Turn your waste into money with these simple tips.
Need a little motivation to do your spring cleaning this year? Here’s a big one: money.
There is almost certainly something of value hidden in your home somewhere. I’m not talking about coins and cash – although there can be! But there are several ways to turn unused items into food for your piggy bank. Try out these ideas to get started.
1. Sell what you don’t need
Take a quick walk around your house or apartment and look for things that you rarely use or really don’t like. It could be old clothes that you haven’t worn in years, or a lamp that no longer matches your decor. Perhaps you have upgraded your kitchen tools or gadgets and no longer need the old ones.
You might be able to find other people who want this stuff and are willing to pay for it. And selling items yourself these days is so easy. There are many websites online that allow you to advertise and sell items to anyone, anywhere in the world. And if you don’t want to ship something, you can always advertise to people in your area using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
Beware of crooks. Do not accept checks from potential buyers. If they bounce back, you will lose your money and your business. Only accept cash if you are selling the item to someone in person or credit card payments if you are selling the item online through a third-party site.
2. Make a donation
If you don’t want to go through all the hassle of selling your unused items or just want to help those in need, you can donate your old items instead. It won’t make as much money as running your own virtual garage sale, but you could still get a small tax break.
The government gives you a tax deduction for the charitable donations you make throughout the year. So if you made $ 50,000 this year, but donated $ 1,000 of items to charity, the government would only tax you on the remaining $ 49,000. But there are a few takes.
First, you must donate to a qualified tax-exempt organization to claim the deduction. The IRS has a handy search tool for these organizations. Second, you must document your donation. You don’t have to submit it with your taxes, but you will need it in case you get audited. If you are donating items, written acknowledgment from the charity is preferable. You may also need to complete Form 8283 if you are donating at least $ 500 of non-cash items.
Keep in mind that it’s the current value of the item that determines your tax deduction amount, not what you originally paid. Don’t try to fool the government or you might find yourself explaining every financial decision you made to an IRS auditor.
3. Stop replacing lost items
My husband owns a lot stuff, and sometimes he loses track of it. Sometimes this has led him to purchase replacements for things he cannot find, to locate lost items later. That’s why we have around 10 measuring tapes.
The organization can help eliminate some of these duplicate purchases. This might not be as much of a perk for spring cleaning if you’ve already really organized your things. But if you don’t, that’s another incentive to try spring cleaning. It will also save you time because it will be easier for you to find what you have.
If doing a deep clean is a lot of work, break it down into smaller tasks and spread them out over several weeks. Focus on one room at a time and enlist the help of others in your household if necessary. Once you’re done, you’ll have a cleaner space and hopefully more money in your pocket than you can spend on your other financial goals.