Paying off debt is no fun. It takes a lot of emotional energy and can really drain your finances. One way to jumpstart your debt payments is by selling your stuff. I’m a minimalist and have sold everything I can to get some extra money to pay off debt. The extra bonus is having more space, and less clutter! You don’t need to go overboard and sell all of your personal belongings. But think about it; many of us have stuff lying around the house that we rarely – if ever – use or need. Selling off your unwanted things not only helps simplify and streamline your life, but it can also give you extra cash to put towards your debts. Here’s how to get started.

Start Sorting

You can begin the process by tackling each room in your home and sorting through your belongings bit by bit. Create three piles. One can be dedicated to stuff that you want to save, one can be tossed or donated, and one can be sold. Be honest with old clothing in particular. If you haven’t worn that vintage teal sundress in three summers, will you really break it out this year? Probably not, but someone else might love it.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

Hold a Yard Sale

One of the tried and true ways to sell your belongings is through a good, old-fashioned yard sale. Make signs, put an advertisement in the paper and plug it on Facebook. When you sell your clothing face to face, be prepared for some haggling. There are professional yard sale experts who do the rounds looking for bargains to upsell elsewhere, so stand your ground and don’t agree to a price you feel is unfair. You can always sell a more expensive piece online or to an antiques shop.

Create Online Listings

If you live in an apartment like me, or can’t sell all of your stuff at a yard sale, you can take your items and put them up online. Selling things online is pretty easy and can be done from the luxury of your own home. There are many options worth looking into like eBay, Craigslist, or Quicksales in Australia. I like the Craigslist and Quicksales options because there are no selling fees and you can target local buyers more effectively. However, be careful when using sites like Craigslist or eBay, as there are a lot of scammers. You can increase your chances of attracting legitimate buyers by taking good photos of your belongings and writing accurate descriptions.

Throw All Extra Money to Debt

You won’t get rid of your debt right away, but having extra money to throw at it certainly helps! As soon as you cash that check, or deposit the cash, you can pay off the same amount in debt.

Selling your unwanted “stuff” is not only a good way to pay down debt, but it can help you focus on only buying the things that you truly want or need. It frees up your space and you are less likely to continue down the cycle of consumerism when you realize how fun it is to sell your stuff and be a minimalist. Also, each extra payment toward debt will get you closer to debt freedom.


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

Latest posts by Melanie (see all)

33 responses to “A Guide to Selling Your Stuff to Pay Off Debt”

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’ve been selling things for years and over the last 4 years, online. I’ve had mixed success, but its gone well for the most part. I’ve managed to get rid of a lot of stuff and get money back from it. I’ve been putting all the extra I make towards student loans and the extra money does make a difference!

  2. Before moving to Japan I was a regular seller on Ebay and if you price your items right you can make some good money. I have never had a yard sale, but going to branch out this spring and try my hand at it. Good luck, everyone knows you’re the side hustle queen.
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted…Cherry BlossomsMy Profile

  3. I need to have a yard sale this summer. I have too many little things that are not worth much on CL, but put together with a lot of other stuff could bring in some nice side income.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Friday Awesomesauce/Link LoveMy Profile

  4. Great post! I have done some online selling the past and have had some success. Unfortunately, I sold A LOT of my stuff before admitting my debt problem to myself and I used the money to keep my account in the green and continued spending. Now, I know better and when I have my garage sale next month, the money will be going directly into savings and/or toward debt!
    Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…How I’m Paying Off My DebtsMy Profile

  5. Alicia says:

    I used to do this through kijiji quite often (kijiji is more popular in my area of Canada than Craig’s List, but same idea). I sold my old desk, patio set, electric piano, love-seat, etc. It’s always been bigger items. I can’t be bothered for the hassle if they’re smaller. And I’m a little scared of ebay because it favours the buyers so much.
    Alicia recently posted…De-cluttering In A Snow Storm.My Profile

  6. Morgaine says:

    Great post Melanie! Yes, sell whatever you can. Since a lot of people get into debt by buying stuff they didn’t need, selling it can help get you out of that same debt!
    Morgaine recently posted…Weekly Spending: Mar 31 – Apr 6My Profile

  7. anna says:

    Great post – I use Ebay pretty frequently, but haven’t heard of Quicksales yet so I’ll have to take a look! A key thing for me was to start the bidding low (especially if your other option was to donate) – just because I thought something was worth more, doesn’t mean other people will think so! 🙂
    anna recently posted…Honeymoon 2 of 3: Easter Island!My Profile

  8. I had little success with selling things on Craigslist. Truth be told, I don’t think I had the patience to take pictures, write descriptions or email back and forth “potential” buyers. Instead I focused all my energy blogging practically for free. 😛
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted…Frugal is the New BlackMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      It can be somewhat time consuming, especially with the back and forth. Being clear and up front about the details is key, but even then sometimes the process is drawn out. You are a great blogger, so glad you are focusing energy there 🙂

  9. Your post reminded me of a TV ad here from where I am. It shows 2 female friends where friend 1 visits friend 2 and found friend 2’s house cramped with so many stuff that are collecting dust. Pointing a smartphone (its screen showing a popular online second hand items dealer) towards one item, friend 1 goes, “You don’t need it, sell it!” And the stuff magically turns into money as if falling from the ceiling. It only says that there is indeed money in what most people think are unwanted things if only we know the way.
    Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…How to Use Game of Thrones to Sprout WealthMy Profile

  10. I need to educate myself more about this. I’ve sold a few things online, but could definitely kick it up a notch. Great post. Thanks, Melanie!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Motivation: Words of Wisdom From Paul MilliganMy Profile

  11. Selling your unused stuffs would be a good decision too. Me and my sister tried to sold our pre-loved item on social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram. We already sold for how many clothes and things, like our old pants and tops.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…4 Side Hustles I’ve Actually Made Money WithMy Profile

  12. Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    We held a yard sale a few years ago when we moved, and I thought no one would show up, and I was SHOCKED at how many people did! Apparently there is a whole society of people who search the papers on the weekends for yard sales and make a day of it. And apparently they love to go early in the day to get the “good stuff.”
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…YouTube – My DIY Best FriendsMy Profile

  13. We had a yard sale every summer when I was a kid. My grandmother’s town actually had/has a day called “trade day” where almost everyone in town has a yard sale. I remember that day fondly because it was always a time to see people you hadn’t seen in a long time (Maine winter’s are long!) and to make a little extra money.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted…Is Your Debt, Your Fault?My Profile

  14. I’ve been meaning to sell a bunch of my clothes but never seem to get around to it! I’m saving this for the day I actually get to it.
    Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans recently posted…March 2014 Net WorthMy Profile

  15. Daisy says:

    I have been selling a whole bunch of stuff lately, both to de-clutter and to make some extra cash for my wedding. I have made almost $500 in the past few weeks, though most of it was from a piece of furniture that I sold for $400. The rest was from pieces of my wardrobe that I can no longer use. It’s a nice little boost in the finances!

  16. Such great advice.

    Never underestimate the value of the things in your home. There is always a buyer for everything. You may not find a buyer for some of your items at a garage sale, but they may be on Ebay or Craigslist.
    Terry @ Path To Simple recently posted…Six Tips for Making the Most at Your Garage SaleMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge