We have all heard about spring cleaning, but maybe, during the cold dark month of January, we should consider winter cleaning. Not just for cleanliness' sake, but for decluttering and making money and donating to good causes.
Many people start January with a spending hangover. While you may have had a budget in place for Christmas presents, it is far too easy to get carried away. You don't plan to buy a friend a gift, but then she gives you one, so you have to give her one too. Maybe you got invited to a few parties and had to bring a dish to pass or a gift for the host. It is all too easy to have unexpected expenses creep up in the month of December, and a winter cleaning, and the resulting money, can help you recoup some cash.
Here are some things you might want to do in a January winter cleaning month:
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1. Sell old clothes.
If you have kids, you know how quickly they go through clothes. If you have any name brand clothes such as Gymboree, Gap, or Janie and Jack, sell these on eBay. Remember, late February and March are great times to sell kids' spring and summer clothes. Take other items to a consignment shop or try to sell them on Craigslist.
If you have professional clothes you have outgrown or no longer wear, you can also sell them on Craigslist or take them to a consignment shop.
2. Sell or trade in old electronics.
We all seem to have electronic grave yards somewhere in our homes. There are many sites that let you send in your electronics; in return, you earn a small sum of money.
Some sites to try include Gazelle.com and buymytronics.com. If you have recent Apple products, you can also make a good amount of money selling them on eBay.
3. Sell your odds and ends.
Chances are you have random miscellaneous items you no longer use. That exercise bike that seemed like such a good idea three years ago is sitting in the corner of your bedroom serving as a make shift clothes rack. Your old baby gates may be collecting dust down stairs. All of these items can be listed on Craigslist. For best results, set a goal for yourself to get all of the items out of your house within a two week window. That will encourage you to price things aggressively.
4. Sell extra gift cards.
If you got some gift cards for Christmas that you won't use or if you find some while cleaning, sell them on eBay or one of the sites that buys gift cards like GiftCardGranny.com.
5. Clean up your zombie accounts.
The new year is the perfect time to look at all of the recurring expenses that you have every month. Do you have zombie accounts that drain you of money but you get nothing back in return? Perhaps it is a gym membership you no longer use but pay for every month or a premium cable package when you rarely watch television.
Finally, if you have things that you are unable to sell but want out of your home, consider giving to charity. The site thegivingeffect.com can help connect you to charities that are looking for new or in good condition clothing and household items. Some are also looking for food donations, so take the time to declutter your pantry, too, and get rid of those items you don't think you will eat in the next month or two.
January is the perfect time to declutter and make some money or give to a worthwhile charity. You'll feel better having a clean house as well as some extra cash in your pocket.