Weekend Money Tip: How to De-Clutter and Make Some Cold, Hard Cash

de clutterI was thinking back over my life before I de-cluttered and I asked my husband if I used to hoard anything. His simple answer was “boyfriends” (but I don’t do that anymore).

Just kidding. Though I’ve never hoarded boyfriends, I used to hang onto everything (and so did my husband). I think when we were first starting out together we just weren’t used to having our own stuff, so we collected it. We also didn’t have much money, which contributed to the tendency to keep everything – you know, “just in case”.

The truth is, having less “stuff” means having less to worry about and take care of. It makes life simpler and, with less to maintain and organize, you have more time to spend doing the things you love.

Right there, you should want to jump on the de-cluttering bandwagon. I mean, who doesn’t want more time? But, WAIT. There’s more. Your “stuff” can be turned into cold, hard cash! You never know what you may have lying around that could become other people’s treasures!

Where to begin de-cluttering

So many places, so little time. Just pick one and start. Spend 15 minutes sorting just one drawer, one shelf, or one cabinet. You do have 15 minutes, right? Do this several times and you’ll have a nice pile of “stuff” that can be turned into cash in no time, “stuff” you no longer have to take care of, and “stuff” you no longer have to organize and clean. Win-win-win!

Start here:

  • Clothes closet
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Pantry
  • Garage
  • Shelves
  • Media Cabinets
  • Under the Bed
  • Basement/Attic
  • Storage Unit

Making those life changing decisions

No, deciding what to keep and what to toss is not a life changing decision. But it isn’t always easy. What if you need it later? What if so-in-so finds out you gave away the wedding gift they gave you? What if Fluffy misses that old bone? It’s okay. Take a deep breath. It’s only “stuff” and it can be replaced if you make a mistake.

How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

Take all items out (believe me, those shelves need dusted anyway – been there, done that!) and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you use it?
  • When was the last time you used it? (over 6 months? Strongly consider letting it go)
  • Do you love it? Does it bring you “joy”?*
  • Is it a “just in case” item?
  • Are you keeping it for sentimental reasons or because it was a gift to you? (Don’t give into the guilt, a gift is just that – something given to you and it’s yours to decide what you want to do with it)

Example: My juicer. I still have it. Why? I don’t know. I’ve had it for 3 years and used it for 2 months. I feel like it’s too expensive to make juice with so much of the fruits/veggies wasted. It was a gift. And so it sits in my pantry gathering dust. But, guess what? If I sell it, I would be $35 richer. It’s time to say good-bye to the juicer.

How to turn your “stuff” into cold, hard cash

Clothes can be consigned. I honestly think this is the easiest way to rid yourself of unworn, unwanted clothing. I frequently “shop” for free at my local consignment shop by using the credit from my consigned clothes and shoes. My advice? Check around for stores that will take all of your items and simply donate what they don’t sell.

Don’t want to consign the clothes? Sell the higher end items on or Craigslist individually and sell the less valuable clothes in lots. Or simply have a garage or yard sale.

Sell ship-able items on . You can check completed listings and see if similar items sold and for how much. (If you see similar items are generally unsold, consider another option, though it doesn’t cost you anything to try.)

Sell furniture and other non-ebay items on Craigslist or have a yard/garage Sale. Larger items, like furniture, sell really well on Craigslist. I once purchased a headboard on Craigslist and, a few years later, I sold it on Craigslist for the same exact price.

Movies and books can be sold to places like Half Price Books. Or you can sell them online on bookscouter.com or textbooks.com.

Have you de-cluttered? What have you gotten rid of? Have you made any money de-cluttering? Has de-cluttering impacted your life in positive ways?


*The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Field Minburn and Ryan Nicodemus

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker

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14 thoughts on “Weekend Money Tip: How to De-Clutter and Make Some Cold, Hard Cash

  1. Admittedly, this is an area of weakness for me. I need to do WAY better with decluttering and getting rid of old things I don’t use anymore. Gifts are the hardest for me. Many gifts that I don’t use or really care for I still hang onto because of the guilt. There are some things that we could declutter and perhaps sell on craigslist or ebay for decent money. Most the time we avoid the hassle and take trips to Goodwill. Right now I know we have plenty of things we could take there! I’ll just need to find the time to start the decluttering process!

