Turn Clutter Into Cash!
Category : Home Organization
The following is an article I contributed to:
Experts Offer 5 Ways to Turn Clutter Into Cash
Eighty-four percent of stressed Americans say they worry their home isn’t clean or organized enough, according to an online survey conducted for the Huffington Post in 2013.
In addition to weighing on your mind, “clutter has a direct impact on your wallet and bank account,” said Bob Sadowski, marketing manager at At-A-Glance, which offers planning and organizing tools.
Perhaps disorganized bills make you miss payments, and then you get hit with late fees. Or you might make duplicate purchases of items you’ve already stashed in a self-storage unit but simply can’t find.
Fortunately, taking action to reduce clutter can relieve stress and also give your wallet a boost.
Read on to learn five ways decluttering can help you save—and even make—money.
1. Sell Stuff.
“We have so many items we don’t need, use or love in our homes,” said Lisa Bianco, a professional organizer who owns Perfectly Organized STL LLC, based in St. Louis.
As you go through belongings, consider what you want to keep, toss, give away or sell.
If you have only a few things you’re hoping will generate some cash, consider listing them on Craigslist or eBay. If you have a lot of goods to sell, try a garage sale.
A consignment shop or sale might be another option for getting money from items you no longer need.
Some consignment shops will pay you for your items or give you a store credit. A store also might take your belongings and sell them at the price you choose, and then give you a percentage of the proceeds.
Consignments shops often specialize in certain belongings, such as clothing, sports equipment, home décor and children’s items. A few to try: Plato’s Closet, Play It Again Sports and Once Upon a Child.
2. Uncover Cash and Valuables.
“Fear motivates people to keep things,” said professional organizer Jul’s Arthur, owner of Wilton, CT-based Everything In Its Place.
If you don’t have those things in order, however, some of your valuables can go missing.
When Arthur helped a client clean out an apartment where the client’s mother had lived, they uncovered $3,000 in cash.
“We found cash in socks and under the rug—it was like a treasure hunt,” Arthur recalled.
To make sure dollars don’t go missing, check dresser drawers and pockets of clothing before getting rid of them.
If you come across necklaces, earrings and rings that you don’t use or are broken, take them to a store that buys jewelry or gold.
3. Clean Out Your Garage.
If your garage is packed with everything from boxes of old dishes to baseball cards and collectibles, there won’t be room for your car, Sadowski said. Leaving your car outdoors can expose it to the elements—and ultimately reduce the value of your vehicle.
To get the garage under control, first determine exactly how you want to use the space. You might decide to set up a workshop area or keep holiday decorations in a certain part. Sketch a layout of the design to show how your belongings and car will fit.
If you decide to move some things from the garage to a self-storage unit, make sure they’re stored properly. “If no on-wall shelving is present, there are many portable storage devices specially designed to organize everything from sporting goods to lawn equipment,” Sadowski said.
4. Clean Up Your Finances.
If you have gift cards or coupons buried in paperwork, they could expire before getting used. You also might lose out on money that’s owed to you.
Robert Farrington, founder and editor in chief of The College Investor, recently helped his father get financially organized. In the process, the two of them found a pension from his first job that he remained eligible for. The pension pays Farrington’s father an extra $300 a month.
When sorting finances, check the Unclaimed Money website. This government site lists unclaimed funds from bank failures, lost savings bonds, pensions and more.
5. Keep Your Storage Unit in Good Shape.
“To organize a self-storage unit, think plastic containers and labels,” Bianco said.
Get started by emptying out the storage unit. Then divide items into categories such as kitchen utensils, baby items and children’s clothing. Place each category in its own container, and then add labels that are easy to spot and read.
“Using air-tight plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes helps avoid any weather- or water-related damage to your items,” Bianco said.
Heavy-duty shelving placed in rows also can help make it easy to find and retrieve items. When you need something, you’ll be able to retrieve it from storage, rather than heading to the store to buy it—and spending money needlessly.