I am not sure exactly sure how this past weekend ended up turning into a full scale spring cleaning weekend… but it did.
And while my idea of fun isn’t cleaning out the garage, office and kitchen all weekend, I will say that spring cleaning this weekend was shockingly refreshing (Not to mention, we also made some money in the process and found some really cool stuff like):
- 1942 Notre Dame vs Navy Football Ticket (Worth $40 on Ebay)
- AOL 4.0 Quick Reference Guide for “State of art technology.”
- A photo of my student loan math after college
- Over $40 in gift cards
- My college beer pong table
- A BB gun from middle school
After completing our decluttering (No, we didn’t do the Japanese thing where you hold things and ask if it makes you happy) I realized there are three invaluable advantages to spring cleaning:
- It makes you feel refreshed and more productive
- You can actually find money by cleaning your house
- You realize how much we consume as adults
Why You Should Do Some Spring Cleaning
Much benounced to myself, there is thing called the internet. Decluttering our home office alone quickly brought this to my attention as we filled up 4 bags to recycle with old papers.
Our collection of receipts, water bills from 2011, papers with notes on them and vet documents from Morgan’s recent chocolate fiasco quickly reminded me to leverage the internet.
Most of this mindless paper I was filing away (To never look at again) was backed up digitally and within our email inboxes. In other words, it was pointless to save.
Now, call me old fashioned, I still like to keep all my old tax records in file folders, but even that was haphazardly filed and organized. Addressing just the office was the original goal of our Saturday evening.
But sort of like those nights out in college where one drink led to another, our entire Sunday was excitedly engulfed in organizing our entire house. Sunday quickly became Josh take care of the garage, while Lauren takes care of the kitchen.
So before you go crazy and decide to recycle the whole house, here are some quick tips.
Spring Cleaning Tips
I am not a cleaning or a decluttering expert. As I alluded to earlier, I didn’t do the “Japanese hold it if it makes you happy keep it thing,” because 9 times in 10 I have no problem just tossing something.
That being said I was still amazed as to how much over consumption we have done over the years. I found at least 15 reusable shopping bags around the house, 20 or so brand new notebooks, and birthday cars stashed in 4 different places around the house.
However, we did have several spring cleaning goals:
- Get rid of things we really don’t need or haven’t used in a year or two
- Make a huge donation pile
- Make a yard sale pile
- Get Josh’s kitchen office back into the actual office
- Finally go through all the cards I have saved for years.
Guilty as charged. I really have trouble throwing away cards. They do actually make me feel better and I think if people go out of their way to spend $5 and give me a card I should hold on to it (Now, if people just Paypaled you $5 instead of a card that would be awesome too).
I know it is weird, but this weekend my wife created me a card box for cards that I just can’t let go of (One’s from my mom and grandma in particular). She also wanted me to take the Money Life Wax blog office out of the kitchen and back to the real office.
For a full checklist of spring cleaning ideas check this out.
6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Help You Make Money!
Here are just a few spring cleaning tips that hopefully help you feel better and make some money in the process! Just remember, you can get rid of some of those reusable grocery bags, but those won’t make you lots of money.
1. Yard Sale Season – Make a For Sale Pile
It is officially yard sale season.
There is no better time than now to pop open your foldable table and start throwing all the stuff you don’t want onto it for your neighborhoods annual yard sale.
Others will find value in your old glasses, video games and decorations. While you might not make a $1,000, even an extra $100 is a win. Here are some yard sale items that sell like hotcakes:
- Gently used clothes (Trendier the better)
- Old furniture
- Games & DVD’s
- Exercise equipment
- Hopefully my 65” TV from 2006
2. Donate = Tax Write Offs
Whatever you don’t sell at your annual yard sale, load up the car or call Purple Heart and donate whatever is left over.
You’ll not only donate to someone in need or a good cause, there are tax benefits to donating used goods. Spring cleaning does wonders for your psych, but can also help someone else out! The tax write off won’t be lots, but every little bit adds up.
Related: 11 Ways to Spend Tax Return Wisely
3. Sell Used Textbooks
This may or may not apply to you, but see about selling your used textbooks on Amazon or websites like Book Scouter.
I know it can sometimes be hard to just toss a book that you paid $300 for, so you hold onto them as if you plan to really dive back into them. For teaching, my textbooks are quickly outdated. However, Lauren still refreshes herself for certain PT scenarios using her books.
For the books she doesn’t use we currently are in the progress of selling them online. Just be sure to analyze if the hassle is worth the money as some textbooks are worth more than others!
4. Find Items of Value
As you clean your house or apartment, the best way to start is to work from top to bottom. Piles seem to work best:
- Sell Pile
- Donate Pile
- Toss Pile
- Organize Pile
- Value Pile
Things like electronics, rare Notre Dame football tickets, jewelry and nice clothes can go in your high value pile. You can determine if you want to either keep it or sell it later – don’t rush.
Items that have higher value might be worth not just selling at the yardsale. Instead, see if they can go for higher online. For example the Notre Dame football ticket runs about $40 on eBay. I decided that it isn’t worth the $40 to sell and we will just hold on to it.
Now if you have an old Apple Watch, iPhone, or collectors items that you don’t want, see how much they go for online!
5. Buy Cards in Bulk
Just cleaning our home made quickly realize how ridiculous card spending has gotten. It is the thought that counts, right? So it doesn’t matter if the card sings to you.
Do this now and you can thank me later. Login to Vista Print, make yourself all the cards you need for the year for birthdays and holidays.
This will save you loads of money by avoiding trips to the store, over spending on fancy cards and impulse buying other stuff while you’re at the store. You will also feel less overwhelmed every time need you need a card.
6. Gift Cards & Coins
If I had a nickel for everytime I swore I would be a rich man I used to say. Well, if I added up all the nickels, dimes, and quarters we found around the house this weekend I would say we found at least $8.00 (Good for one Chipotle chicken bowl).
Even cooler then finding $8.00 in coins, was finding money on the old gift cards in wallets, purses, and in the office my wife had.
Just to play it safe, before tossing them, we decided to call first to find check balances. One card had $30 on it still and in total we eclipsed the $40 mark. Just tying up some loose ends and cleaning up netted $48 that was sitting around.
My Spring Cleaning Takeaway:
I am all about finding my “Real Hourly Wage,” and so that makes spending an entire weekend cleaning and organizing really hard for me to do. But call me crazy, I actually really like the feeling all this spring cleaning gave my wife and I.
Just purging the house and organizing our life felt amazing. When Lauren moved in back in 2014 it was like we took her apartment and my townhouse and squashed it all together.
Periodically we would go through everything, but for everything they we got rid of it seemed like we got two more (Like those reusable shopping bags). It was finally time to do a full scale spring cleaning. While making money is an added bonus to spring cleaning, in reality it is the mental clarity it provides.
Instead of starting and ending days with the thought of, “Ughh I don’t want to deal with this office so I will just throw it in the pile,” the days start and end on a positive note. With that….
- Go clean just one room
- Work from the top down
- See what you can sell
- And don’t do the Japanese hold it thing unless you really want to
Gotta go, I have more spring cleaning to do! ~Josh
P.S. Next up is the pallet wall in the living room to go around the TV. Don’t tell my wife – she doesn’t really like my project ideas.
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Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.