Something old, new, expensive or blue: how to offload surplus domestic goods

Today marks yet another austerity budget, so it’s time to convert unwanted household goods to cash

Car boot sale: great way to sell a little bit of everything

Car boot sale: great way to sell a little bit of everything

Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 01:00

Over the past five years, austerity has reduced the income of a typical Irish family by about €300 a month. Not only that but today households around Ireland might see another cut coming out of their monthly budget, while the full impact of the the property tax – which will cost 50 per cent of homeowners €225 or less – will hit next year.

So, if you have a house full of stuff – but an empty wallet – is it time to off-load some goods in the hope of making money?

While online outlets like Done Deal and eBay are always good options when it comes to selling goods, there are also lesser known “bricks and mortar” alternatives to choose from.


Sell your electrical goods
UK chain CeX now has six outlets across Ireland (Dublin: Liffey Street and Stillorgan; Dundalk, Portlaoise, Limerick and Wexford). It buys, sells and exchanges a range of technology and entertainment products including mobile phones, video games, DVDs and computers.

So, if you’re tired of your old DVD collection, or have moved on from your old laptop to your iPad, it might be the time to clear out your presses and make some money.

A Toshiba 37in television for example, which would sell for €310, could make you €170, while if you have an Apple TV ready to off-load, you could make €76 on the trade.

You can expect to get less for items such as DVDs, and the older the title, the less you are likely to earn. Robert Downey jnr comedy Due Date for example, will earn you just €0.50, while the more recent Inception, starring Leonardo di Caprio, may be bought for €5.

You have to become a member of the chain to be able to trade with it, so bring some photo ID along with you when you visit a shop.


Sell your clothes
Firstly we had “cash for gold” outlets, now “cash for clothes” shops have sprung up all around the country. The basic premise of these shops is that they will pay you a fixed amount per kilo of clothes – typically between €0.50 and €1.

You will need to check with your particular outlet first, but most take a range of items including shoes, towels, handbags, curtains and bed linen. So the more you bring, the more you will earn.

Unless you’re a massive hoarder however, it’s unlikely to make you rich. A pair of jeans for example, weighs about 600g while a pair of runners would be less than a kilo. It could however give you a good excuse to tidy out your wardrobe with the promise of earning enough perhaps for a Chinese takeaway at the end of it.


Sell a bit of everything
One way of off-loading a load of miscellaneous items – hopefully in one go – is to book a spot at a car boot sale. Outside of Dublin, you can expect to pay about €10 per pitch, while in Dublin the fee is generally as high as €25. There is a car boot sale in Tallaght Stadium in Co Dublin, for example, every Saturday morning from 8am to 12 pm with a fee of €20.

Remember to ask first whether or not you need to bring your own table with you, and don’t forget to pack some plastic bags and plenty of change.


Sell your jewellery
They’ve been around for some years now, thanks to the soaring cost of the price of gold, but it seems that the ready supply of local outlets of some chain promising to turn your unworn gold jewellery into cash is on the wane.

Industry sources say the supply of gold jewellery, and the price on offer, peaked in 2011 and both have been falling since. Indeed statistics from the World Gold Council indicate that the supply of gold from recycling fell by 21 per cent globally in the second quarter of this year for example.

The price of gold peaked in September 2011 at almost $2,000, as investors flocked to it as a safe haven. Now however, given the easing of the global crisis, the price of gold has dropped, and is now valued at about $1,315 an ounce (less than €1,000).

Nonetheless, if you do have gold jewellery which you’d like to off-load, you could expect to make about €10-€11 per gram of nine-carat gold. Based on this price, a nine-carat ring, which would weigh about seven grams, could earn you about €70.

This isn’t necessarily what you’ll be offered however, so be sure to shop around and get several quotes before you sell your goods.

Sell whatever you want
Clothes, baby items, furniture, cars, fridges, chickens, kitchen presses – you can sell pretty much anything you might have in your home online these days.

If you’re looking to appeal to Irish buyers, local options include donedeal.ie and adverts.ie.

It’s free to list an item on Adverts.ie, although you will pay more for extras such as printing your title in bold (€1) or keeping your advert above all others (€3). The site works a little bit like eBay, in that people make bids on an item and the seller can accept or reject them.

For example, one seller recently had a Laura Ashley sofa for sale at €595. The seller rejected bids of €400 and €450 outright before accepting an offer of €525.

On donedeal.ie, an advert will cost you €1 for an item such as clothing or furniture, rising to €3 for electronics and farming equipment, and €5 for cars. You can also upgrade your advert by paying an additional sum for a premium spotlight.

For a more international audience, it’s hard to beat eBay. It charges two main types of fees: 1) insertion fee; and 2) final value fee.

The first is levied depending on the value of your item for sale. So, for example, if you have a dress to sell for £40, your insertion fee will be £1 for an auction style listing, or £0.40 for a “buy it now” listing. The site frequently offers periods when no insertion fee is charged, however, so watch out for these to maximise your return. When you sell your goods, eBay charges 10 per cent of the value of the transaction as a “final value fee”.

A common trick used by vendors on the site is to hike up the cost of postage. So for example, you list a book for sale for just 50 cent, but when it comes to completing the transaction the buyer finds that the total cost is more like €3.50. With postage potentially costing just €1.50, this gives the vendor a clear €2 profit.

Remember when selling online, a good photograph is paramount to getting interest in your product, and check out prices of similar products before you list yours. If the product is still available, you could indicate the full price of the product and how much of a discount you are offering on the second-hand alternative.


Go to auction
Another option which takes the onus off you fulfilling the terms of a transaction is to put your goods up for auction. Given the number of companies going out of business and subsequent liquidation sales over the past few years, auction houses have sprung up to off-load these goods, many of which are typical domestic goods such as furniture and televisions.

AuctionXchange in Sandyford for example holds an auction every second Tuesday. It charges a commission fee of 15 per cent plus VAT (18.45 per cent), or a minimum of €5 to put your item up for auction. If the item is not sold in the auction it remains on-site and is available for sale on a “buy now” basis at the guide price.

Storage charges (€25 including VAT) may apply for goods however that have not sold in the auction.


Loan your goods
It’s one of the oldest professions, and the lasting appeal of a pawnbroker is easy to understand. There is no requirement for a credit check, no forms to be filled out and no lengthy wait to see if you’ve been approved for a loan.

You simply stop by with your item and photo ID, agree a value of the loan based on the item you leave behind and walk out, cash in hand.

Carthy Pawnbrokers on Dublin’s Marlborough Street has been trading since 1954, and lends as little as €20 to thousands of euro in one quick transaction. It offers a four-month contract, which means that you can redeem your item at any point up to the end of that period by repaying the loan and interest due. If you want to extend the contract for another four months, you have to first pay off the interest from the initial period.

Interest is set at a rate of 3 per cent per month from the date of the loan throughout the period of the contract. So, for example, if you borrow €100 against a gold necklace, you can leave it in for four months and then pay €100 plus €12 interest to get it back.

It has a preference for gold, jewellery and watches. Remember, however, if you can’t afford to buy back your item, it will be sold on to someone else by the pawnbroker.


Just give it away
If you don’t manage to sell your homewares, having someone turn up on your door-step to take them away can be a reward in itself.

So check out a site like freetradeireland.ie which allows you to list an item for free. If someone likes what you have, they’ll email you and come to collect it. But take a tip from someone who has used such services in the past – you may find you get considerable offers for your item, so choose the person who is ready and able, and has access to a van if necessary, to gift your item to.

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