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How to Clean Up from Spring Cleaning

Apr 23, 2021 | Personal Finance

There’s something about spring cleaning that feels refreshing, getting rid of things you no longer need, clothes that no longer fit, toys the kids no longer play with. But instead of just tossing them out, why not consider turning them into some quick cash? 

Unfortunately, spring cleaning can be pretty labor intensive and easy to put off until the next spring, or almost certainly the one after that. So pick a weekend for your purge and stick to it. Don’t let friends who offer tickets to the big game or a night of dinner and games distract you. Set a date and stick to it.  

 Make three piles: things you really do want to keep or need, things you can throw out or donate, and things you can sell. 

 Don’t be timid. Do a deep cleanse. Go through those forgotten boxes sitting in the back of the closet or under the stairs. Chances are, if they contain things you’ve forgotten you have, you don’t need them.  

You don’t have to do it alone. Ask your spouse to help. Don’t get sidetracked by taking trips down memory lane with each piece of personal history you unearth, and don’t enter into endless debates about whether to keep it or pitch it. Set it aside and come back to it later. If it still doesn’t inspire you to defend keeping it, you probably shouldn’t.  You don’t have to do it all in one day. You probably can’t. Do one area at a time. 

If they’re old enough, get the kids involved by cleaning out their room. There are probably clothes and toys they’ll never use again, so these things may as well do someone else some good. 

You want to get some extra space but keep your CD or DVD library? You can digitize it and make a backup, in case you’re worried about losing everything in a system crash. Try selling your used CDs and DVDs to a music store. You may not get much for them, but you’ll have a lot more room without them. 

You might also consider selling your physical media — and this includes books — on eBay or Facebook. You’re not going to get rid of everything all at once, but you’ll almost certainly make more money than selling them to a shop. If you don’t want to be bothered with listing and shipping your items, check into an eBay store and let them do the work for you. 

There’s always a yard sale, and if your friends or neighbors are also doing a spring clean, consider going together and having a mega-sale. Be ready to haggle, because people are going to come expecting bargains. Decide what is your absolute lowest amount you’ll take and still be happy before you open up.

Whatever doesn’t sell by the end of the day, box up and take to Goodwill. When you donate your items, write down everything and the approximate value. You can write the donation off on your taxes, but you’ll need to itemize. You can’t just claim “One bag of clothes worth $50.” You’ll have to write down the number of shirts, slacks, etc. and attach a value to them. Or you can ask one of the intake workers at Goodwill to make a receipt for your donations and submit that with your taxes. 

Written by Stan Timmons

Stan is a journalist, novelist, illustrator, magazine writer and comic book creator. With a lifetime of being a freelance creator, he’s learned a thing or two about saving money, building credit and living smart.

The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional financial advice. You should consult a credit counseling professional concerning the information provided and what should work best in your financial situation. And any action on your part in response to the information provided is at your discretion.

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