That’s it! Enough is enough!! You have to get rid of it all or burn the house down!!! (Don’t do the latter, I don’t recommend it. I work for the Fire Department, and really…we don’t need your business). It’s a struggle I deal with frequently…you can read more about it in my post How To Let Go – Inspiration From A Decluttering Fraud.
But before you get desperate, stuffing garbage bags full, or piling it all in your car for a trip to the dump (or threatening to burn the house down), let’s pause for a moment. First and foremost, that’s not helping Mother Earth at all. The US already puts too much recyclable waste in landfills (don’t worry…we do it here in Canada too). Second, if you take a few extra minutes, you can get rid of your stuff, and make some cash in the process!
Here’s 5 ways to declutter and make money!
1. Sell Used Kids Clothes, Toys and Books
This one was an eye opener for me! When I had my first boy, Big C, he was the first grandchild and nephew. We were spoiled when it came to clothing. I joke that my one sister single handedly kept my kid clothed for his first year (she had no kids yet, and a huge shopping addiction), but it’s true! Tons of clothes, mostly name brand, and all his hand-me-downs were saved for Little C.
But then my sisters had kids of their own, and discovered children’s consignment stores. Name brand used clothing at a fraction of the cost. And once the kids outgrown them, if they are still in great shape, sell it back! Declutter and make money at the same time!
I wasn’t convinced. It seemed like a lot of time and work, for not much money. But I had a bin of clothes Little C had outgrown, ready to donate. Instead, I took a side trip to my local Once Upon A Child. I had to fill out a little paperwork, and give them some time to go through my bin (I ran a few errands at other stores in the mall), but in about 45 minutes, they handed me $85 cash!!! For a bin of clothes I was about to donate!! Say what!?!?! The commended me on the quality of my stuff, and added that if I have toys or books, they take those too!
Do a quick search of google for children’s consignment stores near you. Some will be better than others (they may pay more, or pay up front vs. after the clothes sell), so look for reviews. And don’t forget about your grown-up clothes too! If you buy name brand, and take good care of your clothes, there are adult consignment clothing stores too!
2. Sell or Trade Video Games, Gaming Systems and Accessories
While you’re searching google, check out local stores that buy and sell used video games! When my boys outgrew the Nintendo Wii and the Wii U, and we bought a PS4, the old game system and games just gathered dust. This past year when Little C asked for the Nintendo Switch for Christmas, I carted off all the old games, systems and accessories and traded them in at our local Microplay store right before Black Friday. With trade-in value, the Nintendo Switch cost me just $75 out of pocket!
Watch for promotions throughout the year, especially if your kids are jonesing for the latest release of a popular new game. Often times resale stores will have deals where you can trade in your old games for big discounts on the new ones!
3. Join Local Facebook Groups
A quick search on Facebook groups and you will likely find a local “Free or Cheap” group in your area (sometimes multiple groups). Again, some may be better than others, so ask local friends which ones are the best, join and take a look around first. Make sure to read the groups rules, use common sense, and take appropriate precautions. Here’s a great article with tips on avoiding getting scammed.
If you need suggestions on pricing your items for sale, check Ebay or Amazon, but keep in mind the “Free or Cheap” moniker…asking high prices usually won’t get your items sold. A quick search of your Facebook group for past sales on similar items will usually give you a good idea of fair market prices in your area, and what items people are looking for. I recently listed all our IKEA bookcases in the living room when we were redecorating, and they sold before I even had a chance to clear off the shelves!
4. Workplace Buy and Sell Boards
Some larger workplaces have employee message boards or internal webpages that might include some form of “Buy and Sell”. Somewhat safer than dealing with the general public on Facebook, the chances of being scammed is less because at least you know where these people work! Oftentimes transactions can be handled by email, and you might even be able to “ship and deliver” via interoffice mail!
5. Host a Garage/Yard Sale
While this one might take a bit more effort, it can also be a lot of fun. If you live on a smaller street, try organizing a few neighbours to host on the same day. You can advertise a multi-family sale (free ads in the newspaper, online on Craigslist, etc). Get the kids in on the action with an old fashioned lemonade stand or bake sale. Go a step further and organize a neighbourhood potluck bbq at the end of the day!
Check out this episode of one of my favourite podcasts, The Lazy Genius, for tips on hosting a yard sale! She covers everything from signs, advertising, set-up, pricing and organizing your stuff, plus the #1 rule…nothing comes back into the house!
Bonus – Donate to Charity
Whether it’s stuff that you couldn’t sell, or you’re just fed up, consider donating to charity. Goodwill, Salvation Army or local thrift stores will often have donation drop-off locations. We conveniently have one located at the entrance of our local landfill! Other charity organizations like Kidney foundation will sometimes pick up from your porch on certain days. Churches or community organizations will often have organized “rummage” sales.
Also check if you have local charity organization looking for specific items like business wear for people trying to find jobs, or dresses for prom. You get to declutter your closet while really giving someone else a life-changing experience! Now that’s gotta feel pretty good!
That’s wraps it up! My tips to declutter and make money! Remember the moniker “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. What tips would you add to the list? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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