Even if we’re not precisely candidates for an extreme hoarding reality show, most of us have closets, drawers, boxes, or shelves filled with stuff we don’t use or need.
Someone else, on the other hand, would be happy to have it. This means all those space-wasting dust traps are potential opportunities to make some extra money.
In this article, I’ll let you in on a few of the benefits of closet cleanouts and decluttering. Plus, I’ll give you a few hints on doing it safely during COVID times and share a few ideas you can use at home.
Ready? Let’s go.
Good Reasons To Declutter
Potentially making extra money is an excellent reason to clean out your closet and declutter your home, but it’s not the only one. According to Alice Boyes, Ph.D., cutting down on clutter can:
Reduce anxiety – We’ve evolved to appreciate order, so we sometimes feel anxious when the order’s lacking. Cleaning, tidying, and bringing order to spaces and places can reduce that anxiety and overwhelmed feeling.
Decrease tension at home – Clutter makes it difficult to find things, and it literally can trip us up!
The frustration of life, coupled with a cluttered closet, room, or home, can manifest in tensions in our relationships with our partners, children, or housemates.
Decluttering can decrease those tensions.
Increase self-confidence – Successful closet cleanouts and decluttering projects can boost confidence in our own decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Help you re-discover old treasures – Yes, cutting down on clutter is about getting rid of the stuff you don’t need. However, there’s nothing wrong with having a few treasures.
When you declutter, there’s a good chance you’ll rediscover some unique items you’d forgotten about.
Energize and motivate you – The various decisions you inevitably make in quick succession when decluttering can put you into the headspace where you want to Get Things Done.
You may find that you don’t stop cleaning out your closet and decide to tackle the kitchen cupboards or the loft or get busy with something completely different. Either way, decluttering energizes you.
6 Easy Steps To Clean Out Your Closet
Now you know why you should be cleaning your closet, take a quick look at how you can get started.
1. Schedule your cleanout: Decluttering can take time. Ensure you have a good hour or two set aside. You don’t want to abandon the task halfway.
2. Empty your closet: Take absolutely everything out–clothing, bags, shoes, hats, scarves, accessories, and even the hangers.
3. Sort clothing into piles: Create a keep, sell, and maybe pile.
4. Reassess the maybe pile: Ask yourself:
- Will I wear this again?
- Does it fit?
- Does it suit my lifestyle?
- When last did I wear it?
- Do I really like it?
If you answer one or two nos, it can go.
5. Clean your closet: Give the inside of your closet a deep clean. Vacuum, wipe down and polish all surfaces.
6. Decide what to hang and what to fold: Organizing your closet properly will reduce the chance of it getting cluttered again. If you have a hanging and folding system, you’ll always know where to find whatever you want to wear.
Closet Cleanouts During A Pandemic
In the wake of COVID-19, you may be concerned about potential health issues and selling or otherwise parting with your unwanted clutter. Those concerns are entirely justified, given that the world is still in the grip of a pandemic.
This is what you should keep in mind:
- Sanitize your stuff – Whether you want to sell something, donate it, or give it to friends (or anyone else who may want it), sanitize it before it leaves your home.
Clean the item thoroughly with an alcohol-based wipe and store it in a clean box or bag.
- Be prepared to wait–If you want to donate items to outreach projects, goodwill stores, or charities, check whether they’re accepting donations.
You may need to wait until public health-related restrictions are eased.
Decluttering Ideas (That Can Make Money)
Without further ado, let’s look at a few ideas that can help you declutter—and, in many cases, make some extra money. Whether you’re looking to flip things for profit or just make money under the table, this can be a great way to start.
You can use these suggestions as given, or you can let them inspire a few ideas of your own.
1. Sell Old Clothes And Accessories
Your closet is one of the best places to start decluttering, especially if the clothes, accessories, and other items you never wear make it tricky for you to keep it or your bedroom tidy.
Go through your closet and be ruthless. If you know deep down that you’re never going to wear something again, don’t hang on to it.
Once you have a pile of clothes to sell, think about how you’d like to go about finding buyers.
Do you want to sell individual items on Facebook groups or another website, or do you want to sell them to a second-hand clothing store?
Some stores that buy and sell previously owned clothing and shoes purchase those items by weight.
2. Go Through Your Bedroom
Why stop at your closet?
Tidy your room!
Many of us have bedrooms that could do with a bit of decluttering, so go through it from top to bottom and get rid of what you don’t need.
