Get Cash for your Clutter!

by Betty on September 5, 2015

This column appeared in Echo Magazine September 2015

This year we have been focusing on how to create less stuff, more simplicity, so that you can enjoy a more hassle free life. But we know people like their “stuff!” If it’s hard for you to part with your high school track trophy, the boom box that you’re hoping repairs itself, or the dress your husband bought for you on your birthday (it’s really not your favorite), perhaps it would be easier knowing you could get some cold, hard cash for it? The good news is, it’s easier now than ever to earn money for your stuff!

  • Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Twice is Nice, SPCA Rummage Shop, and other non-profits for a tax refund

This won’t create cash flow for you, but this is by far the easiest solution and will deliver some tax savings. When I review my closet or drawer space, I frequently make a donation pile and a consignment/sale pile of clothes in higher demand—like designer brands or clothes that are still in fashion. I rotate where I choose to donate to because there are so many great non-profits here in Charlottesville. Remember to keep your sales receipt, so that you can get that refund come tax season!

  • Resell
    1. Garage Sale/Yard Sale: I love a great garage sale! Whether I’m taking a couple hours on an early Saturday morning to look or hanging outside on lawn chairs with the kids and a cash box looking to sell. Post fliers at intersections the Thursday before to advertise your sale. Price your items to sell (75% off retail) and make sure you are attentive for questions and bartering. What’s better than an individual garage sale? A multi-family or group yard sale! More stuff and more families mean more connections, customers and sales. I’ve noticed that kids’ clothing is a lot easier to sell than adult clothing, but here are a couple tips. Hang your clothes or display prominently (even placing a tarp on the lawn and nicely folding the clothes works). Take the left-over items to charity or save for a later sale.
    2. Consignment: Consignment shops are a great place to take gently worn clothing, eclectic house décor, books, movies or accessories. To spruce up what you take in, put clothing on hangers and clean and iron it beforehand. Then, shop around consignment shops—some will offer a bigger cut of the profit than others. For links, addresses, phone numbers and hours check out’s directory under “C” for consignment. Contact local shops like ReThreads, Natalie Dressed, Glad Rags, Kids to Kids, Plato’s Closet, and others to learn about their guidelines for consigning.
    3. eBay: eBay can be a convenient way to sell clothes, electronics and accessories that are gently used right from your living room. To list an item, you’ll need a seller account and plenty of photos of each item up for auction. Be prepared to explain any defects or issues with the item. Create a searchable title and make sure to list the size. Once it’s listed, diligently check your email for buyers and once you get a hit, communicate with them, and ship their item promptly to keep a good seller rating. A few tips form include paying attention to the “year-round top 10 fashion items that sell well,” which includes shoes, handbags, tops, children’s clothes, women’s intimates, dresses, jeans, and men’s outerwear. Another idea: organize children’s clothes in sizes and sell them in bundles.
    4. Craig’s list: Craig’s list is another online selling tool for small electronics like printers or Xboxes, furniture like couches and chairs, even homes! Similar to eBay, it’s best to include make, model, warranty information, original packaging, and manuals if applicable. You can sell items in bundles in order to maybe pawn off a stapler or hole punch too. Be diligent in checking your email or phone – whatever you included as your contact info for buyers.
  • Recycle
    1. Junkyard: Sounds weird, but oftentimes they will take old items, especially those made of metal, for cash. Cars, fencing, rusty lawn furniture—all our old items we view as junk that may still have value if you know where to look. Basically anything with metal may have value. Call Gerdau (formerly Cycle Systems at 434-296-6465).
    2. Manufacturer: Another thing to keep in mind is that some manufacturers offer incentives if you return electronics. With most cell phone companies, they offer discounts or in-store cash towards accessories for your new phone if you return yaour old one, or you can return them for some cash value at stores like Staples or Best Buy 
  • Re-commerce
    1. com is an electronics re-commerce organization that has a partnership with target Mobile Centers at over 1,450 Target’s in the US.   Recently my son earned 50 dollars for an old device he no longer used! Our own Fashionsquare Mall has an easy to use electronics kiosk.
    2. com is a trade-in and recycling firm that buys cell phones, laptops, tablets, digital cameras, gaming consoles, and more “now-obsolete electronics.” They’ll buy, sometimes providing gift cards to stores like Walmart, Costco, and Office Depot, and even send a free box to ship your goods on certain products. Even if they don’t want to buy it, they will recycle the item for free.
    3. Exchange your gift cards. Have old Gift Cards laying around in your junk drawer? You may be able to trade them in at a Coinstar Exchange (at area grocery stores) or Walmart or an online service.
  • Share

If you have something that you don’t use all the time – like a camping tent, a projector, or an inflatable bounce house, join the sharing economy. You can rent your items out for a night or a weekend for a pretty handsome price. Many items would likely pay for themselves and bonus: it works both ways! Are you looking to borrow a luggage rack or bicycle for your next road trip? Or a table saw? You can check out the sharing network at before you rush into buying one and creating more clutter! You can also rent something for a day at


To learn more about swapping your clutter for cash, check out these resources

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