15 Excess Items Retirees Should Sell To Boost Their Income

Here’s what your kids want you to sell or toss out pronto.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Retirement is here, congrats! You’ve probably received lots of great advice about how to best manage your money. But what about managing your stuff?

Most baby boomers have acquired several lifetimes’ worth of goods. Plenty of these items probably serve no other purpose than to gather dust.

Even if it holds nostalgic value, how much joy do you get out of something stowed away in a cardboard box? If you’re a retiree looking to declutter, here’s a look at the items worth selling now to simplify your life and bring in extra cash.

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Extra real estate

Andy Dean/Adobe sold real estate sign

Many people own multiple properties — as an investment or even a status symbol — but retirement is a good time to pare down mortgage expenses. Extra real estate costs time, money, and a lot of effort. Your kids will enjoy not having to deal with the extra headache when you’re gone.

Excess clothing

Dani/Adobe taking photos of clothes to sell

Most of us have way too much clothing. And if you’re retired, there are probably large chunks of your wardrobe (think power suits and silk ties) now obsolete. Gift it, donate it, or sell it on eBay and resale apps like Poshmark or Mercari.

Unused vehicles

kegfire/Adobe dealer with car keys

If you have an extra car you’re not using (much), now’s a good time to sell it. You can save money on insurance, gas, and upkeep. Plus, with rideshare, hourly car services, and public transportation, more Americans of all ages are going car-free to save money and the environment.

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Expensive collections

Sergey Ryzhov/Adobe postage stamp with skier

Many retirees have spent a lifetime acquiring collectibles, such as souvenir state plates, rare stamps, or vintage baseball memorabilia. Whether their value is monetary or sentimental, now’s a good time to bid farewell.

DVDs and CDs

smile35/Adobe old damaged discs cd

With endless services to stream media, DVDs and CDs are becoming obsolete. But there is still an audience for these goods if you sell them online or to local consignment stores.

You can always digitize first. This means you’ll still have access to ‌music, movies, and other content, but you’ll declutter your shelves and collect a little cash.

Old toys

watcherfox/Adobe antique dolls and toys

For decades, you’ve carefully preserved your children’s old playthings. That’s sweet, even endearing. But who are you holding them for?

It’s great to keep some things, but many retirees try to keep everything as a way to relive their kids’ childhood with grandchildren.

Be selective. Hold on to a few favorite, sturdy pieces, taking into account that product safety standards have changed. Also, some toys may now be collectibles. See what they’re going for on Etsy and eBay.

Extra furniture

Ralf Broskvar/Adobe second hand furniture at flea market

Some baby boomers are retiring to senior apartments; others will hunker down in place. Whichever camp you fall in, retirement is a great time to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle.

That mahogany hutch of china and silver cutlery is probably not seeing much action these days, and no one has sat in that basement armchair for a couple of decades (the cat doesn’t count.) If this extra furniture isn’t being used, sell it now and streamline your space.


icholakov/Adobe timeshare building

Similar to second homes and cabins, retirement is a great time to shed timeshares. Your lifestyle has likely changed since you bought in, and the upkeep fees may not be worth it.


caftor/Adobe stack of books lying on table in bookstore

Some people love books — the scent and texture of old leather-bound volumes or musty, vintage novels from the 1950s. The trouble is, they often just sit there on shelves. Or worse, they’ve lived in cardboard boxes in the garage or attic for years.

Unless it’s the family Bible or a book with equal sentimental value, and you’ll never read it again, sell it. You can easily list used books on Amazon, eBay, and local bookstores.

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Sporting goods

trekandphoto/Adobe garage storage shelves with vintage objects and equipment

Are you still skiing? Golfing? Kayaking? It’s probably been a few years. If you have sporting goods you aren’t using, sell them now. Reclaim your space and get a little (or a lot of) ‌money.

Exercise equipment

SkyLine/Adobe fitness tools

If you’re downsizing, consider saying goodbye to your old recumbent bike and treadmill. Many senior living centers come with gyms. Even if you’re staying in your house, you might want to purge.

With Medicare Advantage and other health plans, many seniors have access to free gym memberships. This creates social outings (reasons to leave the home). Plus, newer and well-maintained equipment is safer.

Unused handbags

Alexander/Adobe leather bags in thailand

Do you have a gorgeous collection of designer handbags? Me too! But how many are you actually using? Maybe there’s a case for five or six, but probably not for dozens. A huge secondhand market exists for designer brands, and many resale sites specialize in authenticating and consigning luxury brands.

Extra luggage

Nomad_Soul/Adobe tourist hurrying for vacation trip

Most of us have accumulated a lot of luggage over the years. But by now, you know which pieces you use and which ones will never see sunlight again. It’s time to sell or donate.

Musical instruments

New Africa/Adobe guitars in music store

Don’t forget about those unused musical instruments. If you don’t play them, sell them. Don’t make your kids have to deal with the hassle of piano removal.

Explore resale sites like Musician’s Friend or Reverb. Talk to instructors at the local junior high or music school. Facebook Marketplace and pawn shops are also good options.

Power tools

Andrey Popov/Adobe power tools on wooden desk

Whether you’re downsizing or staying put, retirement is usually the right time to shed power tools.

You won’t need a leaf blower at a retirement community. And even if you stay in your house, you’re more likely to shift repairs and chores to your grown kids or hire professionals.

If you sell the tools now, you can clear out your storage, get some extra cash, and help other strapped-for-cash homeowners — a win-win-win scenario — and far better than leaving it to your kids. A couple of decades later, they’ll be the ones trying to unload 40-year-old snowblowers and wood chippers that don’t work.

Bottom line

oneinchpunch/Adobe  multiethnic senior couple

You’ve worked too hard for your retirement to let extra clutter ruin it. Unused goods, no matter how “new” or “useful,” are eating cash and taking up space. Getting rid of them can help you stop wasting money, and hopefully, you’ll be inspired to start selling a few things.

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Author Details

Stacy Garrels Stacy enjoys writing about fintech, consumer deals, the side hustle economy, and random tomfoolery. She's personally tried more than 100 different gigs, including being an Uber driver for one afternoon.

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