items in pristine condition will command the best prices.

Where do you start?

Choose a clean corner of your garage or basement to store your items, so everything is in one area. Place items you no longer need in clean storage boxes or plastic tubs. When you have accumulated enough junk to fill a long table or two, contact your local auction house to make arrangements to sell your items. If you don't have a local auction house in your area, check your phone book for places in nearby towns. The auction service we use is about 40 miles from home, but worth the drive. On auction day, the auction house is full of people looking for treasures.

Selling your junk at consignment auctions is a great way to put extra money in your pockets and a smile on someone's face.