Over the years it's easy to accumulate a stack of video games and movies. Eventually, games you used to love are thrown to the side after you beat the big boss for the millionth time. And movies lose their luster once you've memorized the entire flick, line-by-line.
While DVDs make for fun drink coasters and game cases make for good door stops, there's a better use for all involved. Take your movies and games and turn them into money. There are a few methods to make this happen, but before I cover them, I need to make sure I point out the obvious: the discs themselves have to be playable. A disc with a ton of scratches that skips or is unplayable is better off as a Frisbee -- and retailers aren't afraid to tell you that.
GameStop and Best Buy are two retail stores offering a trade-in service for video games. GameStop provides a general idea of what you can expect to get for a working game or console. The trade-in values vary, depending on whether or not you want in-store credit or cash. Store credit is going to net you a higher return on your trade, but it limits you to using the trade amount in GameStop itself.
Best Buy's trade-in site allows you to enter the games you'd like to send in, offers an amount, and then gives you a prepaid shipping label to send everything in. Once the team at Best Buy looks over your trades and determines the condition to match what you entered, you're sent a Best Buy gift card for the agreed-upon amount.
For those who would rather have cash, but Best Buy is offering too good of a trade value, consider selling your gift card.
Amazon offers a similar trade-in service to that of GameStop or Best Buy. But in addition to letting you trade games, you can also trade in old movies. Now, before you get too excited and head over to Amazon's Trade-In site and start counting your riches, you need to know -- movies aren't worth a lot. Take "Frozen" as an example. You can purchase the two-disc set for $22.62. Not a bad price, but if you were to try and trade it in right now, you'd only receive $7.65 in return.
The same can be said about game values, but (to me at least) it appears games hold their value longer than movies.
In any case, when you have a stack of games and videos to trade, the amount adds up quickly.
After sending everything in to Amazon via prepaid shipping, you'll receive an Amazon credit for the amount.
You can check out Amazon trade values for movies or games on its trade-in page.
Craigslist makes it too easy to list items for sale, and best of all, it's free. If you opt to sell old games and movies yourself, I recommend stacking all of the cases (after wiping them down with a wet rag, of course) and taking some photos.
You should also list a price for the entire collection, in addition to individual prices. To make it easier on yourself, shop the trade values and average out the value of what you own. You can then get a total value (say you have 50 movies, average trade offer is $2.25, for a total of $112.50). Or you could list your collection as "$115 for everything, otherwise $3 a movie." Obviously, you can set your own price for everything, but don't get carried away and create more work than necessary.
Editors' note: It's spring cleaning time! Week's five's theme: there is no theme. It's a bonus week. Check back this week through Wednesday for spring cleaning tips from a variety of subjects.