Have you got an old box of toys laying around that the kids don’t play with anymore? Are they getting a bit older, and looking to make some extra pocket money?

Maybe you are a toy collector, and you need to downsize to pay for a wedding or a holiday. So whether you’re selling your kids old toys, or your prized collection, here are six tips for increasing the resell value of your second-hand toys.

1. Always Keep the Boxes

When selling second-hand toys, the box is sometimes more valuable than the toy itself. Toys by nature are meant for children, and children by nature are cyclones.

That leaves a lot of toys without boxes, and when it comes to collectors, the history is everything! The box tells a story. Where the toy came from, who made the toy, it’s like a Wikipedia entry for that particular toy. A toy with it’s original box, even it if has been played with, could sell for more than ten times that of an identical toy without a box.

You can see from the below images, or actual sales on Ebay, that an original 1995 Pull-string Woody, sold for $23, however, the inbox one with a Buzz Light-year sold for $221. There were over 50 Woody dolls, out of the box that all sold for similar money, but there was only one inbox, and it got the big dollars.

When kids are involved, it can be hard to keep boxes, especially if these are gifts for Christmas or Birthdays. When it’s not a special occasion though, it usually falls to Mum or Dad to unbox the toy. Unboxing the toy carefully means it can be put in storage in pristine condition until the day comes for it to find a new home.

Storing boxes doesn’t have to be hard, or turn your house into a hoarding nightmare. Simply have a large brown packing box, that all the boxes get popped in to. Once it’s full, just tape it up, and store it in the roof, or crawl space. To maximize storage space, flatten any boxes that don’t plastic inserts. This works especially well for Lego, and Lego holds it’s value extremely well. Lastly, if you use a permanent marker to write on the side of each box what’s in there. When it comes time to sell, they are much easier to find.

2. Clean Your Toys

It seems so simple. Yet so many people either don’t bother, or just completely forget to give the toys a quick clean. If the toy doesn’t have any scuffs or marks, it’s as simple as giving a quick dust. When cleaning toys I tend to use a large markup brush. These are perfect for getting into all those little nooks and crannies, without leaving any light scratches on the toy.

If the toy has had more of a rough life, and has dirt marks, lolly fingers, and all those other wonderful things. Just grab an old toothbrush, some warm water, and mix in a smash amount of laundry detergent, and give them a light scrub. If it’s actually got paint marks from where it’s hit another toy, you’re going to need something a bit stronger. Goo remover (or something similar) is perfect. Using a cotton swab light rub the area, and it will get rid of almost anything. Just be careful is the plastic is not colored, but instead painted, it will strip the paint straight off.

As you can see below, we have two identical toys. One has been cleaned quite well, the other looks like it’s come straight out of the toy box. The one of the left sold for $7, and the one of the right for $13. Five minutes of cleaning, equaled $5 more money in that persons pocket.

3. Do you homework

Making top dollar on your toys, is about doing your homework. List it at some rock bottom price, and a flipper will pick it up in five seconds flat. However, price it too high, and it will sit forever!

Luckily these days it’s a lot easier to do your homework. Firstly you need to figure out what you have. If you kept the box, then it’s already done the hard work for you. If not, putting some key words into Ebay, then trying to find a picture that matches what you have is a good way to go.

Once you know what you have, it’s time to figure out how much to sell it for. A lot of people make the mistake of looking at current Ebay listings, and this often doesn’t give you a good indication. Ebay is filled with so many listings with super inflated sales prices. To get a real value, you need to look at what people are actually paying for your toy. If you’re in Ebay, down the left side is a sold tab, clicking this will show you what people have actually been paying for that particular item. Also take note of what country the toy is from. If your toy has come from a friend or relative overseas, there is a good chance it could be worth a lot more in your local market.

4. Make A light-box

If you’re going to be selling quite a few things, having a light-box sets your listing a part. It looks professional, it removes clutter from your images, so your buyers can focus on the item. It also captures your toy in the best lighting, with the best color, making it easy for potential buyers to see what they are getting.

Making a light-box is also relatively simple, and cheap and can be a fun weekend project with the kids. All you need are a couple of lamps (approx. 100W), an old cardboard box, some baking paper and you’re on your way. Keep an eye out for a future post, where I will do a step by step guide for constructing your own DIY light-box.

As you can see from the below image. The photo on the left is full of clutter, which distracts from the toy. However, it is also suffering from poor light, with bright spots and shadows everywhere. The image on the right eliminates the glare and shadows. This makes the overall image softer, which makes it much easier on the eyes. As an added benefit though, the colors tend to look bolder and more dramatic.

5. Use editing tools

Filters are an easy way to give your toy a competitive edge. Often you only have seconds to engage your audience, as they scroll through the thousands of listings. Having an image that it bold, and jumps out at you, is sure to get more clicks, and the more clicks, the more likely you are to get the sale.

When it comes to photo editing, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking you need expensive software like Photoshop. Nothing could be more wrong! One of my most used edits, is the Clarendon filter on Instagram. It’s great at lifting the light profile of an image, making it bright and clear; even on the dullest screen.

For the below image I used a free program on my PC called PicsArt. You can download this straight from the internet and start editing. It took only a few clicks to turn this dull lifeless image, into something that was bold and dramatic!

6. Set Your Limit, Before You List Your Product

Often when people list toys for sale, they end up selling it for far less than what they listed it for. Why? They either haven’t done their research, or they taken the first offer they get. For the uninitiated toy collecting can be quite a lucrative business. Which is why there is no shortage of people who will try to low-ball you, so they can on-sell your toy for a profit, with little to no effort.

However, if you have put the hard work into cleaning your toys, taking great photos, and doing your homework. You deserve to be rewarded. That’s why setting a list price, and a bottom price is a great idea. Most people have a list price, which is great. Often though, people want to haggle, and knowing your limit before that negotiation starts, means you will be in a better position to bargain.

Recently I sold a old Lego At-At model. I originally purchased it brand new a couple of years ago for $150AUD. I had kept the box, the book, and I had all the pieces. So after doing my research, I saw these were selling for approximately $240 – $300 AUD. So I decided to list mine for $260, and decided that the lowest I would take for the set was $200. Sure enough less than an hour after I listed the set, I got an offer for $140.

Flippers make a living off of buying your items low, then on selling them for a profit, so they are always going to get in fast, and try to scare you into thinking you won’t get anymore offers. Don’t be intimidated though, the offers will come. Two days later I got an offer from another buyer, for $260, and before I could remove the listing, I got a second offer a $260 with free delivery, so even if my first one feel through, I had another reasonable offer lined up.

Unless you get exactly what you’re asking for on an item. I would always recommend waiting a couple of day before you sell. You need to give people time to see your item and make an offer. If it does sit too long, you can always message the other person back, and accept their lower offer if you really want it gone. This is something I have done a bit, and is why I am always polite, even when someone sends through a low-ball offer. I have seen people get so mad when low offers are put forward, and you’re just burning a bridge you may need to use later.

So that is my six tips for turning your olds toys into cash. Did you find this article helpful? Do you have some tips of your own? Why not share them below in the comments

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