Do you need to start cleaning out some things you never use?

Cash in on your cleaning

Your trash isn’t someone else’s treasure–it’s yours.  Instead of throwing it all away, come up with a strategic plan to turn it into cash.  There are a ton of ways to do this.

Have a garage sale

Garage sales are the traditional American way of getting rid of junk.  It’s a lot of effort, but it can really clean out your house.  In order to make garage sales profitable, though, you need to get the word out.  Put it out on Facebook and Craigslist.  Send word to all your local friends.  Market the things you have for sale rather than just saying, “garage sale.”  Post pictures.

“Lots of tools, going fast!” said my friends who were moving across country.  They posted pictures and prices for everything they were dumping–art stuff, camping equipment, and really well-taken care of collections someone else would love.  They were able to get commitments for several large items ahead of time.

Multitask by having a street or community event–invite your friends to get rid of their stuff, too!

Unload your stuff on Craigslist

This can be great for big-ticket items, but not so good if you have to run around delivering things.  I once sold a book collection and ended up having to go look for the guy in a parking lot.  He then wanted to give me half price in the end.  By the time I got rid of the books, it wasn’t about the money, I was annoyed at the discourtesy.

Another time I gave away a grill and the woman showed up three hours late at 8PM in heels–without her son who was supposed to do the carrying, so my husband and I had to bring it to the truck.  I had a similar experience with an old-style TV I couldn’t lift–I told the guy it was really heavy and he’d need a friend. “My friend couldn’t make it.”

There are some interesting people in the world, so it’s important to communicate and set boundaries when making online deals.  These days, if someone changes the plan I’ll say no if it’s not reasonable, and if I’m unloading stuff cheap or free, I always insist they come to me.

I’ve sold old hobby equipment, books, and other large ticket items on Craigslist.  It’s a good place to make local connections.

Have a plan for unwanted items.

Do not bring unsold things back into your house after your garage sale, and once you’ve committed to list your things on Craigslist, consider them gone.  If no one responds, have a plan to donate.

Many organizations will come with a truck at the end of your sale as long as you schedule it ahead of time.  I’ve had the Salvation Army do furniture pickups, and there’s a Savers not too far from me which accepts any donations, giving me a receipt for tax deductions.  Donating might not make me cash now, but it saves on taxes in the end, as long as I get a receipt for the IRS.

Extras and Odds & Ends

I’ve got two antique china sets I never use.  I said I’d use them when the boy grew or I got a bigger house.  Both have happened and they’re still in the box.  Time to pass them on to someone who loves them or ship them off. helps unload dishes or silverware, and Ebay is a great place to sell one-off items as well as collections.  If you have boxes of decorations or things you’ve outgrown, send them on their way.  Even if it’s for a few bucks, it all adds up in the end.

Bring Things of Value to the Consignment Store

We used to have a great consignment store near us.  There was one day a week they’d accept items, then they paid a percentage of each sale, leaving the items on the shelves for a couple of months.  Unsold item were donated to a good cause.  That gave me some money without much effort and I didn’t have to worry about things that didn’t sell.  Once a month I’d pick up a check and fill my car with gas a couple times with the proceeds.

Need more help?

If you’re still struggling to cash in on your cleaning, read Marie Kondo’s books, The Life Changing Magic of Tyding Up and Spark Joy.  Both help you put your spring cleaning into perspective and get rid of things that are no longer bringing you joy.

You know what will bring you joy?  Having a clean house and a couple hundred extra bucks in your pocket to do fun things.

That’s living life in Broke Teacher style.