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How to Turn Garage Clutter into Easy Cash

How to Turn Garage Clutter into Easy Cash
by Donna Smallin Kuper

Could you use some extra cash? Here’s how to turn your garage clutter into a profit and, in the process, organize your garage once and for all.

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Schedule Your Clean-Up Day

Consider inviting a friend to help you in exchange for helping them clean out their garage. Get your kids involved. Tell them that whatever you earn from clearing out the garage will go toward a summer vacation, or let them keep the proceeds from selling their outgrown or unwanted personal belongings. If you have adult children who are using your garage for storage, give them a deadline to come and get their stuff. Anything left in the garage after that date is subject to sale or donation.

Get Ready, Get Set

Gather your supplies. You’ll need bags for hauling away trash and boxes for collecting goods that can be donated or sold. Dress comfortably and make it fun. Play music, have refreshments on hand and take a lunch break. At the end of the day, plan a reward for all your hard work—maybe have pizza delivered or take everyone out to the movies.

Move Everything Out to the Driveway

The best way to see what you’ve got is to get it out in the open. Put the things you want to keep on one side of your driveway and everything else on the other. As you do, sort items on each side into categories such as lawn and garden, sporting equipment, workshop tools, automotive-related stuff, bulk goods or holiday decorations. Label designated areas for these categories with sidewalk chalk or large signs taped to the driveway. Use boxes to corral smaller items. Trash or recycle things that are broken and unfixable.

Put Back the Keepers

Designate zones for storing like items. Maximize parking space by getting as much as possible off the floor. Use vinyl-coated hooks to hang bicycles, sleds, winter tires, folding lawn chairs and ladders from the rafters. Hang long-handled tools such as brooms, rakes and shovels on the wall. Clearly label storage boxes with a wide felt-tip marker. If needed, plan a trip to your local home improvement store to look at heavy-duty shelving units or additional garage cabinets.

Find Local Buyers

Forget about a garage sale. They rarely net enough to make them worth the time and effort. Instead, post photos and descriptions of items where members of your local community will see them: on Craigslist, in Facebook yard sale groups (search for your city/area followed by the words “online yard sale” on Facebook) and on buy-and-sell smartphone apps.

Start with larger items like furniture so you can clear out some space, or with items like a gently used musical instrument or kid’s bike that are bound to attract budget-minded buyers. Don’t just post one photo—the more, the better—and be sure to write a good description of your item, including why you are selling. The more you tell, the more you sell! Look at what similar items are selling for and price yours accordingly.

Donate and Be Done

Donating everything to charity is the fastest way to turn your clutter into cash—though the cash will come in the form of tax savings. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income for non-cash donations to charities such as Goodwill. Check with your tax advisor to see if you qualify and make sure that the charity you choose is a 501c3 charity.

Along with your donations receipt, create and keep a list that includes the value of your donations (photos are a plus, too). It’s up to you, not the charity or the IRS, to estimate the resell value of your donations. Some charities will even pick up your donations for free. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

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Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media, in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman’s Day. Home Depot offers a number of different types of garage storage options online.

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Copyright © 2017 by Donna Smallin Kuper. All rights reserved.

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