Tips for De-Cluttering Your House and Getting Paid for it

Jen SmithFrugality, Make Money, Personal Finance20 Comments

Tips for De-Cluttering Your House

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When you’re trying not to spend money, there’s no better way to spend your time than making money. And you know what my favorite way to make money is?


I couldn’t make a living off of it but it’s a great way to build an emergency fund or earn a little vacation money. The feeling of a good purge is half the reward anyway.

And with the rise of blogs, books, and movies about minimalism, I think you guys agree. Whether you’re venturing into minimalism, doing a No-Spend Challenge or just trying to spend less, getting rid of stuff is a wild way to spend a Friday night and a cathartic activity.

So if you want to go further than just “not spending” and make your home and life more minimalist and cozy, here are 7 tips for de-cluttering your house and where to sell your stuff for quick cash.

Also, if you like this topic I cover this and much more in my book The No-Spend Challenge Guide. Check it out to help you save more, spend less, and make the most of your time paying off debt.

1. Mentally Prepare

When purging unused items it’s important to go in knowing what you’re up against. The goal isn’t to go from hoarder to Ikea in one day. Purging is a process. The reason I love de-cluttering while on a No Spend Challenge is that it’s unlikely I’ll replace the stuff I get rid of during that process.

Also, you have to give up the “I paid $$$ for this” mentality. What you paid for it mattered to your budget (or lack of) when you bought it. It’s non-use matters today. If you haven’t used it this year then you can live without it.

2. Physically Prepare

You can start your purge up to a year before you actually get rid of anything. Try this hanger trick, made famous by Oprah. Go into your closet and turn all the hangers the wrong way (whatever that means to you).

Whenever you put a garment back into the closet after wearing it put it in with the hanger facing the right way. At the end of six months or a year whatever hangers are still facing the wrong way can easily be gotten rid of.

3. Keep – Sell/Give – Store

For going through drawers and closets that have become a black hole of clutter, find three boxes and label them: keep, sell/give, and store. There could also be a fourth box for trash but I like to keep it simple and just bring the trash can over.

The “Keep” box is for things you use and still need to easy access to. The Sell/Give box gets an attempt at selling then if that fails goes to charity, and the Store box is for things you need or want but can go into deep storage.

I also like the Store box as a tester for getting rid of more on my next purge. If you’re holding that snow globe from middle school and you’re having a hard time parting with it, you don’t have to make a decision yet. Put it in the Store box and come back to it in a month.

4. Don’t Call It Junk

When we were hosting a garage sale for my mom we had a lot of clothes leftover. I went through and tried to separate out what we could sell to Clothes Mentor which buys and sells gently used clothes for women.

There were these two pairs of corduroy overalls, one with Eeyore on the front, the other with Pooh and Piglet. Assuming that I knew what was in style I put those in the Give box but Travis saw me and was convinced they would sell. I don’t remember everything I said but it was something to the extent of “you’re crazy, these are ugly.” But because I wanted to prove him wrong I let him take them.

We ended up taking the clothes to Plato’s Closet, which sells teen clothing because Clothes Mentor wasn’t buying at the time. I was prepared to make very little because the clothes were definitely for an older crowd. When we picked up our two bins of clothing they’d agreed to buy three items from us. Two of them were the overalls.

That story to say, I don’t call anything junk anymore (well, I’m at least trying now). You’d be shocked at what people will buy online or at gently-used stores. It’s usually the things we think will sell that don’t and the things we think will never sell do the quickest.

5. Free Your Flat Surfaces

I read this online and it’s become my mantra when I only have five minutes to clean. Clearing off countertops, the coffee table, dining table, desk, anything flat can transform your house.

This is especially true in a small house. We didn’t have many flat surfaces in our apartment; it was pretty much just the kitchen table. So it ended up being a catchall for mail, papers, etc. The first thing to get cleared was always that table and it made a huge difference right off the bat.


6. Find Storage

Don’t buy storage. You’re trying not to spend money remember? You don’t even know how much storage you’re going to need until after you finish. Trust me, I too have dreams about the Container Store but use it as a reward instead of a necessity.

Use what you have for free first. Wrap boxes with ribbon or washi tape for custom storage or look for free storage on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I try to make it my goal to get rid of enough stuff to eliminate the need of containers.

Wait a few months after finishing the de-clutter, if it still bothers you then you can go buy exactly what you need, but chances are you won’t even think about it once it’s done.

7. One Room at a Time

Don’t try to tackle the whole house in one day, not even a month. 2-4 hours is about how much most people can handle. So start small and tackle one room, closet or drawer at a time and just keep going.

I suggest starting with the most used room down to the least. For me that’s the bedroom or kitchen.

Suggestions for quick purges:

  • Old Magazines
  • Stretched out Hair Ties
  • Unused CDs & DVDs
  • Unused Makeup & Skincare
  • Free T-Shirts
  • Unwanted Gifts
  • Unused Purses

Now here’s the fun part. Where you can make some money off your efforts. There are a few ways to go at this. You can sell items yourself on eBay, Poshmark, or Amazon. Or you can sell to reselling services like DeCluttr, ThredUp, and Gone.

You’ll get more money doing it yourself but it also takes more time. Either one is a good option because you’re making some dough and you have a clean house! Here are some more ideas on where to sell your stuff and what these services buy:

  • DeCluttr- Games, CDs, DVDs, Books, Tech
  • Gone- Electronics
  • ThredUp- Clothes
  • Poshmark- Clothes
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Letgo
  • OfferUp
  • Mercari
  • Amazon

If you have a lot of stuff to sell (or you have friends with stuff to sell too) you can go with a good ol’ fashioned garage sale. I highly recommend having a multi-person yard sale. We did one this way and in addition to having more variety, we had a lot of fun together.

So what are your tips for de-cluttering your house? What’s the first drawer, room, or closet you’re going to tackle this weekend?

Home decluttering ideas to help delcutter and organize and make money from it! Woo!

20 Comments on “Tips for De-Cluttering Your House and Getting Paid for it”

  1. These are great tips! Thankfully our place isn’t as bad as those GIFs haha. I got my husband to watch Hoarders with me once to give him appreciation for our home haha! We went through some major de-cluttering last year and it has been wonderful!…though sometimes hard to keep up with kids!

  2. The “free your flat surface” is definitely going to stick with me, and I have a huge bag of clothes for thredup that have been sitting in my trunk forever… thanks for reminding me to get rid of it!

  3. Great ideas. We also like to keep things neat and tidy. We live in ~1,000 sqft with four of us (two adults and two children). Its tight but it works well when you keep things neat and organized. I really like the idea of clearing off flat surfaces first. We have one counter that seems to be a catch all. Clearing that off always makes a huge difference.

  4. I had to stop mid read and swap my hangers. That is the most genius thing I have heard. I am also going to hang up stuff in drawers since I have dozens of t-shirts in there. I don’t have a lot of clothes to start with so this will be an easy one. You talk about clearing off Flat surfaces, but what about decor? I have end tables, a dresser, and a wall cabinet, a desk and Countertops. Some of it would look pretty silly without something on it. I assume you mean unnecessary stuff like paperwork and books?

    1. Awesome to hear Ann! Yes, I mean unnecessary stuff. I’m of the less is more mindset so I try to keep decor to a minimum but we still do have some!

    1. I’m sure there are plenty but these are the only ones I use so I can’t speak from experience on how lucrative any others would be.

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