How Can I Make (and Save) Money With Spring Cleaning?
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While having a clean house and sprucing up your yard might be your goals, have you considered that you can make money with spring cleaning too?
As you make your house sparkle, items you no longer use or need can be heading to a new owner by selling or donating them.
You might even save some money with a few spring cleaning tasks too!
Make a Plan Before You Start
Even with a dose of spring fever, you might lose your enthusiasm for cleaning after a few hours.
That’s because cleaning often turns into decluttering; which can end up being a lot more work than you were planning on.
While moving from room to room, you can get overwhelmed by the winter accumulation of grime and by piles of things you want to get rid of.
And if your motivation to deal with it all wanes, you could end up with a bigger mess than when you started.
If that sounds familiar, making a plan before you start your spring cleaning might be the solution.
What Do You Have the Time and Energy To Do?
Before you grab the bottle of window cleaner or the vacuum, decide how much “spring cleaning” is reasonable this year.
Your schedule, motivation, and amount of work it will take are big factors in determining whether to plan on cleaning, decluttering, or both.
Take a look at your spring calendar.
Whether you’re busy being a stay-at-home parent, working full-time, building your own business, attending activities with the kids, or going to events like weddings or graduations – you may not have the time and energy to do anything extra.
If deep spring cleaning is going to add more stress to your life, it isn’t worth it.
Do a “needs and wants” inventory of each room/space.
If you have time in your schedule for spring cleaning, decide what needs to get done vs. what you’d like to accomplish in each room or area of your home.
As you inventory, also estimate how long each task will take. Prioritizing helps cross the “needs” off your to-do list.
Determine where and when you’ll start.
With inventory and time estimates, you can come up with a plan to get things done. And scheduled on your calendar.
- Are you going to devote a few hours each weekend to gradually accomplish your list?
- Would it be more productive to spend a full day cleaning? Or even a few days in a row?
If family members or friends are helping, make sure to check their schedules too
What Supplies Will You Need?
Don’t head to the store to buy cleaning supplies without checking on what you already have.
The last thing you need is to spend money and add more to your already crowded cupboards!
Keep in mind, some of the best “green” cleaning products include household supplies like vinegar, dish soap, and baking soda.
And those socks with no mates and t-shirts you don’t wear (or the kids outgrew) make great cleaning rags too.
If you decide you do need to purchase some items, don’t forget to use money-saving apps like Ibotta.
Renting equipment like carpet cleaning machines will save you money (and storage space) over buying them new, or hiring someone to do the job for you.
If you don’t have the time to DIY it though, check sites like Groupon to see if they have deals on carpet cleaning services.
Now that you have a spring cleaning plan and the supplies to start let’s look at ways you can save and make money too.
Saving Money With Spring Cleaning
While you’re thinking about how nice it will be to have a clean house, you might not realize your efforts will end up saving you money.
If you take the time to do things like vacuuming the refrigerator coils and changing the air conditioning filter, the appliances and systems run more efficiently.
When they use less energy, you’ll save money on your electricity bill.
A bonus? You may extend the life of these expensive home items too.
As you go through your cupboards, closets, the basement, garage, or shed – you’ll probably find things you didn’t remember you had.
You’ll then save money using up food that’s been sitting in the pantry or freezer for months.
When you don’t have to replace the tools you need to plant your garden or spring flowers, it will save you money.
And when you find the new beach towels you bought on clearance last fall in a box under the bed, you’ll save by skipping another trip to the store.
Making Money With Spring Decluttering
Whether you’re a Marie Kondo fan or not, going through and getting rid of things you aren’t using anymore makes sense. And it might even make you some money.
If you’re decluttering, separate what you plan to get rid of into three separate piles – toss, donate, and sell.
Toss any belongings badly stained or broken beyond repair.
Donate items you don’t want to sell (or can’t sell) to organizations such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the Vietnam Veterans of America. It’s best to call a local group to see what items they accept and to understand their donation process better. You may even get a tax break on donations if you itemize deductions.
Sell anything that can make you money – if you have time and it’s worth the effort. Some people sell things in garage or yard sales. Others use websites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to make local sales. (Always take safety precautions when meeting someone to view one of your items.)
Consignment shops in your community might be another option to sell gently used clothes and some household items.
You might make more money selling specific items online.
While many people know you can sell on eBay and Amazon, there are plenty of other sites to review too. Here are a few examples:
Electronics – If you have used smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers that you want to sell, one site to check out is Gazelle – a leading reCommerce company.
Textbooks – Don’t wait too long to sell the textbooks you no longer need. You can check AbeBooks to see if you can make a little more with them than selling books back to a college bookstore.
Gift Cards – If you find gift cards from the holidays or your birthday that you don’t plan to use (or that still have a balance), consider selling them for cash on Raise.
Clothing – There are several sites where you can make money on used clothes and accessories. You can try Tradesy, Poshmark, and thredUp to learn more about the brands they accept and their policies.
A Clean Home This Spring and More Money
Tackling cleaning projects along with decluttering this spring can be a win-win for your home and wallet.
The amount of time it will take depends on how long it’s been since you’re last deep cleaning or decluttering. The longer it’s been, the bigger the job you’re likely facing.
If you’re afraid you’ll lose motivation, consider making specific goals to keep your focus.
Does your house need to be clean and spruced up for a graduation party or baby shower?
Maybe you want to take a summer vacation, and the money you earn from spring cleaning will help pay for the trip.
No matter how much you get done, spring cleaning will make you feel better about your home.
It might also make or save you some money. Just be sure you take time for yourself and enjoy the beautiful spring weather too!
Next: Our Most Cost-Effective Value-Added DIY Home Projects
Written by Women Who Money Cofounders Vicki Cook and Amy Blacklock.
Amy and Vicki are the coauthors of Estate Planning 101, From Avoiding Probate and Assessing Assets to Establishing Directives and Understanding Taxes, Your Essential Primer to Estate Planning, from Adams Media.