Clark Howard is a nationally syndicated consumer advice expert
Are you overwhelmed with stuff at your home? Now is the time to do a spring cleaning and either sell or give away the things you're no longer using.
You may have heard me talk about the Simplicity Movement that's all about making due with less. This movement has largely been a reaction to us as a people chasing our tails buying things that we later don't even remember we have…and then they collect dust in our homes.
But times may be changing. A new survey done by Havas Worldwide found that half of roughly 10,000 respondents say they could have a happy life without many of the possessions they have.
We think of spring as a time of renewal. So how about getting rid of your stuff -- electronics, furniture, and accessories -- that you no longer use?
When I talk to people who are in debt, I tell them to do 'the closet test.' Go in your closets and write down everything you have that you didn't remember you bought, or things that didn't make it out of the packaging. Then get rid of it by selling it.
Here's how to make money fast by doing spring cleaning
You take a lot of pictures on your phone, right? Now there's a way you can turn those pictures into cash.
Americans have gone camera crazy now that half of us have smartphones with quality built-in cameras. A lot of times the pictures on our phones just stay there. But there are opportunities to make money on those photos.
The Boston Globe reports marketing companies want the pictures you take on your smartphone. They're seen as an ultra low-cost source for stock photos for advertising in a magazine or other commercial uses.
OutletMedia.co is one new startup for Apple (no Android yet) that lets you come up with a fee you'll sell your photos for. People typically charge flat fees of $15 to $30 per photo. OutletMedia takes a 30% commission to help you sell your photos to advertisers and marketers.
Of course, life is not all about how to make money fast. There's also a good feeling you get when you give something away and expect nothing in return!
If that's more your style, there's always Goodwill and the Salvation Army. But if you have unused home improvement items, you might consider Habitat for Humanity's ReStores. Whatever they sell helps raises funds to build affordable housing for working people.
And then you can always consider the old standbys like FreeCycle.org, the grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.