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How to cash in before Christmas selling old phones and other ‘e-scrap’

Almost every house is sure to hold an array of forgotten electricals gathering dust in cupboards and drawers.

There’s bound to be laptops, iPods and mobile phones you have replaced with newer models, and fancy kitchen gadgets you’ve used once, or never even taken out of the box.

In fact, the average household is holding on to 20 unwanted appliances, according to campaign group Recycle Your Electricals.

Hidden riches: Almost every house is sure to hold an array of forgotten electricals gathering dust in cupboards and drawers

Even better, the average total resale value of these items is £620 — which is great news for anyone looking to boost their bank balance in time for Christmas.

Liz Pigott, 42, had no idea she could make money from old items until she spotted a post by Recycle Your Electricals on Facebook.

She quickly put her three sons – Jacob, eight, James, six, and Jude – four, to work, trawling their three-bedroom house in Forest Hill, South-East London, and had soon amassed a pile of 12 items in good working order.

After searching on websites such as eBay and Gumtree, Liz discovered a bread-maker she has barely used since receiving it as a wedding present 12 years ago would go for around £30.

Her old HP mini laptop and Dell laptop could fetch between £160 and £200, and an old iPhone 7 £100-130. 

If she sells everything, Recycle Your Electricals estimates that she could make £700 to £800.

Ringing change: An unlocked iPhone 7 32GB could fetch up to £109 if it works or £76 if broken, according to sellthemobile.com

Ringing change: An unlocked iPhone 7 32GB could fetch up to £109 if it works or £76 if broken, according to sellthemobile.com 

Liz, who is married to Simon, 43, says: ‘The children loved searching for forgotten appliances. We told them any money raised will be used to fund a special Christmas treat, such as a trip to London Zoo.

‘I was embarrassed at how many appliances we had which we didn’t use. Every time we bought something new I would keep the old one as a backup, which we never used. Someone else needs these things more than I do.’

PR consultant Kate Levine pocketed £385 after her son Jacob, 16, sold a laptop and an old Xbox on eBay during the first lockdown.

Kate and husband Mark, 52, had bought their two children laptops to study at home and didn’t need a spare laptop given to them by a relative. It sold for £225 within ten days. The Xbox went for £160.

Fitbit Surge £30

Digital radio £25

A Fitbit  Surge fitness tracker (left) could earn you £30, while an old digital radio (right) could sell for £25 

Kate, 51, from West Norwood, South London, says: ‘Jacob not only understood how to list the items, but he was also very good at customer relations when eBay users had questions.

‘We offered him a 10 per cent cut of what he sold, but he’s a good negotiator so ended up with 20 per cent.’ So how can you make some money yourself? 

Boxed and barely used items can be sold on websites such as eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or selling groups, Shpock and Preloved.

On eBay, buyers typically place bids over a set time period, whereas on sites such as Gumtree, Shpock and Facebook, you can set the price.

When listing your item choose the most appropriate category, such as Computers, Tablets & Network Hardware, or Sound & Vision on eBay.

Include key words in your description, such as the brand, make, model, colour, style and type of item.

Upload as many clear photos as possible — taken in natural light against a neutral background. If there are marks or scratches, include pictures of the damage and note them in the description.

State the condition of the item, such as ‘good as new’, ‘good’, ‘average’ or ‘box damaged’.

Clean up: Updated to a modern cordless vacuum? Your old trusty Henry could earn you £60

Clean up: Updated to a modern cordless vacuum? Your old trusty Henry could earn you £60

When setting a price, check what similar items have sold for, and be realistic. On eBay. you’ll also need to add on postage charges.

Timing is everything. December is the most active month on eBay and Sunday evenings are the busiest, so start and end your own auction then.

Some sites, such as Facebook, Shpock and Gumtree are free for sellers, whereas others will charge a fee.

On eBay you can list 1,000 items a month for free. The site then charges a 12.8 per cent plus 30p fee when your item sells. It offers protection for both buyers and sellers.

Make sure the items you are selling are clean and well-packaged before you post them.

On Facebook and Gumtree, you’ll need to arrange for the buyer to collect the item and pay with cash.

Mobile phones can also be sold on specialist recycling websites. Compare the best prices on sell themobile.com and comparemy mobile.com.

An unlocked iPhone 7 32GB could fetch up to £109 if it works or £76 if broken, according to sellthemobile.com. 

If you can’t make money from your electricals, you can recycle them or donate to a charity shop.

Find your nearest repair, reuse or recycling point here: recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/electrical-recycling-near-me/

Some branches of Currys PC World, Robert Dyas and Vodafone will accept electrical goods, as well as local recycling centres.

Make sure all batteries and bulbs have been removed and all sockets, adaptors and similar devices meet British safety standards.

Before giving anything away, save your photos and contacts to a memory stick, online storage service or email them to yourself.

Remove the Sim and memory card. Then wipe all your personal data from the device and do a so-called ‘factory reset’. This restores the device to its original settings. Check the manufacturer’s website for instructions.

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