When going through your KonMari Method Checklist, take this 30-Day KonMari Challenge to get as much cash for everything as you can.
Reading the little blue-green, Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book brought me much joy.
For this Container-Store-oogler, it's deeply satisfying to know there are others like me.
Not that I can exactly put Ms. Kondo and I into the same category. That's because she's got my love of clutter-free living times a hundred. Still, we share a sisterhood.
But I got a little heartburn while reading it, too.
You see, the author wants you to rid your life of these items as quickly and easily as possible. So she usually talks about dumping them into trash bags and throwing them away.
Which is quick, by the way. But WOW does that seem wasteful to me!
Quite frankly, if I'm going to be ditching my belongings I want to get whatever monetary value I can out of them.
She does mention once or twice that you can donate; but not to family and friends, as she thinks anything you give to them will clutter up their homes as well.
In my mind, that means there's a lot of folks out there who are decluttering money right out of their lives!
I mean, think about it, some of your old stuff has got to be worth a few bucks to someone else, right?
Maybe not those mismatched socks, though.
Seeing how I needed to do some KonMari Method cleaning in my own life, I figured I'd set up a challenge both to myself and to you to reap the most amount of money from the “trash” in our home. Makes figuring out how to increase savings much easier!
What is the KonMari Method?
First up, what exactly IS the KonMari Method?
KonMari is a mashup of the method used by author + organizing strategist Marie Kondo.
Using her KonMari method, the idea is that you only have to do decluttering once. That's right — Marie Kondo promises minimal upkeep to stay decluttered (aside from the big effort you'll put forth to start with).
Her strategy centers around paring your belongings down to just the most minimal needed that also spark joy in your life.
But there's so much more to it than that!
Pssst: looking to score a KonMari Method Book free PDF? You'll definitely want to check out my article on 27 sources for free eBooks.
My 30-Day KonMari Cash Out Challenge
As mentioned, I really resonated with what Marie Kondo had to say in her book. I was all set to discard lots of our belongings…but I just couldn't let go of our things without trying to reap the most amount of money from them as possible.
It's just not in my nature to do so.
Instead, I set out to extract as much money from our old belongings before giving them the boot (and ‘the boot' is to Goodwill for a donation).
I decided that I would solely use local Facebook groups to accomplish this, and listed 24 items on one FB group for sale. In total, this took me 1.5 hours to:
- Take the photos
- Put up the description
- Add a price
Within one hour, I had two sold items: a Sopranos hardback book I bought in my early 20s ($2!), and a piece of rooster wall art ($3). Both were a porch pick-up (PPU), which means I leave them outside on our porch and the new owner picks them up after leaving the cash under our doormat.
$5 recouped. Woohoo!
Within a week I decided I needed to “bump” the other items in the feed so that others would see them, and to do so I needed to add a comment to them (typically people use the comment “bump”).
This created two hits for me. One was for a dress for $8, and another was for a lampshade for $5.
Several days later, I decided to cross-post the items to another FB group. So I commented “Going to x-post” in the group they were already in (which means it bumped them to the top again), as well as cross-posted them to increase the chances these remaining items would sell.
This resulted in me selling a candle holder for $5.
Of the 24 items listed, in the end, I sold six of them + a bag of books, reaping a total of $71 in sunk costs. In our world, that's two date nights to the movie theater. Woohoo! (Updated with an item I sold for $30 after publishing this post).
The bummer? Two people skipped out on me by not picking up bigger items that would have bumped our cash recoupment by another $65. Doh!
I decided to figure out how to extract the most amount of money from the first category that Ms. Kondo suggests you start with: clothes.
Spoiler alert: the three pieces of clothing used for this experiment are still sitting in my closet. Well, that's not exactly true. One is in my closet, and two are just hanging listlessly about on a random hook in my bathroom. You'll understand how anti-KonMari this is if you read the book.
My Experiment Inside of an Experiment — How to Sell Clothes During a KonMari Challenge
For this experiment, I actually did not use my own clothes per se.
Because it's kinda an experiment within an experiment: could I make a profit off of low-cost clothing I was able to score somewhere (so becoming a middle woman of sorts), as well as figure out a way to bank the most amount of money in the future when I finally sit down to free my life of unneeded clothing?
