Spring cleaning season is just around the corner, and though many of us dread it, there are those among us (myself included) who love it. Why? A few reasons; spring cleaning lets us get rid of a season or two of clutter, dust and mess. The stacks of recyclable papers get tossed out along with anything in the pantry, fridge or cupboards that should go, as well. It is a time of renewal, also, and so the wardrobe and linen closets might get a good purge. But, the main reason I love it is because I can make money spring cleaning…and so can you!
Ways Anyone Can Make Money Spring Cleaning
In the past, I have looked at ways that you can monetize your home from top to bottom, make money doing almost nothing, and looking at items many think of as junk but selling them for good money in many places. I have also told you a lot about the ways you can take recyclables and spin them into money, too.
All of these methods of making money can be used to also help you make money spring cleaning. After all, when you empty closets and linen cabinets, purge kitchen and dining rooms of unused items, and sort through the different recyclables that might have been gathering dust since the previous autumn, it can all translate into cash. And let’s never forget the way that you can make money spring cleaning by having a yard sale around Memorial Day weekend – one of the year’s busiest yard sale seasons.
And before we get too deeply into the different things that you can sell to help you make money spring cleaning, I want to mention one of the most overlooked parts of spring cleaning – reconsidering the electronic devices you own and yet do not use. After all, the holiday season was not that long in the past, and you may have been given upgraded or updated versions of mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players and more. With just these accumulated gadgets you can make money spring cleaning. How? Consider using sites like Amazon and their Buyback Program, Best Buy, Nextworth, Buy Back World, Glyde, Swappa, eBay’s instant sell option, and Gazelle(which can also become an affiliate marketing opportunity for some), among others.
In some instances, you will earn gift cards or credits towards purchases, but on sites like Nextworth, you actually make money spring cleaning because they pay you cash for your unwanted items.
So, before you do anything else, go through your old phones and other electronics and see what these sites will give you for them. Then, dive into the spring cleaning and use my tips for turning unwanted treasures into welcome injections of cash.
Doing Spring Cleaning with Cash in Mind
Now, if you visit the hundreds of websites that tell you all of the best tips and tactics for thorough spring cleaning, most will indicate that spring cleaning is a good time to get rid of the many different items you don’t want. You also need to think of it as a rare opportunity to be honest with yourself about the things you don’t need.
There are many different trends in cleaning now, including the famous Marie Kondo method of keeping only items that spark joy or the Swedish death cleaning craze that has us narrow belongings down to the simplest collections to ensure our lives (whether finished or with decades ahead) are as uncluttered and waste-free as possible. And I really appreciate their basic ideas – that we all have too much stuff and rather than live in a growing sea of it, we should take steps to eliminate it.
Now, whether you are the kind who has to hold up each item, consider it, and even thank it (a la Kondo) for its purpose in your life, or you’re more to the point and find it easy to toss, sell or give away things you don’t need or use is unimportant. What is important is that you do it – get rid of the clutter. But as you do, be sure you know what sorts of items can help you to make money spring cleaning.
In my earlier article about the ways we can all reuse and recycle in order to replenish the bank account, I explained that most of us can find ways to reuse a lot of the goods that we bring into our homes. I noted that some frugal folks had found more than 50 ways to reuse dryer sheets, but I’m not saying that this is the way to get the most out of your time and budget. Instead, I think you may want to emphasize the ways you can make money spring cleaning by looking at selling the old or sellable materials that include:
- Clothing, shoes and accessories
- Furniture, antiques and collectibles
- Books, textbooks, CDs and DVDs (and video games)
- Used printer cartridges
- Used batteries
- Top items in any Google search beginning with “sell (or selling) old…” For example, I have written about the incredible market for old wine corks, but trends change, so doing a search for “selling old….” or “sell old…” may show you an untapped market for which your spring cleaning can yield some profitable goods.
- Items from the yard, including unused tools but not excluding living things such as tree seedlings and perennials that you are going to thin as the spring season progresses
As you can see, there are many ways to make money spring cleaning than most realize. And I hate to say it, but you may not be able to use all of them in a single season because it would take up almost every minute of your time attempting to do so. Instead, I would say it is best to focus on basic cleaning tasks first, and then look at the areas of the home that might yield things to sell or recycle for cash.