If you have collections of fragrances, teddy bears, art, crafts, or knickknacks, consider passing them on to willing buyers.
You could sell the more random knick-knacks to a second-hand store or take appealing photos and sell them on a classified site. But if you have collectible items, such as teddy bears, you may get better prices for them by selling them in a collectors’ group on Facebook.
3. Clean Out Your Bookshelves
If you’re a booklover, you’re probably well acquainted with the bibliophile’s perennial problem—there’s never enough space!
If your first response when you see the groaning shelves and crooked book towers around your home is to giggle nervously, it’s time to do a bit of a clear-out.
There are various ways to sell the books you no longer want (or still want but don’t have space for).
The easiest may be to take them to your local second-hand bookstore. If you have specialized titles, textbooks, or collections, such as the Wheel of Time series, consider selling them via the relevant fan/collectors’ groups on Facebook or via a site such as eBay.
Another approach is to try Amazon’s buyback program.
4. Sell Old Mobile Devices
Our drawer tables and some shelves in our closets can become havens for old mobile devices.
It’s a good idea to keep an old phone and tablet as a backup if something goes wrong with the tech you use every day. But you don’t need a drawer full of devices that trace the evolution of your preferred brand, model by model, over the last two decades.
Sell the mobile tech you don’t need or want.
Second-hand stores usually make a roaring trade in phones and tablets, so you shouldn’t have any trouble selling yours if it’s in good condition.
If a trip to the shops isn’t desirable, advertise on classifieds sites or via websites or social media groups dedicated to trading or selling second-hand mobile devices.
5. Declutter Your Kitchen
Kitchen cupboards are usually other sources of clutter that you can convert to cash.
By ‘clutter,’ I mean appliances, equipment, crockery, and cutlery, rather than food. We all have items in our kitchen that seemed like a good idea at the time. Selling or donating them may finally be your opportunity to put them to fair use.
One of the unexpected trends of 2020 was a sudden increase in cooking and baking, but not everyone can afford brand-new kitchen equipment.
You’ll be able to find buyers for your unwanted sandwich grillers, toasters, waffle irons, cake pops cookers, grills, egg boilers, rice cookers, bread machines, and ice-cream makers in no time.
Try your neighborhood and local interest groups on Facebook or WhatsApp before you approach second-hand stores. Sometimes, buyers may be on your doorstep!
6. Turn Your Old Jewelry Into Money
Your old jewelry, whether it’s antique or vintage, is money waiting to happen. You don’t need to look too far to find jewelers, agents, collectors, and gem or diamond recyclers who would be more than happy to purchase your old pieces. There are even sites online that will buy your vintage jewelry and other items and complete the post’s sales process.
Sort your antique jewelry, diamonds, gems, plain gold, silver, or platinum pieces, watches, and costume jewelry, and try to find buyers with a focus on each.
A word of caution—if you have antique jewelry, resist the temptation to clean it yourself if it’s tarnished, dulled, or collected dust and grime. Delicate old jewelry and some stones require the touch of a professional restorer.
Doing it yourself by following random instructions you find online could damage it beyond repair.
7. Don’t Throw Away—Upcycle And Sell
You’ll inevitably find an array of broken, damaged, or incomplete items during your decluttering spree.
You might be lucky to give them away in their current state. But with a bit of ingenuity, you can also upcycle them into something beautiful and useful that you potentially could sell for a profit.
You could turn a box of chipped or broken teacups into bird feeders, garden art, or a lamp, and you can convert an old freestanding cupboard into a bookcase, display case, or Wunderkammer.
Turn an old rubber boot into a planter, use a pouring candle kit to transform mismatched teacups, and saucers into candles. You can find plenty of upcycling ideas on Pinterest and similar sites.
8. Sell Gift Cards
Not everyone uses the gift cards they receive for Christmas or birthdays immediately. And so often, we don’t spend the full amount at once.
If you have old gift cards that still have active, available balances and you’re not going to use them, sell your gift cards online. Try platforms such as GiftCardGranny and CardPool that turn gift cards into cash.
As you can see, closet cleanouts and decluttering can be useful for your body, mind, and bank balance.
Are you ready to start clearing out your clutter?
Magda Raë is editor-in-chief at Vintage Cash Cow, where she covers topics from antique collectibles to space decluttering and organizing. When she’s not fighting over the keyboard with her cats, she loves going shopping and eating huge pistachio ice creams