You’ve read her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing ($9.69, Amazon). You’ve seen her Netflix show. You’ve tidied up according to the Marie Kondo method, and you now have bags of clothes and boxes of books that you realize don’t “spark joy.” Your house or apartment is now undoubtedly less cluttered, more beautiful, and less stressful than it was before. But guess what? Your purging of items that no longer bring you joy can also make you richer!
How to Clean Up on Your Clean Closet
The first stop for clothes in very good condition, but which are not necessarily high-end or vintage, can be your local consignment shop. The nice things about these shops are that you don’t need to do anything except take your clothes to the store, and the profits made by the shop stay in your local economy. Call ahead or check websites to find out more details about payment and items accepted.
Online consignment stores are another great way to make money on “spark-less” clothing. ThredUp makes it extremely easy for you, but selling on the site probably won’t make you rich. ThredUp sends you a large pre-paid bag, which you fill with your unwanted clothing and accessories. Then, all you have to do is take the bag to your mailbox, which is even easier than lugging it to the Goodwill. They do all the rest for you — take the pictures, do the pricing, and sell all of your stuff. That said, this isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. ThredUp may only pay out $1.18 for Gap Jeans, while a Banana Republic pullover might only net you $2.52. Check out the “Payout Estimator” on the site to see how much your clothes are actually worth.
If you have high-end clothes or clothing from department stores in great condition, consider selling on Poshmark. A quick perusal shows everything from a Dolce & Gabbana bag selling for $925 to a Minnesota Vikings tee selling for $8. You take a picture of your items on your phone, write descriptions, and set your own prices; when an item sells, Poshmark provides you with a pre-paid, pre-addressed label ready to be put on a box, which you can have picked up at your home.
Another destination for designer goods is the online consignment store Tradesy. According to CEO Tracy DiNunzio, the average seller on the site brings in about $1,000 each year — and it’s easy to see how. Many items on the site seem to sell for over $100, and some items (hello, $13,000 Rolex watch!) go for thousands. If you want to sell something from your closet (women’s items only), simply take a picture and write a short description of your item. If it sells, Tradesy sends you a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping kit. They will then deduct a flat commission fee of $7.50 for sold items less than $50, or a commission rate of 19.8 percent on items sold for $50 or more.
How to Make Bank on Books
Despite an Internet rumor, it’s not true that Marie Kondo said we all should have only 30 books. The tidying guru says that we should only keep books that “spark joy” for us, and that the ideal number of books for her is 30. So what do you do with the ones that no longer give you joy? I recently purged all books I knew I would never read or re-read, which turned out to be a whopping 198 books. I found that my local independently-owned used bookstore gave me the best prices, and I liked the convenience of having the transaction done in less than an hour.
If you’d prefer to sell all of your books online, you can sell books in good condition on Powell’s Books. “The largest independent bookstore in the world” gives you an immediate offer and covers the shipping costs for your used books. Of course there’s always Amazon, but before you sell your books on the site, you might want to read this article titled “After 6 Months of Selling on Amazon, this is How Much I Made.”
How to Strike It Rich Selling Electronics
If that iPhone no longer brings you happiness or you’ve just upgraded to the latest model, try the websites Decluttr or Gazelle, both of which buy and sell electronics. You can sell your used iPhone 7 Plus for between about $200 and $300 (depending upon variables such as number of gigabytes, condition, etc.) on either site, for example.
How to Hit it Big on Miscellaneous Items
Traditionally, many people have gone to Craigslist when selling furniture and other large items. But writer Nicole Spector, guest on WPR’s “Central Time,” feels there’s probably an added layer of security in Facebook Marketplace in that it’s completely local and you can check out someone’s profile. The users who called in to the show loved using Facebook Marketplace — not just for furniture but for everything they were selling!
Of course, many people still love holding good old-fashioned garage sales.
Finally, don’t forget to donate to your local charitable store such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul. Not only will you be doing something good for your community, but also, your donations are tax-deductible. Just get a receipt and include it in your tax forms at the end of the year. You’ll be doing well by doing good.
And if that doesn’t spark a little joy, I don’t know what will…
Kelly Dwyer is a novelist, playwright, and freelance writer, whose mug filled with coffee sparks joy every day.