Clean Out the Garage: Make some Cash and Make some Donations

Life Balance

Nora and Tim help you find balance when dealing with a stressful debt situation. Learn how to manage stress and enjoy travel without breaking the bank.

Clean Out the Garage: Make some Cash and Make some Donations

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The show "Hoarders" has become somewhat of a national sensation. Each week, viewers (including me) tune in to watch-and I have a feeling it's for two main (and essentially, conflicting) reasons:

1.    It makes us feel better about ourselves. ("Wow, I'm glad I'll never be like that.")

2.    We can relate. ("Wow, if I keep collecting all this stuff that could be me some day.")

The people featured on this show are stuck in one big cycle. They began hoarding because they were unhappy. But because their house has become unimaginably cluttered, they continue to be unhappy.

Soon after my husband and I moved into our house, the garage became a dumping ground for everything from spare curtain rods to extra flower pots-and one day, I realized that things were well on their way to getting out of control.

I knew how much better I'd feel if I brought order to chaos. I just didn't know where to start. But, when I really stared at the stuff, I could identify things that I was willing to part with. There were some really big items (a folding table with 4 chairs-3 of which had broken legs, Abby's old wagon, a non-working barbecue). But I knew there was no way they were going to fit into our small car if we wanted to take them to the Salvation Army, for example. Throwing them away was NOT an option (one person's trash is another person's treasure, after all), and although we could have had a garage sale, it just wasn't the right time.

We often receive postcards in the mail from foundations that are willing to pick items up right from our home. The foundation then sells these items, and the profit goes toward the charity itself. We've gotten postcards from American Cancer Society, the Lupus Foundation of America, and the National Veterans Foundation. The postcard lets you know when a pickup is scheduled in your area, and all you have to do is call the phone number provided so the truck will stop at your house. Even if you're not home, you can simply leave the items on your porch or other designated outside area. So, that's what we did. And just like that, a lot of our junk was gone.

Nowadays, posting for-sale items on sites like has become the thing to do. My friends live in a small apartment outside a big city, and with their first child on the way, they had to do some serious renovations to make room for the little guy (yup, it's a boy!). Part of this project has involved cutting their living room square footage in half and using that extra space to build a baby's room. Long story short, they had to sell their large couch and loveseat to make room for a much smaller couch. So, they posted a photo and description on Within about a week, they were rewarded with a nice chunk of change in exchange for their couch. It was that easy. Sure it was nowhere near what they'd paid for the couch to begin with, but it was definitely something.

I don't have to tell you how being in debt can make you feel like things in your life are out of whack, but a disorganized living area can make things even worse. On the flip side, taking some time to clean up the clutter will do instant wonders for your soul. And that's a promise.

What are the neatest and messiest rooms in your home?

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  • This is awesome! I too have done a huge clean out and I have sold over $600 worth of stuff on ebay to help pay down my debt.

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