Before diving KonMari-first into my own wardrobe, I figured I'd find the most lucrative place to liquidate clothing and see if I could turn a profit at the same time. I wanted to get some top-notch clothing at a low-cost to use, so I started scanning the posts of a Facebook Mom selling group.
It didn't take long before I scored a brand new Ann Taylor jean jacket for $6, a beautiful White House Black Market cocktail dress for $8, and a Limited halter top for $5.
So, my total investment for some pretty nice brand-name clothing was $19 (and yes, note taken that so far I've managed to increase the size of my wardrobe, not decrease it. All in the name of conducting an experiment, I swear!).
Psst: it should be noted that I don't agree with everything that Marie says. Specifically, Marie Kondo's papers method is troubling, and I explain why.
Liquidation Idea #1: Plato's Closet
Have you ever heard of Plato's Closet? I was told about it from a friend years ago but never actually stepped foot into one. They're sort of the Play it Again Sports of the clothing world (and in fact, they are part of the same company). The idea is that you can rid yourself of gently used, brand name clothing and reap some cash in the process. Or, (sometimes and) you can shop for gently used brand name clothing.
I few weeks ago Conner and I took my three pieces of clothing into our nearest store, waited about fifteen minutes, and received the offer. I should mention this was after an unsuccessful attempt the Friday before when the wait time to receive an offer was over an hour long (fyi: you can drop off clothes and come back for them later, but only on certain days of the week. Friday is not one of those days for our store's location; I suspect there were so many people there on a Friday because they were looking to fund their weekend shenanigans).
Here's what they offered me:
- Halter top: $2.80
- Jean Jacket: $10
- Cocktail Dress: $0
I must admit…I was surprised with how low the offers were, especially since my clothing was name brand and very gently used.
Total payout would be $12.80, a $6.20 loss to me.
I thanked them for their time, picked up my bag, and took it with me (successfully leaving without taking several other pieces I had been eyeing up during the process).
Liquidation Idea #2: Donate for a Tax Deduction
Donating is wonderful in its own right. If you're looking to get a monetary bonus from it, then it becomes a win-win in a different way.
First of all, you will need to be able to itemize your tax deductions in order to take this tax deduction. This means if your deductions − such as student loan interest paid, mortgage interest paid, value of donations made, etc. − do not add up to more than the standard deduction set by the IRS for your household's makeup ($6,300 for singles and married persons filing separate returns, and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly for 2016), then the standard deduction will be worth more to you and therefore donations will not add to your bottom line.
Assuming I can itemize deductions, I decided to check out the donation value my three items would fetch using ItsDeductible.com.
Here's what my donation value was:
- Strapless Shirt (the halter top): $12.00
- Jean Jacket: $30.00
- Evening Dress: $11.00
In order to find out how much money would be deducted from my taxes owed, I would then multiply the value of these donations ($53) by my estimated tax rate (this year will probably be 15%).
So the value to me in cold hard cash would be $7.95.
Hmmm…still not a profit. In fact, that would be a loss of $11.05.
Liquidation Idea #3: Sell on a Facebook Mom Group
So the problem I have with actually doing this is I don't want to resell the items I just purchased from several people back to them at a higher cost.
Because I don't want to be that person, I'm not going to actually relist these items and see what I could get for them.
Still, this option is definitely a good one, and could be the most profitable of all in terms of reaping any money for your gently used clothing.
Let me show you some examples of things that sold in this Facebook group:
- Express Women's Blouse: Sold for $15
- LuLuLemon Tank: Sold for $20
- Laura Ashley Dress: Sold for $10
Bonus: you're helping out your neighbors, just like they help you out by buying items from you.
Tips: Post seasonally. So for example, here in Houston we have the Rodeo each early March. Smart Moms waited to list their adorable cowboy and girl boots until a few weeks leading up to the rodeo and they undoubtedly got more money and more interest than if they had posted in the dead of our humid summer.
