Less Clutter in Your Home, More Money in Your Pocket

By Kelly Hodges
Even though it’s not quite spring (not even close really), it is still a good time of year to start tackling some cleaning and organizing tasks around the home.  Going through the basement, the closets, and other storage areas and purging what’s unnecessary leaves more space for the things you actually use.  This cleansing process can be very refreshing in and of itself, but as an added bonus, the unwanted stuff you discover can translate to some unexpected dollars in your pocket.

How you sell your items will depend in large part upon what types of goods you have.  Below are a few of the common things people try to sell, and some of the best venues to use for resale.

1.  Furniture, appliances, and other large items.  Craigslist is an ideal place to unload big, bulky items.  Because these items are so large the cost of shipping would make it prohibitive to try and sell them on eBay or other online sites.  Craigslist is free and very easy for sellers to use.  Simply post a description of the item, photos, and price, and other Craigslist users in the area will contact you if interested.  Also you can stipulate that the purchaser needs to pick the item up which removes the issue of you having to transport it.

2.  Video games/DVDs/Books.  This is a category that many people find they have much they could purge.  If an item has not been played, watched, or read in years, why not trade it in for something more useful?  There are brick and mortar venues to trade games such as Gamestop or books such as Half Price Books which is the easiest way to do it.   Again top dollar will likely come through eBay, but will require a bit more work.  An easier alternative is the Amazon trade in program, which accepts video games, DVDs, books, and other used items in exchange for Amazon credit.  Amazon pays for shipping and there is no fee to use the trade in service, however you won’t get as high of returns as you would on eBay.

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3.  Children’s equipment and clothing.   There are many second hand children’s stores around the country that buy gently used children’s clothing and other items.  I have found that this is NOT the most lucrative way for resale of these items, but for someone with limited time it may be the quickest and easiest method.  If you want to get top dollar, Craigslist is the way to go to unload large equipment like strollers, swings, or bouncy chairs.  For quality clothing in good condition eBay will yield highest returns, but keep in mind this will involve the fees and shipping obligations that go along with selling on eBay (stay tuned for a future post on the full ins and outs of selling on eBay).  Another great way to sell these items is to contact other parents you know who have younger children and let them know you have items you want to get rid of. They may be happy to get a great deal on things their kids can use, and you’ll be happy to get it out of the house.  A newer option is threadUP, a website that launched in 2010 where you can exchange clothes your child has outgrown for ones in the proper size.

4.  Clothing.  Adult clothing is a difficult thing to resell, as styles and trends change so quickly.   Consignment Shops are an option, but usually they are only in the market for name brand items less than a few years old in tip top shape.  If you have items that fit this description it’s worth taking them in, but if you’re hoping to get money back from your wardrobe from the 90s, prepare for disappointment.  eBay is another option, but again unless it’s an item in high demand the returns won’t be great.  You could try your luck at a Garage Sale or else just pack them up for donation, which will at least get you a tax deduction.

5.  Collectables and odds & ends.  Do you have a super ugly lamp from the 1920s that somehow ended up in your garage?  One man’s junk is often another man’s treasure, but the key is finding that other man.  For unique items that would only appeal to a specific audience, eBay is the way to go.  Somewhere out there is a person willing to pay $180 for that ugly lamp, and the best way to reach that person is through eBay.  There are people who make a living selling junk on eBay, and it’s a great way to bring in some extra cash on unique items.  Although the process can seem intimidating at first, selling on eBay is really quite easy and is a great way to bring significant dollars into your pocket.

6.  Everything that’s left.  After you’ve tried all the tactics above, you’ll likely have things leftover that you’d still like to purge.  This is the perfect time to plan a Garage Sale to squeeze a few more dollars out of your items before you take them to Good Will.   Put a free ad on CraigsList and post signs around the neighborhood to bring in traffic.  Invite some friends to bring their junk over to sell as well, and make a fun day of it.  The key is that when the sale is over, NOTHING can come back in the house, it all gets donated (and don’t forget your donation receipt!)

I hope these tips will help you decrease the clutter in your home and increase the money in your pocket.  Have a great week, and happy purging!

Recommended Reading: See Kelly Hodges series on Financial Fundamentals, as well as her series on Financial Planning.


Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.

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