Spring cleaning is important because...
• Being clutter-free will help you get your life in order.
• You'd like extra money. Dust is bad for your allergies.
•You currently have to navigate around bicycle tires just to get to your front door.
Here are 7 ways to cash in on your clutter:
If You're Looking to Ditch Designer Goods
Post your designer goods online to help you find people who are hungry for your specific designer. We like eBay and Craigslist, where we've seen used Kate Spade and Coach purses sell for over $100, and Louis Vuittons for about $500. If you have a Gucci handbag to sell, get it officially appraised through a partnership with Christie's. Otherwise, search eBay for similar items to estimate what yours is worth. For more info, check out LearnVest's article on how to get the most of your designer purses, and the best ways to resell them.
If You Have Loads of Stuff
Yard sales are a tried-and-true way to get rid of lots of stuff at once. We made $100 when we had a simple stoop sale on our own, but we like teaming up with friends for an even better time-to-money ratio. That way, we have more stuff to lure people in and extra hands to help post signs. Tip: Women's clothing sells better than men's, though men's jeans tend to do pretty well. It helps to put your stuff in a box to increase the "rummage factor," since people feel like they'll find a jewel if they dig deep enough. For more tips, check out New York Magazine's stoop sale guide.
Thrift shops buy stuff from you and resell it for a mark-up. So, you might earn $3.50 cash for something that the store resells for $10. As a result, they aren't the best for mass closet dumps. But, if you don’t want the hassle of uploading photos or meeting random buyers around town, thrift stores are easy and convenient. For a pretty comprehensive listing of thrift stores, visit TheThriftShopper.com.
If You've Got Lots of CDs and Books
Cash in your old CDs from high school for a new iPod, iPhone, or iPad (check out our review of iPodMeister, which lets you do just that). Don't let your old books clog your shelves and irritate your allergies, either. Sell them on a website like BookScouter.com ... and read our full-length article on the ins and outs of selling your old books. If you'd just as soon exchange your books for ones that are new (to you), try a book exchange via a site like Swaptree.
If You've Got Old Baby Stuff
The best way to offload baby stuff is through parenting lists like ParkSlopeParents, Berkeley Parents Network, Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago, and DC Urban Moms and Dads. To find a group near you, search via Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups, using words like parents or playgroup, plus your location. Generally, we've found the most success pricing our items at half the value they were originally worth (unless they're new or unused), since baby and toddler items suffer a lot of wear and tear. Note that it's generally hard to sell newborn clothes or toys, as most people get them as presents. Also, people can be skittish about buying used car seats and cribs because of safety issues. But, parents are always looking for bigger ticket items like baby carriers, strollers, portacribs, tricycles, scooters, winter coats, etc. Toys, books, and clothes for toddlers and older kids sell well, too, especially if you batch them into sets of clothes or books.
If You're Looking to Sell Jewelry
Take quality jewelry to a jeweler who does appraisals, and ask to have it appraised for insurance purposes (we recommend against admitting that you're trying to sell it, as this might cause them to undervalue it in order to make you an offer). This should give you a good idea of your item's market value. As with designer clothes, you're likely to earn close to market value if you sell your jewelry directly; jewelers and online services that buy jewelry often offer less than half the market value, so they can resell your item at a profit. If your pieces are unique or collector's items like Bakelite, eBay is a great option. If your jewelry is fun but relatively inexpensive, the best route is to include it in your yard sale.
If You Want to Offload Old China or Glassware
If you aren't sure what kind of china you have or how much it's worth, find a pattern identification service online, like Replacements, which assesses what you have from a photo of your items for free. Once you know, you can appraise the worth of your set, based on its condition. If you have a complete set, you should try to sell it intact. Otherwise, you might find better profits by breaking up the pieces and selling individual items as replacement pieces.
Bring your leftover items to Goodwill, which makes an effort to monetize everything it collects and seldom turns anything down. You can estimate the value of your own donation, which is helpful if you're looking to receive a tax write-off. Read an article from Goodwill for help appraising your items and information on how to claim your deduction.
Can we say "all of the above"?