We’ve known since before Christmas that my husband’s car is on it’s last leg. It turns off randomly and does some weird things that make the check engine light come on about every other time you drive it. The repair for it is $800 buckaroos. . .which isn’t exactly cash we can dig out of the couch. Without any foreseeable increase in income, how do you tackle a big expense like that without delving into savings or handing over a credit card? Well in March – I buckled down and got serious about earning some extra cash for the repair. . .and found an extra benefit – ridding ourselves of another burden . . . STUFF.
Now even though I blog about “shopping” and deals 24/7 – I really am not a big shopper. I don’t generally “decorate” my house and I’m by no means a fashionista. My kids are clothed primarily because they’re grandma loves finding a good deal on clothes and I would be happy wearing the same comfortable outfit and shoes everyday. But still we still manage to have stuff. Lots of stuff and frankly – I’m tired of it. Tired of the burden it brings. The dust it collects and the space that it takes. I was ready to say goodbye stuff and hello funds for the car repair. . .
Here’s the method to my March Madness:
- I took a real hard look at what we NEED in our home.
- If it wasn’t a “need” I evaluated whether or not it had any value.
- If it had any real value, more than $40 – I sold it on Craigslist. I picked $40 as the minimum value worth taking a photo, listing it online, corresponding with potential buyers and waiting for them to show up and purchase the item.
- If it was less than $40 it was donated to a local charity and we saved our receipt for taxes next year.
- I went through all the children’s clothes and toys – and pulled out the nice items (worth $2 or more) and sold at the LMNOP Consignment sale March 23-25.
Here’s what I discovered and how I earned more than $1,000 in March
When we moved to our house about 2.5 years ago, we brought our fridge with us from our old house. The new house had a fridge that worked just fine, so our “old fridge” went in the garage. It was nice to have some extra freezer space and it sure was nice to have a “drink fridge” and a place to put extra food (mostly if we were having company). But it was a luxury and was most of the time EMPTY. We bought a upright freezer last fall to hold our freezer meals and found we weren’t really using the fridge to it’s full capacity.
So we sold it = $200!
Plus extra space in our garage AND our electrical bill will go down. We had initially listed for $250 but because good friends of ours ended up buying it we dropped the price to $200.
Leftover envelopes from our book business long ago
My husband and I ran an online bookstore through Amazon when we were first married. It was a fun way to make extra money on the side (definitely recommend it) – and we had nearly 3,000 books in our basement at one point, all for sale on Amazon. It ended up funding my husband’s Master’s degree but the business fizzled out after we had children and traveling the state looking for books became too much work with the kiddos. We had thousands of padded envelopes hanging out in our garage, leftover from the book business. It took me 30 minutes to catalog, sort and post the envelopes on Craigslist.
Sold every single stinkin’ one = $200
Plus extra space in our garage!
Daughter’s old high chair
My daughter had almost outgrown her high chair, so we moved her to a booster seat at the table and sold her high chair on Craigslist. She’s happy to join the family at the table and I’m happy to have the extra room in my dining room!
Sold it = $100
Extra space in our dining room!
Old corner desk
We did some room re-arranging in February and moved my daughter from sharing a room with my son, into her own room (for fewer sleepless nights) – which means I no longer have an office. The big old corner desk we had bought on Craigslist many years ago was now too big for a workspace in our living area. I ended up using an old small dining room table for my “office” and we ended up selling the big old desk!
Sold it = $75
Forced me to streamline all my “office supplies” and the result is a much less cluttered work space.
Corner shelving unit in kitchen
We had a little IKEA corner unit in our kitchen that we bought in the AS-IS section for $40 long ago. We had a vision for it that didn’t quite pan out, so it was holding our coffee pot, our cutting boards, and a few other odds and ends in our kitchen. I looked at it with a critical eye and decided I could move the coffee pot to the counter and find better homes for everything else . . . we no longer needed the unit!
Sold it = $40
My kitchen looks a lot less cluttered and more spacious!
Kid’s Consignment Sale
I had held on to most of my son’s baby clothes because I wasn’t sure if I was going to have another boy or not. Then my daughter came along and we ended up with twice as many clothes! I saved them all, in tubs by size. I gave some to friends and family – but really I kept them, just in case. They took up a TON of room. They stressed me out. And after careful consideration I opted to sell all of the nice ones at the LMNOP Consignment sale, along with a bunch of toys the kids had outgrown and were no longer using. I spent a good long day going through bins and tagging/pricing everything (see photo above, it was not pretty) – dropped it off Thursday night and didn’t think twice about it until picking up what was left Sunday night.
Funds from selling kid’s clothes = $436.69
There is no way I would have made this much by selling them at a garage sale, where I think $0.50-$1 is maximum price for kid’s clothes. But many of the clothes were Gymboree, name-brand clothing items and sold for $2-$5 an item at the consignment sale. Of the $435, we will be giving Grandma and Grandpa a $200 Lowe’s gift card – because well frankly, they are responsible for buying most of those clothes anyway. They would refuse cash if we offered it to them – but we know they are working on some projects around the house so a gift card will be perfect. We donated bags of other clothes, books and toys to local charities and friends/family. I will definitely do the consignment sale again – it was a piece of cake! There was a lot of work up front to tag items, but I didn’t have to sit at the sale, someone else did the work for me!
After everything shakes out we’ll have the $800 we need for our car repair.
But I think more importantly – our house is
a little a LOT cleaner, we donated a ton of items to local charities and we can feel good that we took some “stuff” and turned it into something tangible and beneficial for our family. I’m right in the middle of the Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy bible study by Beth Moore – and the timing couldn’t be any more perfect. The Daniel study really looks at the Babylonian society that we live in . . .the luxuries that we have in our country and how we can so easily get sucked into the status of stuff. I’m finding more and more lately it’s a burden of stuff and I’m letting go and cleaning house – for a much simpler, clutter-free surrounding.
I hope this post inspires you to clean house and really evaluate needs versus luxuries. Whether it’s a garage sale, Craigslist or eBay – you might find that selling some of your stuff can free you of the burden of stuff and free you from some extra bills you may have hanging around.
I’d love to hear your suggestions for making extra money or ideas for clearing clutter in your home.
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