Furlough tips, week 6: How to sell your stuff for extra income

About 50,000 federal employees in Hampton Roads face the prospect of furloughs, according to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission. During the furlough, which could last through September, employees could see a 20 percent drop in pay.

For someone making $75,000 a year, the furlough represents a household budget cut of about $1,000 a month, after taxes.

For some, that decrease in income means that some bills won't be paid and debt will accrue. Sometimes cutting expenses isn't enough to make the difference; you have to make more money, too.

If it is a relatively small amount of money you need, maybe to pay for your child's ballet lessons or another family activity you're not ready to cut, there are a number of ways you can make money on unwanted clutter.

It is, of course, yard sale season, and participating in a community-wide yard sale, which draws more attention from shoppers, can net a few hundred dollars depending on the number and type of items you are selling.

But there are other options.

If it is clothing that needs to be cleaned out, try a local cash-on-the-spot consignment store like Plato's Closet for teen girls located in Jefferson Commons in Newport News. Once Upon a Child near Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News pays cash for young children's clothing and Clothes Mentor, near the corner of Oyster Point Road and Warwick Boulevard in Newport News pays cash for women's clothing. Act II in Newport News also pays cash for women's clothing on certain days of the week.

You must have the right brands to receive the cash, and it can be minimal.

The website ThredUp.com also pays cash for both women and children's clothing. Rejected clothing items will not be returned to you, however.

Traditional consignment stores, and there are plenty on the Peninsula, can yield higher amounts for clothing, but sellers must wait for payment.

Small household items can be sold (or traded) on one of the many Trash or Treasure groups on Facebook. The groups are divided by locality, and there are large groups in Gloucester, Williamsburg, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and York County. Williamsburg's group has more than 4,000 participants, and dozens of transactions take place every day. Recent posts in the Williamsburg group include toys, a Coach purse, clothing items and household decorative items.

Of course there are the old standbys — Craigslist, eBay, even Amazon has a service for sellers, although unlike Craigslist, the Fulfillment by Amazon program is full of fees.

Selling at a yard sale or through a website is generally best for small, portable items. For larger ticket items, Craigslist can work well, although sellers will want to provide their email address only as the initial contact to help weed out the illegitimate offers.

There also are a number of Peninsula consignment stores that focus on furniture. It may take longer to sell, but they often offer services to help you move heavy pieces. Try Design & Consign on Warwick Boulevard near Hilton Village in Newport News or Crazy J's Consignment in Hayes. Williamsburg is full of furniture consignment stores, including The Vintage Rabbit.

For those with antiques, there are several auction houses that can appraise your item and help you sell it. Phoebus Auction Gallery in Hampton hosts several auction events throughout the year and maintains a consignment shop. Return Engagements in Smithfield offers help selling valuable items with consignment options and estate sale services.

Pawn shops are a known source for sellers, as well, and owners of these stores are particularly interested in jewelry and tools. As a seller, you can shop around for the best offer and negotiate terms to satisfy both parties.

About the series

During the upcoming weeks, we will give you a series of articles and tips, relevant for anyone facing a household budget crisis, to help manage the loss of income.

This sixth story in the series provides resources for earning income by selling personal and household items. You can find the entire Furlough Finances series at dailypress.com/shopping.