My April challenge: Cashing in on clutter

3 04 2009

I’ve got another challenge going.

Instead of not spending any money, as we did in February, I’m going to use April to challenge myself to “cash in on my clutter.”

It seemed like the perfect time to do this to coincide with my spring cleaning. And I’m blogging about it to force myself to actually follow through. (My middle name is Procrastination.)

Here is a list I’ve compiled of outlets for selling used items:

*resale and consignment shops–We have several of these in our area that sell everything from books and CDs to clothing and musical instruments. Over the years I’ve sold a ton of books, a children’s violin, a few DVDs and CDs and a lot of children’s clothing.

*yard sales –These are a lot of work, and you may have to lower your price expectations, but you have the potential to get rid of a wide range of stuff without ever leaving your driveway.

*jewelry stores–I had my first experience with selling my unwanted gold and silver jewelry in February to my local jeweler. Click here to read about how I sold some broken chains and outdated pieces (think add-a-bead necklaces from the early 80s) and made more than $500.

*craigslist–Over the last two to three years, I have had pretty good luck selling and buying on craigslist, which has pretty much replaced the newspaper classifieds. Better yet, it’s free. My best deal on craigslist: I bought a beautiful artificial Christmas tree for $60 on craigslist, used it that year, but realized it was too big and too full for my home. I turned around and sold it on craigslist for the very same price.

*ebay–I have not ventured into ebay selling, but I have two friends who have had good results.

Do you have any other ideas for where to earn cash for your clutter? Or do you have a great success story — or horror story — about selling your stuff. I would love to hear about it.

On this latest round of clutter-busting, I’m off to a good, albeit modest, start.

I went through all of our books and took a nice pile to a used bookstore to sell, netting $15.30. I don’t even want to think about how much we actually paid for these books, though many were purchased inexpensively at yard sales. But the idea was to get rid of the clutter so I walked away happily.

I gave $2 of that money to my daughter because some of the books were kids’ books that she had outgrown. But most of the books were mine, obtained through the years in what I like to call the “accumulation phase” of my life before I discovered the joys of simplicity.

After my stop at the bookstore, I continued on to a thrift store supported by a coalition of churches in my area, where I donated the rejected books along with two big bags filled with clothing and miscellaneous household items, a handmade shelf, a lap desk and a large bag full of coupons.

This didn’t boost my cash-for-clutter total, of course, but it did make me feel as if I were helping my community.

Theoretically, I could have sold these at a yard sale, but I really didn’t think it was enough to justify all the time involved in setting up a full-blown yard sale.

Next up, I am going to post a few big-ticket items on craigslist. I’ll keep you posted.

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4 responses

5 04 2009
lala2074

Hi, after a huge accumulation phase, I am going through the declutter phase too.
Initially, I thought that I could do it all in a month, but I have come to the realisation that it is going to take a year.
Already this year I have sold $1500 from my clutter. My goal is to raise $5000 by the end of the year.
My family and I have downsized to an apartment in Sydney, Australia from a large 4 bedroom house out in the ‘burbs.
Most of my sales to date have been clothing ( mine and my daughters), toys, DVDs, CDs, books, electronic equipment and furniture and furnishings.
It is very therapeutic to be able to move these things on to people who want them and will use them. It also brings the uncomfortable realisation about how much I paid for these new, and how little I am receiving for these.
I am undertaking a “Buy Nothing New Year” for 2009, and I am already reaping the benefits (without the high premium) of purchasing “nearly new”.
Best of luck with your clutter sale!

5 04 2009
freetobefrugal

My kudos to you lala2074! I only hope my clutter-for-cash campaign reaps as much cash as you have. It is, as you say, therapeutic to free yourself from all the stuff but oh so sobering to realize you’re only recouping a fraction of the price you paid. As the weight of all my stuff has begun to lift, I know it’s going to be worth it in the end.
I also love your idea of buying “nearly new”……..I am trying to adopt that idea as much as possible. You’ve given me the enthusiasm to step up my efforts on that front as well.
Thanks for reading and commenting!

6 04 2009
mmrouthe

Hi, I live in Fuquay and I was wondering where you went to sell your children’s violin? I have one I’d also like to sell but wasn’t sure where to take it – do you feel like you got a good value for it? Thanks!

6 04 2009
freetobefrugal

Hey there. I sold my son’s violin at the Music Go Round store in Cary’s Crossroads shopping center. It has been several years ago now so I don’t recall the exact amount I was paid, but I do remember being satisfied and relieved to have it out of my house. This was before craigslist really took off, btw. If I were you I would have Music Go Round check your instrument and give you an estimate. (While in the store, find out how much comparable instruments are selling for.) If you are not happy with what is offered, I would then list it on craigslist for a figure closer to what the store is asking. If it doesn’t sell on craigslist, you can always go back to Music Go Round. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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