Ditch your clutter and make $1,500 to do it!
Admit it, at some point in the last year you’ve walked into a room in your home and been fed up with the amount of clutter and junk in it. If your house is anything like mine, Spring cleaning happens later and later every year. This was especially true for us in 2017, with Tax busy season, some travel, and generally enjoying the nicest weather of the year. But even in the summer, there’s bound to be a rainy weekend that will keep you stuck inside… with all your stuff… that you’re fed up with. Or maybe you’re one of the 10% of American families who pays to rent a storage unit. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to pay that monthly rent? It all starts when you commit to getting rid of stuff you don’t need. Source (The Self-storage market by the numbers)
Alyssa and I finally got fed up with our stuff in the Summer of 2016. We were just starting to organize our move to Colorado and had begun to research moving costs. It was shocking how expensive it would be to move our stuff. All it took was one scan of our apartment for Alyssa to ask “why do we need two couches?” and “do we really need to move a dining room set we never use?” An idea was born; get rid of as much of our useless stuff as possible before our move!
I had sold a few things on ebay and Craigslist in the past, but other than that I’d never really gotten rid of much. Now I had to consider the best way to get rid of half an apartment full of books, movies, hand-me-down furniture, and piles of junk. So I did some research and read some blogs about our options. It was surprising to learn we were actually sitting on a pile of money!
I made it my mission for the next couple of months to downsize our life. In the process I found many valuable resources that I wish I’d known about sooner. I’ve listed a few of them below (ordered lowest to highest) difficulty and hassle factor.
Decluttr – Best for: Electronics, Music, Movies (bar coded items)
Decluttr is an easy-to-use mobile app and website that allows you to sell Movies, CD’s, and electronic devices quickly. Simply scan the bar codes of items you want
to sell, and the app will show you how much the service will pay. All accepted items are added to a ‘shopping cart’ and upon checkout, you just print your packing list and a prepaid UPS label, attach it to your box, and drop it off! Once your shipment is received, you’ll get a confirmation email, and the payment check usually arrives within a week. EASY!
DTRGBL3ZLK – Promo code for an extra 10% on your first sale.
Amazon trade-in – Best for: Electronics, Music, Movies, Books
This one is similar to Decluttr, but not quite as slick. You need to type your items into the search bar and manually add them to an order, and your payment is in Amazon.com credit. Overall, a great resource for checking your items’ values. I did find a few movies and video games that were worth more on Amazon than Decluttr would pay.
Neighbor/Family deals – Best for: Valuable or hard-to-ship items
Pretty self-explanatory; ask the people you know if they are in need of any of the stuff you are getting rid of. People who just moved to the neighborhood just might want that extra couch or a dining set.
Craigslist/Nextdoor sales – Best for: Valuable or hard-to-ship items
If no one you know wants your junk, turn it over to a post on Craigslist or Nextdoor. Both are great places to advertise something you’re trying to get rid of, and there is usually someone who will take anything off your hands if the price is right. In case you aren’t familiar. Nextdoor.com is a neighborhood-specific message board where you’ll find everything from noise complaints to crime alerts to stuff for sale.
ebay sales – Best for: Valuable items or collections
Most people know what ebay is; a mega online auction marketplace where you’ll find everything from rare coins, to cars, to real estate! All you need to get started on ebay is an email address and a PayPal account. You take a few pictures, write a description of what you’re selling, and specify a starting price and post your auction. The winning bidder’s payment will take place after the auction closes, and then you will receive their shipping address and need to send the item.
Charitable Donation – Best for: Items that would sell for less than 5-10% of purchase price
If you itemize your deductions at tax time, donating your unwanted items to charity can be far more beneficial than selling them for cash. The deduction amount for non-cash donations is 20% of the item’s cost. If you plan to deduct more than $500 of non-cash donations, make sure to document the items you donate and keep the receipts. Your tax accountant will appreciate it!
Over the course of a few months, I converted our clutter into cash. I became more and more efficient as I went and by the end, I had considered opening an online store of some kind and turning it into a true hustle. The biggest ticket item I sold was a CPA review course that I no longer needed, sold for $700 (less $50 shipping – ouch). I sold our entire movie collection, a library of books, old phones and tablets, a gaming system and games, and our dining room table among other things. There were also a few full carloads of miscellaneous goods that were donated to local thrift shops and charity. The original value of these items was probably close to $2,000, for an itemized tax deduction of $400!
In the process of organizing our life, we discovered how little we really needed in our lives to be happy. Not having to clean around all that clutter made our lives so much easier. And best of all, we got rid of enough stuff to make it to Colorado with one trip using a borrowed truck and trailer, saving us a ton!
As you can see in the table above, we ended up with over $1,300 in cash by getting rid of our clutter. We had a much more enjoyable home while we still lived in Minnesota, and it made unpacking in Colorado a dream!
Share some of your clutter crushing stories! Have you downsized your life and made a pile of cash?