Turn Clutter Into Cash

New Web sites will buy items that are sitting around the house.
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Your spring cleaning may turn up a mint.

Amid a teetering economy, many people would like to pick up a few extra bucks. Desks and drawers in your house won't provide a steady supply of money, but it's becoming easier to convert household clutter into cash.

If something is worthless, it usually gets thrown out. But many items that have become useless after you buy a newer model end up in a junk drawer.

Even though you know you will never use the outdated item again, it still has value. Once it gets thrown into a desk drawer, however, it usually remains there until someone in the house goes on a cleaning jag.

To get the most money for items in yourdrawers, the best method is to auction them off on Web sites such as

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

or over classified-advertising sites such as

Craigslist

.

The drawback is that it takes time and effort to take aphoto of the item, write out a description and upload the photo to theWeb site. Then you will have to spend time with potential buyersanswering questions, collecting the money and shipping the item.

While many people have the intention of doing this, items that endup in drawers never seem to get sold. Othertimes, even though the items has value, it's too much trouble to put it up for sale.

A new generation of Web sites, however, makes it simple to sell these long-forgotten items with little effort.

While there may be some minor differences in how each Web site works,most follow the same basic plan. The Web site gives you informationon the types of items it buys. It then requests that you findthe manufacturer, the model number and rate the item's condition.

When you have input all the information, the Web site gives you an estimate of the item's worth. If satisfied, you can request a prepaid envelope in which to send in the item at no charge. Once the company receives the item, it will evaluate it to make sure it is in good condition and then send you a check.

Here are a few things you may have stashed in junk drawers, and the names of Web sites that are likely to buy them:

Jewelry, Watches and Coins

Gold has already increased in value more than 30% since the beginning of the year. With the

Fed

making a surprise announcement of a quarter-point rate cut Sunday, gold reacted by surging to more than $1,000 an ounce. With a further Fed rate cut expected at today's meeting, gold may very well increase even more in the days to come.

This price surge isn't limited to gold.

Silver prices have also made amove higher. While silver prices were as low as $6 last year, they arenow at about $20 an ounce.

This means that any old jewelry,watches and coins that you no longer use and have hidden away indrawers are potentially worth a lot more these days.

While quality pieces of jewelry should be taken to a store for an appraisal, less-valuable pieces can be sold throughWeb sites like

Broken Gold

.

The site buys everything from gold, silver and platinum to junk gold such as tangled gold chains, bent/broken jewelry, unmatched gold earrings and dentalgold. That means even those odd and broken pieces of jewelry that youhave saved can put some money back into your pocket.

Cell Phones

When you upgrade to a new cell phone, the old one usuallyends up in a desk drawer. It may be time to dig through the drawers tofind them. There are a number of web sites that actively seek old cellphones like

Cell For Cash

,

SimplySellular

and

Sell Your Cell

and pay you for them.

Since the newer models are worth more and cell phones outdate quickly,the sooner you sell any cell phones that you no longer need, thebetter the price you are likely to get.

Electronic Gadgets

Many people simply throw their old MP3 player intoa drawer when they upgrade to a new model. As with mostelectronics, the longer that it sits in the drawer, the less valuableit becomes. Whether it's an

Apple (AAPL) - Get Report iPod

or another brand of MP3 player,

Second Rotation

will pay you money to take them out and send the old model to them.

Older version of electronic gadgets that can be sold aren't limited toMP3 players. Second Rotation offers to buy a large number of gadgetsincluding cell phones, laptops, gaming consoles, digital cameras,camcorders and GPS devices over the Internet. Any of these that havebeen placed in drawers can be retrieved to earn a few extra dollars.

When you decide to do your spring cleaning, take a bit of time to gothrough all the stuff that has collected in the drawers around thehouse that you no longer need or want. You may find that this year'sclean-up project will also result in some extra dollars in you pocket.

Jeffrey Strain owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.