Deal-Seeking Dad: Tips to Turn Your Kid’s Clutter Into Cash


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

How do you convince a child to part with a toy? Sell it for new toys – and teach your kids some valuable lessons about money and clutter control along the way.

After stepping on, over, and around one too many of my 6-year-old daughter’s toys, I recently trashed some of her stuff while she was asleep. You can probably predict the inevitable outcome: What I had considered trash was, to her, priceless treasure. Not a pretty picture.

But what’s a dad to do? For many young children, every doll or action figure is their favorite, even though they have dozens. Tucking a kid into bed can be a battle to see which favorite stuffed animal has to sleep on the floor.

If you’re desperate to rid yourself of some of the toys and kids clothing in your house, rather than repeat my ham-handed move, here’s a better idea – have your kids clear their own clutter.

From garage sales to websites, there are lots of ways parents can help kids sell or otherwise dispose of their unwanted items. In addition to providing the twin incentives of money and room for new stuff, it’s also a way to teach other lessons, from capitalism to charity.

“As kids grow, it’s important to help them manage their things,” says Stacey Crew, author of The Organized Mom and a spokeswoman for Storkbrokers.com, a website that helps people sell used kids’ stuff.

And there’s lots of stuff to sell. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average child outgrows more than $1,000 worth of clothes, toys, and gear every year.

Crew’s daughters, ages 10 and 13, recently raised money to each buy an iPod Touch after doing more chores at home and selling their Nintendo DS games at a local game store. Local consignment stores, garage sales, yard sales, and swap meets are all potential sources for turning clutter into cash. And, of course, so is the web.

One site that does it for free, which we’ve talked about before (7 Creative Ways to Teach Kids About Money), is eBay and its free classified ads.

Storkbrokers charges a 6 percent fee. A similar site for used goods, thredUP, charges a $5 fee, then asks buyers to send a $10.70, flat-rate USPS box to sellers, who are supposed to fill it with at least $50 worth of gently used items.

Wherever you and your kids are selling their stuff, Crew recommends these steps to get the best price:

  • Set a fair price. Research what it costs new and used elsewhere, and sell it for 30-60 percent off the original retail price. “It’s important to remember that people expect to get a deal when they’re buying secondhand,” Crew says.
  • Photograph it. This includes photos of the entire item and closeup shots to show detail.
  • Highlight brand names. This can be especially important for clothes.
  • List the fabric type. Clothing buyers may want to know what it’s made of.
  • Be honest about the condition. Perfection isn’t expected with used items, but honesty is. If there’s a scratch or something wrong, reveal it. “If you’re not likely to buy it, then somebody else probably isn’t either,” Crew says.
  • Watch out for recalls. This should go without saying, but don’t sell something that has been recalled. For gear such as cribs, strollers and other such things, check the manufacturer’s website or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for recall information.

Of course, the best way to avoid a cluttered closet or playroom is to be organized from the beginning, Crew says. Every house with small children probably has one playroom that’s full of toys, which can make it difficult for children to decide what to play with. Like many preschools and kindergarten classes, Crew recommends having toys put in specific areas, so that dolls are in one spot and blocks in another, for example.

From 18 months old to 8 years, children can be taught the concept of trading one toy for another. That’s something I’ve been trying to do since my daughter was born: Get rid of one toy when a new one arrives. It’s easier said than done, and I may try Crew’s “goodbye box,” where an item is put for a month before it is donated or sold as a way to see if it’s something that can be lived without for a month. It can also be called a “vacation box,” with the proceeds used to fund a family vacation.

The key is to teach these skills now and make a decision to sell or give away used items while they’re still useful and relevant, instead of storing them in an attic for 10 years and then throwing them away.

And to keep the clutter from reappearing, take steps to avoid impulse buys, as Crew did. “There came a point,” she says, “where I stopped taking my kids to the store.”

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay area who writes about family finances. His 6-year-old daughter has a playroom that needs to be cleaned.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,902 more deals!