Quick Money Ideas

Trash to Treasure: How to Make Money Off Your Junk

Haven’t you heard? Minimalism is in, and it’s time to get rid of that toaster oven you haven’t used since your grandma bought it for you, same with those jeans that still have the tag on them that never fit. But don’t just toss this stuff in the trash, make a little profit off it as well! If you don’t know where to start, that’s fine because I’m going to list out some ideas to consider in order to make some cash off of your clutter. Zingy, right? 

Selling Your Clothes

What do you really wear these days? Some people have the unique sense to wear everything they have, but not all of us cycle through the whole wardrobe. It might not be a bad idea to clean out your closet, because if you haven’t worn that dress in the past year, then how useful is it really? 

The easiest way to know what you want to get rid of is to see what you have. Lay out all of your clothes in categorized piles and then go through each, asking yourself how often you wear each. If you’re not wearing it and don’t think you will, then toss it—it’s important to recognize this in and out of your wardrobe. Even this blogger in his article on minimalism and saving explains that finding out what’s truly important to you is the first step in cleaning up your life, literally and metaphorically. 

If you live on or near the east coast, you can bring your clothes to stores like Plato’s Closet, and might make more than just a few bucks if it’s designer threads. You can also use online resources like Instagram, Swap.com, or Facebook—it’s really a win-win when you make money off things you don’t need.

Pawnshop and Second Hand Stores

Your spring cleaning (or summer, winter, fall cleaning) doesn’t have to stop at clothes. If you have extra cellphones lying around, or other electronics you no longer find yourself using, you can sell them at a pawnshop or even a little thing called an ecoATM. Again, if you live near the east coast, then you can also take any books collecting dust, furniture, or tools to second-hand stores like 2nd & Charles, where they do research on your items to evaluate their worth, and offer you a little under that total for everything you have brought. If you live in the midwest or on the west coast, simply search for your local consignment and second-hand stores and see if they offer cash for traded items. Otherwise, there’s always the internet.

Online Vendors

If the idea of traversing into an antique shop or second-hand stores gives you the willies, then maybe try selling your items online. There are online markets such as Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, etc. where you can sell and even have bidding wars for your items. You of course would need to do a little research to see what you’re selling is actually worth, but that way you can simply ship or have the new owners pick up the junk you no longer want.

The best part about any of these options is that you get cash fast, as soon as you exchange your old stuff. Even at the places that evaluate the worth of your items, it takes no longer than a few hours to receive cash back, and while it might not pay your rent, it could certainly help you towards a larger goal.

Rent Out Your Home or Car

You can also make use of things you intend to keep. Take, for example, renting your home out on Airbnb. Airbnb is a website that manages the advertising, organizing, and safety aspects of using your home as a mini hotel. You can even limit your availability to a single room in your home if you do not have anywhere else to stay, and so long as you don’t mind the stranger in your home, it makes for a wonderful way to make money on the side.

Similarly, you can use your car to make deliveries for food or as a taxi without having to do much more than open an account on an app like Instacart or Lyft. So long as your car and driving history isn’t horrendous, you can easily sign yourself up and work when you like. In cities or places where large events happen, you can stack up your cash count pretty quickly in a short amount of time. If you can’t maneuver a traditional part-time job around your full-time job, then making your own hours through this process might work best to make cash quickly.

Recommended Reading

A really great resource to consult is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book helps you recognize what items truly create happiness in your life, and therefore what is unnecessary to keep. Like I said before, once you’re able to make that distinction, you have the opportunity to make relatively fast cash off of your old items, and a cleaner home for it.

How to Keep The Habit

It’s also important to recognize that it isn’t always necessary to buy something, as you can always consider borrowing it from a friend. For example, if you’re making a birthday cake but do not regularly bake, then borrow a friend or family member’s mixing machine and/or base ingredients so that way you don’t waste the excess of a whole bag of flour or collect more clutter with a machine. 

Also, just because there’s a sale doesn’t mean you’re required to buy it. The value of everything typically depreciates with time with some unique exceptions, so don’t get caught up in the 50% off craze. This Minimalist Hack blog does a good job in laying out some other habits to cultivate in order to keep your budget and home under control. You should also consider starting a spending diary if you haven’t already in order to keep track of your purchases.

So go get started! Complete each room sequentially until you have a clean home and money in your wallet!

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