Start in the Closets, Dressers and Drawers
Naturally, one of the easiest places to begin is the closet. Most of us have far to many items of clothing and if we applied the one or two year rule (i.e. “Have I worn this in the past year or two?”) we would end up with a mostly empty closet. To actually thin down the collection and make money spring cleaning, be honest with yourself about the last time something was worn. If you cannot recall wearing something in the past three years, take it out of the closet.
And then what? Do that with everything in the closet. You may have a sizeable pile of garments on the bed or floor. Pick up each one separately and ask yourself why you might hesitate to get rid of it. Is it sentimental? Is it because you are sure it will come back in fashion? Is it because you love it, even though you haven’t fit into it in a while? Chances are, there are no reasons good enough to allow it to remain in the closet.
Don’t overlook spots like a coat closet in a hallway area, the attic spaces where many bags and boxes of clothing go, and so on. Then, be ruthless!
If it is a wedding dress or valuable family heirloom garment, it shouldn’t be in the closet anyway. Take it to the nearest dry cleaner with wedding or fur storage options and find out what they charge to clean garments and put them in those special storage boxes. Then have it done and put it somewhere other than the closet you keep your everyday clothing, shoes, and so on.
If something is authentically vintage and likely of value, it is a good candidate for a site like Etsy or eBay, but don’t overlook real world vintage stores and their knowledgeable buyers. If you have kept more than one garment because of this, you might even want to consider renting a space at a flea market to sell your vintage clothing to eager buyers. Be sure you have also waited to do this until you’ve cleaned out all of the cabinets and other spaces. You want to make the effort and earnings worth it!
If the clothing has no vintage value and no place in the closet, use the most popular garment selling sites to let other fans of fashion pay you for your style choices. I suggest:
- The Real Real
This is not something that you can do in a weekend or even after a few days of dedicated cleaning. However, when you commit to the process, it helps you to make money spring cleaning rather than just heading to a Goodwill and getting a receipt for a bag of clothing that is nowhere near the actual amount those garments are worth.
So, if you have gone through the electronics, visited the buy back programs to see what you can get for your gear and then spent time emptying the closets, cupboards, dressers and drawers to eliminate unworn clothing, you are farther ahead than many. That means it is time to look at bigger items.
Furniture, Antiques and Collectibles
Anyone who saw the Steve Carell movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin” knows that collectibles can be worth more than just a small fortune. Just a few odds and ends can be surprisingly lucrative, and you can really make money spring cleaning when you pay attention to the many shades of collectibles you might have in your home. For example, there are some urban myths around some Disney VHS movies that are (supposedly) worth enormous amounts of money, and if you have them, they could underwrite a new car! Yet, spend a few hours on eBay and you might also discover that many toys, board games, books, CDs, DVDs and other items are valuable to others, too.
Whatever you have stuffed into boxes in the attic, this is the time of year to take them out and make a definitive decision:
And before just giving unwanted items away, consider the benefits of a yard sale. People pay surprising sums for even the oddest items. Out of date and old t-shirts have netted me close to $100 at one of my yard sales, and other big earners have included old living room furniture in good shape, a bunch of kitchen utensils and a blender, and even a large bag of freshly washed and nicely folded linens and blankets. Before heading to a donation or charity center, consider one or two days of yard selling first.
And if you are really looking to make money spring cleaning, wait until the growing season has started. Why? Because another of the more surprising ways I have found to make money spring cleaning is by doing my yard work before having a yard sale. During that yard sale, I’ve made a lot of cash by selling seedlings from perennials I thinned during yard work (a bunch of hostas netted me $20 at once), bulbs I dug up because I did not want them in the yard any longer, and even some baby pines that would not have made it if left in the shadows at the back of the yard.
Using just these few, simple steps, I have shown you that you can make money during the spring cleaning season. You will have to commit some time to each of these projects and processes, and having a yard sale is not always fun and easy, but all of these steps bring profit. You can easily expect to make around $1k by exploring the electronics, clothing, and household items mentioned. If you also gather together recyclables to sell and find the best buyers, you are sure to earn a tidy sum while you tidy up your yard and your home from top to bottom.