Are you overdue for a spring cleaning?
This post will walk you through the best ways to clear out your clutter and make money doing it. Believe it or not, last time I did my own spring clean, I got over $3,000 in cash using selling the methods discussed below.
If you’re anything like the most of us, then you probably have a lot of stuff you’ve accumulated over the years.
Maybe sometimes you open up a box and say “I forgot I had this” or you have to dig out a mountain of bins to get to one thing and you’re never quite certain how to get it back in there.
Sure, it all fits in when you take the time to neatly arrange everything but we all know that overtime, that neatly stored stuff becomes not so neat and before you know it, your closets are exploding again.
I get it though, there are so many reasons to hold on to things:
- you might use it one day and when that day comes, you’ll be happy you saved it
- you feel a sense of emotional attachment to it
- you might feel guilty throwing out something you paid for. But guess what, more often than not, it’s costing you more to store it than it does to buy it again if you do need it. Check out my post on Why your clutter is costing you money every day.
I’m here to help you clear out your clutter and get cash for it.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of making money, maybe you aren’t quite ready and committed to clearing out your closets.
I personally have held on to things for years and used them maybe once or twice in that time.
As a general rule, I would recommend that if you haven’t used something in a year, then honestly ask yourself: “do I have real plans to use this in the future?”.
In some cases, there might be a reason why you haven’t used it but in most, you’re holding on to stuff you don’t need.
I can’t express enough how liberating it was for me to go through my closets and perform this exercise.
- I had more space
- I felt my home was less cluttered and more comfortable
- I had a sense of exactly what was in my closets (as opposed to “oh, I forgot I had this” or “where did I put that again?”)
- I had less of a desire to go out and buy more things which indirectly saved me money
- And, cherry on top of the ice cream, I made over $3,000 doing it!
Here’s a high-level breakdown of what I got rid of and how much I made:
Granted, there are some higher value items in there (namely the bicycle) but I didn’t include any of the smaller cash sales I made for $20, $40, $50, $60, $80, etc. Adding those in would have made the list too long, but trust me when I say: they sure add up!
Here’s where we get to the good stuff – cash for clutter!
First thing’s first, go through your stuff and be honest with yourself
This decision matrix will help you walk through my thought process which helped me figure out what I should keep and what had to go.
Be very honest with yourself in figuring out why you are holding onto something. Maybe there is a good reason to keep it but generally, there isn’t. Those “maybe” arguments and “I could use it” usually don’t stand and most of the time, you won’t end up using it.
Do you have clothes that don’t fit you or that you never wear?
Clothing can be a tricky one because it’s honestly so expensive to buy but once you’ve bought it, there isn’t really much you can do with it as far as getting money back.
My Sister’s Closet is a good option if you’re looking to get cash for clothes you don’t wear.
Now, stores that pay you for your clothes can be picky about what they will buy or consign. So, don’t be surprised if you walk out with some of your stuff but you still don’t need to throw it out.
Find a donation bin on your way home and let it benefit someone in need. It will leave you feeling way better than dumping it in the trash and it has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly. It’s a win-win situation.
Do you have books you’ve read and won’t open again or don’t want to read anymore?
Books are along the same lines as clothes. They cost quite a bit but have few selling opportunities.
If you’re looking to get back a little money for those books you aren’t going to read, then you can either use Amazon or BookScouter.
Amazon is likely a better option if you have a lot of books you’re trying to get rid off and you’re willing to be patient until someone buys them. Chances are, you’ll get more for them through Amazon than you would on BookScout.
The downside (beyond requiring more time on your end) is that you have to set up a seller’s account and it will cost you $39.99 a month + selling fees on each transaction.
BookScouter might be better for you if you only have a few books to sell and you want to do it as quickly and easily as possible.
All you have to do is put in the book ISBN (that barcode number on the back) and see if BookScouter is interested in buying it. If they are, then put in your contact information and they’ll send you a shipping label.
For all that other stuff, here are a few more recommendations
This is a personal favorite of mine. Honestly, you might think some things aren’t worth anything but sometimes you’d be surprised what people are looking to buy on craigslist.
I had an extra yoga matt collecting dust and I was about to throw it out but I decided “hey, why not, I’ll post it for $40 and see what happens”. I sold it the same day for asking price! It doesn’t seem like much but if you take a few minutes to post an ad on Craigslist for all those things you thought you wouldn’t get any money for (things you were possibly even going to throw in the trash), you might be surprised that they are worth money to someone and your bank account will thank you.
Amazon has a Trade-in program which provides customers an Amazon Gift Card in exchange for items they no longer want. Sure, it isn’t technically cash, but it requires minimal effort on your end. Amazon will accept trades for:
- cell phones
- bluetooth speakers
- video games
You can check if Amazon will accept whatever it is you want to get rid of through this link Amazon Trade-in. If Amazon will accept the trade, all you have to do next is create an account, fill out a brief questionnaire and Amazon will send you a shipping label.
Holding a garage sale is a great way to get rid of all those smaller payout items ($1-$20) that aren’t worth putting on Craigslist. If you want to be sure to get a ton of traffic, I recommend that a few days before your sale you:
- draft and print some flyers to put up around your neighborhood
- put an ad on Craigslist in the garage sale section
- post it on Facebook
On the day of, keep in mind that most of the time, the stuff we put up at a garage sale is the stuff we would basically throw away but are hoping to get a few bucks for. So, when someone is hustling you for a cheaper price, ask yourself, “is it worth saying no for a few bucks for something I don’t really want anymore?”. Sometimes, we get caught up in trying to keep the upper hand and lose sight of what’s in our best interest.
That’s all great, but I don’t have time for that.
Let’s be honest here, it’s not really a matter of not having time, it’s a matter of not making time. I completely get it, it’s so much easier to turn the TV on and unwind after a long day of work but here’s the reality, easier is not necessarily better.
Yes, you are tired after work, but you will get SO MUCH MORE satisfaction out of clearing out your clutter than watching TV
There’s a pride in accomplishing something. That’s a feeling you don’t get from turning the TV on and you’re more likely than not to get a better night sleep out of it too.
Now, maybe I’m incorrect in assuming that your escape is the television but we all have distractions and they generally don’t bring us a sense of accomplishment.
So get to it!
Force yourself to do the dreaded task of cleaning your clutter. Not only will you feel great about it, but you’ll also make money doing it! What else could you ask for?