Doing an annual cleanout? Before you take the boxes to the nearest charity, be sure you don’t have any of these valuable items in them.
Old Lego sets: Seriously, they don’t even have to be that old. My son has five box sets in the basement, and we checked the going rates on Amazon and, for out-of-print sets, the prices start in the low hundreds and reach up to the thousands, particularly if they’re new. And they appreciate quickly; my son got Harry Potter’s castle for Christmas in 2010, and it’s selling for $300-$800. And if you’ve got other older toys still in the package, check out the values on those, too. Even the packaging itself can be worth money! Collectors are everywhere.
Jewelry: Inherit a bunch of stuff from an elderly aunt? Don’t be too quick to write it off as out-of-fashion costume pieces. Go through it carefully and look for gold and silver hallmarks, or precious gems that might signal you’ve got something valuable on your hands. Even vintage costume jewelry can bring in some cash. Research a fair price, and then take it to your local pawn shop in Vienna, VA to sell or use as collateral.
Books: Original editions of books that later became hot—think Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter—are tough to find, but easy to sell.
Collectible cards: From baseball to Pokemon, those packs you picked up to keep your kid quiet in the shopping line could be worth a lot more than you paid for them (or even the silence they bought), especially if your kids are in their thirties and forties now.