Cash for Your Clutter, and Help Others!

I’ve been on a household purge and declutter kick…in a big way. For about a year. You’ve heard this before from me, but seriously, nothing is safe in my home these days. I typically deliver a box or bag to Goodwill about every month or two. This happens because I try to stick to the rule of thumb “if I buy a pair of shoes, I get rid of a pair of shoes.”  Insert whatever item for shoes. That helps keep the stuff to a manageable amount. But every now and then I do a massive dump, and over the past year I’ve really been focused on downsizing and simply not having a lot of things hanging around that I don’t use or that have no sentimental value.
My usual outlets are Goodwill, Craigslist, and consignment. This time around I found a few new avenues for releasing my goodies into the wild and making or saving a few extra bucks along the way.

Goodwill

I sorted through all of the boxes of stuff that have been following me around for the past 15 to 30 years. Stuff I felt obligated to keep but never saw the light of day. First up was an entire box of tchotchke from my teen years. I sorted through all 47 pieces, chose a few I would actually display now, and put the rest in the Goodwill pile. Lots of current tchotchke went. Games. Clothing and shoes – if it hadn’t been worn in a year, it went. Books I enjoyed but would probably never read again. The bamboo shade from the bathroom window that provided zero privacy. Honestly, I don’t even recall what all went in those boxes. I was possessed and had to get rid of stuff. It felt good.

Craigslist

These items are not quite right for consignment. They still have value and will likely sell for more online than the cut I would get from consignment. Or they are so big that I’d rather not deliver them to the store. SOLD: Black Forest cuckoo clock! SOLD: halloween wig! SOLD: 35 Ikea votives! It amazes me what sells and what doesn’t. I listed an armless stuffed chair and a side table and haven’t received any nibbles. I’ll load them in the car after all and add to what I already have at consignment. BTW, the Hippie Go-Go costume is still on Craigslist. Halloween is just around the corner…
 
Sold – cuckoo clock – $40
 
Sold – votives – $10
 
Sold – wig – $7

Consignment

Clothes with a label, tchotchke with a name (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc.), sofa pillows, and small pieces of furniture that are in like-new condition. The stuffed chair will be the largest piece (and toughest to deliver) that I’ve consigned. I’ve been consigning about every three or four months and typically have anywhere from $50 to $100 waiting for me every time I stop in with a new load. Nice. The other positive about consignment is that it gets the stuff out of your home now. No waiting for someone to reply to your post and no meeting crazy folks in public places. Even better.

Didn’t sell.
Away with you to consignment!
Didn’t sell (I know, can you believe it?)
Off to consignment!

A friend was doing a donation drive for Dress for Success, an organization that provides business/interview attire and accessories to disadvantaged women. I was happy to donate some work clothing and jewelry. What a need they are serving!

The new avenues I’ve found for donating start with the Boys and Girls Club. I had a bunch of old trophies from my pool league days. About ten of them. I heard that the Club took old trophies to be reused, so I gave them a jingle just to confirm. Sure enough – bring ‘em in! I was happy to have found a home for them and to help the Club. I figured they would give me a receipt to fill in myself, much like Goodwill, and I would list a value of $50. Oh no. They handed over a typed letter receipt that stated the value of the donated trophies at $300. Yep, $300!

Apparently these had value. Who knew?
The other surprise came when I donated two pairs of eyeglasses. I used to drop them in the Lions Club box and be happy to have donated. This time they went to an optometrist’s office and again, a letter receipt was given stating a donation value of $400. Holy deduction Batman! I might even be excited for tax time next year.
I have a couple of old cell phones that went to a local organization, Interact, that provides safety and support to victims of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. Now here, like Goodwill, they allowed me to complete the receipt and value my items. I humbly put $50. It’s a win-win when Interact can program the phones as 911 devices for the women they serve and, there is that additional little tax deduction again.
Lastly, the Big Kahuna of it all is my old 90s jewelry. Remember those paper thin gold chains we used to wear? I had a few of those and a couple of Black Hills Gold pendants that had been hanging in my jewelry box since, you guessed it, the 90s. I threw them in a bag and into my purse (big mistake there) and off I went to National Pawn. The mistake was putting them all in the same bag. When I got there they were in a giant knot. Because each piece must be weighed separately, I had the job of untangling them. I stepped to the side and spent about 15 minutes unknotting gold. Oh well, it paid off because when all was said and done, the nice lady told me it was worth $300. Hot Dog! I walked out with $300 cash in my pocket. Woot woot!

This is what came out of my purse. Drats.
Unknotted and separated.
The chain at the bottom left wasn’t gold.
Odd man out was tossed.
So let’s do a little recap, shall we?
  • $150 – Donation to Goodwill (YTD)
  • $300 – Trophies to Boys and Girls Club
  • $400 – Eyeglasses to optometrist
  • $100 – Business attire and jewelry to Dress for Success
  • $  50 – Cell phones to Interact
  • $  57 – Cash from three Craigslist sales
  • $150 – Cash from consignment (YTD)
  • $300 – Cash from National Pawn for old 90s jewelry
Not too bad for simply cleaning out the closets 🙂
My plan (ahem, challenge) is to not replace all the stuff I’ve worked so hard to get rid of this year. So far I’m on track. Not as much shopping, and when I do shop, I use a lot more self-control than in the past. And it’s getting a lot easier! I really have to want something before I’ll buy it these days. But let’s not forget an incredibly important part of this – the giving. Yes, I am more than happy to get those tax deductions, but more so than that, I want to help. I have the Food Bank on autodraft from my checking account. I donate to the various runs and walks that friends do throughout the year. I donate to the major natural disaster funds. It feels like the right thing to do (for me).
So, if you’ve been meaning to clean out the closet or the attic or the basement, do it! You’ll do yourself a huge favor by freeing up some space, you’ll help your community by donating to charitable organizations, and you can make (or at least save via tax deductions) some cash along the way! I love it!

What are your favorite ways to reduce, reuse and recycle?
Cheers!
Kelly