Decluttering for Profit

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This fall I made $600 cleaning out my house. Yep, you read that right – $600.

I have been slowly decluttering our house for a couple of years now, learning the fine line of Enough vs. Too Much.

Finding the balance that is right for my family of four – so that no one feels deprived but there is room for creativity and new ideas and hospitality in our home.

Figuring out what my three men plus me can live without, what we can keep, and what we can treasure. Some items are just too precious, and we’ve meticulously narrowed it down and gone through every unopened box from the moves through the years.

I’ve had to be understanding of all our different personalities, and the mix of living with people who may be more attached to certain items than I am 😉

And I think we’ve done it – for now.

To be honest, if it was just me I’d be setting up shop in a tiny house, off the grid, living off the land, with only a few creature comforts (like movies – I love movies).

But I’m very glad that it’s not just me, so a bigger house it is, and trips to the grocery store, and paying utility bills – for now.

I’ll be discovering ways to incorporate my frugal, minimalist, and pioneer ways into our lives in the near future – but for now it is good to feel like we’ve arrive at Enough.

Of course, Enough for us is excessive when compared to other parts of the world, and I feel this every day – and I am forever learning how to share the blessing of More Than Enough. But that’s a post for another day 🙂

Let me break down this idea of decluttering for profit – this might come in useful over the next few weeks as Christmas approaches…

  • What works best for you? Decluttering in one big swoop or working through individual rooms/closets/cupboards? Figuring out your decluttering style is essential for this process, since getting overwhelmed will only hinder any progress you make. I did a mix of both – I decluttered in layers and categories. One room at a time, obvious non-essential items first (anything we hadn’t used for a few months, or outgrown, or broken, etc.) Then items that we didn’t like once we took a good look at them (clothing, accessories, linens, home decor, etc.). Then items that were excessive (ask yourself if you’re REALLY going to need that or use that in the near future). Then came the slower process of minimizing items with memories attached – this will take the longest – sometimes you will have to relive the memory again and heal from it or celebrate it one more time, or share the memory as you are passing the items along to another home. No matter how many times I try and pass along my Cabbage Patch doll (even to a child in Dominican!) I simply cannot seem to do it 🙂
  • As you declutter you’ll find there are three categories – just like on the reality TV shows – Trash, Donate, Keep. But I’m going to add /Sell to Donate – this is where the profit may come in 😉 Unusable items go in the Trash pile. Usable items that you no longer want to use go in the Donate/Sell pile, and treasures or usable items that you still want to use go in the Keep pile. You may need a designated room for your Donate/Sell pile – depending how much decluttering is going on!
  • Take the Trash pile out of the house, never to return – you are well on your way to ridding your home of clutter – congratulations!
  • Put the items from the Keep pile back in the rightful place in your home, ready to be used by your family. Treasures in the Keep pile need to find a spot in your home that keeps the area easy to clean when needed, or special memory boxes (we’ve got 2 big totes – one for Josh & I and one for the boys) kept in a small storage area of your home where they can be easily accessed if needed or wanted.
  • Now we get to the Donate/Sell pile – this is the money-maker 🙂 Decide which items you may not want profit from – this will be different for everyone, just go with your gut feelings. Move those out of the house as soon as possible – arrange for delivery or pick up within a few days if possible. The key is getting items out of the house. What’s left is For Sale.
  • You have a couple of options before you – yard sale or online sale. My husband banned yard sales a few years ago, he just couldn’t do it anymore. I get it, it’s not for everyone, so I started selling on Kijiji. I realize Kijiji is not the best option for everyone, but it works for me and I always make sure transactions occur on my front porch/driveway if my guys are not around. But usually I set meeting times for when I won’t be home alone. Or I bring/send one or two of my guys to deliver items to buyers.
  • If you sell on Kijiji, make sure you get at least a couple of good photos of each item – you’ll soon discover what sells and what doesn’t in your area. I sold many items from home renovation materials (used glass blocks, used medicine cabinet, extra roofing supplies) to clothing to toys/games to my digital piano (that was a hard one but I finally admitted to myself that I’d much rather sing than sit down at a piano – though I am SO GLAD I know how to play). Kijiji sales also require you are available most of the time to answer emails/texts and set up meetings. It’s like a part-time job for the duration of your sale. So I limit the sales to twice per year decluttering and one month of storing possible sales items. If they haven’t sold in a month, they’ve had their chance and they get donated. The key is getting items out of the house 🙂

And that’s how I made an extra $600 in about one month – decluttering for profit.

There just might be gold in them there closets, and cupboards, and spare rooms, and basements, and garages… 🙂

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