Turn Your Trash into Cash

Dear Rich Lifer,

eBay is an interesting place. If you’ve ever been working on a project and needed some odds and ends, the chance of you finding someone selling what you’re looking for on eBay is pretty good.

I’ve bought all kinds of things from eBay over the years and it’s saved me a ton of money. From used tools to furniture, vinyl records to gift cards, you name it.

Even downright weird things, like empty egg cartons for DIY soundproofing, I’ve been lucky enough to find sellers.

What this means is that you could also be selling these things too. For example, what do you do with used toilet paper rolls? If you’re like most people, you throw them away.

But, you could collect them and resell the rolls on eBay for a few bucks. There’s a surprising number of weird things people will buy online.

So before you declutter your house this holiday season, check online to see if someone might be interested in buying what you’re throwing away.

Here’s a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know you could sell on eBay for decent money:

Toilet Paper Rolls

Yes, the cardboard rolls that your kids refused to change can be sold for a few bucks on eBay. As long as the rolls are clean and not crushed, you can usually get anywhere from 10-50 cents for each one. Crafters and other hobbyists will buy them in large quantities for projects.

Paper towel rolls sell well too. Just make sure when you ship them, you use a box to avoid crushing them. The great thing about selling cardboard rolls is they’re super lightweight so shipping is typically cheap.

Wine Bottles and Corks

Do you drink wine? Is that even a question?

What do you do with the leftover corks? If you’re like most people, you probably recycle the bottles and toss the corks.

But there are people looking for both wine bottles and corks. The going rate seems to be anywhere from $20-30 for two hundred corks. Wine bottles sell for about $1 each but you usually have to clean the labels off and sort them (blue, green, etc.).

Egg Cartons

Like I said earlier, I’ve bought egg cartons on eBay for a DIY soundproofing project, and I was amazed at how many sellers there were.

It doesn’t matter whether you have cardboard, plastic or styrofoam cartons, people are buying them all on eBay. Crafters and backyard chicken enthusiasts seem to be driving this market.

Instead of throwing away your egg cartons why not sell them to someone who will use them and make a little extra cash! Most cartons are selling between $10-49.

Remote Controls

Next time your TV breaks, or if you bought a new one over Black Friday, look online to see if someone’s interested in buying your old remote. For every broken TV, there’s usually a perfectly good remote someone else needs.

It helps if you know the model of the TV that the remote goes with. And make sure you specify the condition and whether you’re including batteries or not. Also, you’re not limited to TV remotes.

People are looking for remotes for all sorts of electronics. Stereo systems, projectors, air conditioners…whatever you have in your junk drawer, someone might be willing to buy.

Box Tops for Education

If you have kids or grandkids, there’s a good chance their schools run competitions for collecting the most box tops.

Instead of throwing them out, stop. You might be able to earn some cash with a few seconds of work. Parents are looking for cheap ways to get these codes and would rather pay a few bucks for a bag of trimmed BTFEs than collect them individually. You’ll get anywhere from $4-25.


If you’re not into couponing that’s okay. But there are a lot of people who are and would be willing to pay you for your coupons that you get in the mail.

Depending on the discount and store, buyers will pay $2-10 for 10%, 15% and 25% off coupons. A great example is Pottery Barn – those coupons can go for a few bucks because of how much the savings could net you.

Next time you get a pack of coupons in the mail, take a look at eBay and see if anyone’s buying.

Old Software/ Installation CDs

I bet you’re surprised that someone would pay you for an old copy of Windows or Microsoft Office, right? Well, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Some people are still using old computers to handle simple jobs, or they’re collecting software to display in their office. In any case, if you have a junk drawer filled with installation CDs and old software packages, you might be able to offload them on eBay.

Empty Makeup Containers

Vintage containers are a big seller online. But you can make some money off newer containers too. M.A.C. a cosmetics brand offers a Back to M.A.C. program that lets you exchange six empty makeup containers for a free lipstick.

If your daughter or wife likes M.A.C. makeup but not a fan of the lipstick, why not sell the containers for cash to someone who will participate in the program.

Huge Pinecones

Crafters love these. If you’ve ever visited a place where there’s massive pine cones, grab a few to take home with you.

There’s a ton of people buying “big” pine cones on eBay for arts and crafts. Big is usually close to the size of a can of soda but anything bigger than average will do. Some of the giant ones, the size of wine or champagne bottles, sell for $10!

Anything Discontinued

This last one seems obvious but I’m not talking about just anything vintage. There’s a ton of random things you can sell that are worth a lot of money that you never would have guessed.

For instance, remember Lehman Brothers? A Lehman Brother’s mousepad can net you $10. The Lehman Brothers 2007 annual report sold for $99!

If an iconic company goes bankrupt, there’s usually some money to be made with the junk that’s left behind. Surprisingly, people want to own this “historic memorabilia.”

These are just a few of the weird things you can make some money off selling on eBay. There’s no doubt a lot more. Next time you’re doing a purge, see if you can make a few bucks by selling your old junk online.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

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Nilus Mattive

Nilus is the editor for the daily e-letter The Rich Life Roadmap and a Paradigm Press analyst.

Nilus began his professional career at Jono Steinberg’s Individual Investor Group, where he published his original research through a regular investment column. Later, he worked for a private equity business and spent five years editing Standard and Poor’s...

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