Spring cleaning is about more than dusting the nooks and crannies of your home. Put that winter coat back in the closet, whip out those cleaning supplies, and open up your wallet – it’s about to get a little heavier. This year, maximize your spring cleaning by making a few bucks, and saving some too.
Get cash for your clothes. Do an online search for clothing resale and consignment shops in your area, then scour your closet and cash in on the clothes that no longer fit your body or style. Take a second look at your spring and summer wardrobe as well; are there items you know you won't be wearing in the coming months? Selling your clothes can be especially profitable if they're still in season, so focus on clearing out your unwanted spring and summer items during April and May.
Trade your media for money. Again, go online or call used book and music stores in your area. You can sell or trade your DVDs, CDs, and videos for credit in some stores, or swap them online using services like PaperBackSwap or SwapADVD.
De-clutter for charity. As you dig through your closet and media collection, consider donating your unwanted items to Goodwill. You won't see an immediate financial return, but with a receipt you may be able to deduct your donation from your taxable income and benefit when preparing your tax return next year. Deductions can lower your taxable income, thereby lowering the amount of tax you owe the government.
Money SaversClean your refrigerator coils. Cleaning the dust off of the coils helps the fridge run more efficiently and could lower your utility bill, as well as extend the life of your appliance.
Change your home's air conditioner filter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25-40% of the energy used for heating and cooling is wasted. Changing the filter in your air conditioner every 2-4 years could save you 5-15% on cooling costs.
Clean the inside of your dishwasher. Doesn’t a dishwasher clean itself? Not exactly. Turns out you use less water and energy in the pre-soaking and rinsing cycle when the rack, spinning arms, and vents of your dishwasher are clean and clear of debris. Dirt and dried food can also get stuck around the door of the dishwasher, which prevents the seal from fully closing. Use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the racks and door, and check the vents and spinning arms for hardened residue.
Clean the dryer’s lint filter every time you use the dryer, or better yet, take advantage of the coming warm weather and dry your clothes outside. Over 15,000 clothes dryer fires occur each year, according to a May 2003 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. By cleaning your dryer’s lint filter, you’ll not only increase your dryer’s efficiency; you’ll decrease your chances of such a catastrophe and the expenses that follow one.
Clean your vacuum. A little bit of maintenance can help your vacuum clean more efficiently, and could help you avoid costly repairs or replacement down the road. Use a pair of scissors to remove hairs and fibers from the spinning brush underneath the vacuum. Then, use a wire hanger to ensure the vacuum’s ducts are clear of debris. Finally, clean the wheels of the vacuum with a moist cloth to avoid marking up your floors or adding dirt to your carpet.
Tired of cleaning? Now that your wallet is a little fatter and your house is a little cleaner, you can roll into spring feeling de-cluttered and hopefully, de-stressed. What about spring cleaning your car?