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Help Squad: 9 Tips to turn clutter into cash

In every household, “stuff” accumulates. The kids get older and outgrow clothing, toys and books. Styles change and women’s clothing, accessories and jewelry become outdated and sit in the closet. Old sports equipment and bikes alone can fill up half a garage!

This week, instead of helping you save money, Help Squad devoted our column to giving you tips on how to make money by getting rid of some of your stuff.

With the help of Bonnie Shay, the owner of Highland Park-based professional organizing company Mariposa Creative Solutions, Help Squad came up with nine tips on how de-cluttering your home can lead to big bucks.

 

1. Consign your clothing: If either you or your spouse happen to be a clothes horse, take advantage of consignment shops where you can drop off unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry and get paid when they sell. There are several consignment shops in Chicago and the ’burbs, and all have different niches. So, whether you shop at Target for clothes or you tend to go for expensive designer brands, there is a store that is willing to consign most items. And if they don’t end up selling, the store usually gives you a choice of coming to pick them up or donating them to a charity on your behalf.

 

2. Consign other things: Consignment is also an option for items such as furniture, antiques, crystal, art, home décor, and sporting goods. Help Squad completed an extensive online search and found several suburban consignment shops that specialize in each of these categories, including Full Circle in Glenview that takes antiques, art china and crystal, Renew Family Consignment in Libertyville that accepts sports equipment and women’s and kids’ clothing, On The Road Again, with shops in Orland Park and Plainfield that take furniture, home décor and vintage jewelry, and Village Treasure House in Northbrook that buys and sells home furnishings.

 

3. Swap.com: This is an online consignment store that buys and sells anything related to babies and kids, including clothing, shoes, movies, books, toys, games, décor, maternity clothes and sporting equipment.

 

4. eBay and Craigslist: These sites are both great for selling collectibles and other unique or high-priced items.

 

5. Sell used books: Take advantage of the many used bookstores around the Chicago area that will give you cash for your books, including Half-Price Books, with many locations and Powell’s Books. And if you have a rare or unique book that’s in good condition, it might be valuable. Round Table Books in Winnetka buys and sells rare, antiquarian and collectable books.

 

6. Sell old CDs and DVDs: There are many stores looking to give you cash for CDs you’ll never listen to again and movies you have no interest in owning any longer. In addition to books, Half Price Books also buys music, movies, games, game consoles and e-readers. Also, check out Mundo Musical in Aurora, Oak Park Records in Oak Park, Second Hand Tunes in Evanston, Remember When in Westmont, Disc Replay with stores in Bolingbrook, Orland Park and Joliet, and Kiss The Sky in Geneva.

 

7. Sell your old gold jewelry: So many jewelry stores are looking to buy gold. A great way to start the process of selling gold you don’t mind parting with is to go to GoldPriceOz.com, a website that updates every minute what gold is selling for per ounce. The best part about selling your jewelry is you can either accept or refuse a store’s offer. The choice is yours.

 

8. Donate items: Giving your stuff to a charity isn’t going to earn you quick cash, however there are benefits to donating your clutter. In addition to engaging in a benevolent, charitable act, you get the benefit of writing off the value on your income taxes. So, while you’re helping others, you’re helping your wallet.

 

9. Have a garage sale: It takes a lot of time and hard work, but garage sales can bring in lots of cash if planned and implemented well.

 

Tips for successful garage sales:

• Price things to move. People shopping at garage sales are looking for bargains.

• Hang clothing to give it a more attractive appearance. Plus, it’s easier to see.

• Play enjoyable music to create an inviting atmosphere.

• Team up with other families to increase merchandise.

• Advertise well.

• Sell treats, such as cookies and lemonade.

• Put the “good stuff” out front so it looks impressive to those driving by.

• Put price tags on everything so customers don’t have to ask. That makes decision making easier.

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