(WXYZ) - You've seen the shows where they open old storage lockers and find valuable treasures within. But could some of those treasures be even closer, just gathering dust in your drawer? From cell phones to DVD players, e-readers to video game systems, those old electronics could be worth big bucks if you know what to charge and when to sell.
When Varian Johnson started packing up his house for a move, he discovered a treasure trove of old electronics he'd forgotten all about.
"You get it and you use it and you think you're going to sell it or do something
with it or re-purpose it and it kind of gets stuck at the bottom of the drawer and you forget about it," Johnson says.
But experts say it's time to clean out those drawers because old, outdated electronics could easily be turned into gadget gold.
"There's never been a better time to get top dollar for your electronics," says CEO of Decide.com Michael Fridgen.
Of course some products have more resale value than others. Experts say smart phones, tablets and laptops are all great for resale, with Apple products holding the most value.
"Even an iPhone that's up to 18 months old will get up to 50 percent of it's
original value," Fridgen says.
An old Blackberry Curve is worth $75. A used Nintendo Wii could fetch $150 while a first generation iPad is still worth around $300. And while old printers or fax machines don't usually sell for much, experts say old model e-readers can retain much of their value.
"They tend to work for very, very long time. When next year's e-reader comes
out, it doesn't stop your old e-reader from being able to read a book," says CEO and Co-Funder of Priceonomics.com Michael Flaxman.
So how do you know what an item is worth? You can try Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon to start. Or a new site, Priceonomics.com which analyzes thousands of deals each day to calculate current value.
"We've indexed hundreds of millions of posts. Absolutely anything you might buy on eBay, Craigslist or offline in the real world, we know what it's worth," says Flaxman.
In addition to knowing what to sell, you'll want to consider when to sell.
"If you sell your product before the new version's announced, you can get considerably more money for it," says Frigden
Websites like Decide.com stay on top of the new release rumors and can help you decide whether to sell or hold.
"Prices are changing at a very fast rate. We see, on a given day, 20 percent of products are seeing a price change," says Frigden.
And if the price is too low? Consider donating instead of selling.
"Oftentimes you can get a tax deduction, you'll get that item out of your house, and someone else will be able to start enjoying it," says Flaxman.
As for Varian, he was surprised to find out his old gadgets could earn him over $700 in cash.
"Very surprised, very surprised by how much it's worth. I think I'm going to sell it," says Johnson.
So where do you go to sell these items? Experts say Craigslist is good for larger items that might cost a lot to ship, wheras eBay instant sale and Gazelle.com are great for items like phones. If you're just upgrading, stores like Best Buy or Game Stop will also buy your items - for credit instead of cash.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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