I seem to always start each new year feeling a little scattered and overwhelmed. Just finishing up a glutinous holiday season means toys overflowing, laundry piled up, extra pounds and clutter, clutter, clutter. Before I can move on and start the year mentally.. I need to declutter physically.
For me that means I need to:
1- Organize & store Christmas decorations
2- Purge unwanted toys to make room for the mountain of new ones
3- Purge unused or too small clothes from all family closets
4- Stop eating everything in sight
5- Put my running shoes back on
Declutter For Charity & Cash
And while this helps mentally prepare me for a new year it also puts a few dollars in my pocket, which will help with some holiday debt. The thing I hate worse than holiday pounds is holiday debt. Being the Frugal Florida Mom I would love to tell you I didn’t rack up any holiday debt but that would be a lie.
So I’m clearing out some clutter and hopefully making a little cash with:
3- Children’s book charities
I used to do all the toy purging myself. Because usually the worst way to get rid of toys is to actually ask the kids if they still want them. They ALWAYS say yes, but then the toys go back in the basket and sit there for many more months.
But I’m fortunate now that as my kids get older they are actually pretty good at deciding themselves. Maybe they learned from watching me all these years. So this year I gave them each a big bag and asked them to fill it up with toys they no longer want. It helped to explain to them that many of the toys would be donated to charity so that other kids who don’t have a lot of money can have them next.
And the result was pretty good. They each filled up a giant bag and my daughter even asked for a second bag.
Most of the toys will go to Goodwill but some items will be listed for sale on eBay. This includes video games and popular toy brands and characters. And it’s not just older purged items. You can do this with new items you don’t want/need that you can’t return or exchange at a store. For example, my son got a Pokemon character figure for Christmas that he already had..
And my daughter got a few duplicate Shopkins characters in those tiny little blind bags that I’m constantly find all over the house. 🙁
The kids were also pretty good at clearing out some old books that they have outgrown. Maybe a little too good. I had to save some Little Golden Books that I’ve had since I was a kid. Remember these?
Home Storage Solutions 101 has a good list of suggested places to donate books including:
1- Charities like BookEnds in LA and Children’s Book Project in San Francisco. (If you don’t live near there you can check the article for links to ship them.)
2- Children’s hospitals (Call ahead to see if they are in need.)
3- School libraries (also call ahead)
4- Or you can look to see if there is one of these adorable Little Free Libraries set up in your area.. or start one!
I tackled the kids’ closets myself. I ended up with two big bags full of clothes that were too small. Which is easy since my kids seem to be growing at a rapid rate lately. I literally just blinked and my son shot up into another shoe size category, going from a 13 to a 2!
A lot of the kids’ clothes will be going to Goodwill. These are items that you can see have been loved, but have a lot of love left in them for someone who needs them.
Some of the kids’ clothes will also be put up for sale on eBay. These are items that have really good brand names, are in great shape and will catch someone’s eye as they scroll through the site.. like these adorable Nautica loafers, sparkly gold shoes and a few Sunday dresses my daughter barely wore.
Lastly, some of the kids’ clothes will be going to ThredUp. If you’re not familiar with it, please check out my previous post on it. They basically pay you for women and kids’ clothes that they can re-sell on the website/app. It’s sort of like consignment and thrift but with a great searchable format for shoppers.
Clothes for ThredUp must be:
1- In excellent condition
2- On-trend and in-season
3- A top name brand
I was able to fill a giant ThredUp bag that gets shipped to them for free. They decide what they will take and donate the rest for textile recycling.
And the reward is organized, paired down closets. Am I weird that this makes me so happy? Literally, organizing is probably more therapeutic for me than a massage.
As for my closet, I follow the same formula.
Many items will go to Goodwill.
I will fill a second bag for ThredUp with more of my clothes.
And I will list several designer handbags on eBay. It’s not easy for me to part with some of these but when they sit in your closet for months without being touched, it’s just better to have the cash.. for more handbags! 🙂
My tips for eBay selling would be to:
1- Only sell items that are really good quality with really good brand names
2- Only sell items that are small enough to pack and ship without a lot of hastle & money (I’ve sold a few big things before that ended up costing more money to ship than what I sold them for. Don’t waste your time. For really large items, go with Craigslist.)
3- Take lots of clear photos
4- Market your item well in the description with enthusiasm and personable tidbits about the item and how people can use it
5- Be honest & specific (If there are any blemishes or problems with your item be up-front or you might have unhappy customers.)
Bring It On, 2017
So, in total I cleared out:
2 bags of toys, 2 bags of clothes and 1 box of books for charity
2 bags of clothes for ThredUp
1 bag of toys, 1 bag of clothes & shoes and 8 handbags for eBay
I feel much better about 2017 now.