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How to make money from your junk drawer

How to make money from your junk drawer
Did you know you could have thousands of pounds worth of junk hiding in your drawers? Learn how to swap your old electricals for cash with this handy guide
Feeling down about money? Well, here's some fantastic news to brighten your day: your unwanted tech could be a goldmine, with potential earnings ranging from £1,300 to £6,330. That's right—that neglected hairdryer, forgotten electric toothbrush, or unused smartphone sitting in your cupboard could be your ticket to some extra holiday cash, a dream summer vacation, or a special weekend treat!
Recent research from Recycle Your Electricals reveals a staggering 880 million unused working electrical items gathering dust in UK households, averaging 31 items per household. The potential earnings? A whopping £36.7 billion for older, lower spec, and unbranded items and an astonishing £178.5 billion for newer, higher spec, and branded items. It's an incredible untapped opportunity!

Make money from your old junk

So, what's in your drawers? The breakdown includes up to £554 for old phones, £265 for hairdryers, £100 for electric toothbrushes, and £76 for straighteners. Imagine the possibilities! One in five adults is holding onto these unused gems due to concerns about deleting and transferring data properly.
Financial expert Emmanuel Asuquo says, "I've estimated I have around £1,000 worth of my own unused electrical items in my house alone—the cash is literally waiting for you in your drawers! It’s a really simple yet hugely effective way to declutter your home from items you no longer use and reap the benefits!”
"Your unwanted tech could be a goldmine, with potential earnings ranging from £1,300 to £6,330"
Scott Butler, executive director at Material Focus, which runs the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, says, “We've all got that drawer of doom or cluttered cupboard with unused electricals at home. Your cupboard of electricals can be cashed-in. If your electricals are working, they can make you money. Just make sure that you follow our guidance to destroy any data on your devices and our tips to get the best sale price. And if they are broken, don’t forget—anything with a plug, cable or battery should never be binned and should always be reused or recycled!"
It's not just about making money; selling your old electricals is also great for the planet. In a world where our gadgets are practically part of the family, it's easy to overlook what that means for the environment. But the improper disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) poses serious risk to both the environment and human health.
Waste electricals are the fastest growing e-waste stream, with few people realising that they contain some of the most precious materials on the planet, like gold, aluminium and lithium. So whether you have working items and choose to sell or donate them, or you recycle your broken items, it’s going to be good for the environment
Old phone

How to sell your old stuff

Okay, so we've convinced you that you could be sitting on a small fortune in the form of old phones, laptops and headphones. But how to you unlock that money?
Inventory check
Start by taking stock of all your electronics. Phones, laptops, tablets, kitchen appliances—anything with a plug, cable, or battery is fair game. Don't forget accessories like chargers and cables.
Research market value
Before listing your items, research their market value. Check online platforms like eBay, Gumtree, and Facebook Marketplace to gauge what similar items are selling for. Consider factors like brand, age, and condition.
Clean and test
A clean and well-maintained product is more appealing to buyers. Wipe down surfaces, remove dust, and ensure everything is in working order. Test electronic devices to verify functionality.
Take high-quality photos
A picture is worth a thousand words. Capture clear, high-quality photos from different angles to showcase your item. Highlight any unique features or accessories included.
Write a detailed description
Be transparent in your product description. Include essential details such as brand, model, condition, and any flaws. Mention accessories, warranties, or original packaging if available.
Set a competitive price
Price your items competitively based on your research. Consider offering a slight discount to attract potential buyers. Be open to negotiation but set a minimum acceptable price.
Choose the right platform
Select the platform that suits your item and target audience. Some good starting points are eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
Communicate promptly
Respond promptly to inquiries and questions. Provide additional information if needed. A quick and informative response builds trust with potential buyers.
Securely wipe data
If selling devices like phones or laptops, ensure all personal data is securely wiped. Recycle Your Electricals have created a step-by-step guide for data deletion with expert Tony Sales from We Fight Fraud to ensure that your personal information stays safe while you cash in on your electricals.
Meet safely or ship securely
If meeting in person, choose a safe, public location. Alternatively, use secure shipping methods with tracking for added peace of mind.
If you can't sell it, recycle it
If an item doesn't sell, consider recycling it responsibly. Many retailers and recycling centres accept old electronics, preventing them from ending up in landfills. Anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled. Visit Recycle Your Electricals’ Recycling Locator to find your nearest recycling centre. 
Cover image by origami artist Peter Buchan-Symons and Recycle Your Electricals
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