Clearing Out: My Cast-Offs = Someone Else’s Treasures?

We arrived back from our Christmas travels on the Friday before I returned to work (which was this past week). We got unpacked (well, mostly), and then we spent the weekend putting away the Christmas decorations. Then I went on a whole crazy purge last week, and it felt good!

One thing I do differently now than what I did five years ago: when putting anything away (or re-arranging something in our house), I look for anything I can give away or consign.

My System for Consigning/Donating

Ideally, I want to consign anything I can so that I can make money off of it. I know others do great things with Craigslist (and we’ve sold a couple of things that way) and eBay, but I’ve got a system that works now, so I that’s what I follow.

I use a consignment store in Small City (I can get there around once a month, since we take L in for ballet lessons once a week) for clothing and housewares. They take a cut, but it’s super easy to drop off and pick up my money!

I use a used book store in Small City as well for books. We get either cash or store credit. I always ask for cash and then if they can only offer store credit for something, I will accept it (of course), and then L can pick out a book (if she’s along for the ride).

If I can’t consign it, then I donate it to Goodwill and ask them for a receipt. Starting late last year, I started keeping track of all of our donations in the ItsDeductible app. (Do you know how painful it is to type that name without an apostrophe?) It’s pretty hip, and it ties in directly to TurboTax (which, incidentally, is owned by Intuit as well – and you know is, too, right?). We use TurboTax each year, so I’ve already uploaded the information from the app to TurboTax. Sweet!

I’m not sure how much we made in consignments last year, but according to ItsDeductible, we’re going to reduce our tax burden for 2014 by something like $500 from donations! (No, that’s not the overall worth of what we donated – that was much higher. Who knew we had such valuable stuff?) I plan to track what we get from consigning items this year, because I’m interested. All of that money will be snowflaked to our Student Loan Debt Eradication fund, and as we’re aiming to snowflake at least $50/month (in accordance with our 2015 goals), I hope that consigning will help us at least partially reach that goal.

Working Towards Less

We’ve been working hard to reduce the amount of stuff we own (isn’t everyone these days?), and we didn’t get rid of enough stuff when we moved. I’m embarrassed by the amount of stuff we’re still storing in the basement of our rental home. Admittedly, we did move from a 2,000+ square foot house, but I had high hopes before we moved that we’d be able to get rid of lots more while we were packing. It did seem like we consigned and donated a ton of stuff… but it was apparently not enough!

Anyway, I got together a pretty respectable pile of Christmas ornaments that didn’t make it onto the tree and some other holiday household items as I was packing up the good stuff (plus, y’all, I ORGANIZED and LABELED the dang storage boxes! can I get a round of applause, people?).

Then we had to do some major readjusting. Without going into a lot of detail, we moved L’s bedroom from one room of the house to another to save some money on our heating (boy, that is a conversation for another post!). I refused to move a bunch of stuff without sorting it to make sure it was going into the new space all organized and to also make sure we weren’t moving a whole bunch of stuff that we didn’t need. So….. it took us one day to move her bed in the new room and a few necessities.

Then it took 6 more days (!) for me to sort all of her stuff into consign and donate piles. That was done mostly after I got home from work. Ugh. But I felt really good carting away a van-load of stuff to consign and donate on Saturday!

L’s room isn’t actually ready to go yet (we have yet to unload a piece of furniture from that room and then do a little more shifting around), but all of her toys/clothes/random items have been sorted for the time being. I even have a tub full of winter clothes to be consigned next fall (as the place I consign with does it by the seasons), clearly labeled and packed away into a closet!

Coupled with the cleaning we did ahead of the get-together we hosted last night, I feel like we got a good start on our spring cleaning! One of my personal goals for 2015 is: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I’m really hoping that I can at least figure out the first part, then worry about the second half later….

Of course, truth be told, the bedroom we moved L out of is still overflowing with things that have yet to be given a place…. But I needed to preserve my sanity after working on it every day last week after work, so I’m leaving it for another day!

Now… where’s my wine?

Anyone out there have great consigning / re-selling items tips? I’m always looking for ways to unload my cast-offs….

P.S. Intuit does not reimburse me for my references to their products. Hey, Intuit… are you even listening?

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