Even when I was a little girl, my room was always neat and clean. I color-coded the shirts in my closet without being asked—it just made me happy. As I've grown (much) older, I've even turned my love of organizing into somewhat of a public service, volunteering to help family and friends with their tough organizing projects. But—outside of reselling clothes that no longer fit or donating books to charity—I've never looked at home organization as a serious money-making endeavor. Until now.
Is there $670 hiding in your home right now?
According to DailyFinance.com, if your casa resembles most American households, you have approximately $670 in saleable "stuff" (or about 35 items) stashed away in your home right now! I don't know about you, but I could sure use an extra $670!
Here’s a short list of just some of the most common of those 35 items:
- Electronics: Cellphones, laptops, DVD players, cameras, gadgets, appliances
- Books: Novels, textbooks, reference books, manuals, magazines, CDs, music, video games
- Home improvement materials: Paint, tape, tools, supplies, even old fixtures
- Apparel: Clothes, accessories, shoes, linens
- Vintage items: Art, lighting, furniture, figurines, dolls, signage, books/magazines, toys
- Baby/pet items: Cribs, cages, clothing, toys, furniture, linens
- Everything else: What-is-its, rugs, even vehicles…we all have at least one of these items
Identifying your 35 items
So your first step is to de-clutter and organize—this is the only way you will locate your 35 items.
Organization experts recommend tackling such a big project using this system:
- Take one room at a time and finish it before moving on to the next.
- Start with the common areas first (if you live with others).
- Start with the most cluttered space—this will make the other rooms feel much easier!
- First, pull everything in the room out of its hiding place.
- Next, sort it all into four piles: To Keep, To Fix/Mend (and then decide), To Sell, To Donate.
- Replace just the "to keep" items back in their places.
- Designate one room where you can temporarily stash all the items in the "to fix/mend" pile.
- Designate one room where you can stash all the items in both the "to sell" and "to donate" piles.
- Proceed through the house, attic, garage, storage shed, etc. until you have sorted and stashed everything in each space.
- Now, fix or mend the items in that pile.
- Decide which of the other three categories the fixed/mended items will be sorted into.
- Now you are ready to sell, swap, and/or donate your things!
Sell, then donate
The thinking behind this strategy is simple—you want to rake in as much cash as you can earn first, and then you can choose to re-gift, swap, keep, or donate what remains.
Here are some great places to start selling:
These handy online and brick-and-mortar resale resources are organized according to the common categories listed earlier. Each is just a suggestion—there are many more where these came from!
- Gazelle: Phones, tablets, iPods, laptops, desktops, and more.
- BuyMyTronics: Phones, tablets, computers, gaming devices, fitness devices, calculators, camcorders, cameras, music players, wireless accessories, e-readers, and more.
- Next Worth: Target's online trade-in program—get a Target gift card for your old electronics.
- Cash4Books: Textbooks
- Half Price Books: All kinds of books
- Half.com (an eBay company): All kinds of books
3. Home improvement materials
- ThredUP: From kids to women, boutique to accessories, you can sell it online with ThredUp.
- Twice: This online service is very hands-on in helping you sell what you don't wear.
- National Association of Resale and Thrift Professionals: Find a resale or thrift store in your area where you can sell your apparel.
5. Vintage items
- National Auction List: If you have antiques or valuable vintage items, it may be worth it to list them at a local auction rather than try to sell them online. This list can help you locate an auction in your area and list your item(s).
- Christie's: This respected auction house can help you assess and sell couture, vintage, and antique items.
- Kovels: With this site, you can check out the price of equivalent items before you list them.
6. Baby items
- Once Upon a Child: Check out this great KCL post for more on this site and others.
- Consignment Mommies: Find the perfect consignment or resale store for your items.
7. Everything else
- Listia: Give away what you don't want and earn credits to get stuff you do want.
- eBay: Good old eBay—the resale site where everything (eventually) goes…if the price is right.
When you’re ready to make a donation:
When you’re ready to donate what remains, these are great nationwide resources—or you may want to support a local cause or charity with your donation.