14 Items You Should Sell for More Cash Before Retirement

RETIREMENT - RETIREMENT PLANNING
Grow your retirement savings by downsizing and selling off these items you might no longer need.
Updated April 11, 2024
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senior couple holding yard sale

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One of the easiest ways to prepare yourself financially and boost your retirement savings is to sell off some of your possessions. You can sell off big items and live a low-maintenance lifestyle, or you can sell some of the smaller things you don’t use.

You probably won’t need all these items once you’re retired, and selling them now could give you more financial security later.

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Your home

Andy Dean/Adobe senior couple in front of sold real estate sign

Downsizing to a smaller home is one of the biggest ways you can eliminate some money stress and give your retirement savings a boost. A less expensive home will provide you with more money, but you can also save money in other areas.

Utility costs should decrease in a smaller house. That means you’ll pay less for electricity, heating, and water. Smaller homes also generally require less maintenance, saving you additional stress and money on repairs.

Your car

Andres/Adobe senior man hand over car key to his daugther

Whether it’s an extra vehicle or a showpiece, that undriven car in your garage could help you reach your retirement goals. Sticking to one well-running vehicle per person is perfect for living a low-maintenance lifestyle.

If your vehicle is good on gas, that’s even better. You’ll save money every time you fill up, and you can add those savings directly to your retirement fund.

Jewelry

Alexey Fedorenko/Adobe car-boot sale in London

You could grow your retirement savings if you have jewelry you never wear. Diamonds, pearls, gold, silver, and jewels living in a jewelry box might better serve you if you sell them for cash.

Check the market before selling to get the most money for your items. The value of gold and other common materials in jewelry fluctuates. You might profit most if you wait and sell them next year.

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Antiques

Ralf Broskvar/Adobe flea market

Some antiques are worth a lot of money while others hold mainly sentimental value. You might have antiques in your home that have been passed down as heirlooms without even knowing it.

If you have furniture, tools, or other items from previous generations, it doesn’t hurt to see what they’re worth. You can check reselling marketplaces to get an approximate value of any items or have your antiques appraised by a professional for a better estimate.

Sports memorabilia

W.Scott McGill/Adobe authentic signed Babe Ruth baseball

Sports memorabilia like jerseys and collectible cards can sell for a lot of money. Autographed items can sell for even more. Some pieces of sports history have brought millions of dollars. That's a jaw-dropping boost to any savings account.

While you're not likely to have a $10 million item in your attic, you could have something worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So consider parting with that collection and putting the money toward your future.

Household items

veou/Adobe mugs cups and plates in wooden cabinet

Consider selling some of the household items you no longer use. These might include china that's sitting in a cabinet or kitchen gadgets taking up space on the counter.

Selling one item might not bring a big dollar amount. But selling a large lot of items — whether at a garage sale or online — could put a hundred or more dollars in your pocket.

Lawn and outdoor equipment

DenisProduction.com/Adobe old gardeners working

If you have a leaf blower or extra lawn mower you aren’t using, think about selling it. Snowblowers and shovels are also great items to list for sale if you plan on moving to a climate that offers warmer winters.

Selling other outdoor equipment like wheelbarrows and gardening tools can give your retirement fund a boost if you’re downsizing to a home with a smaller yard. Even smaller hand tools can net you a few extra dollars.

Toys

Africa Studio/Adobe pile of toys

If your children are grown, selling their toys could give you extra money. Some vintage toys are worth even more than their original retail prices. Pokemon cards, Barbies, and some video games can sell for thousands per piece.

Values can vary greatly depending on the condition. Getting the highest price possible means knowing what the toys are worth and finding the right buyers.

Used clothing

I-Wei Huang/Adobe women summer dresses on display

High-end designer clothing like Gucci is very valuable, but some vintage clothing items can bring more money than you’d think. For example, a pair of rare Levi’s sold for more than $87,000.

While you're not likely to have clothing items that are valuable, many vintage jeans can still land you a $100 bill. Even selling items for $5 or $10 each can add up quickly.

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Exercise equipment

iammotos/Adobe senior asian sport man tying shoelaces on treadmill

A lot of exercise equipment doesn’t get used often enough to justify keeping it in the home.

If you have a treadmill or home gym collecting dust, consider turning it into cash. It will add to your savings while freeing up space in your house.

You’ll probably want to sell heavy items locally to save on shipping costs. Save the shipping options for lighter things like activewear and resistance bands.

Books

Patrick Daxenbichler/Adobe stack of books at a charity book flea market

Bookshelves or boxes full of books can bring you some added money. Some are worth more than others. 

While certain antique books and first editions can bring thousands of dollars, even your common everyday books can land you some money. You can sell them through an online marketplace, at a garage sale, or to one of the several companies that pay for used books.

Tools

golubovy/Adobe repairman choosing screwdriver

You might have certain tools sitting around in the event you need them one day. If that day hasn’t come — and it might never — you can always sell them and add the money to your retirement fund.

When your retirement day comes, you’ll likely need the money more than you'll need the tools.

Furniture

Inna Felker/Adobe vintage furniture and other staff at Jaffa flea market

You might have furniture in your home that you rarely use. You can find typical unused furniture in spare bedrooms, extra family rooms, or an unused home office.

Rather than furnishing rooms no one visits, you can sell their furnishings and grow your savings. Since you used the items less than a lot of used furniture on the market, you’ll likely land some larger offers.

Outdoor and sporting gear

Syda Productions/Adobe happy grandfather and grandson with fishing rods

Perhaps you find yourself using your sporting equipment less or just have more than you need. Those items can bring in decent amounts of cash, especially if you sell them at a strategic time of the year when there is a higher demand for them.

You can trade some of your camping equipment, fishing poles, golf clubs, and boats for a bigger savings account. Some of these items are fairly costly when purchased brand new, so thrifty consumers will happily pay a little less and buy them used.

Bottom line

zinkevych/Adobe mature man organizing yard sale

Today’s online marketplaces have made selling used items easier than ever before. Some seniors choose to continue selling after they retire and look for other ways to avoid wasting money.

You can grow your retirement savings whether you decide to downsize your life completely or simply sell things you don’t use.

Chances are, there’s something you can part with to help fund the future you're looking for.

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Author Details

Katelyn Washington Katelyn Washington is a writer with a passion for finance and business. She put herself through business school as a single mother of three and has had pieces commissioned by national magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and editing manuscripts for indie authors.

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