Monday, March 16, 2009

12 Steps to Becoming Clutter-Free

KdV06FloatDetailYardSaleFridgeLeveesImage via Wikipedia

Spring is almost here, and instead of cleaning (which I really dislike), I'm de-cluttering. Even if you enjoy cleaning (and if you do, I'd recommend a nice, long vacation. . . perhaps at Bellevue?), you'll want to pay attention because it's much easier to clean when you don't have to dust around 300 knick-knacks or clamber around towering piles of books you'll never read again.

What does de-cluttering or cleaning have to do with money hacking, you ask? Two words: cash money, yo. (OK, that was three, but it's just more fun that way.)
Yes, YOU can make money from home now!
. . . Whew, sorry, got a little carried away there. Anyway, here's how to do it:

  1. Start on a room-by-room basis. Get 2 boxes (big ones if you're like me and tend to accumulate junk on an exponential scale). Label one "sell" and the other "give." If you want, you can even label a third box "upcycle."

  2. Starting at one corner of the room, go around and analyze every thing you see. Consider the following:

    • Do you really need this? Can you live comfortably without it? Would you miss it, e.g. Does it have sentimental or decorative value?

    • How long has it been since you've used it? Have you ever used it? (And no, moving it from one shelf to another is not using it. Neither is thinking about using it.)

    • Do you foresee needing it in the near future (the next year, say)? Is it worth the space it's taking up until then?

  3. Before you chuck it in one of the boxes, consider one more thing: Could it be used in a nontraditional way? Could you make something truly useful with it? Here's the tough part: Will you? If so, it goes in the "upcycle" box. If not, it's time to say goodbye.

  4. Decide which box, "sell" or "give," the item should go in. Do you think someone will actually pay for it? If not, toss it into the "give" box and prepare to feel warm and fuzzy from your new found magnanimity.

  5. When you're done with one room, move on to the next--unless your "sell" box is full already (in which case maybe you should consider whether your hoarding is psychologically diagnosable).

  6. Once you've gone through the whole house (or your "sell" box is full), it's time to make some cash. Put aside the other two boxes and start separating the things in the "sell" box into two piles: "internet" and "yard sale." Clothes or little things that don't justify their own listing on Craigslist/Ebay/Amazon should be put into the "yard sale" pile.

  7. Start listing! It just so happens that until March 23 (I believe) all Ebay listing are free. That's right, free. You have no reason not to try to sell your crap now. In my experience, Amazon is the best place to sell books and well-known, brand-name, like-new things. Everything else goes on Ebay (since it's free). Craigslist is a backup; you usually won't get as much for something on Craigslist as on Ebay. But if you're scared of the post office's long lines and grumpy workers or if your item is too big to mail, then stick it on Craigslist. In general, Craigslist buyers are expected to come pick up the items they want. If you've got a ton of stuff, no worries! Sell it in batches.

  8. While you wait for buyers, dream of swimming through a vault of gold coins, a la Scrooge McDuck.

  9. Whatever doesn't sell online, throw into the yard sale box.

  10. Once all your internet sales are done, it's time to have a yard sale. Buy a little pack of those round, colored stickers to write prices on, team up with a friend to pool your junk resources, grab some lawnchairs and lemonade, and you're set. I would advise waiting until it's actually warm to do this. That probably means at least another month for me.

  11. Remember your "give" box? After the yard sale, chuck whatever's left into that and drop it off at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  12. Last step: tally your earnings and plan what exciting things you'll do with them. Anyone for a pint?

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Bob's Occasional Musings said...

Just a quick note. I believe the ebay listing fees are free up to 10 items. Otherwise, great article.

Wren Caulfield said...

Thanks for the info!

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