Spring Cleaning Made Profitable
The buds are beginning to appear, the colors are starting to change, and in a matter of days, the official designation will follow: spring has arrived. And with it, an annual tradition that’s distinctly American: spring cleaning. Just a year after our latest purge, stuff overflows again. But this year, what if spring cleaning meant more than an overflowing garbage bin? What if this year, spring cleaning was a scavenger hunt to pay for some family fun?
Step 1: Cast a Vision
It’s one thing to convince your spouse that they should get rid of their 5 redundant dress shirts for no reason. It’s another thing entirely to ask them to trade them for a memorable family experience. Before gathering your items, create a plan for what you’ll do with any money resulting from the purge. Perhaps it’s a trip to the movies or that trampoline the kids have been begging for. Agree on a goal, write it down, and assign a dollar value. Then, get to work.
Step 2: Scavenge Away
At a designated time, have the entire family race through the house, gathering items ready to donate, recycle, or sell. Pick one spot in the house for a holding area. Don’t worry about sorting just yet. And leave the “but I want to keep that!” for later. Right now, it’s collection only. Fast, thorough, and unified. Pile on.
Step 3: Veto Time
Once your family’s pile has been amassed, give the family time to challenge any purging decisions. If one family member is overzealous in their reclaiming, give them a limit on how many items they can put back in the house. When agreement has been forged, get your sorting hat on.
Step 4: Sort & Sell Strategically
Maximizing the value of your stuff is all about strategy. They say, “one man’s trash is another’s treasure.” But finding the right “man” is key. Taking your items to consignment stores that specialize in each category will usually give you the best bang for your buck. Of course, you can always take to OfferUp or Craigslist with your items, but you already knew that. And that takes time. When time is of the essence, here’s where to go:
There’s no shortage of resellers for clothing, but most target specific age groups, which means you may have to make a few stops to offload your family’s wares. You’ll likely get 30-40% of the selling price of items in good condition. Plato’s Closetis a franchise that sells teen clothing and Once Upon a Childis a trading post for baby & toddler clothes. For adult clothes, look for an independent consignment store in your area.
Sports Equipment, Video Games, & Instruments
Have an avid gamer in the household? Take last year’s games to GameStopfor some easy money. The fickle musician can bring their abandoned instruments to Music Go Round. And the athlete can bring that rub of mitts, balls, and shoes to Play it Again Sports. All are national franchises with locations in most states.
Books & Movies
Did you know Amazon will buy back select books? They will. And they’ll even cover shipping. Just go to Amazon.com/amazon-trade-in. Another option: Half Price Books. The chain will price and buy your boxes of books on the spot, though you shouldn’t expect a huge payday.
Leftover Miscellaneous Items
For everything that doesn’tfall into one of the categories above, you have a few options: if you’re short on time, consider handing your items to an eBay reseller. They’ll take a cut of the proceeds in exchange for handling all of the logistics for you. For junk no one wants, take a trip to Goodwill or Salvation Army. You won’t earn cash for your donation, but you will get a receipt that could lessen your tax burden next April. Remember: cash isn’t your only goal here. A lighter load is in your future.
Step 5: Celebrate
Drumroll, please. Get out your calculator and start tallying. How much did you earn? Now it’s time to celebrate! You’ve earned this dinner (or trampoline jump.) Not only did you put items you didn’t need into the hands of those who do, but you found resources for a fun family activity without breaking the bank. Plus, your drawers might actually open now. Talk about a win-win-win.