Liquidation Idea #4: Sell to ThredUp
Have you ever heard of ThredUp? It's basically an online boutique thrift store. You send away for a bag, you get the bag and fill it with all of the items you'd like a cash offer for, then you send it back. It's free shipping both ways.
If you don't like the cash offer you're given, you can pay for return assurance for a $12.99 fee. Otherwise, any items not accepted will be “recycled responsibly”.
There is an offer a payout estimator (thank goodness), and here's an estimate of what I would be offered for my three pieces:
- Halter top (best I could match to was a Limited sleeveless blouse): $0.80
- Jean Jacket (best I could match to was an Ann Taylor blazer): $7.38
- Cocktail Dress (best I could match to was a White House Black Market silk dress): $5.13
That is a payout of approximately $13.31.
And remember the three pieces I shared above to show as examples for how much you could potentially sell them for on a Facebook selling group? Here's what the payout estimator says they'd give for those same pieces:
- Express Women's Blouse: $0.95 to $1.30 (seriously)
- LuLuLemon Tank: $5.75 – $20.40
- Laura Ashley Dress: $0.85 – $1.40
Here's the thing though, while this site is awesome to purchase clothing from (like the beautiful rose-petaled tank top I purchased and wore on our anniversary date for just $6.49), you might be very disappointed with what you're offered on selling your clothing
Pssst: I definitely recommend shopping from this site, and here's a $10 credit to get you started.
Overall, the winner depends on whether or not you're more into donating usable items to others, or whether or not you're looking to get the most amount in wardrobe liquidation. No judgment from me. In my case, it looks like my best option would be to sell my gently used, brand-name clothing on Facebook Mom Selling groups, followed up by selling them on ThredUp.
Have you ever used any of these places to sell your clothing? How did it go? Where else have you had luck selling clothing?
Interested in doing your own 30-Day #KonMariCashOut Challenge?
You can take the 30-Day #KonMariCashOut Challenge at anytime of year, and I think it's particularly awesome when the holiday season is approaching because it not only declutters before you accept new things into your home, but it also gives you a little cash boost for spending.
Here's how to do this:
Step #1: Decide what savings goal or debt payoff goal to put the extra money towards.
This is important, as when you earn extra cash and you don't give it a purpose it tends to just kind of evaporate into small purchases that don't really make a difference in your life. Then you start wondering why you put all that effort forth!
Step #2: Declare You're Taking the Challenge on Your Social Media of Choice.
Add in what you'll put the extra cash towards.
- Want to join me in the 30-Days #KonMariCashOut Challenge? Our money goes towards our trip to Cozumel!
- We're paying down our debt with the 30-Day #KonMariCashOutChallenge
Step #3: Learn about the KonMari Method
If I had to sum the method up in a few sentences, I would say that the basic premise of the KonMari Method is to keep the items in your life that spark joy for you, and ruthlessly rid yourself of the rest.
The suggested order in which you ‘tidy up' and get rid of items is clothes, then books, then papers, then Komono (miscellaneous).
You can dive much deeper (and I recommend you do, because there are lots of nuggets and brain-changing ideas this lady gifts the world) by doing the following:
- Read the Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
- Watch this free Video (12:58 minutes) with KonMari highlights throughout demonstrating how to tidy up with the clothes category, plus lifelong side effects from doing this
- Watch this free Video (5:50 minutes) on the basics of the KonMari Method while demonstrating tidying up a work space
Step #4: Get Your Free Challenge Material
Here's a great list created by Jersha and Dup that are free to print out and use with this challenge:
- Print Out this Free KonMari Checklist
Step #5: List Your Items for Sale + Start Earning Cash
My obvious choice is Facebook, but perhaps that's not your style. You can also list items for sale on eBay, Craigslist, Neighborhood Social Media sites like Nextdoor, etc.
Step #6: Donate All the Rest of Your Items that Do Not Sell
I would really put a limit on the number of days you do this, and I think 30 is a long enough time to see if you can find a buyer (if you don't put a time limit on it, then you end up with a big pile of stuff in a corner of a room for several months…ask me how I know).
So come up with a place where you will donate any items you do not sell. We have a Goodwill right around the corner, so that's where I decided to take our leftovers.
