It’s hard to deny that we live in a consumer culture where the accumulation of “stuff” is seen as both admirable and entirely normal. Those that practice a minimalist mentality are often seen as strange, or worse, subversive. And the media is constantly encouraging us to spend, spend, spend, whether we can afford it or not. That’s what credit is for, right? In fact, so many people fill their houses to the rafters with junk that there is actually a reality TV show centering on the phenomena (Hoarders). So if you’ve found that you seem to have quite a bit more stuff lying around than you can reasonably expect to use, perhaps it’s time to turn your excess into something that you can save for a rainy day, add to the kids’ college funds, or use towards an upcoming family vacay. Here are just a few suggestions to help get you started on the path to transforming your clutter to cash.
The first step is to determine what you can do without, and the easiest items to toss in the pile will be duplicates, things you no longer have use for, or stuff that you never wanted in the first place. Some people save these items as “re-gifts” or swear up and down that they have a purpose in mind (even though they haven’t so much as glanced at them in years). But here’s the thing; if it turns out that you actually miss the item down the road (and that’s a big if), then you can always purchase a new one. Until that far off, misty future, wouldn’t you rather have a clean house and cash in hand? After all, how do you think hoarders got where they are?
Okay, so now you have a pile of stuff to get rid of. You’ve gone room by room clearing out excess furnishings, old clothes, toys, media, home goods, and even unopened craft supplies. Now you have to figure out what might actually have some value. So you’re going sort your stuff into a few different piles. The first is trash and it will consist of items that are not in any way usable. Stuff that is broken, worn beyond repair, or just plain ugly and out of date will populate this pile. Next is the donate pile. This will be stuff that is still technically usable but that you don’t necessarily think you can sell.
What is left over will go into two more piles. The first will be for a garage sale and it will consist of items that are in fairly good (although clearly used) condition. And finally you’ll have the pile of stuff that might actually get you some money; large or expensive items (furniture, electronics, jewelry, little-worn brand name clothing and handbags, etc.). This last pile you will sell via eBay or Craigslist since you can demand a higher price.
And now that you’ve got everything ready it’s time to start posting your wares online and adding your yard sale listing to sites for New York, Los Angeles, or garage sales (or whatever city you happen to live in). The trash pile can be dumped, as well, but hang on to the items for donation. If your sales don’t go as planned you can always add leftovers to this group so you only have to do one drop-off at the Goodwill.