"Imagination is more important than knowledge." ~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Clean Yourself a Little Green

With the current state of things everyone is looking for all the little ways to save or make a buck. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to not only purge your home of the excess, but make a little money too. Then you could use that money to buy to organizational tools for the areas that always gather the clutter, or put it toward taking a family outing.

My best tip before starting spring cleaning is to make yourself a priority list of the areas you intend to tackle. Most importantly, only start one at a time! I can't tell you how many times i didn't make a list and i would start one area then say to myself "oh i need to do that too" then start working on that area some as well. Before i knew it, i was spread out over 3 rooms all only partially finished at 4 in the afternoon. Don't underestimate an area just become it is small, that little closet might seem like it would be a quick job but if needs more organization than purging that can turn into a very long process. If you make the list first you can keep it handy, like on a bulletin board or the fridge, then on those days when you get bitten by the spring clean bug you know where to hit next.

Once you have your piles of clothes no one has worn in 2 years, toys that your kids are to big for, a couple stacks of dusty VHS tapes, and maybe even a couch or chair... Have a yard sale! Most housing communities organize a yard sale date at least once a year. If you don't live in a community that does, organize your own. Maybe talk to a couple neighbors on your street and see if they would be interested in coordinating a yard sale at the same time.

Perhaps a yard sale is just not what you want to do. There are still other ways to sell your items you could use ebay, or amazon for anything from children's clothes or toys to books, videos, and electronics. If you have furniture that's still in good working condition, you can post them to craig's list or other free online classifieds, as well as your local newspaper (though it definitely won't be free). Also try consignment store's or maybe rent a booth at a neardy flea market that gets a lot of traffic. Used book and music stores will often buy your items as well.

Right so maybe all of that is just to time consuming or maybe you just don't have the motivation to make all that happen. I don't blame you. You still have a couple options and even though they are not directly making you money, you might see more dollar signs on your tax return. First what you need to do is make an itemized list of everything you are giving away. For example: 15 shirts, 10 pants, 20 childrens toys, 2 strollers, 1 couch... etc. When tax time comes keep your list with your W2's. Once you've done that you can begin the donation process. Some hospitals will take very gently used newborn items, as also might the department of social services. You can check online for local charities that take baby and children's clothes. A local church or daycare will welcome gently used toys. The humane society and local kennels will take your old pet items like leashes, muzzles, harnesses and carriers. Dress for success with accept gently used work/office attire. There are even charities you can donate your car too (one of them being habitat for humanity).

The upside of donating to various charities is that your stuff goes straight into the hands of someone that needs them. Instead of laying around on a shelf at goodwill for years until someone buys them. It doesn't really take that long and you can get the family in on it. It's a good time to teach your children about giving and even though they might not always see exactly who and where their donation helps, they can feel good knowing that it is going to help someone who really needs it.

Lastly if you really don't have the time or want to put forth the energy, you could simply load up your truck, or a neighbors, and haul your stuff down to goodwill. Or if don't have the time or energy for that either, there are charities (like Help Vets veteran charity) that will come and pick your stuff up for you. But you're still going to have to put forth a little energy into locating one.


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