How many times has this happened to you? You pull out that four-year old shirt for the 10th time, and put it back as soon as you look at your terrible reflection in the mirror. But you dutifully put the shirt back in the closet in the off-chance it comes back in style or you lose 5 pounds.
I’m guilty of this all the time. But let’s be honest, neither are happening.
This month’s Simple Saver Series challenge is all about clearing out those old, unwanted items. (We’re going with a bit of a spring cleaning theme this month.) I want you to go through your closets and be somewhat ruthless about items that just don’t do it for you anymore.
The general rule of thumb is that you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re likely not going to wear it. And if you have the time, try taking the same approach to your shoes, books, videos, furniture, and old phones too.
Wait a second, what does this have to do with saving money? Ah, I’m glad you asked.
This cleansing exercise isn’t just about minimalism, or an easier time getting dressed in the morning (though those are nice benefits). It’s also about money. Or more importantly, the money you can make selling old things you don’t want anymore.
Secondhand clothing (and shoes, and furniture, and technology) is a big market nowadays. There are now a bunch of places where you can offload your unwanted items for cash. I’ve rounded up a list here of quite a few websites where you can sell clothes for cash.
While you’re not going to get a lot for any one item (unless you have designer ones), the little money per item can add up quickly. In the past year I’ve made $843 selling 24 items on eBay.
There’s also a charitable portion to this exercise. It’s likely that only a portion of your items will be sell-able. Separate your discard pile into a few categories – ready for resale, too worn for sale but usable, and ready for the trash. You should donate any items that are too worn for re-sale to a charity like Goodwill (make sure to add this to your tax return next year). If any items are too worn for donation, try recycling them instead of throwing them in the trash (there are charities that recycle old fabrics).
I have one more request of you once you’ve sold your items. Put whatever money you earned from it into your savings account (even if you could get a little more “money” by getting store credit at the consignment shop). After all, this series is all about saving, not spending, more.
Best of luck! Remember, I always love to chat on Twitter or in the comments to hear how your month is going.