If you dread spring cleaning, you’re doing it wrong.
Rather than thinking of it as a chore, tell yourself it’s less about work and more about finding hidden cash in your home. Sure, you may find some change in the cushions, but we’re talking about bigger bucks here.
Here’s how to cash in on your clutter in six steps:
1. No holds barred
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The first step is to be ruthless – and brutally honest – while cleaning out your home. 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 or shed. If you forgot you had something, that’s generally a sign it needs to go.
If 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.
2. Separate the wheat from the chaff
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Now that you’ve been through every room, 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, primarily for clothing, which can be shipped to online consignment stores more cheaply than heavier items. Examples include Swap.com and, for brand-name duds, ThredUp.
For everything else, check out “Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top Dollar.”
3. Pull out the electronics
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While you’re pulling out brand-name clothes and collectible items, make a separate pile for electronics. Even broken electronics might garner you some extra cash.
4. Yard sale time
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At this point, you should have all of the really valuable stuff set aside. What’s left are odds and ends that won’t bring in much on their own, but could collectively bring in a couple hundred dollars or more.
That means it’s yard sale time. Check out “16 Tips to a Super Successful Yard Sale.”
5. Get a tax deduction
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After a yard sale, you’ll probably end up with some leftovers that didn’t sell.
Pack them up and head to the nearest thrift store. If you have many leftovers, some charities will even come to your house to pick up your donations.
Either way, be sure to ask for a receipt and then claim the donation on your itemized deductions next year.
6. Be smart with the profits
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Don’t squander the profits from your spring cleaning purge.
To make the most of it, put the money in a high-yield savings account or set it aside for big expenses. 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.
What’s your best tip for cashing in on spring cleaning? Let us know below or head to our Facebook page to join the discussion there.
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