    1. I have taken so many loads to donate to the thrift store over the years! Now, when I’m considering a purchase, I think about if the item I’m considering buying will end up at Goodwill within a short period of time, or whether it will truly add value and be useful. It’s been a process, but we’ve made a lot of progress. If you are struggling to do this, try just finding 5 things to put in your donate pile each weekend, or some small goal like that so it seems more manageable.

  2. I am constantly decluttering and throwing things away because we have so much crap! The kids’ stuff is the hardest. Just yesterday I had this enormous drawing of my son’s from school – a project on why you should live an urban life or a rural life (my son chose a rural life, ahem!!) Anyway, the picture was so cute with his picks for why a rural life – sunsets and farms, and all manner of sweet notions that really pulled at my heart. Needles to say, I had a hard time parting with it, as I do with a lot of the things they make. But now I ask myself, am I going to keep this FOREVER? Am I going to send my son off to his new house with this one day, or will it most likely eventually be discarded before that day comes? Because if so, better to just throw it away now instead of delay the inevitable. This is helping a bit!

    1. I love this comment, Linda, because I can relate so much (as I’m sure many other parents can as well)! Isn’t it interesting that your son chose rural life?! My kids would probably choose city life 😉 ! I do love his vision of what rural life looks like (we have a cornfield across the street).

      I used to hang on to all of the kids’ artwork and school work and EVERYTHING! I have been tossing most of it for a few years now (I check with them to make sure it doesn’t hold some special place in their heart first). I kept a few pieces of art and framed them, but otherwise it goes out the door. Another idea is just to take a picture of the art for a digital memory.

      My parents brought me yet another box from the “stuff” they kept from my childhood about 6 months ago – the box contained the cards they received when I was born, my report cards, some artwork and schoolwork. I’ve been getting these boxes for 20 years now! (Mom, if you’re reading this, I do think you hoarded my childhood “stuff” 🙂 )

  3. We went through a few weeks a couple months ago that we did a lot of decluttering but it has fallen off lately. That being said, I can’t believe how much we got rid of even though we have only gone through probably 20-25% of our stuff! Getting rid of clutter gives you a great feeling of relief. Now I need to get back on the wagon!

    1. Agreed, Thias, getting rid of clutter definitely brings a sense of relief! It took us a year or two to really get rid of most of the clutter. Now I try really hard not to let it back in, but it still happens sometimes. It’s an ongoing process, for sure.

  4. I love how you noted that you sold that headboard on Craigslist years later for the exact same price. I’ve found that alot of stuff that you buy on Craigslist can be turned around and sold right back when you’re done with it.

    As an example, I bought some bar stools on Craigslist a few years ago. When it was time to move, I listed it up and sold it for $5 more than I had purchased it for!

    In essence, you can basically “rent” furniture using Craigslist. This works especially well with brand name furniture, such as Ikea stuff. And it’s a great way to try to help the world out and reduce waste.

    1. Yes! We do this frequently with furniture purchases. It’s also worked with exercise equipment and bikes. Your bar stools were a great deal – I mean, you made money after years of use. What’s better than that? And I completely agree on keeping the “stuff” out of the landfill!

  5. My wife has sold over 100 things on eBay the past couple years and we’ve donated probably hundreds more (tax write-off!). Decluttering is something we constantly try to do, but sometimes you just need to set aside a few hours and get it done.

    1. Great point on the tax write-off, DC! Save those receipts for tax time. I actually started tracking exactly what I donate, so I can better estimate the value of the donations on our taxes.

  6. I love the feeling of organization when I declutter my work space. Even though the cycle repeats itself the day after, the temporary feeling of achievement makes me want to clean my space again. Bonus if I get to make extra money from it by selling it on Ebay, as you’ve mentioned 🙂

    1. I like that feeling too! I just organized the house for company this weekend – it really didn’t take that much time, and it just felt better to have everything put in it’s place.

  7. We de-cluttered one room this year (our sun room by the pool) and it felt great! We had so many things in there that it was hard to enjoy the room and use it to relax! We used Craigslist for many things and we donated a lot too. We are going to downsize next year, so we will be in major de-clutter mode. I don’t find it hard to give things up, but the hubby does!

    1. Doesn’t it feel great, Vicki!? I removed one sickly looking plant from a room over the weekend, and what a difference it made! When you downsize, I’m sure you’ll have lots to donate and sell!

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