This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices.
Most of my friends have huge shelves full of DVDs and CDs that they rarely listen to or look at. Not long ago, I suffered from the same condition – I had this huge array of DVDs that I watched once, shelved away, and didn’t touch for years. In other words, it wasn’t long before they became just something else to dust.
What most people don’t think about is that there is cash just sitting there on those shelves, just waiting to be collected. You might not get a great return on each one, but in just an hour, you can liquidate the collection and put some cash in your pocket – hopefully for the purpose of eliminating some debt or investing in something that will actually generate wealth over time.
First, go through your DVD or CD collection and select a portion of them to liquidate. In the past, I found that choosing a certain percentage to keep is a great tactic to use. Try going through the first time with the goal of keeping 40% of the collection while eliminating 60%. I usually count each “box” as a single DVD for the purposes of this, but you can do it a different way if you like. The goal is to separate the wheat from the chaff – which ones will you potentially watch again and which ones will just sit there on your shelf?
Next, sell them off. For the most part, it’s not worth the additional effort to sell single DVDs on eBay or Amazon auctions, but boxed sets are often worth that extra effort. For the individual DVDs, even though your rate of return isn’t as good, I usually found the best method to be to just take them to a reseller of used DVDs. You might be able to get more per DVD online, but the effort per sale would eat up that gain very quickly (unless you made this into a hobby for a while).
After that, make an effort to enjoy the stuff you kept. If you kept this DVD because you intend to watch it again, watch it again! Go through your DVD collection and watch all of these movies and television shows that you chose to keep around. If you’re thinking, “Nah, I don’t think I want to,” it might be a good time to ask yourself whether you really want to keep any of them at all – you may want to do another round of purging.
The real key here is to use this money to actually pay down some debt or add to an investment. Some people may be tempted to just blow this money – don’t. Find something truly useful to do with it, something that will benefit you over the long haul instead of just sitting on a shelf gathering dust.