5 Steps to Turn Clutter Into Cash This Spring
Spring time should be known for more than heightened allergies and losing an hour of sleep. It’s that time of year when even border line hoarders get the urge to purge through the mounds of unnecessary clutter in their homes. But instead of just throwing everything out, why not put a little planning into getting rid of clutter and make some extra money!?!
If you’re like most over consuming Americans, there are definitely valuable items lying around your house that you or your family no longer put much value in. Think about it. It’s reported that the average American family now has almost $7000 worth of unused “stuff” sitting around. What could you do with thousands of dollars right now? Do you have an emergency/opportunity fund? Do you have a kid that needs books next semester? Want cash for your summer vacation? . . . . Well, what are you waiting for? Get up already and start cleaning!
Here are 5 Steps to Liquidate Your Clutter ASAP:
I’m big on enhancing your mindset and keeping organized so let’s start there . . .
Step 1: Get A Plan Together
To jumpstart your new “out with the old and in with more money” mentality, you’ll need to be very strategic. Make sure before you start your treasure hunt, you get clear about the purpose of the money you earn. Set a specific financial goal to keep you focused. The point is not to trade stuff for more stuff; it’s to help you hopefully achieve a worthwhile goal. Imagine raising $1000 to establish your opportunity fund or being able to put a $2500 dent in your credit card debt!
Step 2: Get Organized
As you work through your urge to purge, keep your treasure hunt tool belt handy. Include a Sharpie pen, note pad and colored sticky notes to help you stay organized. Create a color-coded system up front and label items accordingly, i.e. yellow sticky notes are donation items, green sticky notes for sale items, etc.
Next, let’s talk about what you can definitely sell this Spring and where to unload it for the most cash.
Step 3: Pullout Unused Items
Disclaimer: This is not just for “unwanted” stuff because people love to talk about how they “might” use something “one day!” This is about clearing out unused items. If you haven’t used something in 12 months, much less 5 years, I think it’s safe to say you can live without it.
Sell Old Gold – I know you might think that you’re saving that gold nugget ring from ’78 or perhaps that coveted rope chain from the 80s just in case they come back in style, but the reality is if you’re in debt or don’t have any savings, it may be best to see if your prized collection of tangled necklaces and broken clasps can earn you some cash. There are tons of places that allow you to just mail the items in and wait for a check, but I suggest stopping in to a local “Cash for Gold” store front and getting an estimate in person and up front.
Books, CDs & DVDs – Call me old school, but I still love hard covered books and compact discs. Even as an author myself, I just started downloading audiobooks last year, so I’m going through saving my favorites and getting rid of physical books I never liked to begin with. If you too have embraced the trend of moving toward devices like Kindle and Nook, MP3s players, tablets, or simply your smart phone for media and entertainment, maybe it’s time to sell your paperbacks too. If you search diligently enough, you can always find a local store that will purchase used books, CDs and DVDs. You won’t make a killing, but every penny counts when you’re saving or paying down debt, right?
Step 4: Track Down Unused Gift Cards
Are you still hanging on to those unwanted gift cards you got for Christmas? (I’m not judging. I have a few too. SMH) It’s estimated that in the $124 billion gift card industry (up from $90 billion in 2010), approximately $750 million dollars in gift cards go unredeemed each year. Check out sites like raise.com or cardpool.com. They were rated the #1 and #2 gift card exchange sites for 2016. Apparently based depending on the demand for the card, you can earn up to 90% of the value. I’ll be checking it out as I too move to a 100% paperless lifestyle this year.
Step 5: Be More Creative With Where You Sell
Clothing – Ever feel like you wear the same thing all the time, despite having tons of items in your closet? I think we’ve all been there. The truth is we’re creatures of habit and once we find a pair of jeans we love or those shoes that seem to complete every outfit, everything else takes a back seat . . . sometimes for years! That’s why everyone should have two consignment stores in their area to sell their gently warn clothing to. First, you need the high end consignment store that is picky about everything they buy and will only take name brand clothing, shoes and purses. Then you need the store that is more concerned about the quality of the pieces and the season or time of year. If you have two, you cover your bases and increase your chances of being able to make some money off the clothing you may like, but just aren’t in love with anymore.
Furniture & Electronics – It may seem convenient to thrown together a quick garage sale this Saturday or list underutilized furniture and electronics on Craigslist. Personally, unless I’m in a RUSH, I hate to part with stuff I paid good money for, for pennies on the dollar. I’d rather try my luck with furniture consignment stores that have active buyers and a marketing strategy in place for how they promote furniture in good condition. In Atlanta I personally use Southern Comforts Consignments. Items I could have only sold for $100 – $300 on Craigslist, sold for 3-4x that with them. And the best part is, I didn’t do anything but drop it off. That’s worth splitting the profit!
For electronics, check out sites like BuyBackWorld.com. According to their site, you can “search for any product you want to sell to see how much it’s worth. Choose one of [their] convenient payment methods, enter your shipping details and that’s it!” It looks like if you go with them, they’ll even mail you a FREE Shipping Kit directly to your front door.
One last note.
Before you start out on your cleaning spree/treasure hunt, put a time limit on how long you will take to get rid of what you find. If you cannot sell an item within 2 weeks, donate it to charity. Take clothing and household items to places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. And, your local library would probably appreciate your old books, cds and dvds. Whatever you do just don’t put it back in the closet, under the bed or in the garage!
In addition to making some quick money, you can clear the chaos in your mind too! Your home environment is very closely connected to your emotions, mindset and general well-being? Energy gets stuck in all your stuff. So simply letting go of stuff and releasing old, bad or negative energy may free you up to attract new and exciting opportunities in your life. If nothing else, clean up the mess and feel good about inviting friends over again! 😉