Frugal Advice from Patrick J. Beaird

There's Value in Your Extra Stuff

Who has extra stuff, junk or whatever you want to call it sitting in your basement, garage and/or closets? Raise your hand if you do! Well, its time to make a frugal evaluation. On the one hand it's not necessarily hurting anything sitting where it is. But wait; think about these actions and options which could net you cash, additional space and even the warm feeling that you have helped someone.

  • Devise a reasonable plan to go through your stuff. Even if you just go through one box a weekend, eventually you will get through it all.
  • Figure out your options such as throw away, give away, sell, loan out and keep for future use and designate places where you can put items. Get a box or a bin for each option, label it and put it some place that fits your situation, such as in the garage.
  • Sell it via a free local publication. The free local shopper type papers have very reasonable rates, reach a large number of people and even have web sites. Our local paper, the Springfield Shopper (, is a perfect example. In some cases you can even purchase an ad over the phone or through the web site which is very convenient.
  • Sell it on the web. This is an option that many people use, in fact I have both sold and purchased a number of items myself. However, selling stuff on Ebay isn't always worth it so consider all the effort it will require against what you are likely to make.
  • Give it away. Make a list of what you have and check with your friends and neighbors, maybe you have just what they have been looking for. Also consider giving it to a local church, homeless shelter or other charity. If you give your stuff to a charity consider getting a receipt for the tax write off and if you drop stuff at charity drop boxes or bins, be responsible and don't give them junk that they end up having to dispose of.
  • Have a yard sale or better yet, see if a friend is having a yard sale and work out a deal for them to sell it for you for a cut of your sales. If you are thinking about having a yard sale ask around for good advice about what works locally and do not forget to consider the prep and cleanup time. You don't want to end up sitting around for hours on a Friday and/or Saturday just to make thirty five bucks when you could be doing something fun with the family.
  • Loan it out. Does this sound crazy? Well hold on! If you have items which you only occasionally use such as a garden tiller or items you no longer use such as baby cloths, toys or a high chair you are willing to share with friends and family, what a cool thing to do! Mark each item with your name, write down who you are loaning it to and go for it.
  • Toss it. Sometimes stuff just isn't worth anything anymore and all the value is in the extra space you reclaim in your basement, garage and/or closets.

Ok, now go and be frugal!

I answer select questions and share experiences and tips through my articles. Feel free to write me at: or Patrick Beaird, P.O. Box 9203, Springfield, IL, 62791

Copyright 2007 Patrick Beaird