Turn Those Old Toys into Cash by Selling on eBay
There was a time when I was stepping on Duplo bricks all around the house. Those were then replaced with smaller bricks of true LEGO kits. But one day those little static bricks will be gone too, replaced with the latest LEGO robotics toys. Everything from LEGO, superheroes, Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, to Barbie, Bratz dolls and Polly Pocket will be all the rage in your household one day and then sitting in a pile in the corner Toy Story 3 style, as your children outgrow each phase. Instead of letting them gather dust, become a seller on eBay and turn them into some money for the next big thing.
Get Buy-In from Kids
Get your kids involved in selling their toys on eBay. Every time I try to quietly clean out a few toys that my children haven't touched in months, inevitably they ask for that particular toy soon after and look frantically around because they MUST have it. I will never live down getting rid of the Ticket To Ride Board Game that my son never touched after the day he received it as a gift. I didn't realise that it would soon be popular among all his friends. Now I have to re-buy it on eBay! But if you have your children sort through their own toys and help you put them up on eBay, you won't accidentally get rid of something they really want to keep. They will part with the toys more easily, that would otherwise be gathering dust. You can split the money with them or just let them use the money from the sale to get a bunch of new toys.
If You Build it, They Will Come: Gather Sets for More Return
Try to put together full sets of toys with separate pieces and include the model number of the set in your listing. Do not think you will have to ditch a set if you are missing pieces. Be honest about the pieces you are missing or go on eBay to find a cheap replacement piece to complete the set, which will allow you to list it at a high price. Duplo or LEGO will fetch good money, even in incomplete sets. They are easy to throw together in a random lot, but if you spend the time to put together the pieces for a set, you may easily double your money. Popular sets based on commercial themes like Star Wars, superheroes or popular films like Frozen are worth the most. Other sets like fire stations and castles also do well, especially with Duplos. If your children like to build sets and move on to the next one upon completion, this is a great way to cycle through the expensive sets. If you are building a Star Wars galaxy and have to keep each piece, then you can at least find used sets at a discount off the new.
Picture This: Money in Your Pocket
Once you become a seller, make sure to take good pictures of your items. Place them on a clean, neutral background, like a wooden floor. Style them as you would style yourself for a portrait. Just like you don't want to be in the shadows when you take a selfie, you don't want your toys to be shadowed or in half light. Keep other items out of the background. Involve the kids. My kids LOVE to take pictures and will photograph the toys from every angle and add in filters to make them look their best.
There are toys on both sides of the aisle that are sure to bring a good resale price. Once your little one has run out of steam on his Thomas the Tank Engine toys, you can turn those expensive little trains into gold on eBay. It's hard to resist buying these adorable trains, so if you are anything like me, you have a big lot. But when I was buying them, I kept telling my husband that I could sell them one day. Popularity for the Thomas the Tank Engine sets, buildings and accessories never loses steam. Similarly, Barbie dolls can collect more clothes than you will ever have in your wardrobe. So when Barbie goes out of fashion in your house, she can find a new dream house on eBay.
Cut the Emotional Ties
Superhero action figures and their accessories will be so important for a few years, but once they are over, they are so done. My 6-year-old son keeps saying that he wants to hold onto his Fisher Price Batman cave. It reminds me of his imaginative superhero play and the awesome superhero birthday party we had. I've had to get over my emotional attachment to his toys. When I see it taking up valuable space without being touched and how much we can potentially get for it on eBay, I start feeling less nostalgic. You can get almost store price for a used action figure, which makes resale attractive. I only have so much space in the garage and it is saved for Playmobil, which I plan to pass down through generations. That's one thing you won't see me selling on eBay, even though you can get a mint for it, especially for "retired" sets.
Pieces, Pieces Everywhere
If you've lost most of the pieces for a set, you can sell off the remainders as replacement pieces. Each may be only a few pounds - although some specialty pieces will bring in much more - but they will add up quickly. You will likely find a buyer for everything from a special LEGO piece to a little tile of the wall on the Playmobil Egyptian pyramid. You can even sell instruction manuals for toys like LEGO.
Think Outside the Box
We've got about a gazillion Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars and accessories. Pull out the specialised ones and list them individually. Throw the rest into lots of 15 to 20 cars to maximise your pull. The same concept can be applied to Polly Pocket or Bratz dolls. Look around for other random toys to sell and you may find treasure. Specialised board games, like Star Wars Monopoly, Doctor Who Risk or Simpsons Cluedo, will usually do better than the standard versions.
Dig for Treasure
Collectibles like Bratz dolls, clothes and accessories are sometimes hard to part with, but popular toys like that can be very lucrative to sell once they are no longer popular with your children. Even those old McDonald's Happy Meal toys can be sold online for more than you paid for the meal. My son is done with the dozens of little plastic animals he used to love and use in imaginative play. I was about to just dump them into the donation box near our house, but then I found out that they are my friend's little girl's favourite thing right now. I'm giving them to her. But I could have sold them. You can find treasure all around your house too. So start digging.