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Declutter for the Holidays – with the Pre-Holiday Purge Challenge

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Declutter for the holidays will help you get your house in order AND find extra cash to pay for this expensive time of year. Win-win!

off-white gift wrapped in off-white ribbon with text overlay "pre-holiday declutter challenge"I loathe clutter almost as much as I loathe being wasteful. But this doesn’t mean we live in a minimalist home and compost our toilet waste.

Still, we run a tight ship.

So you can imagine my surprise the other day when I started to tally the sheer number of things that can be purged from our lives.

As I started making a list, it occurred to me that others probably have lots of things in their lives that they’ve been meaning to purge, either through donating, selling, recycling, or otherwise giving away.

Enter the Pre-Holiday Purge Challenge

Paul and I have a few expensive maintenance issues and repairs to address on our house, including a possible foundation repair at the end of this month (gulp!).

On top of this, I want to take my de-cluttering to another level and rid my home and mental space of some items that are lingering for no good reason.

Aside from extra cash, I hope to create more space, take the minimalist lifestyle one step further in our household, and decrease the number of maintenance activities that extra belongings take.

The Nitty-Gritty Details

November has 30 days in it, so I gathered 30 items to be listed for sale beginning November 1st.

Although I ended up listing more than one item each day, the overall goal was to rid our lives of 30 items in total by the end of November.

The money we earned (see below) was funneled towards house repairs, but you could choose your cash to go towards savings, debt repayment, a credit-free holiday, fund retirement, book a trip, etc.

Places Where I Listed My Items to Sell

Facebook Groups, Craigslist, eBay, Community Online Bulletin Board, Yard Sale (or online yard sale), Half-Priced Books, Plato’s Closet, and Consignment Shops.

30 Items Listed for Sale

  1. Juicer
  2. Five baskets found in the rafters of our garage
  3. Old laptop
  4. Old Central A/C unit (can only be sold to a licensed A/C person)
  5. Suit Pants Size 2
  6. Any electronic carcasses
  7. Cement Planter left by previous owners
  8. Cement Planter left by previous owners
  9. Door we purchased wrong size of, only realizing after putting hinges on it (doh!)
  10. Mini-Fridge
  11. Old ice chest (needs a new plug)
  12. Typewriter
  13. Craftsman 6.0 lawn mower—needs work/a tune-up
  14. Outside Light on a wooden pole left by previous owners
  15. A set of long curtains left by previous owners
  16. A set of medium-length curtains left by previous owners
  17. Lot of Xbox Video Games
  18. Lost: Season 4
  19. Mini blinds from living room windows
  20. CD racks
  21. Lot of cookbooks
  22. Lot of cookbooks
  23. Bar Butler Four-Shot Dispenser
  24. Bag of books
  25. More books
  26. Lot of Dog the Bounty Hunter books
  27. Orion VCR (do people still use these? I hope so)
  28. Decorative mirror
  29. Laptop Bag
  30. Brand new ceiling light (we replaced all of the flush ceiling lights in the house, but have one brand new light left over because they are sold in a box of two)

Psst: Here's How We Did

Week 1:

My husband, Paulm listed $160 worth of items on both Craigslist and Half.com. He included a picture and a description for each item, and the total listing time took him 45 minutes to complete.

Here are the items that have been listed and preliminary prices:

  1. Mini-Fridge: Listed on Craigslist for $65
  2. Craftsman 6.0 lawn mower—needs work/a tune-up: Listed on Craigslist for $70
  3. Lost Season 4: Listed on Half.com for $10
  4. Laptop Bag: Listed on Craigslist for $15.00
  5. Central A/C Unit (can only be sold to a licensed A/C person): $250

The results? Well, not too exciting yet. On our way back from our free date at the zoo yesterday we stopped at a Half Price Books store and were able to offload 7 items for a total of $12.

Week 2:

  • Total Time Spent Listing Items: 2 hours
  • Total Number of Items Sold: 8 items (6 books, one video game, one typewriter)
  • Cash Earned: $22
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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.

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