Step #7: Tally Up Your Total Cash Earned
It's easy to add up the cash you earned from everything you sold. Cash from a tax deduction is a bit more complicated.
You can find out the value of your donated goods at either ItsDeductible.com or the Salvation Army's Value Guide. If you can take a tax deduction (meaning, you have deductions totaling more than the standard deduction on your next tax return), then be sure to include this value in your overall cash recoupment.
Bonus: actually put the money aside to use for whatever your goal was now, then reap the tax savings later.
To figure out how much of a tax deduction your items are worth, add up their total tax deduction value (using one of the links above), then multiply that by your tax rate. So if you're in the 25% tax bracket (or you think you will be), and your donated items are valued at $137, your tax deduction value is estimated at $34.25.
More Resources for Decluttering for Money
What about the other items in your home that you're bound to part with once you start a KonMari cleansing?
Let's see if the following articles can't help you reap some monetary benefit when you declutter your life.
Update Your Old, Warped Tupperware Practically for Free
My family went through a Tupperware selling phase when I was a teenager. And since I'm such an organization junkie, you can bet I grew quite the collection in my hope chest. Twenty years later, my collection was a bit worse for wear. Not all of it, of course, but certain pieces. So, I decided to test out Tupperware's Limited Lifetime Warranty.
The result? I ended up spending just $8.29 out of pocket for replacement products that would have cost me $59.85 (of course I had paid for them at one point; but with my family’s consulting discounts and 20 years’ worth of inflation, I think I came out ahead).
Scrap Metal around Your Garage for Extra Cash
This one is useful, especially for cleaning out the garage (even more useful to declutter your life of all those extraneous home renovation projections over the years). We’ve had a growing pile of scrap metal in our garage from various home projects, and this week, I scrapped the metal for cash!
Here’s what went into the back of our truck: the old sink from the laundry room, the old garbage disposal we had to replace, the old faucet from the laundry room, four very burnt stove-top metal parts that we replaced (alas, the new ones are all ready burning as well….), and a rusted and bent tomato cage. I reaped $17.13 from this!
Sell Your Old Appliances for Extra Cash
I never knew that there was a market for old, non-working appliances until we bought our first home and were stuck with a subpar kegerator. Moldy tubing, bad product, huge energy guzzler…yuck. Someone gave us $25 for it! Not only that, but they picked it up and out of our lives. Now that's KonMari-approved, and certainly something you want to do if you declutter your life).
Liquidate Your Electronic Graveyard
My husband works in IT. So we tend to build up huge electronic graveyards that he doesn't want to part with. It's like Carrie Bradshaw with shoes, but with tech: spare parts, non-working parts, outdated electronics, cords galore…it's kind of ridiculous.
To help declutter our life, I go through the process of liquidating our electronic graveyard, reaping $107 cash, $25.99 in tax deductions, $4 store credit to the Office Depot, and 150 points for my Recyclebank account.
Recently I also went through the process of selling my old cell phone. Only received $0.25, but it's better than putting it in the trash (free shipping as well).
Get Value Out of Your Old Books
We've sold our books to Half Priced Books for years. It doesn't reap much money though (a whole bagful once got us about $8.60). A better way to liquidate books we no longer want is to use PaperBackSwap. I've found that, including the cost to ship my books to other people who want to read them, I can get the books I want to get my hands on for an average of $2.99 each.
Pawn Jewelry from Old Boyfriends
Did you think your jewelry box was immune to the KonMari method? Perhaps you've got lots of old-boyfriend jewelry in there. That's what I had, and once I got engaged, I figured I should liquidate that and use the cash to go towards our honeymoon. An act of love, if you will.
As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to reap money when you declutter your life after reading about the KonMari method. I just have one piece of advice: make sure you put a deadline for how long you'll take to research, sell, and otherwise distribute the belongings. Otherwise, they might just sit in a pile in the corner of your living room for four months (wouldn't know anything about that; probably why the author feels you should just toss away as soon as possible!).
Alright! I want to hear all about how much money you earn from your KonMari CashOut Challenge. Pretty please share in the comments below and/or tag me on social media using the hashtag #KonMariCashOut.