Is There Cash in Your Trash?

If you are like me, you are always getting rid of stuff. Maybe you are in the process of moving, relocating, or simply doing some spring cleaning. Or maybe you are just clearing some much-needed space in your house. Whatever the reason, it always gives me a sense of relief and accomplishment to fill up my trash cans with things I no longer need or perhaps things I never really needed in the first place. And I’ll bet you are no different. Just keep in mind that when you are disposing of your old stuff, there may be some cash in your trash.

Throwing Money Away

But there is one thing you would never think of putting in your trash can. That would be your wallet. Yet based on some of the things I see in the dumpsters at some of the storage facilities I visit, people may as well be throwing away their wallets along with all the money inside them.

Did you ever hear the expression: “One man’s hamburger is another man’s steak?” Nothing could be closer to the truth and yet I’m always surprised at how many people never stop to think that an item which happens to be worthless to them might actually be of great value to someone else.

We could all use extra cash in our pockets. So instead of automatically relegating that junk to the trash bin, it might be worth your time to find a person who could find some use for it and would be willing to part with a few bucks in exchange. It’s easier than you might think. And it’s definitely worth the trouble. Here are some ways you might be able to convert your trash into cash:

  1. Trade in the tech tools. Chances are you have something of value in the IT realm hanging around the house. And if you are like most of us, you have more than one item you can get something for. Got any used ink cartridges? There are lots of places you can go to trade them in for cash. Websites such as and We Buy Supplies will buy them. So will some office stores such as Staples, which has a program where you earn money credit towards a future purchase for each used cartridge you turn in. What about used equipment like printers and computers? Don’t trash them when you can cash them in from sites like Even old cell phones can be valuable. Sites such as Cell for Cash will gladly take your old ones off your hands and pay you for them. A fantastic choice for selling your old phones and tablets, is SellCell is the US’s leading mobile phone trade-in price comparison site. They compare the prices of all of the leading BuyBack companies like Gazelle, Decluttr across every make and model of phone and tablet.? SellCell also guarantees that the user will get the maximum price for their old device by offering a Best Price Guarantee.? If the user spots the price higher anywhere else they will refund double the difference.
  2. Media can make you money. Most of us have old DVDs or even VHS tapes hanging around. If you are in this category, then put them together and sell them on eBay. The same can be done with old magazines, which will almost always find you buyers who are interested. If you’re not a big fan of the electronic marketplace, then put them on display at a yard sale or flea market. What you don’t want to do is throw them away when you know there’s a demand out there for items such as these.
  3. Reap rewards for recycling. All of us are familiar with recycling programs. And many people already know about recycling centers, where you can take lots of aluminum cans, plastic containers, and glass bottles and exchange them for cash. But did you know you can also get cash for your old empty boxes? Several companies such as will buy your boxes from you or allow you to use their site for free to post an ad so that you can sell them yourself to local buyers.
  4. You might be surprised when you advertise. There’s always the good old yard sale. This is a tried and true way to get money for lots of your unwanted stuff. But for those who don’t have yards, there are lots of other places where you can advertise and sell your merchandise. Auctions can be a very effective mechanism. Many cities have auction houses where sellers are invited to sell nearly anything. And online auctions are becoming increasingly popular too. A growing number of dedicated websites, including eBay, allow customers to list items, upload photos, and establish a minimum bid price.
  5. Don?t hesitate to donate. Last but certainly not least, you can always go the donation route. Donating your old items is not only beneficial to others but it also benefits you come tax time. There are several organizations, both national and local, that are happy to accept stuff you no longer need so that others can use it. Some of the most widely donated items include used clothing, old books, household appliances, and even used automobiles. Don?t be afraid to donate an old RV or boat for charity. There are a plethora of great organizations that will take your boat as a donation toward the cause of your choosing. What sets this process apart is the fact that most of the details and arrangements can be easily worked out via the web. All it takes is a few moments online for you to help out a charity, clear out some space in the garage, and make a little money, so why not give it a shot?

Before you put that item in the waste container, imagine that it is a ten-dollar bill that you are throwing away. Then look at the item again and you may view it differently. If you think before you throw, your reward could be less trash and more cash.

Kenneth McCall builds creative and innovative tools for customers seeking self storage units. Kenneth is the director of operations at which provides Boston self storage listings, and storage units in many locations across the country. In his spare time he likes to get outside, ideally with a boat and water ski?s.

( Photo from Flickr by Caterina )

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