Turn your clutter into cash.
Sure, spring-cleaning is about shedding the excess from your life, discovering hidden design potential in your home, clearing the piles of stuff so you can breathe a bit easier. But it's also the perfect time to add some weight to your wallet and spread goodwill along the way. Peter Walsh says you should keep two words in mind when clearing your clutter: cash and karma.
Where to Start: Assess your clutter and reexamine your relationship with stuff, Peter says. "Does the stuff we have in our bedroom, does the stuff we have in our garage, does the stuff we have in our house build and sustain the bedrock of a relationship? That's what it's all about." 

Take Action: Sort the belongings you are ready to get rid of into five piles: trash, keep, donate, swap and sell. 

Turn a Profit: Split your sell pile into items you can sell online and pieces for a yard sale. "The stuff you sell online on average will get you four to five times as much as in a yard sale," Peter says. "Millions of people can see it, and that creates a bidding war." Designer clothing, electronics, sporting goods and collectibles can bring top dollar. Posting items on Craigslist is the best bet, Peter says, because it saves you shipping charges. 

Make Karmic Cash: Take a look at your donate pile. Got an old prom dress? Consider passing it along to The Cinderella Project, and help out a magical night to a girl who can't otherwise afford a gown. Or, send your PC around the globe via The World Computer Exchange, which refurbishes your old hardware for disadvantaged kids. (Check out these other organizations for donating your unwanted stuff). "There are a whole lot of charities where your stuff can do such good to others. You can also get a bit of a tax write-off," Peter says. "The good that you do with the stuff you don't need, I believe will come back in karmic ways. Karmic cash." 

Start Organizing: Use zones to create order in a crowded storage space like a closet or garage. Establish separate zones for, say, painting gear, Halloween costumes and gardening tools. Use bins or hanging shelves to create space in crowded closets, and make sure your hangers are all the same. This will give cramped quarters a sense of consistency and calm. 

Got great organizing tips? Tell us how you earn cash from your clutter below! 


Keep Reading
Where to donate, recycle and sell almost anything
Storage solutions from stylish women 
5 finds that will change the way you handle clutter
FROM: Nate's "How to Save You Big Cash" Makeovers
Published on August 13, 2009

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