10 Forgotten Items That Are Hiding In Your Attic—and Could Be Worth a Fortune

iStock/harmpeti
iStock/harmpeti

If you need motivation to clean out your attic, think of it as an opportunity to earn some extra cash. Thanks to nostalgic collectors with money to burn, many of the items that were once everywhere have now skyrocketed in value. This includes kitschy 1970s memorabilia like Pyrex casserole dishes and ceramic Christmas trees, and retro 1990s toys like Pokémon cards and Polly Pocket. Here are the vintage treasures to look for during your next decluttering project.

1. Old typewriters

The once-ubiquitous typewriter is now a collector’s item. On eBay, vintage models from the late 19th and early 20th centuries can sell for well over $1000. If they’re in good condition, even typewriters made in the last half-century can earn sellers a couple hundred dollars.

2. Pokémon cards

Rare, first-generation Pokémon cards have been known to fetch five-figure sums. A promotional Pikachu card from 1998 sold for $54,970 through Heritage Auctions in 2016. That card had been made especially for an illustration contest, but the Pokémon cards that came in regular packs can be valuable as well. In 2014, a pristine copy of a 1999 Charizard card sold for almost $12,000.

3. Beanie Babies

If you haven’t looked at your Beanie Baby collection since the 1990s, now’s the time to break it out. Mint-condition toys with manufacturer errors and rare variations can earn serious cash. In January 2019, a Valentino bear with multiple errors sold on eBay for just shy of $42,300.

4. Ceramic Christmas trees

Unlike the holiday ornaments you made in elementary school, these items are worth far more than their sentimental value. Vintage ceramic Christmas trees from the 1960s and ’70s can sell for $100 to $450 on eBay. Their value peaks between late November and early December each year, so make sure you leave enough time to dig through your old decorations to sell them for the best price.

5. VHS tapes

Before giving away your VHS tapes for pocket change in a garage sale, look up their value. Schlocky horror movies, professional wrestling shows, and even early episodes of Barney are potentially worth hundreds of dollars on tape.

6. Vinyl records

Some variant copies of old records are extremely valuable. A version of Bob Dylan’s album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan with alternate tracks was accidentally released in 1963, and today it can sell for as much as $35,000. And certain albums from The Beatles with rare labels, serial numbers, or recalled cover art are also highly sought after by collectors.

7. Comic books

The influx of superhero movies has been a boon to comic book collectors. The comics worth the most money tend to be inaugural issues of iconic series, or issues that marked the first appearance of a beloved character. The Incredible Hulk No.1, Marvel Comics No.1, and X-Men No. 1 all sold for upwards of $300,000.

8. Boy Scout badges

Was your grandfather an Eagle Scout? The merit badges and medals from your Boy Scout days may be worth more than a trip to summer camp, but scouting memorabilia from the first half of the 20th century tends to rack up the highest bids, with some collectors willing to shell out hundreds of dollars on eBay.

9. Polly Pocket

Before Mattel bought Polly Pocket in 1998, the dolls and accessories came in cases that really were small enough to fit in your pocket. Today, original versions of the tiny toys can net owners big bucks. In 2016, a sealed Polly Pocket Jewel Case earned $600 on eBay, and two years later, a Polly's Crystal Ball set sold for the same price.

10. Pyrex dishes

The tacky, colorful dishware that was a staple in 20th-century kitchens could earn a small fortune today. Complete sets are worth the most money, but depending on their pattern and condition, single items can be surprisingly valuable. In early 2019, a vintage Pyrex casserole dish with a rare “Lucky in Love” pattern sold for $6700 on eBay.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.