April 28th, 2011

Spring Cleaning: What to do With Your Stuff to Save and Make Money

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This week is Credit Karma Spring Cleaning week! We’ll be blogging all week about spring cleaning tips related to your finances and the rest of your life.

With all that spring cleaning you’ve been doing (wink, wink), you might have accumulated a nice little pile of stuff to get rid of.

Before you dump it in the trash bin or store it in a box in your closet, here are some useful alternatives.

Donate it. If you have some gently used clothing, furniture, appliances, or other items, consider donating them to a good cause. Both Goodwill and the Salvation Army make donation simple with online donation-site locators and tips for donating.

Be thoughtful with the items you’re giving away. Wash clothing to be donated, check appliances to make sure they’re in working order, and include all pieces and parts to children’s games and toys. Also, be sure to get a receipt because your donation will be tax-deductible.

Swap it. Swapping clothing, shoes, and accessories is becoming more and more popular. It’s a frugal and green way to shop. Websites like Swap.com and Swap Style allow you to list and peruse items to be swapped, and you can swap online. If you enjoy shopping in-person, you can find a scheduled event or even sign up to host your own event.

For the bibliophile, check out your local used book store. Some will allow you to swap your used books for books on their used shelves. For the online shopper, there’s PaperBack Swap, a website that lets you list and swap your books. Find out more about how PaperBack Swap works here.

Sell it. Make a little money off of the items you no longer need. Use a tried-and-true website like craigslist to sell items like furniture and appliances. To sell your electronics, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and the like, try an online auction site like ebay and watch members haggle over your goods.

If you like the idea of social media merging with fashion, you might enjoy an apparel-centric website like Smashion that integrates social interaction, like posting daily outfits and style blogging, with selling clothing.

Repurpose it. If you can’t sell or donate something you need to get rid of, why not see if you can reuse it in a different way? Even items that appear to be trash could help you save money. For instance, instead of buying a new, filled soap dispenser when I run out, I have one large container of hand soap to refill my small soap dispensers around the house when they’re running low. Use emptied egg containers as storage for your tacks and pins or your jewelry. Use an old T-shirt as a cleaning rag.

Find other great repurposing tips in Lifehacker’s “MacgyverTips” and Real Simple’s “New Uses For Old Things.”

Bottom Line: Don’t just trash at item without first considering what else you can do with it. You’ll end up saving money and cutting down on trash.

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

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