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Spring Cleaning at its Finest

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

The mood to clean up and refresh seems to be an annual idea. Perhaps it's the freshness of the outdoors, the signs of new life, or just the need to make changes after months of being cooped indoors. Regardless, some basic financial rules need to be followed when delving into spring cleaning: sell it, donate it, toss it.


Sell It

The first rule of spring cleaning is to decide was is resalable. If an item is nearly new, brand new, or collectible consider selling it. Your basic options are to have a yard sale or to sell it on a venue such as eBay.

The following items resell well on the internet if they are in new or nearly new condition: children's clothes (3T and under), children's toys, baby items, sports collectibles, and hard to find sizes of quality clothing (XXXL, etc.) Anything can sell in an online auction, but timing seems to be everything. Don't list everything; there are items that could be free and they wouldn't attract attention. Shop around the site to explore what's selling, what's over-listed, and what's unique.

Yard sales are a good way of selling items that will not sell well online. Separate your sale items into two categories, yard sale and online sale. Typical strong sellers at yard sales include: items too large to ship from on online sale, furniture, craft items, children's items, electronics and appliances, household fixtures, and decorative items. Don't clutter your yard sale with items such as clothing and glassware; this will deter the "drive-by shoppers."


Donate It

Items that don't resale well but are in good condition should be donated to a local charity. Some charities collect for redistribution to those in need, and others resell the items at thrift stores that work as non-profit. Both are assets to healthy communities, and your contribution can mean a great deal to someone.

Items such as clothing, dishes, and books usually find a happy home at these collection areas. Avoid donating items that are damaged, soiled, or outdated. These items actually cost the charity money to dispose of themselves, not to mention the man-hours needed to sort through them. The resale is not worth their time to repair items.

Toss It

Sadly, some things need to be tossed. Any item which is broken/torn or soiled beyond cleaning should be discarded. No one is going to repair it; if that were true it would have been repaired already. Every item will come to the end of its usable life at some point; there is no point in prolonging the inevitable.


In the End

In the end, don't forget the final rules that apply to your spring cleaning money:

  • save it
  • declare it
  • learn from it

Save the money you earn from your resale and put it towards something you will really enjoy. Don't put it in your pocket and let it disappear on cups of coffee and lunches. Items that were donated to charity are tax-deductible making them a small earning in the long run; keep your receipts. Lastly, learn from your spending mistakes. For every piece of clutter that was nearly new, learn from it. Money was spent on something that wasn't used. Keep that in mind when shopping; it will save you money and spring cleaning next year.

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