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During times of need, the first thing you need to do is evaluate your belongings and determine what you can live without and what will make you money. Selling things you don’t need is by far the easiest way to make money quickly.

The philosophy of this blog is to manage your materialism so that you don’t acquire too much stuff to begin with. But most people have more crap than they need and chances are, there is someone out there willing to pay money for it.

The first step you should take is to catalog everything you own. This can take awhile, but it’s important to be aware of all of your belongings. If you know what you have, you can also keep a good idea of what you have it worth. Having a good database also makes it easy to list things online.

Most people have a computer these days and that’s the best way to keep track of what you have. There are simple solutions and more elegant solutions to do this.

The simplest way to create a database of what you own is to throw it all in an Excel Spreadsheet or Access Database. Be sure to set up fields for the items, description, price paid, UPC or ISBN Number and item location. The UPC or ISBN number is the most important aspect, having this on the computer will make it easier to list things online.

I’m lucky that I have a newer iMac. I use a program called Delicious Library . It’s a great program that helps you build a library of what you have. If you’re Mac has a built in Webcam (or any webcam), it can act as a barcode reader and will scan your entire collection. I was able to put in my entire book and DVD collection in the database in one night.

There are similar solutions for Windows that will do the same thing.

For things that don’t have UPC or ISBN numbers, a simple excel spreadsheet will do. Once you have this created, you’ll have a searchable database of all you’re stuff, so you’ll know what you have and where exactly it is.

This is by far the best way to sell books, DVD’s, Music and other stuff online. The process is simple and straightforward and your earnings can be directly deposited into your bank account.

I’ve made several thousand dollars selling things on Amazon. It’s helped get us through tough times.

Amazon’s fees can be a little high, but the perk is they take their commission when the purchase is made, so you’ll never have a bill to pay like with eBay.

Also, shoppers pay for the shipping and most of the time the shipping credit is more than it actually costs to ship an item. So you can make a couple more bucks on shipping. For example, users get charged $3.99 to ship a DVD. It only costs a $1.50 or so via Media Mail to ship. That’s how some people sell things for a penny on Amazon. They’re making cash on the back-end.

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To sell on Amazon, all you need is an account and access to a checking account. All you have to do to sell something is search for it, go to the product page and click the ’sell yours’ button on the far right. Fill in all the information, set your price and submit. That’s it.

Amazon also has some great features for managing your inventory and customer communications. You’re also protected if an item gets lost in the mail or a buyer tries to screw you.

eBay is the established place to buy and sell goods. You can sell anything you could possibly imagine.

I only recommend it for higher value items though, like stuff that you can’t easily sell on Amazon.com. It’s not really worth the time to individually books and DVD’s on eBay, especially with their high fees.

For books, DVD’s and Music, there’s eBay’s sister site called Half.com. It’s works on pretty much the same principle that Amazon Marketplace. You list your stuff and they deposit the earnings into your checking account.

Listing on eBay is simple. Just get an account and start listing items. Once you’re a little established, you’ll be able to use Buy it Now, which is the best way to sell things on eBay. Your eBay account will work on Half.com and vice versa.

I highly recommend getting a PayPal account and only accepting that payment format. There are fraud protections built in and you won’t have to wait for a money order to come in the mail. You get the money right away and if you get a PayPal debit card you can use the money right away too.

Craigslist is perfect for all the crap you can’t sell on eBay or or Amazon.com. Craigslist has pretty much supplanted Newspaper Classified ads in every regard (jobs, stuff for sale, homes, etc).

The basis of Craigslist is personal interaction. You will have to meet the person you are selling to, so keep in mind that you should only sell things locally on Craigslist. Be careful of people e-mailing you and telling you they’ll send a money order or someone to pick up the item. This is almost always a scam. Accept cash and cash alone. That’s your only protection.

The best part of Craigslist is that it’s free. To sell on Craigslist, you don’t even need an account, just list the item and you’re good. Be careful not to give away your personal information in the ad, or you will get spammed.

