June Challenge: Cash In Your Clutter

This month’s challenge is all about making room—and making money! Whether you’re getting out of debt or earning some extra vacation money, selling your old stuff is the perfect way to cash in. Use the warm weather to your advantage by cleaning out your garage, closets and attic in the weeks ahead. Here’s how:

1. Get started in an organized fashion. If clearing the clutter sounds overwhelming, start with a small area first like the coat closet. Or focus on a specific category, like your books, clothes or tools. As you’re sorting what to keep or get rid of, ask yourself these helpful questions:

  • If I had the money, would I buy this again?
  • Would I need to replace this if I got rid of it?
  • Is this really useful anymore? How often do I use it?

If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to say “sayonara” to your stuff!

2. Organize your cast-offs. For everything you decide to get rid of, make two piles: toss and sell. Be realistic and keep only what you can make some money from (i.e. trash those paint-stained T-shirts).

3. Name your price. It’s easy to get caught up in the sentimental value of your stuff rather than the actual value. Instead of overpricing your cashmere sweater or cordless drill bits, look up a few comparable items to get a good feel for what people are willing to pay.

4. Determine your selling strategy. Now that everything is priced to sell, figure out when and where you’re going to sell it. If a traditional yard sale doesn’t make sense for you, try an online version with thredUP, VarageSale, Craigslist, or Facebook.

5. Dress up your stuff. Before you put everything on display, give your stuff a good shine. Clean up old toys, put clothes on hangers, and take detailed pictures for online shoppers. The better it looks, the faster it’ll move!

6. Market your sale. If you’re going the traditional yard sale route, post the date of your sale, your address, and a few pictures of your best items on a site like gsalr.com or YardSales.net. Also, make sure you have clear signage directing folks to your house for any passing traffic.

7. Make the day great. Set your yard sale up for success by creating an inviting space for people to walk through. Put in-demand items toward the street and have exact change and bags on hand for your customers. And be prepared to negotiate! You want to get rid of this stuff, right? If you’re selling stuff online, respond promptly and be available to meet on short notice.

8. Set a goal for your sale. Whether you’re trying to stockpile your emergency fund or just offloading some clutter, it helps to set a goal for your day or weekend. Have a plan for the money you make, so all your hard work will be worth it!

9. Donate the rest of your stuff. Call your local thrift store ahead of time to request free pickup for any leftover yard-sale items. That way, you don’t have to worry about storing your things indefinitely or making an extra trip to Goodwill when you’re hot, hungry and dog-tired.

10. Celebrate by using the money toward your goals! After your sale is over, celebrate! Order a few pizzas for you and your crew, and enjoy some homemade ice cream on the patio. And go ahead and put your money where you want it (remember that goal?), so it doesn’t wander away.

Clearing out years of clutter is a lot of work, but it’s a one-and-done way to turn your stuff into cash. Just think of all the fun you’ll have on vacation with $500 extra dollars for whatever you want. Just think of the upgrades!

For more tips on clearing out your clutter this month, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or share your own tips with us using #CashInYourClutter!