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Financial Wellness

Six Ways to Make Spring Cleaning Profitable

Warmer days are around the corner, so now is a great time to tackle annual spring cleaning. No one really looks forward to this chore—but what if it provided you with some extra cash?

Personal property that is no longer of use to you may be needed by someone else. In today's connected world, it's convenient to sell items online—and less work and hassle than a yard sale.

Let's review a few areas of your home to downsize and declutter, and apps and websites that make it easy to receive a fair price. In turn, you will modestly improve your financial health.

Here's how to make some cash after you tidy your belongings:

  1. Empty your closets. Key areas that usually require decluttering are closets and drawers full of clothes you no longer wear. Options for selling are plenty. Items for:
  • Women: One of the largest online clothing consignment stores is thredUP, specializing in women's and children's clothing, handbags and shoes. A convenient calculator estimates roughly what a user will make for items. Customers request and fill a “Clean Out” bag to send apparel to the company, free of charge. ThredUP then values the goods and typically pays around 80% of the value. If there is no value, the item can be donated to charity—which you can also choose upfront instead of selling.

Tip: Unlike most other clothing consignment shops, thredUP does the work of listing items for you.

  • The family: Second-hand seller Vinted earns top pick for the ease of selling used clothes for the whole family. You can also sell handbags and shoes at a respectable price.
  • Men: Well Suited is a consignment store that centers on men's clothing solely; and, like its sister company, My Sister's Closet, lists a lot of upmarket clothing, shoes and accessories.
  • Luxury: Certain high-end luxury items which hold value and, therefore, earn more money in resale are often better sold at sites like Poshmark, Tradesy, Mercari, Mosh Posh, and others. These venues target selling high-end clothing, designer bags, shoes and goods.

Other options: ASOS Marketplace, Curtsy, Depop, eBay.

  1. Peddle your gift cards. Gift cards are often placed in a drawer and forgotten. Sometimes when they're rediscovered, it's too late to redeem them. If you think it's unlikely you'll use gift cards or you don't want the products or services they offer, consider selling them online.

Most sites work a similar and simple process: Just submit gift card details, check out the offer, click accept—and voilà!—turn cards into cash to deposit into one of your accounts.

Other options: You can also try CardSell, ClipKard, GiftCash, or Raise.

  1. Shrink your library. Research indicates books are some of the most difficult items to relinquish because of our emotional connection to their stories. If you can separate yourself from some of your book collection, take a look at BookScouter. It boasts a great comparison tool that gathers real-time price quotes from more than 30-40 vendors. Then, you can sell them to the highest bidder. You may be surprised to learn that big companies don't always offer the highest price.

Tip: If you've got a recent college grad in the family (or you are one), consider offloading textbooks before you move.

Other book-selling options: Amazon Trade-In, Bonavendi, CampusBooks, Chegg, TopDollar4Books and Ziffit.

  1. Sell furniture. If you've ever fantasized about selling your hand-me-down or other furniture, now's the time to do it. Why? Supply chain issues have created a demand. Take advantage of the market to collect some Benjamins and make your rooms appear more spacious.

In addition to favorite sites such as Facebook Marketplace, whose reach to the highest number of local users often makes it a top choice, Chairish offers a twist by specializing in the consignment of used furniture. Chairish developed an online platform that helps users list and sell sofas, chairs, storage and lighting. It's free to list products, they support sellers with guidance about shipping and they pledge to pay sellers quickly.

Another notable site that specializes in vintage and custom furniture is Trove Marketplace, which offers a wider range of furniture and decor items, including old pictures and sculptures. Their intuitive app is pretty clever and refined, too.

Other options: Craigslist, OfferUp.

  1. Offload mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches. SellCell is another comparison site like BookScouter. They aggregate all the leading electronic buy-back companies and quickly identify who offers the best prices. Their confidence in paying the best prices is backed by a best price guarantee. They will refund double the difference if the seller finds a higher price after the sale. However, it's also worth checking Buyback Boss which makes the same claim.

SellCell lists some of the biggest names in the industry, like Decluttr, Gazelle, and ItsWorthMore, among others. Phones depreciate quickly, so it's best to sell them sooner rather than later. It's important to note, even broken and damaged phones can be sold.

Tip: Flipsy doesn't accept trade-ins, but it curates best prices from a host of other services that do. If you want another price comparison option, check out Flipsy before you sell.

Other options: Amazon Trade-in, Apple and Best Buy trade-in programs, Decluttr, Gazelle, ItsWorthMore, Swappa, Trademore.

  1. Sell CDs and DVDs. In the age of Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix, it makes sense to cash in on your dusty or boxed-away collections of movies and music. Although many music and movie lovers have held onto their music collection for nostalgic reasons, even if they now use a streaming service, it's probably time to let go. Good news: CDs and DVDs continue to retain some value and there are multiple places online that buy them.

Bonavendi, another price comparison website, helps you find the best places to sell CDs and DVDs. It uses a selection of more than 30 vendor websites for buying and selling used CDs, DVDs, as well as Blu-rays, video games and books (including textbooks).

Decluttr also offers an instant quote for your items along with a shipping label for electronics such as DVDs and CDs—as well as video games in good condition, books phones, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, e-readers, smartwatches, and other devices.

Both companies allow you to scan or enter the barcode, European Article Number (or EAN), or title of the items you want to sell. Bonavendi will compare prices and provide results within seconds. If you have a lot of items to sell, it tracks them and shows you the best place to sell your collection. Decluttr pays you for the items once you send them in and they pass the company's quality review process.

Similar to: Amazon Trade-In, Apple and Best Buy trade-in programs, Eagle Saver, Gazelle, and Ziffit.

So, is it worth the hassle to spring clean and sell items?
In a word, yes. The services are essentially hassle-free and tested. The top online companies mentioned usually pay a higher return on investment than previously popular channels such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace. However, if you don't want to bother with shipping, stick with sites and apps like Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor and OfferUp.

In any case, there is no doubt there is money to make by selling your collections or belongings which are no longer of use. One last consideration while you explore these options—buying previously owned goods is a great way to save money and help the environment.

Resources: MoneyTalksNews, Washington Post, Living on the Cheap



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