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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

This isn’t exactly a post on how to save $100, but it’s certainly a way to clear out some clutter and make $100 (or more) in cash fairly quickly!

Clear Out the Clutter

No matter how hard I try to keep clutter at bay, it constantly seems to be creeping and seeping into our home when I’m not looking. And that’s why I have to regularly go through our home and clear out the clutter — lest it take over!

Here are five questions I always ask when I’m clearing out clutter:

Do I Need This Item?

Need is the keyword here. If you could live without the item, than you likely don’t.

I’m not saying you can only have two outfits and one pair of shoes, but the exercise of objectively considering how much of the stuff you have is something you need for survival can help change your perspective on your stuff.

Do I Regularly Use This Item?

If you only use something once every six months, get rid of it. Christmas decorations are exempt, but if you have a food dehydrator lurking in a basement corner that you’ve only used once in the last ten years, you either need to pull it out and start using it or find a better home for it — preferably someone else’s home.

Do I Like This Item?

Sometimes, it is easy to keep clutter just because we always have. It becomes a part of our home without us ever examining whether it is a useful part or something we like and use. If it’s doing nothing for you and you don’t even like it in the first place, pitch it!

Is This Item Taking Up Space I Don’t Have?

Many people feel like they need a bigger home or apartment for all their stuff, but most people just need less stuff. When my husband and I first got married, we spent the first six months living in a one-bedroom apartment with one closet.

Where would we put the vacuum, or the suitcase? We made use of all our available room, from under the bed to under the bathroom sink, and learned an invaluable lesson: the less space you have, the less stuff you need.

Could I Bless Someone Else With This Item?

One of my favorite ways to “dispose” of items I no longer love, need or use is to share them with someone who will! Not only do I get the item off my hands, but I bless someone else in the process — and likely save them money, too!

Now, I am not advocating that you go dump of ten bags of junk on your friend’s doorstep, but if you know your friend could use some diapers and you have half a box that your son outgrew, stop letting them take up space in the nursery and ask your friend if she’d like them!


Need some inspiration for more clutter-free living? Read How I Keep My Kitchen Countertops Cleaned Off.

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, it’s time to turn that clutter into cash. Here are three ways to do that?

List It On Craigslist

If you live in a large metropolis, your local Craigslist is likely hopping with potential buyers. Take good pictures, use descriptive words, only include your email address (there are weirdos on the internet; no need to give them your home phone number!) and list your item reasonably.

Chances are, finding a buyer will be fairly simple. Best of all? If the item doesn’t sell, you’re out nothing but time and effort.

Craigslist is a great place to sell almost anything, but I’d especially recommend using it for selling exercise equipment, appliances and baby items.

Sell It On eBay

eBay may be a great option, but as it is so well-known, the market is often saturated. Before listing any items on eBay, do a search to see if an item you are considering selling on eBay is actually selling. If there are dozens of listings of your item and very few bids, you’re probably going to do much better selling your item elsewhere.

I personally have had success with selling items as “lots” as opposed to individually. This is a quick way to get rid of a lot of items at once. It will save you the time and energy of taking pictures and listing each thing separately and you’ll likely get more bidders. Make sure that you do have a few items in the lot that are hot sellers, use descriptive keywords in your title and listing, and take at least one or two high-quality pictures.

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

Consign It

Consignment stores normally specialize in selling name brand used clothing. Children’s consignment stores also sell baby items, maternity clothes, toys and more.

There are at least one or two (or more!) available in most areas. All consignment stores have their own rules and guidelines, but most have you bring your unwanted clothes to them and they’ll either pay you upfront in cash or store credit. Or, they’ll display the items in their store and then pay you a percentage of the profit if it sells.

Depending upon what items you have, what condition they are in and what brands they are, this could be an excellent opportunity for you. I’d recommend calling around to local consignment stores to see what their rules and guidelines for accepting items are and how much they pay.

Find more ideas of things to do with your clutter here.

What are your best tips for turning your clutter into cash?

photo credit; photo credit

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  • Sara says:

    I consign my children’s outgrown clothing twice a year at a large consignment sale and made over $700 this year! Now if I could just pare down their toys.

  • Sonja says:

    There are also a lot of facebook faces dedicated to resale, simply search the name of your city and the word resell, or garage sale. People post pictures of items that they want to sell with a price. It is especially good to do this right before a garage sale, and have people come pick up their items on the day of your garage sale. I did this last year. Sold my kids clothing items, and toys for much more money than I would have gotten for them at the garage sale, and the people who came to pick up their items bought more than they had originally come for.

  • april says:

    Another way to get rid of your stuff I recently discovered is garage sale groups on facebook
    join a group, list items and arrange to meet, great way to make money!

  • Linda says:

    I sell on ebay. I’ve sold some stuff from around the house & also stuff I’ve bought for resale. One thing I wanted to point out is that ebay gives you 50 Free listings a month. And you don’t have to just do auctions. You can also set up “Buy It Now” listings where you basically set your price & then just wait for the right person to come along & buy it.

  • Olga says:

    Thanks for sharing so many great tips that are very practical. I don’t like clutter at all, so this is a natural thing for me, but I need to take the time to turn it into cash. I really need to have enough patience to sell the things we no longer use.

  • Julie says:

    Between selling things at a garage sale, consignment sale, and eBay, I’ve made about $800 this year so far — enough to pay for a new windows installed in my house (something I’ve wanted for the last 7 years).

    • melissa says:

      I love setting money aside for a specific purpose. It’s so rewarding and helps me feel like it’s going somewhere useful. Otherwise it just gets spent and sort of disappears. : )

      • Julie says:

        We’re not cash envelope people for most expenses but I did start setting aside the money I made from selling things this year. I agree with Melissa that it helps to see the total growing and having a specific purpose. Between selling things, cashing in our credit card rewards, and closing out a savings account that we weren’t using, we’ve set aside enough money to have 3 windows and 2 doors replaced without taking (or much) money out of savings or our budget!

