10 weird things you didn’t know you could sell on eBay

eBay is incredible. If you’re ever missing a piece of something, someone on eBay is selling it.

I’ve purchased all sorts of odd parts and pieces to things I’m fixing from eBay and it’s saved me a ton of money.

What that also means is that I could be selling odd parts and pieces to things too. By selling these things, rather than throwing them out or recycling them, I can make money and help the environment too by keeping them in use.

What kinds of things am I talking about? I’m talking about downright odd and strange things you never would’ve guessed are worth money.

I’m talking toilet paper rolls. Egg cartons. Empty makeup containers.

Stuff that you wouldn’t even find in unclaimed Amazon and Post Office packages.

We all know we can sell things like gift cards and clothes and electronics on eBay (some have even considered selling jewelry on it), here are a few of the weird things people sell.

Toilet Paper Rolls

cardboard-rolls

Those cardboard rolls, for toilet paper or paper towels, are perfect for crafters.

Make sure the rolls themselves are clean but you can usually get anywhere from 10-50 cents for each one. You will need to ship these in a box to avoid crushing (shoe boxes work well) but they’re light so shipping shouldn’t be too expensive.

Wine Bottles and Corks

used-wine-corks

Do you like to drink wine? Ha, what kind of question is that.

Ok, so what do you do with the leftover wine bottles and corks? We recycle the bottles and toss the corks in our fire pit. Sometimes we give them away to people in our local Buy Nothing group.

But did you know you can sell the bottles and corks on eBay? People are looking for both for their craft projects.

The going rate these days appears to be $20-30 for two hundred corks (after shipping). Wine bottles go for about $1 apiece but you usually have to clean the labels off and sort them (all blue, all green, etc.) too.

Egg Cartons

egg-cartons

Whether it’s the cardboard, styrofoam, or plastic egg cartons – you can sell them on eBay.

They’re used by crafters and home chicken enthusiasts who want to sell eggs. And since they’re cardboard, they’re light and easy to ship.

If you buy eggs and feel guilty about throwing away the styrofoam cartons, this is a great way to recycle them and make a little extra money!

Remote Controls

remotes

I bought a Epson Home Cinema projector about 8 years ago and after two bulb changes, the thing finally quit on me. Like high pitch whine and burning plastic quit (it smelled SOOOOO bad). That thing was awesome, though I bought a new one for a third of the price and twice as bright. Technology marches on.

On a whim, I looked on eBay and saw that the projector remotes go for $15 a pop! Not bad for a few minutes of work and I prefer the remote going to a home instead of the landfill or recycling facility.

Box Tops for Education

box-tops-for-education

Those little magenta squares are worth some money to parents – but the program went all electronic so you’ll need a lot of these in order to make any cash.

They used to be worth quite a bit but now, they’re worth considerably less. They still have a little value though if you have several hundred lying around. I just don’t know why!

Coupons

pottery-barn

Everyone likes coupons right? Turns out those 10%, 15%, and 25% coupons you get in the mail and by email are worth some money! This is especially true at places where items get pricey, like furniture stores.

A prime example is Pottery Barn – those coupons can go for a few bucks. The ones that come in mailers, those can be worth even bigger bucks.

I routinely pull Wayfair coupons out of Valpaks to sell and they go for anywhere from $2-5 a pop. They’re only good for new customers but it seems folks are savvy to the “create a new Gmail account for your Wayfair purchase” game.

The nice thing about selling these is that you can just send a photo of the code. They don’t need the physical coupon. Once you list it once, you can just save time by re-listing each time you get a new coupon.

Old Software / Installation CDs

windows-311-operating-system

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure right? Well in this case, sometimes people are resurrecting old machines to handle simple jobs and are missing one piece to the puzzle… one that might be in your junk drawer. Or they’re looking for that one historical piece of software to showcase on their bookshelf!

That old installation CD or piece of software just might be worth a few bucks to someone.

Empty Makeup Containers (esp. M.A.C.)

back-to-mac-empty-containers

People love vintage containers, especially makeup containers, because they just look very cool.

If you have old M.A.C. makeup containers (the primary container, not the boxes), you can sell those online because people are always looking to pick up a few to participate in the Back to M.A.C. program. That program lets you exchange six primary containers and get a free lipstick. If you like M.A.C. makeup but aren’t a fan of the lipstick, turn your containers into cash.

HUGE Pine Cones

pinecones

Crafters love pine cones! Crafters love MASSIVE pinecones.

If you live in an area with a lot of big pinecones, you can turn them into cold hard cash. Big is usually close to the size of a soda can but anything bigger than average will do just fine. The bigger the cone, the fewer you need in a lot to make some cash. If you have one as big as a champagne bottle, you could get close to ten bucks for it!

And the next time you find a place with big pinecones, you might be tempted to grab a whole bunch to pay for your trip! (just make sure taking them is legal)

Anything Discontinued

lehman-brothers

Before you say “duh, of course” read on — I mean anything. The most mundane things, like t-shirts and hats, that would otherwise be completely worthless are worth big money if they have the name of a defunct company.

Remember Bear Stearns? They went bankrupt in 2008.

A Bear Stearns ballpoint pen can net you $10-$15. That’s a regular ole ballpoint pen. Their annual report from 1998 recently sold for $40!

Remember Lehman Brothers? Also kaput in 2008.

But a Lehman Brother mousepad can get you ten bucks. Their 2007 annual report was purchased for $99! Amazing huh?

When an iconic company goes belly up, their junk suddenly falls under “historic memorabilia!”

Do you have anything on this list?

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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7 years ago

Great list Jim. I want to go buy a few back up remotes from that DVD player remote that is always missing. I was amazed these things are so valuable. Thanks!

7 years ago

I tried selling my old gymnastics leotards on ebay. They were popular, but I didn’t make enough for the whole process to be worth my time :/

7 years ago

This is excellent Jim. I’ve always wondered what ingenious thing a person could do with old TP rolls. Guess you can just sell em!

7 years ago
Reply to  Aaron
7 years ago

I sold my hair on ebay a few years ago – got $160 for a ponytail of it. No joke. I’ve got a blog post about it if you want to see and, well, aren’t grossed out by looking at a picture of a disembodied ponytail πŸ˜‰

7 years ago

Hi Jim. Thanks for reminding me that I need to sell more of my junk. Here are a couple of things I sold that I thought were valueless. First, I was going through a box of old stuff from high school and found three temporary admission tickets to Disneyland. They were very plain: no picture of Mickey Mouse, no printed signature of Walt Disney. I was about to toss them out but since I had 50 free listings from eBay, I thought What the heck, I’ll list them. And got $10 for them. Second, since I’m a hoarder, I save… Read more »

7 years ago

When I saw the Lehman stuff, I was thinking that I need some E.F. Hutton items for my office.

In doing it a search it appears that E.F. Hutton has been revived. That’s no fun.

Angie unduplicated
7 years ago

You can sell any kind of broken electronics for parts, as long as you are fair and specify “not working-parts only”.

Scraps of clean fabric, especially vintage, are popular with quilters.

Trim items, cabinet hardware, and large pieces from old furniture sell well. Source from someone else’s garbage.

I just recently found out about the egg carton things. It’s amazing the stuff you could get on there.

Yetisaurus
7 years ago

The remote thing is ingenious and I’ve actually bought a used remote on eBay before! One of our dogs is a psycho and she tends to target remote controls. (And shoes. And trash. And pillows. Well, anyway…) She munched the remote to my boyfriend’s TV. I bought a replacement one for about $12 on eBay and was so stoked!

7 years ago

This was a very interesting article! I had no idea that people sell these items on Ebay! Thanks for sharing!

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