Spring Clean for a Little Green

Spring encourages us to clean up and make room for new growth.

Outside, as we clear away the dead foliage from the long winter, we are motivated by the fresh air and shining sun. Inside the house, our closets, basements and garages need the same pruning, but the thought of rummaging through dark closets on a sunny day is very unappealing. We often take the easy way out and shut the door, keeping those items out of sight and out of mind.

What if you could make money from your spring cleaning efforts? By reselling your unused items, you are giving another family a chance to buy a quality, gently used item at less than half the cost. When you give these items a second chance at life, you get them out of your house and out of landfills, making it a win-win-win situation. A quick glance at the list below may give you the motivation you need to go through your own closets.

Used electronics – Secondhand computers, cell phones, tablets and MP3 players are always in demand. Websites like Gazelle or Buy My Tronics buy those used electronics that you no longer use. Simply answer questions online about your item, get a quote and ship for free. After inspection, you will get paid via check, Amazon gift card or PayPal. Gazelle will purchase iPhones in any condition – cracked, soaked or gently used. Gadget Salvation is another online used electronics company. In addition to cell phones, tablets and computers, Gadget Salvation will buy your cameras and GPS units.

Clothing – eBay is an excellent place to sell used clothing. Gently used children’s clothes can be sold as an individual item or as a lot of similar items. You will be charged a small fee based on the selling price of your item. Don’t limit your sales to the kids’ clothes. When I changed careers, I no longer needed my designer office clothes and found plenty of buyers on eBay. Local consignment shops are great for items like cocktail dresses or one time use items like a child’s Christmas outfit. Trade in teen-style clothes for cash at Plato’s Closet (Mobile).

Sports Equipment – As your children get older, you are left with a trail of sports equipment that they have outgrown. Consider selling items like soccer cleats, baseball bats and football pads online at Swap Me Sports, a bulletin board for those interested in buying, selling and trading sports equipment. Unlike eBay, there are no fees for the transaction. The equipment is listed by region for easy pick up. Swap Me Sports also lets you donate items to teams that are in need.

Video games and game systems – As your child outgrows games and game systems, know that there are other families growing into them. As my son moved on from Wii to Xbox One, we were left with tons of unused games on the shelves. Trade your items for in-store credit at local Game Stop stores or for cash online at Next Worth. Amazon offers a trade in program exchanging video games and game systems for Amazon gift cards. Next Worth and Amazon work in the same way by giving you a quote and offering free shipping. After inspecting your items, a credit will be deposited in your account.

Used books, movies and music – In addition to video games, Amazon’s trade in program accepts used books, movies and CDs. If you would rather have cash, you can set up an Amazon seller account. While selling items yourself usually yields more money, you will need to invest more time waiting for the sale. If you are lucky enough to have a used book store in your town, consider selling your item there and save on shipping resources. A brick and mortar store may give your more for your item because their volume is lower than Amazon, therefore creating more supply and demand.

Still have things you no longer need? Consider donating them. Local charities make monthly pickups and sell donated items in their stores. Your items still might get a second chance at life and the money will go directly to the charity. With spring cleaning behind you, you will be left with less clutter, a lighter conscience and money in your pockets. What a great way to start off the summer! 

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. She hopes that money is the motivator her kids need to tackle the closets in their house.

Guest Contributor