Tidying up? Here’s How to Cash in on Everything That Doesn’t Spark Joy

A woman posts clothes she is selling online.
Farrah Daniel posts clothes on OfferUp, Letgo and Craigslist in her apartment in St. Petersburg, Fla. She used the Konmari method to organize her room. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
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The first thing I learned from Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, was this: If you walk into your home and feel some discomfort in your life, it’s time to tidy up.

I’m pretty organized and everything, but… triggered.

Though I maintained order and structure on the surface, the true state of my home was kind of chaotic. After watching one episode of Netflix’s “Tidying Up,” it hit me: I’m all about aesthetics.

For those who haven’t tuned in to the series, just know that Kondo triple-dog dared us to use the KonMari method to organize (and purge!) our homes. No big deal.

Despite the intensity of it, I bravely put myself up to the #tidyingupchallenge — I was even able to pocket $38 by the end of the week.

The First Step Toward Tidiness

To get started, I dug up all the clothes from my early 20s that I’d been hoarding in my closet (somewhere by the Narnia portal, I think) to ask the famous question, “Does this spark joy?”

Because letting go, in any context, is difficult, I softened the blow by making extra cash off the items I decided to let go — that’s The Penny Hoarder method.

With my giveaway pile sorted, cleaned and steamed, it was time to start selling. And in true Kondo fashion, I thanked every item before it turned into dolla’, dolla’ bills, y’all.

Sell Anything — for Free

A woman uses steams her clothes before selling them online.
Daniel steams clothes she decided on sell Letgo, Craigslist and OfferUp. She made $38 from selling old clothes on those platforms. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

I started by downloading Letgo — an intuitive app that lets you sell virtually anything. It lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. It removes a lot of the hassle of selling things online, and it’s 100% free to use.

The app lets you select the price you want, giving you the options to set it as negotiable, or to give it away for free if you just want to purge.

Help potential customers find your ad by categorizing it and setting your location by ZIP code. You can also share the listing on Facebook to see whether any of your friends are interested. This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely sell your goods, but it does reveal active, local users who might be looking for what you’re selling.

When it’s time to get paid, Letgo offers some recommendations: Transfer money only after the buyer inspects the item. Take cash, or use a secure payment platform like PayPal. Don’t take a “certified check” — Letgo says this is a common scam. Shipping is discouraged, as well.

I made $10 selling two pairs of old shorts. The best part? Letgo doesn’t snag any percentage of the sale, so I got to keep it all.

Let This App Help You Bank off Old Dresses

To earn more cash, I put up the last bit of my clothes for sale using a free app called OfferUp. This app lets you sell just about anything — furniture, clothes, gadgets — even cars.

Seriously. Like, entire vehicles.

Just download the OfferUp app, enter your ZIP code and click the camera to sign up. You can continue with Facebook, which makes the whole process pretty seamless.

The app lets you chat with interested buyers without the pressure of having to exchange phone numbers. When you’re ready, schedule your meeting by using its site SafeTradeSpots.com to find a safe public place to meet your buyer and complete the transaction.

Using the app, I scored an extra $20 from selling some dresses I hadn’t worn in awhile.

Use This App to Sell Everything You Think No One Wants

A woman uses her cell phone to photograph clothes she is selling online.
Daniel photographs her clothes before posting them on Craigslist, Letgo and OfferUp. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

No shade to Craigslist, but I like to think of it as the place where the misfits of your belongings go. So that’s where I went to sell all the random stuff I accumulated over the years.

Thanks to the buyer who found joy in my picture frame and pair of tennis shoes, I pocketed $8.

Since Craigslist doesn’t have its own, I used the licensed, third-party app CPlus. If you’re worried about the legitimacy, you might find comfort in knowing that the app has more than 10,000 ratings and averages 4.8/5 stars in the App Store. Not too shabby.

Plus, through the app, you post directly to Craigslist.

You can get started with CPlus by creating a Craigslist account if you don’t already have one. Enter your email, then verify your account and create a password.

Navigate back over to the app, sign in and start posting what you have to offer (except organs, sorry!). Categorize and title your posting, add a price, specific location, postal code and a description. Next, you’ll add images, then publish.

Be aware of safety issues when it comes to Craigslist. As with the other apps, meet in a well-lit public setting and trust your instincts.

Securing the payment is up to you and cannot be done through the app. For safety, use cash — but not a ton.

Done Is Better Than Perfect

A woman uses the Marie Kondo method to organzie her clothing on her bed.
Daniel goes through her things and gives her old clothing thanks before deciding what to let go. “I wanted my stuff to be my stuff,” says Farrah. “Honestly it’s like breathing again. I feel like I’m meeting Farrah again.” Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

*Deep sigh*

The KonMari method works, guys. Halfway through my #tidyingupchallenge, I realized I’ve formed an unhealthy habit of keeping things for nostalgia’s sake.

I’d secretly been holding onto all the cute stuff I used to wear in my early 20s in hopes that I could be that young girl again, fitting into a size 3. But when I sold my old clothes, I also sold my attachment to them, which has allowed me to embrace who I am now.

As powerful as that made me feel, it felt even better getting to enjoy the end result of my hard work: Neatly folded clothes and a thoroughly organized living space. (Not just on the surface, I swear.)

Oh, and my total earnings? $38. That part was pretty sweet, too.

Farrah Daniel is a former editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder.