Get organized and earn some extra cash: Tips for turning clutter into cash

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As we hit the halfway mark of 2018, it’s a good time to review those New Year’s Resolutions you set back in early January.

One of the top resolutions is “get organized” followed by “save money/make money.” Getting organized often starts with decluttering to get rid of that extra stuff. This has some additional benefits. Experts say your physical surroundings have a direct effect on your psychological well-being. When you declutter your life, you declutter your mind, as well.

I am here to help you achieve these two resolutions at once: Clear that clutter and turn it into cash. You can use that extra money to pay down debt, add to savings or maybe pay for a summer vacation. After 20 years selling children’s and maternity items, I have a proven three-step process to help you maximize your time and money: Sort, prep, sell.

Step 1: Sort

Tackle one room at a time using three baskets or totes marked keep, sell, and donate.  

Keep:  It can be hard to part with our “stuff,” so you need to be a little brutal. Tackle it room by room with your three totes. Then ask yourself these key questions:

  1. Is there sentimental value to this item?  If the item is something that has been in your family awhile or is something you want to pass down, then keep it.
  2. Does this item bring me joy each day? If yes, then keep it. If no ‘ it goes in sell or donate tote.
  3. Have we used this/worn this/played with this in the past 12 months? If the answer is “no,” put it in the sell or donate basket.

Sell: If the item still has some “life” left and is in good condition (or could be with a little TLC), then sell it. If none of those apply, it goes in the donate basket.

Donate: These are all items that aren’t in good enough shape to sell, are outdated, or are out of style. Mainstream charities will take nearly all items. For large items, find a charity that will pick up your donation.

Step 2: Prep

  • Clean & Prep It:
    • Separate items by type
      • Children’s items
      • Teen
      • Household
      • Furniture
      • Electronics
    • Wipe off any stains and repair any rips or tears. Magic erasers and some elbow grease do wonders here.
    • Make sure items have all parts in place. If they need batteries, add them.
  • Inspect It
    • Take a step back and look at the items with a critical eye.
    • Make sure it is clean and appealing and is something you would buy.

Step 3: Sell

This can be the trickiest part, but a little research and realistic expectations help.

  • Research online ‘ Check retail sites like Amazon and Target to see current retail price.
  • Price it right ‘ I typically recommend pricing items 50% or higher off the original price.
  • Groups Sell Better:
      • Create outfits such as a shirt, jeans, and a hat or group all baby blankets together.
      • Group “like items” together. For example, put several Barbie toys together, a bag of toy cars, or group decorative items that have a common theme.
  • Include any original packaging or directions: Often you can find that information online and print it. This makes items more desirable.
  • If selling items on consignment, find out tagging policies: Many consignment events like Just Between Friends have guidelines for creating tags listed online

WHERE TO SELL

Consignment Events and Consignment/Resale Stores are helpful as they allow you to sell many items at once.

  • Consignment events typically pay 60 to 70% and you set your prices.
  • Many consignment events are geared to children’s items. Visit Consignment Mommies for a list.
  • Many consignment stores offer “on-demand” buying and will offer one price for your items.

Online Groups

  • There are many online buy/sell groups on popular social media sites such as Facebook.

Websites

  • eBay Around since 1995, you can sell nearly anything, anytime to anyone. eBay also offers a valet service and takes a percentage of the sale ‘ typically 20% to 40%.
  • PoshmarkAn online resale store for women to buy and sell items. You set your own prices and Poshmark takes 20% ($2.95 for items under $15)
  • Thredup This is a fashion resale site to buy and sell clothing. You send items to the company. They pay you for the items they keep to sell and then donate items that they do not accept.
  • Craig’s List Nearly 60 million use Craig’s List and there’s no cost to post.
  • Offer Up A “cross between Craig’s List and EBay,” this app allows you to sell nearly anything with no fees. There are safety standards set up, as well.
  • LetGo This app allows you to list and sell items in your area. May be a good option for your larger household items.

Safety Tip: Research the site. If you’re meeting someone in person to sell an item, choose a “safe place” through your local law enforcement agency and take a buddy with you.

By following these steps and researching your selling options, you could fulfill two resolutions in 2018.  Enjoy and happy selling!

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Shannon Wilburn About the author:
Shannon Wilburn is the CEO & Co-founder of Just Between Friends Franchise Systems, Inc. (JBF), North America's leading children's & maternity consignment event.
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