        • melissa says:

          Yeah, we haven’t gotten on board the cash envelope thing either, but we pay off our credit cards every month and I set aside our rewards from that towards my “goal” as well. It definitely adds up!

  • Jessica says:

    I donate it for the tax deduction. I’ve sold books to a used book store but they literally pay pennies on the dollar for newly published excellent condition books. I’ve had no success at all consigning to OUAC. I’ve had times when I took 2 bins of items in EUC, many NWT (wrong size/season gifts for my kids, or things not our style) and they’d accept like 3 items out of 80 and offer me like $4. Not worth my time. Facebook swap/buy/sell/giveaway works well. My street gets no traffic so yard sales don’t work for me (BTDT won’t do it again). I usually like to just pass items on and figure that Karma will pay me a visit. This works well. I pass along outgrown clothes and plenty of people bless me with theirs, for example.

    • Erin says:

      Once Upon a Child is horrible. They claim their prices are determined by computer, but I’ve twice taken in new with tags items (one very high end) and was offered different (extremely low) prices. Once they claimed there was a stain on a new item, but when I asked where, no one could find it. I ended up selling one of the items on Craigslist and got double what OUaC offered for BOTH! I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with it, but lots of the stuff they do carry is overpriced and worn.

  • KaseyM says:

    Great post. We just went through this. We found, to our surprise, over 100 items of varying worth, but well over 1.000 euro together. Can you believe it? This will put a debt in our debt repayment activities. I’m preparing a post on our experience. Excellent info.

  • melissa says:

    I also sell things on a facebook yardsale and larger items on Craigslist (if they don’t sell on the facebook page). I keep track of my earnings and set it aside in a separate account for my kids’ tuition at a private Christian school. Since August I’ve earned over $1000! (Oh, I also set aside rebate checks and anything else that comes in extra.) Now if I could just get a handle on paper clutter…

  • Susan says:

    In my state, you can get a tax credit for the value of items donated to certain state-run charities. It’s great. It’s not a deduction; it’s a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for the resale value of the items. You just donate to the charity and get a receipt for the approximate value of what the items would sell for, and then claim the credit on your state tax returnm up to a ceiling. Much less hassle than selling items directly.

  • Tammy says:

    Last fall/winter I was able to turn basement clutter into replacement windows for two of our drafty, old wood-frame windows in our house! We had been saving the money for a couch, but realized that we needed windows worse than we needed a couch. This weekend I’m participating in a consignment sale to sell clothes and baby items my daughter no longer needs, to get money to use at the sale as well as (hopefully) save up for a mattress for her.

    I think one thing that helps motivate me in selling items is to have a goal in mind for the money. Otherwise it isn’t very motivating.

    • jenn says:

      I agree about having a goal in mind for the money you earn. I think that’s why we have been successful with our “Disney” fund–we know when we want to go, we just need to have the funds available to do so!

  • Victoria says:

    I recently used a facebook selling group to sell a few items and really found it quick and easy.

  • I love keeping my place clean and tidy by doing a full house clean once a year. It keeps the clutter down. Kijiji and Craigslist are AWESOME for selling old electronics, clothing, appliances, and sports equipment.

  • jenn says:

    Facebook “swap” groups are very hot right now. I made $175 off of 2!!! toy lots my son outgrew! I’ve had good luck selling other random pieces there also. Swap money pads our Disney fund!

    I also make use of our local kids consignment store. I also have a friend who has a son that has sensory issues. She has contacted me out of the blue at least 2 times offering to buy clothes that my son has outgrown.

    Goodwill is my friend! I’ve stopped “browsing” and just started dropping off without going in. Less $ out of my pocket and less clutter in our home.

  • Ryan@SimpleMoolah says:

    This is a great reminder. With the fall season starting now, this is a great way to start off the season by getting rid of stuff we don’t need. It’s also a great time to give what we don’t use to those who are less fortunate during Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays.

    We are all blessed with so much, and we definitely don’t use it all. So what better way to kill two birds with one stone than by de-cluttering our house and then giving this stuff to someone who could really use it..

  • Carrie in NC says:

    I finally found a place for stuffed animals! If you’re in North Carolina, check out the Comfort Project. They take gently used stuffed animals and clean/sanitize them for children in hospitals. Woohoo! It doesn’t make money but it helps control clutter and it’s much easier for my kids to part with stuffed friends they no longer cherish to know they are going for a great cause.

    • Mar says:

      I have never heard of any place that takes stuffed animals – that is something that I would love to find good homes for! My boys have never loved stuffed animals and we received too many as gifts. Anyone know of something similar in Ohio??

      • Emi says:

        I sell some of mine on but I also donate them to Playland-Not-At-the-Beach Amusement Park Museum in El Cerrito, California because they have amusement park style games for kids and they use them as prizes. I have another amusement park fanatic friend that passed away recently and his partner donated all of the stuffed animals to a local women’s shelter in San Francisco as they are used to comfort the kids that come with their moms. Also, if I win too many stuffed animals that my kids cannot carry them, I just give them away to other kids while we are still at the amusement park.

  • WilliamB says:

    How do you find a reliable consignment store? “Asking around” hasn’t worked but I’m open to other suggestions.

  • sona says:

    Any ideas where one can sell books? Our used book stores only give credit.

  • Stephanie says:

    We sell used books that we no longer read or that we ended up somehow having duplicates. There is a used books store in our area that gives cash or store credit. The store credit is more, so we end up with new books! Everytime we go we try to sell some before we get new ones.

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