10 Tips for Turning Clutter into Cash + A Success Story worth $10K

Are you facing down a daunting decluttering project…on a deadline?

We know one determined declutterer who was. She accomplished her goal AND earned major bucks turning clutter into cash in the process!

If you'd like tips on how to sell your clutter for extra money as you declutter, this article is for you!

All images are used with permission from Polly Bennett.

The Decluttering Project

Polly Bennett tackled a huge decluttering project, bringing in $10,000 along the way!

She posted about her sale in our community, and we immediately knew we needed to hear the whole story.

The Details

Polly had to clear out her late mother’s attic and consolidate two houses into one, which would be her residence and refuge when the other house sold.

Polly purged and pared down both households in the space of six weeks, plus the storage attic. Her refreshing outlook and optimism are going to inject inspiration into your own projects.

The Unwanted Items

First, what great stuff did she sell?

turning clutter into cash 10k success story before
Before: comfortable and homey – unfortunately most of these things wouldn’t fit when Polly downsized into her second home.

A piano, scooter, lots of home furnishings, artwork, yard equipment, old board games, and childhood collectibles…all went out the door.

How She Turned the Clutter into Money

As she sorted and cleared, Polly listed many of these items on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. These are two popular online options for selling your secondhand items, but you can find more options in our article on how to sell your stuff online.

(For help selling your clutter, see our guide, CASH In: 5 Easy Ways to Sell Your Clutter for Cash!)

She held one impromptu garage sale – with no prep work or advertising – simply setting out her wares, unpriced, and after just a few hours, she netted $300 in extra cash!

This just goes to show that garage sales and yard sales don’t have to be a big stressful event to be successful. They’re great options for exchanging household clutter and a variety of items for cash.

Best of all, they don’t require creating listings, taking quality photos, or shipping costs.

The rest of her things were sold at auction, which is a great option for higher-priced items.

Note: You may also look at utilizing consignment shops, pawn shops, and flea markets (great for antique items) if the products fit the right categories.

turning clutter into cash 10k success story after
Completely decluttered and ready to move out!

Polly gave us practical advice and pragmatic ideas on how we can declutter for cash as well.

Top 10 Tips for Turning Clutter into Cash

  1. Don’t allow the stuff to overpower you. Don’t give it power or meaning; It’s just stuff.
  2. Divide things into two categories: “Things I Love” and “Things I Don’t Love”. Surround yourself ONLY with the things and people you love. If it isn’t a “HECK YES!” it is more likely a “HECK NO!”
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get started. Work until the timer goes off, and then set it for another 15 if you aren’t overwhelmed, exhausted or have another commitment.
  4. If you can easily replace something in under 20 minutes for under $20 and aren’t 100% sure you want to keep it, let it go. (Read more about this 20/20 decluttering rule.)
  5. Make a written list.  There is something extremely satisfying about checking off an item when completed. (Polly uses One Note and Trello, a free project management app that syncs with your computer.)
  6. Don’t keep things because you imagine your children will want them someday. They WON’T. Neither will your friends. No one wants your stuff, they all have their own to deal with.
  7. Stop buying stuff. Boom. (Need help with this issue?  Check out our Stop Overshopping class!)
  8. Develop a mindset that says storing things you don’t use is tantamount to hoarding. Someone else might really need them!
  9. Don’t be ashamed of your mess, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
  10. Don’t give up hope. You CAN do this!

turning clutter into cash 10k success story decluttered home

Extra Tips for Managing Deadlines

Polly admits she did get exhausted at times.

Especially when working under a deadline, it’s easy to get depleted.

Keep the job manageable by breaking it down into a series of bite-sized goals and tasks, and also by tracking those dates on a calendar.

Remember to pace yourself. Taking care of your physical body and emotions means you can maintain energy and sanity levels, which are essential to completing the job.

Pssst!…this is where #9, asking for help, comes in. ????

Today, Polly is living in that beautiful house on a wooded hillside, debt-free, mortgage-free, and clutter-free. Who wouldn’t love to enjoy that kind of freedom!

As you aspire to this kind of clarity—and cash—in your life, take along these words of Polly’s and repeat them to yourself, “I am abundant and now clutter free.

Even if you’re not now, you will be soon enough!

Have you ever made some extra money by decluttering?

Want to learn more about selling your clutter for cash?

See our latest course, Cash In: 5+ Easy Ways to Sell Your Clutter for Cash here!


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3 thoughts on “10 Tips for Turning Clutter into Cash + A Success Story worth $10K”

  1. When I started to declutter my home I found that there were so many things that I had forgotten I had. I also found 2 apps that I started to post things on to sell. Letgo & OfferUp. I have sold more on Letgo. I am limited to were I can go for health reasons. My next step is to open an online jewelry store. I’ve been making jewelry for a few years. What I need is more confidence in myself. Something I’m constantly working on.


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Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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