Tokyo is characteristically small. Apartments are not known for being spacious with ample storage space, to say the least. Most likely, if you are living in Tokyo for any extended period of time, you will have to “purge” your apartment of all the useless, outdated, opened-once-but-never-used items and clothing every once and a while.

You can throw these away, but that costs money. For exceptionally large items, you have to pay extra for disposing. That’s not cool.

Or you can sell your old items at any of the “Off” stores, like Hard-Off, Off-Home, Hobby-Off, Mode-Off, Book-Off, or Garage-Off. Not only do you get rid of the items, but you also get a bit of spare cash.

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At Tokyo Cheapo, we have created a comprehensive guide on “How to sell things at any of the Off stores.”

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

1. Realize you aren’t going to get serious yen for anything you sell. Anyone who has ever shopped at the “Off” stores can tell you that things are cheap. Clothes at Mode-Off are ridiculously affordable; used electronics and instruments at Hard-Off are well within the Cheapo’s budget.

Only sell things you don’t have serious attachments too. Just because the original tag is still attached doesn’t mean you will get a decent price. Last week at Off-Home, I bought a white dress with the original tags for 15,750yen… for only 700yen.

2. Package up several plastic bags of clothes, shoes, kitchen appliances, or other “junk.” When they appraise the value of your items, they will typically keep your bags. It is best if you package your “junk” in a useless plastic bag.

Off-Home kept both the bag and clothes for 600yen | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

3. Do your research. Certain stores accept certain products. Here is a quick break-down for the Off brand stores.

Hard Off: Hardware, electronics, games, instruments, DVDs, and CDs.

Mode-Off: Clothes, accessories, shoes, and purses.

Off-House/Home-Off: Home appliances, baby goods, clothes, purses, shoes, kitchen appliances, fine china, yukata/kimonos, and toys.

Hobby Off: Stuffed animals, figurines, collectables, collectable cards, anime paraphernalia and stickers.

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Garage Off: Anything that would go in a garage (large appliances, lawn appliances, and some small furniture)

Book Off: Books, DVDs, and CDs.

4. Only bring “seasonal” clothes (if you’re selling clothes). Off-Home and Mode-Off will only buy your clothes based on the season. As a result, selling your winter clothes in the spring is a bad idea. They physically will not buy them.

If you can wait until the Fall to sell old winter clothes, that’s great. If you can’t, and you’re only trying to get rid of your items before you move, all of the Off stores typically accept “donations.”

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

5. Go to the counter labeled “買い取り”. If you can’t read Japanese kanji, no problem. As soon as an employee sees you carrying around bags filled with clothes, action toys, and old yu-gi-oh cards, they will help you out.

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At the counter, someone will take your bags and give you a numbered card. An employee will go through your items, assign a “value” to each piece, and then call your number on the loudspeakers once the appraisal has been complete.

My order number at Hard Off | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

6. Decide what you want to sell. The employee who appraised your item at any of the Off stores will tell you how much the store is willing to pay for your item. In some instances, the number is 0yen.

They will put all the items that are either out of season or undesirable in a bag; if you don’t want to keep them, you can choose to donate them to the Off store. They will end up selling the donated clothes or objects – at a discounted price.

I’ve noticed that shirts, pants, skirts, and shorts typically sell for 100yen. Jackets and dresses sell for about 200yen. Nicer items will sell for more, but don’t expect to make any more than 1/6th the original value.

In most cases, expect to make a lot less.

7. Fill out your name and address, sign the form, and receive your money. They will pay you cash on the spot.

Payment form at Hard Off | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

If you decide not to sell all of it (not a good enough price or sudden emotional attachment), they will keep your bags behind the counter, so you can still browse the store before leaving.

The entire process is very simple and judgment-free. I’ve tried donating some pretty weird stuff; no one looks twice. In any case, the thing to remember is that selling anything at Hard-Off, Off-Home, Hobby-Off, Mode-Off, Book-Off, or Garage-Off is not, in any way a “get rich scheme.” Expect to only make petty cash.

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