Making money off your storage clutter
Your storage unit, no matter how big, will likely become overfull with time. You may stash items in it thinking that you will reclaim and use them in the future (but have no need for them in the present), or do so because space is at a premium in your home. Regardless of your reasons for storing items, your unit will eventually reach capacity (and beyond) with persistent, interval storage trips, leaving you wondering how to create space without completely discarding your possessions.
What to do about this claustrophobic sprawl?
Instead of tossing your storage clutter (or attempting a rigorous unit reorganization), why not sell it? The old platitude, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is valid, if overused. In many instances, buyers will pay hefty sums for what seems like superfluous rubbish (if you disagree, even a cursory browsing of ebay will change your mind).
Taking a weekend to sift through your storage for sell-able items is worth the effort. Keep in mind, however, that buyers of used goods maintain your same standards. Don’t try to sell stained clothes or rags, broken glass, cracked porcelain, shoddy household appliances, or dysfunctional toys. Also, be sure not to sell recalled items. But anything clean, intact, safe, and useful merits shopping around.
It’s natural to be apprehensive about selling certain items. You may have ill-fitting clothes in storage that you hope to wear again after gaining/losing weight. Or maybe you’ve placed novel or antique items that you find interesting (but not enough so to keep in your home) in storage with the intention of later revisiting them. Perhaps unwanted gifts you’ve received but felt wrong about throwing away have found their way into your storage unit. Ditto for out-of-use books and household appliances/gadgets that you don’t want to part with. In any case, the best course of action is to ponder whether you will really ever use the item in question again or even miss it if it is gone.
Don’t feel guilty about or let excessive sentiment prevent you from selling your clutter if you truly want to. Though most items relegated to storage are generally not worth anything like a fortune individually, they can return a handsome sum when sold in groups. You may also come across an individual treasure worth more than expected and see your pockets swell.
Once you’ve sorted through your inventory, make a list of the items you want to sell, set a fair price for each, and decide where/how you want to sell them.
Means of selling your goods:
Garage or yard sales are the perfect way to get rid of goods rapidly and easily. They are easy to set up and require less than a day of your time. All you have to do is promote the event and have your things ready the morning of. You might also consider asking family or friends help you watch your merchandise and tally the money you’ve made. If you are lucky (and weather permits), you will have opened up a great deal of storage space and gained a wad of cash by the end of the event.
Consignment shops will sell your goods if they are in reasonable condition. Of course, they will take a cut of the sale, but this should not be a deterrent if you want to avoid the hassle of personally selling your items. You can sell clothes, baby and children items, household goods, furniture, and more at specially-designated consignment outfits. You shouldn’t expect to make a fortune this way, but, whatever your return, it will be better than tossing your items and receiving nothing.
Auction sites like ebay are a great vehicle for getting rid of your stuff with little time and fuss. All you have to do is:
- Create a username/login
- Ensure that you have a valid PayPal account
And then create an item listing by:
- Uploading photos
- Adding a title and description
- Selecting payment and shipping options
After applying these steps, all you have to do is wait for the auction to end, receive your money, and ship the sold item.
On various online forums and marketplaces, including Craigslist, Amazon, and even Facebook groups, you can make quick sales with little effort. The steps for listing/selling items parallel those for ebay. But exercise caution, as you are dealing with strangers.
You can also add to your pocket change by recycling certain items. Some manufacturers offer incentives for recycling sidelined electronics and other items, including discounts for newer versions. Likewise, many online sites offer cash for salvage goods. Junkyards often do the same for metal items. Working with any one of these entities yields both cash and the satisfaction of having been environmentally responsible.
The opportunity to save money also exists in the form of trading your items through designated online exchange sites. These exist for virtually every imaginable category and link you with interested fellow swappers with whom you can hash out deals.
Finally, you can (in some instances) donate unwanted items to a legally established organization to lower your gross taxable income. All you have to do is make the donation and keep a record of it. Then, when completing your tax forms, cite the recorded donation.
*You can find more info. about making deductible donations on the IRS Web site.
No matter the method you choose, money waits in the wings for your storage clutter.