Unclutter Your Life

Get Rid Of Clutter AND Make Cash

The kids are out of school and what better time to clear out the clutter and make some money.  You have the kids to help and what better enticement for them then the chance to earn some money, right?  The trick is getting it done right.

I know you are already stressing about the amount of work, right?  I have several piles going in the garage with stuff I would like to sell BUT the reality is, it never happens.  Then it gets donated to church rummage sale or to the local thrift store.  The thing is, I didn’t get rid of the clutter, I simply moved it to another part of the house.  Not making any money and creating more of a mess in the garage.   I have finally faced the facts – I don’t have the time nor the energy to do a yard sale, sell on ebay (been there done it and it was a pain!) so I just donate to a good local cause.  If this is you, it is okay for admit it – it is the first step to getting rid of the clutter.

If you are going to have  sale –  pick a date (several months from now) how about just before the kids go back to school.  This way they will  have some of their own money to shop with, sound good?  This gives you a goal.

Now, set up several boxes to collect items for the sale.  Plastic tubs are the best because they keep the bugs out while you are decluttering.  I prefer boxes so whatever doesn’t sell can just go to a local cause.  BUT if you are going to save things to sell at the next one……..plastic is the way to go.

Okay, you have decided to have a sale, gathered your items and now comes the tough party – PRICING!  We have heard the tales of those who make thousands while most of us scrape by with a hundred or so (more if we are lucky), the key is finding way to price which works for you.

I like the color dot idea because you can grab them at the dollar store and it takes the stress of out individually pricing things.  Create a poster with a key showing what each dot means, price wise, such as a green dots equal one quarter, yellow dots are fifty cents, blue dots are a dollar, etc. The advantage of this method is, it is easy to slash prices at the end of the day, since you can just change the key for what the dots mean.  If you want, you can add these sticker to the item as you go through your home decluttering, so you don’t have to have a marathon session for pricing right before the sale.

The key to a successful sale or event is advertising.  I can’t tell you how many “garage sale” signs I pass and the information is so small you can hardly read it.  Either make bigger signs OR use arrows.  I actually found an amazing sale with just arrows pointing at every corner on the “garage sale” sign.  It was tucked away but people were finding it because of the signs.  Okay, enough of my soap box.  LOL

Try to coordinate with other families in your neighborhood, if possible, to all have your sales on the same day. The more sales, the more people will come to all of them. This will also help you commit to a deadline for your sale, since others are also participating, which can be a good motivation factor.

Now, spread the word far and wide. Some of my favorite inexpensive methods include ads on Craigslist, large colorful signs on major roadways, and notices on community noticeboards, such as in your local grocery store.  If you do a community yard sale, maybe invest in a classified ad in the newspaper.  Social media is huge so they will get you some customers too BUT don’t rely on just it for your foot traffic.  .

The key to keeping your sanity during all of this is be organized about the process. I know it sounds crazy because if you were organized – you wouldn’t need to de-clutter and have a sale, right?

During the whole process keep your two goals in mind as you prepare: #1 – make some money, and #2 – get rid of clutter.

You won’t be able to do a sale on your own and it is more fun, if you enlist helpers for the day. Give each helper a specific task, including directing crowds, answering questions, making sales, and taking payments. You may also want someone to help with entertainment, such as keeping nice music going, passing out (or selling) refreshments, etc.  Having some cold water or cookies are always a good way to make some quick sales AND get the kids involved.Make sure you  have lots of small bills and change.

Part of the fun of garage sales for those buying is scoring a deal and bargaining. Be ready to haggle and cut deals, since your goal is to get this stuff out of your home. Throw in freebies, or buy one get one half of deals, anything to get the stuff out of your home.  Don’t wait till the end of the day to haggle – be willing to do it all day long.

The truth is, you won’t sell everything.  Make arrangements for a charity to come pick up the rest, or drop it off yourself directly from your lawn at the end of the sale to the charity of your choice.  Remember we are clearing clutter!

A long post but hopefully a helpful one!  Share your best garage/yard sale tips with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Budgeting

Tips for Saving on National Savings Day

National Savings Day was set up by Capitol One.  A great way to market their business, right?  Despite the marketing aspect, it is a great way to encourage people to gain confidence about their relationship with money.  Believe me I get it!  Savings accounts have come and gone in my life and at the ripe old age of 60, I think I am finally feeling better about my relationship with money.

Most of us are great at collecting sentimental items – pictures, scrapbooks, or jewelry passed down through generations of family.  Why?  Because they mean something to us and they evoke emotion. These collections are the thing which helps me on the days when brain fog and MS lesions cause me to forget.  To same it is just “stuff” while for others it has a different meaning.

Why is it then so hard for us to transfer this concept to a portion of our paycheck every month?  Why is it so hard to pay ourselves FIRST in preparation for a rainy day or retirement?  What if you were to consider a savings account like your junk drawer or the sock basket?  Would it make it any easier?

Growing up my mom had a bottle she kept half dollars in.  When she was at work, if someone paid with a half dollar, at the end of the shift/day, she would swap bills for those coins.  She took the coins home and dropped them in the bottle.  Her savings account when she started working.

Life and my addictions got in the way of my saving money.  From drugs to credit card debt, I always had an excuse NOT to save.  I needed money for bills or groceries or whatever.  I know I am not alone, right?  Does the thought of paying yourself first and NOT touching the money seem crazy?

Here are a few tips which might help you get started on the savings road:

1. Organize your grocery shopping

Being organized when you go grocery shopping can help you save money. Have a list of what you need to buy, and coupons (I’m still working on this one).  Shop early in the week to avoid the stress of over crowded stores.

2. Eliminate one service each year you can do without

YIKES  Scary, right?  We cut our cable bill by almost half.  We went from what seemed like 1000 channels to about 300 although the cable company said there are only 143.  We use our cell phones all of the time.  We have a landline for doctors to leave messages.  So I cut the cost to less than $30 per month.

3. Don’t buy “off the shelf”

There are so many ways to buy things – Facebook, Craigslist are on top.  Then there are thrift shops, yard sales, and church rummage sales.  Surf the web for the lowest price, or upcoming sales.  You may not want to do this for small purchases but maybe say $50 and above.

4. Participate in – and use – your rewards programs

Admit it!  You have tons of reward cards, right?  How many of them do you actually use?  Sign up for them where ever possible, and keep tabs of your points. I love Ebates because the notification pops up about a rebate when I am shopping online at a store which offers it.

5. Sell what you no longer need

Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, try selling them first to make some additional money. Then put the money towards a bill.  We are not allowed to have yard sales at our condo complex so I have tried Facebook and Ebay.  Those require a little bit more time and organization.  When items don’t sell, donate them to a local non-profit and be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.

6. Buy clothing in thrift or discount stores

I have been a fan of thrift stores for years, since before Belinda was born.  Thrift stores don’t have a huge selection, but you can often come across the perfect item from time to time, sometimes barely used. This is great  for kid’s clothing since they outgrow them so fast.  If thrift stores aren’t your thing, then take a look at discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s.

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Thirty One’s Soft Utility Tote is perfect for these kinds of trips.  It can be a large purse and then expands to carry all of your treasures home.

7. Buy when everyone else is selling

Retail sales usually fall off in January, so nearly everything goes on sale. Wouldn’t it be better to do the bulk of your buying in January rather than November and December.  Buy your winter clothing in late winter or early spring, when winter items go on clearance.

What are some of your best tips to save money?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!