What’s the saying, “hope springs eternal”? It seems that every time spring rolls around, we get motivated to clear out the cobwebs and do some serious decluttering. Why not take that opportunity to make a little money at the same time? We think you’ve earned it after all that work spring cleaning. Here are eight ways you can turn clutter into cash.
1. Have a Garage Sale. This is a tried and true approach to selling lots of stuff. To maximize your earning potential, advertise with a local newspaper or on Craigslist and give folks an idea of what types of things you’ll be selling. Put up plenty of highly visible, easy to read signs in your neighborhood. Make sure your merchandise is clean and clearly priced. Create a festive atmosphere by playing some music and get potential buyers in the mood to spend. Display smaller items up on tables rather than on the ground, and then price to sell! A garage sale is not the venue to get top dollar for your great grandmother’s china.
2. Use the Web. List individual items on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, or other specialty sites. With some of these options, you may have to do some shipping, but you won’t have to deal with a crowd of hagglers at a garage sale. Do some online research and list your items for a realistic price, write a compelling description that discloses any flaws, and also take lots of clear, attractive photos to accompany your ad.
3. Donate to Charity for a Tax Deduction. Going this route involves making money a little more indirectly, but it still counts … and you’ll be supporting a good cause. Ask ahead about any restrictions on particular types of items your charity will accept. Don’t donate anything that is damaged or soiled, and be sure to request a receipt for tax purposes. There are some restrictions and requirements for charitable deductions, so do your homework. This can be a great outlet for your garage sale leftovers as well.
4. Consider Consigning. This is a nice way to go if you want someone else to negotiate with potential buyers. Consignment stores will take a percentage of the sale and may automatically reduce your selling price periodically if the piece hasn’t sold. Be sure to ask about all of their policies up front. You may have to transport larger pieces to the store yourself or else pay to have the store pick them up from your home. Always find out what will happen if your piece doesn’t find a buyer.
5. Sell Specialty Items to Retailers. Many stores sell both new and used goods. If you have an old guitar, for example, you’ll probably fare better selling it to a music store that already has a market for used instruments. Clean it up and bring it in to see if they’ll buy it outright or perhaps consign it for you.
6. Take out a Classified Ad. This is another old-school approach, but it can still work. Many newspapers now offer opportunities to display your ad online. Write a great description and be sure to use persuasive advertising language. If you need inspiration, look at how sellers of comparable new goods describe their merchandise in print and online ads.
7. Trade in and Trade up. Some retailers will give you credit toward new merchandise when you trade in your old items. This is particularly common with phones and other high-tech gadgets. If your spring cleaning turns up some old electronics and you’re in the market for replacing them, you may do very well with this option.
8. Sell to the Highest Bidder. Auction houses are a great outlet for antiques, collectibles, and items too valuable to sell in a garage sale. You won’t have as much control over your selling price beyond a minimum price, called a “reserve,” but auctions can attract passionate buyers. If you have something highly desirable, look into auction houses in your area. Be sure to ask about any commissions or other fees that will be deducted from your sales price.
With a little effort and know-how your spring cleaning efforts can pay off big time!