8 Old Pieces of Junk in Your Garage That Could Be Worth Thousands

Have you ever looked at your overflowing garage and wondered if it was secretly a gold mine? If you were hoping for an ancient relic in your house to be sneakily worth thousands, this could be the case. Used items are more popular than ever these days. Experts consider consignment shopping to be the answer to rising inflation rates because shoppers get more for their money by buying used items instead of new. Many consumers are also looking to protect the environment by living more sustainably and buying second-hand goods. Forbes called resale the “star of retail” in 2022, attributing its popularity to a response to supply chain issues and tightening household budgets.

Finding a deal has never been more necessary, but on the other side of the coin, a lot of average people are making money by reselling items that were previously piled up in the garage. Things you’ve been putting away for years can be extremely valuable, as long as you know what to look for. Read on to find out what homeware experts say could sell for big bucks.

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That old wooden chair taking up space could save you some money. You can learn how to identify furniture that’s been picked up from thrift stores or passed down from generation to generation, especially if it’s part of a trending aesthetic, by browsing Reddit for tips. There are entire threads dedicated to specific items to research and what those coins will yield. Then, check furniture store websites to build your knowledge base.

Marketing Director Green Building Elements Sarah Jamesson says mid-century furniture is particularly popular right now, having “made a comeback in the interior design world” a few years ago. Many consider Mid-Century Modern to be a timeless trend, so chances are you already own items that match the aesthetic. Sleek platform beds, basic wood nightstands, and sleek glass tables are especially popular, says Vermont Wood Studios. Jameson tells us that these items “could run into the thousands depending on the state.” There are furniture forums dedicated to item pricing, urging potential sellers to consider brand, designer, rarity, and condition.

Man doing guitar lessons online

Has your child or significant other tried to pick up the guitar only to give up completely? Well, all is not lost: their old instruments might be worth some money now. Jameson tells people to keep an eye out for Fender and Gibson because they’re “brands that could fetch tens of thousands of dollars.” According to Jameson, “It might even be more expensive if it’s in new condition. These brands have remained popular over the years until today, so early designs are very valuable to collectors.”

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Woman reading a newspaper

Some titles can generate money. Look for newspaper and old magazine clippings of important moments in history. “Iconic magazines with famous people on the cover, special editions and newspaper clippings about important historical events could be worth hundreds,” says Jameson. Many people frame these covers or give them as gifts if they date from a significant date.

On eBay there is a huge market for old newspaper clippings. These collector’s journals are sorted by date, with pre-1900 journals selling the most expensive. Major election titles, royal family moments, and major sports game victories bring in the most money. Antique maps can also be valuable, with entire websites devoted to the collectors who love them.

plush toys

Even though Beanie Babies never became investment items as people hoped, some childhood toys fetch big bucks. These nostalgic items can sell for hundreds of dollars, with Redditors looking for specific models, from brands like Legos and Funkos. These toys don’t have to be old. Even toys from the 90s and early 2000s, like Polly Pockets and discontinued Spice Girls games, are now available online for hundreds. Some people feel nostalgic for items they gave up once they got too big and will spend an arm and a leg to get them back.

green and white abstract painting, targeted decorative objects

It’s time to assess that ancient oil painting passed down from your grandparents. Some Redditors make thousands of dollars a month buying and selling art as a side business. An art dealer on Reddit recommends looking for prints in good condition, “which could be lithographs, etchings, etchings, woodcuts, or woodcuts.” While prints are being made in larger quantities, some are still exclusive. You can charge more for posters, canvas prints, and framed artwork.

Then look for unique and original works of art, which could be even more valuable if the artist is successful today. An example is Margaret Keane’s “Big Eyes” collection, which became popular after a film based on her story. Prints sell for up to $1,000 today.

fall fashion full clothes rack
Shutterstock/Creative Lab

Start reselling clothes previously piled up in the garage using resale sites like Poshmark. Poshmark Seller Sculptor from Brittany advises keeping an eye out for seasonal items like sundresses, which are “trendy because it’s only getting warmer.”

Carver says easy-to-wear bohemian dresses in bright colors from trendy brands like Farm Rio, Free People, Zara, Madewell and American Eagle are selling particularly well. “I think these brands are doing so well because of their beautiful prints, their vibrant colors, the quality of their fabrics, their amazing looks, and the ease with which they can be styled,” says Carver.

Carver tells people to start selling by looking at the items you already have and then taking pictures of the items. “Find a flat spot on a wall or a clean area on the floor and take pictures where you have good lighting,” she advises.

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levi jeans logo
Shutterstock/Suwit Chanaaiyarat

Everything old is new again, including denim trends from high-waisted 70s styles to distressed 90s denim. Vintage jeans are so in vogue right now that teens and millennials are ready to spend a lot of money to find the perfect pair. Carver suggests looking for “light-wash denim jeans,” and especially “vintage, wide-leg, high-rise jeans,” from a classic company like Levi’s, which can potentially outsell a brand-new pair. In Poshmark’s May 2022 Monthly Trend Report, Poshmark’s Merchandising and Custody Expert Chloe Baffert attributes the denim craze to “the exit from the Zoom frame” and the “death of skinny jeans.”

Now that people are returning to brunch in the real world, they’re trading in their athletic hobbies for jeans. And with TikTok users proclaiming that skinny jeans are “over” and “canceled,” people are trying to upgrade their wardrobes with more flattering styles.

elderly colored man listening to music on a sofa with his hands behind his head

It’s easy to leave old tech gear in a trash can in the garage, but it’s time to take it out again. Headphones are replacing headphones as the latest “tech accessory,” so expect the gear to sell out quickly. “Headphones have come full circle,” says Baffert. While small, almost invisible headphones have been popular for a few years, oversized versions are coming back because they are more comfortable. Look for on-ear statement pieces, which people use to express themselves.

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