For most of us, the holiday season is a time to spend. Money flies out of our pockets with ease as we buy presents for those we love, those we see every day, and everyone in between. However, it may not occur to many people out there that this time of year also provides us with a unique opportunity to rake in the dough by selling goods that others may be looking for. Just like those poor, forgotten playthings on the Island of Misfit Toys, so too can your no-longer-used possessions find a new home.

Right now is a great time to gather all the stuff you have in various closets, storage bins, and under beds around your house to take stock of what you no longer need or use. For one, if you’ve been a good little boy or girl, you’ll probably be the recipient of some new presents come December. Another reason, though, is that there are many people scouring the Internet this time of year for hard-to-find, unique or gently used presents.

Here are some tips on selling the right stuff at the right time to maximize your return on investment.

Seasonal items
If you’re anything like me, you go through bouts of clutter purging in your home. Once everything hits critical mass, I grab a box and a bunch of bags to start collecting things I can do without. You may be so fed up with the chaos that you just try to get rid of it all at once, but I’m here to tell you to put your foot on the brakes, and hold on just a second. If you take the time to assess everything you have to get rid of, and divide it all up into piles according to season, you may find that you’d be better off strategically planning when you sell your goods online. For instance, consider when you go shopping online. Are you looking for a winter coat in April? Or garden supplies in January? Probably not. But, when you get closer to the appropriate season for these items, your mind begins to think about what you’ll need, and then you start looking. So it makes good sense to hold on to these items (outdoor toys, sleds, summer/winter clothes, ice skates, heaters, etc.) until you know you’ll have a larger audience vying for them (driving up the potential bidders and therefore increasing your earnings).

Holiday items
See, here’s where you’re in luck. We are just six short weeks away from the holidays, and people are on the prowl for goods. The period between Black Friday and Christmas provides a huge selling opportunity for those who’d like to clear out unused things collecting dust around the house. Have a pile of video games you no longer play? Maybe you have a collection of unopened Star Wars action figures sitting in a box in your basement, or a rare vinyl record that could fetch quite a bit on the market. Now is the time when people are looking for these unique items (though collectibles are a pretty safe bet to sell anytime during the year). One year I was on the hunt for a Voltron toy that my husband had always wanted as a child, but never received. I’d decided that I would pick up the slack for Santa and make things right. You wouldn’t believe what people were willing to pay for even used versions of this toy. I paid $20 for a broken Voltron. Seriously. Nostalgia is a pretty powerful motivator – particularly during the holidays – so don’t underestimate the value of your potential sale.

Also, consider selling decorations close to each particular holiday. I know we all have Halloween fatigue at this point, but don’t go trying to sell those decorations and used costumes just yet. Wait until next fall to put those items up for sale, and try to catch people when they’re actively searching for them.

Commonly used items
There are many items used by people every day that you can go ahead and put up for sale anytime. Things such as iPods, computers, household and automobile items, toys, baby items, etc. are always in demand, so you don’t have to worry about the “right” time to sell them.

You may recall that about a month ago my fellow blogger, Chrissy, gave you some great tips for selling stuff online. If you haven’t yet read her words of wisdom, and you’re thinking about clearing out some of the clutter in your home while making money in the process, I suggest you check this out to help you plan your sale.

So, there you have it. With a little preparation, you can increase your odds of selling unused stuff while bringing order to your home. Use your judgment, and think about when people would likely be on the lookout for what you’d like to sell.

Have more tips for selling your stuff online at the right time of the year? Let us know in the comments below!

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