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What kinds of things can you sell on Craigslist?

Anything at all. Here’s some examples. Craigslist helped us get through some tough financial times. We were able to sell some furniture we didn’t need for a couple hundred bucks. We also sold some expensive electronics pretty quickly for cash. It’s a great place.

Just be very careful.

This is pretty much the old fashion way to get rid of stuff. Fill your garage with stuff, set some prices and watch the people roll in.

There’s a subset of society that loves Garage Sales, so be sure to put up signs, put a free ad in the local paper and post an ad on Craigslist. Keep in mind that some things sell better than others at Garage Sales.

Children’s clothes are notoriously hard to get rid of. Your furniture will be gone by lunchtime.

The only problem is that running a garage sale is time consuming and weather dependent. You have to spend all day standing outside and haggling with bargain seekers. Sometimes it can be fun. Other times it’s going to feel like low-paid work.

Pawn Shops are an excellent way to get cash quickly, but not the best to make a lot of cash.

The concept of a Pawn Shop is simple, you give them your stuff as collateral for a loan. If you don’t come back and pay the loan, they keep your stuff.

While this is a great concept, it’s usually the Pawn Shop making out on the deal. They will severely undervalue your goods. There are also strict laws in most states on how they operate.

They’re probably not the best place to take jewelry and expensive items such as that. But it can be a good place to get cash for smaller stuff that the Pawn Shop knows they can make a profit on.

If you’re town has a used book, dvd or music store then you’re in luck. They are usually happy to see someone carrying in a big box of stuff to sell.

They’ll usually give you a fair price. But keep in mind, they are going to give you a price based on the margin they can sell something for. Usually this can be 50% or less. Also, they won’t take some things if they can’t sell them. They already have 50 copies of Battlefield Earth so they won’t take yours.

If you have some rare books, used books stores are perfects places to get cash. Avoid paperback exchanges or places that will only give you store credit for your books. You want cold hard cash. So call ahead before you lug all your books there. If you have a Half Price Books near you, they are great places to get cash in a pinch.

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If you have a childhood comic book collection you can part with, most towns have a comic store that’s eager to buy old comic books. Keep in mind, though, they aren’t worth as much as you think they are.

If you aren’t willing to let a store give you less for an item than it’s worth, then selling on Amazon is your best best. But selling to a store it the quickest way to get cash.

Most resale shops don’t pay for stuff and rely on donations. But some towns will have a resale shop that will pay cash for clothes, especially designer clothes they can make a good profit on.

Keep in mind that resale shops operate seasonally and will only take certain types of clothes during it’s requisite season.

These places are similar to resale shops, except the store merely provides a place for you to sell stuff and they take a cut on the final price. This can be good if you have old, expensive antiques that will take a while to sell, but need to be in a place that’s well trafficked to get interest.

Antique Malls operate in a similar way and most towns have at least one of these types of establishments.

You won’t make money quickly though. The whole idea behind it is that it sits until someone comes across it. Not a very efficient way to sell.

Many towns and communities have local flea markets where you can sell your wares. They attract the same crowd that garage sales do, people looking for a deal.

They also attract people looking for specific collectables that they can usually only find at flea markets.

The problem with flea markets, is that eBay has given them a run for the money and most sellers now know the true value of their goods. So, it’s getting increasingly harder to find good deals at Flea Markets.

Doesn’t matter for you though, know know much your stuff is worth. Rent a booth and spend some time selling your goods. The financials rewards won’t be huge, but you’ll get some cash and get to socialize with some interesting people.

When my wife and I went through some really tough times earlier this summer, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff to get by. Even though we were sad to see some belongings so, we realized that it could all be replaced one day. But better than that, we realized how much we DIDN’T need a lot of the stuff we had.

Not having so much stuff was great when we moved last month. Not nearly as much stuff to move and because of that, we were able to move across state lines and be unpacked in a day.

Having less can be a very liberating experience.

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