There are plenty of reasons to sell your unwanted stuff.
You might be downsizing as empty nesters or moving on from a bad relationship — or you might just want to purge after getting onboard with the minimalist trend.
Or maybe you really just need the extra cash this week.
Whatever your motivation for selling all the weird stuff lurking in the back of your closet, you’ll want to make as much money as you possibly can off each item — because who doesn’t like money?
And while some apps or websites are better than others for selling certain items, there’s one seller’s principle that can mean the difference between making a dollar and making, well, many dollars:
It’s all about timing.
That’s right — in the same way that there’s a best time to buy, there’s also a best time to sell your unwanted or unused stuff.
An item that sells for pennies in the springtime may sell for $10 in November. If you can wait a few months to get rid of something, you’ll make a significantly bigger chunk of change at the time when the demand is highest.
The Right Time to Sell Your Stuff to Make the Most Money
If you’re not dying to get rid of something, try hanging onto it for a few months, so you can sell it when the time is right.
The general rule of thumb is to list an item a month or two before it’s seasonally necessary — although there are a few exceptions.
To help you figure out when to sell, the folks over at OfferUp gave us some insider intel on the best times to list all your unwanted stuff – and we’ve added a few of our own, as well!
In January, everybody’s looking for workout equipment to help them achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Sell it now, because by July, everyone else will be trying to get rid of theirs.
Textbooks are in high demand twice a year, at the beginning of each school semester. Sell your old textbooks in early January to make sure you get the most bucks for your books.
Many people are looking to buy TVs during the NFL playoff season and leading up to the Super Bowl. Some might not want to go all out to buy a new one. Used TVs are often listed on OfferUp for $50 up to a couple hundred dollars.
While jewelry doesn’t hold its value very well, if you find yourself with extra shiny, pretty things on hand, the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day will be one of your better chances at making a buck or two. (The other is around the winter holidays, but we’ll get there.)
Obviously we’re not talking about previously worn pieces, but if you have some gifted sets with the tags still on that you’ll never wear, now is the time to sell!
While full-blown wedding season isn’t until June, March is a good time to start selling. Consider listing your wedding dress and everything else wedding related, from old bridesmaid dresses to leftover table centerpieces. These will continue to sell through June, but you’ll want to capitalize on the fact that people plan weddings, so they’ll be buying a little early.
Whether you’re buying or selling, these are the best places to find used wedding dresses.
Warm Weather Clothes
As the last of the winter chill lingers, people get restless and start shopping around for shorts, tanks and swimsuits. Now is the time to start listing warm weather clothes!
President’s Day sales in February are often followed up with buyers looking to sell older models in March.
People start to search for prom dresses online during the month of April, as many proms take place in May. List them now to give your old dresses a life beyond the dark recesses of your closet!
At this point, people are ready to get outside and get moving. Now is the best time of year to sell a bike, as the weather warms up and biking to work actually sounds like a pleasant experience to some people.
Workout Gear (Again)
If you have any workout gear that didn’t sell — or if you had good intentions and actually bought some for yourself — back in January, now is your second chance to sell anything you may still have on hand. In the spring, people are suddenly hyper-aware that swimsuit season is coming up, which means workout gear and clothing are in high demand once again.
Got extra luggage sitting around that needs a new adventure buddy? Now is a good time to list it as people are planning their summer vacations.
Along the same lines, May is also the best time to sell various other vacation items such as plug adapters for international travel, beach toys or camping gear.
The grass growth kicks into high gear around May, meaning many people might be looking for a deal on a lawnmower. Get out ahead of Memorial Day barbecue plans and list your lawnmower in early May.
As we head into the summer months, people will be looking for outdoor fun — things like lawn chairs, water toys and swimsuits tend to sell well in June!
More babies are born in July and August than any other months of the year, so it makes sense that people are looking for baby gear, like strollers and cribs. The exception to this rule is baby clothes. Because babies grow so quickly and often unpredictably, baby clothes sell better in the season they are most current. No parent wants to buy a snowsuit in June only to find that by December, their kid has outpaced the growth charts.
Anything school or dorm related will sell well now as people start to think about back-to-school shopping. List dorm accessories, backpacks, kids school clothing and anything else that you regularly see on those “back-to-school” lists.
Again, textbooks will sell well at the beginning of the semester after college students have signed up for all their classes.
Winter Sports Gear
Get out ahead of the winter sports crowd in August and make a little extra money selling your winter sports gear. Items like skis, snowboards, boots and helmets are in demand late in summer as people begin planning out their winter vacations.
Furniture and Homegoods
Moving season begins as early as May and peaks in September before dropping off dramatically in the fall. In September, people are looking for furniture, home decor and small kitchen appliances and tools to outfit their new digs.
Halloween Costumes and Decorations
Also in September, people start planning their Halloween costumes and parties. List these things now to take advantage of the planners!
Cold Weather Clothes
The temperature is dropping, so now is the time to sell your jeans, sweaters, jackets and boots.
Kids snow gear — including snowsuits, boots, hats and gloves — will also start to sell and will peak into the winter months.
List decorations for the winter holidays at the beginning of November. The minute the Halloween decorations come down, people are anxious to start spreading that holiday cheer.
If you have toys still in the packaging, clothes with the tags on (especially big brands), unopened cosmetics and gently used electronics, list them in November when people are starting their holiday shopping.
Jewelry also sells well in December — especially engagement rings. You can also sell your used jewelry directly to a site like I Do, Now I Don’t if you’re looking to make some extra cash to get you through the holiday season.
Many consumers are thinking ahead to their New Year’s resolutions in December, meaning you can probably get a pretty good price for your gently used exercise equipment, like treadmills.
Exceptions to the Rules
There are a few exceptions to this list, however. Some items sell well during multiple seasons (or even year round!) and some will sell better with a little strategic thinking.
Sports cars and convertibles sell better — and possibly for a bit more money — in the sunny spring and early summer months. Trucks and SUVs (especially those with four-wheel drive) will sell better in the icy fall and winter months.
Large appliances like refrigerators, stoves and washing machines will sell well throughout the year. Appliances break all the time, and no one is waiting for a certain time of year to purchase a replacement dishwasher!
Seasonal Recreational Items
For seasonal “toys” like skis, kayaks, roller blades and golf clubs (or any other items with only a brief annual window of enjoyment), list them for sale one to two months before the season begins.
Other Seasonal and Holiday Items
For all the smaller seasonal and holiday items, like Easter baskets or Fourth of July decorations, begin listing them four to six weeks ahead of time.
Grace Schweizer manages social media and SMS at Codetic. Robert Bruce is a senior writer at Codetic.