Monthly Budget Challenge: Make Extra Money from Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning

Spring has sprung and it’s time for seasonal home cleaning. Spring cleaning isn’t all scrubbing and sweeping though, it’s an opportunity to purge your home of clutter. Before you throw anything away, consider the old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” We’re not just talking about your average garage sale, either. This year is the time to think bigger and get the return you want from the items you no longer need.

The resale space has expanded significantly from the early days of eBay and Amazon. Once a great resale opportunity for the average Joe, ecommerce resale sites are flooded with professional sellers and small companies that keep their prices lower than low, making it challenging for the casual seller. As a result, hundreds of specialized resale sites have popped up across the web, making it much easier to sell your discards to niche buyers for fair prices.

Rather than surrender to a garage sale or go up against the resale goliaths, widen your net by using these websites to connect with potential buyers. From pricey electronics to random trinkets, there is a wide range of resources available to any spring cleaner looking to sell their unwanted goods.


spring cleaning electronics


Gazelle: Brand new or broken, Gazelle takes most smartphones and Apple devices. Go through their free quote process to figure out the value of your device. If you accept the price, you’ll receive payment within a week via PayPal, check or Amazon gift card.

NextWorth: Increase your net worth with NextWorth. This electronic resale site takes a wide variety of products, including laptops, games, cameras, portable audio and wearable tech. Get a quick quote for your item and ship for free, or drop it off at your local Target or Meijer for instant store credit.

BIG BUCKS TIP: Make sure you clear all personal data off any device before you sell it. Identity theft can cost you money, time and much more.

spring cleaning clothes


thredUP: This clothing resale site truly makes the selling process seamless. Instead of tediously listing each individual piece you want to sell (and you might have a lot if you just did a big spring cleaning), you simply order one of their “Clean Out Kits” and fill it with your trendy and defect-free clothing. Once the item sells, you can keep your earnings as store credit to buy something new, donate it to a non-profit or transfer it as cash to your PayPal account.

The Real Real: Luxury consignment at its finest. The Real Real deals exclusively in high-end clothing, accessories and even home decor. The Real Real team creates the listing for you, much like thredUP. Complimentary pick-up is currently available in 16 cities. If you’re out of pick-up range, free shipping is also available.

Tradesy: When you are asked to participate in a wedding or another special event, someone else is usually choosing what you wear. Unfortunately, that usually means you’re buying something you will never wear again. Get some of that money back on Tradesy, a popular site for lightly used clothing, accessories and bridesmaid dresses. Tradesy has free shipping and two options for your earnings: keep it as Tradesy credit for 9% commission, or pay 2.9% more to transfer it to your PayPal, debit card or bank account.

BIG BUCKS TIP: Thin out seasonal clothing before the season begins to get a better return. Stores feel confident in buying seasonal clothes from you because they know they can sell what’s in season right away, while out of season clothes just take up room in storage and run the risk of being out of style by sale time.

spring cleaning books


Chegg: Sell back old textbooks from your college years. Chegg is a popular choice amongst college students for purchasing or renting used textbooks. Chegg will take most books as long as they are in “acceptable” condition. You can ship your books to them for free.

BookScouter: The Expedia of used book sales, BookScouter crawls booksellers across the web and finds you the best buyback price available for your book. BookScouter’s free shipping makes them even more convenient.

BIG BUCKS TIP: Science-based textbooks will likely have a very small return. New editions come out almost annually, and many college professors request the most up-to-date version. Sell these as quickly as possible to make the most money.

spring cleaning housing


Chairish: Given the size of your average furniture piece, you’re slightly limited in your method of resale. If you’re not fetching the price you want for your piece at a local resale shop, try Chairish. While you are still responsible for the cost of shipping, you also have the option to charge for delivery within a certain radius, or limit your product to pick-up only.

Craigslist: With no commission charge, Craigslist is one of the best options for the resale of any item. However, it can also be spam-ridden, and items are more open to price negotiations. That being the case, your listings should be limited to items that have limitations in the resale space like furniture. Craigslist is geo-targeted, making it a great option for selling items locally that are too inconvenient to ship.

Historic House Parts: If you own an older home, don’t throw out pieces of the original house without checking on Historic House Parts. This website collects classic bathroom furnishings, hardware, electrical oddities and more. Items that are no longer produced fetch an even better price.

WeddingBee: Unique decorations you’ve outgrown might just be what a bride is looking for. It may sound a little out of the box to consider your vase set as “wedding décor,” but it might be perfect for that rustic outdoor wedding or vintage DIY reception. The wedding industry is ever growing with each bride trying to be more unique than the last.

BIG BUCKS TIP: If your furniture is too shabby to sell as is, consider upcycling it into something that is worthy of a new owner. Give your furniture a facelift by reupholstering it, switching out the draw pulls or giving it a coat of paint. A low-budget fix can go far if you have the skill set.

spring cleaning sales

Junk + Miscellaneous Items

SwapMeSports: If you have a stockpile of sporting goods that you no longer use, sell them to fellow athletes on SwapMeSports. Seller registration is free, but you need a 30-day membership to list any items. Memberships cost $5, plus whatever the cost of shipping the item. Alternatively, check your local listings for stores like Play It Again Sports and other athletic resale locations.

Raise: Everyone has gotten a gift card or two for a store or restaurant they never go to. The intention of the gift card was kind, so you’ve held onto it all this time. Put it to use by turning it into cash for something you will use. Raise will list your gift card for whatever price you choose that’s equal or less than that of the card’s actual value. You can price it lower than the value for a higher chance of selling. Raise will pay you via direct deposit, PayPal or check when the gift card sells.

BIG BUCKS TIP: Don’t just throw out aluminum and copper. Both metals can get you cash depending on how much you collect.

how to sell my things

Ready to List Your Junk?

You’ve researched your options and are ready to sell… almost. Selling isn’t only about where you list your stuff, but also how you choose to list it. We’ve got you covered with a few tips to improve any online resale listing.

  • Check to see how much your item is currently being sold for on eBay or Amazon to gauge your asking price.
  • Generally, collectibles originating before 1970 should get you a decent return, but collectibles made after that time are not as attractive to high-paying buyers. The reason? Overproduction. Approach potential buyers with reasonable expectations.
  • If you’re not sure how to clean your collectible item, don’t try. You could risk depreciating its value or ruining the piece altogether. Assume the buyer is familiar with the collectible and can take care of it.
  • Consider selling items in lots rather than individually. You run the risk of making less, but you’ll likely sell them faster and it’s less work for you.
  • If you aren’t sure of the specs on your item, see if you can find the original online or at the store where you purchased it. Many retailers list dimensions, weight, features and more.
  • Make sure you’re thorough in your description. If the item is damaged, note the damage in detail. Not only will it lessen the chance it will get returned, your honesty builds credibility with the potential buyer.
  • Take pictures of your items in a well-lit space, and avoid harsh artificial lighting if possible. Think: would this photo capture my attention? Does this photo make me want to learn more about this item and potentially purchase it?
  • Be as prompt as you can when answering questions. This is another way to demonstrate your reliability to your potential buyer and will make them feel more secure in choosing your item.