If you dread spring cleaning, you’re doing it wrong!
Rather than think of it as a chore, tell yourself it’s less about work and more about finding hidden cash in your house. Sure, you may find some change in the cushions, but we’re talking about bigger bucks here.
Step one: It’s no holds barred
The first step is to be ruthless – and brutally honest – while cleaning your house. As you go from room to room, scrutinize everything.
The knickknacks buried on the bookshelf? Gone. The beach toys your kids have outgrown? Say goodbye. The movies you haven’t watched in years? Sayonara.
Don’t forget to venture into your home’s dumping grounds, too. Check out what’s lurking in the attic, basement, garage and shed. If you forgot you had something, that’s generally a good sign it needs to go.
When you get tired of purging, remind yourself that the more you get rid of this year, the less you’ll have to clean next year.
Step two: Separate the wheat from the chaff
Now that you’ve been through every room in the house, you probably have a huge mound of unwanted items just waiting to be turned into cold, hard cash.
To maximize your profits, start by pulling out anything of particular value. For example, set aside brand-name clothes, collectibles and antiques.
Next, find a consignment shop that may be interested in selling these items for you. While many consignment stores specialize in clothes, you can also find shops that consign antiques, baby items and furniture, among other items.
If you don’t have a consignment shop nearby, try an online version. A simple search for “online consignment shop” will bring up pages of results, and almost all will be for clothing, since shipping for heavier items makes the process cost-prohibitive.
The following are a few of the popular online consignment and resale sites.
For everything else you need to sell, read this article on Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top Dollar.
Step three: Pull out the electronics
While you’re pulling out brand-name clothes and collectible items, make a separate pile for electronics. Even old, nonworking items might garner you some extra cash.
Be sure to wipe the memory of cellphones and hard drives, and then try to unload them on one of these sites:
You can read this article for more information about how to sell broken electronics.
Step four: Yard sale time!
At this point, you should have all of the really valuable stuff set aside. What’s left are the odds and ends that aren’t going to bring much on their own, but when taken together, could add up to a couple hundred dollars or more.
And do you know what that means? Yes, it’s yard sale time!
We could write an entire article on how to set up a successful yard sale … oh wait, we already have. Go read our 13 Tips for a Super Yard Sale.
Step five: Get a tax deduction
Finally, no yard sale in history has ever ended with everything sold. Even if you offer up the leftovers on Freecycle, you’ll probably still end up with a couple of boxes or more of — ahem — treasures.
For the love of all that is good in the world, don’t haul them back into your house or leave them to linger in the garage. Instead, pack up those boxes and head to the nearest thrift store or Goodwill location. As long as everything is still in good, usable condition, these shops are generally happy to take your yard sale castoffs. Some charities will even come to your house to pick up your donation.
Be sure to ask for a receipt and then claim the donation on your itemized deductions next year.
Be smart with the profits
As one last note, don’t squander the profits from your spring cleaning purge. You definitely don’t want to use that money to buy more random stuff to clutter up your house again.
Instead, put that money in a savings account or set it aside for a bigger need. Saving pennies now might mean you won’t need to go into debt when it’s time to replace the dishwasher, fix the roof or even buy a new car.
Check out this article on smart ways to use your gas savings — all of these ideas can apply to spring cleaning profits as well.
Is spring cleaning in your future? Leave a comment and tell us what you plan to do with the loot you raise. Or head to our Facebook page to join the discussion there.