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Family Money

Lessons learned and tips to try for de-cluttering this spring

About five years ago, my mommy group held a multi-family yard sale in my front yard. With a half dozen mommies participating, we had everything from baby gear, games and gaming systems to clothing, household items and exercise equipment for sale. We advertised, posted signs, put out a free bin and set up early on a beautiful spring day. By hosting the sale on a heavily trafficked street, it was a recipe for success - or so I thought!

Spend Money to Make Money. After buying poster board, markers, staples, gas, donuts and coffee, I ended up making a mere $12.10 when all was said and done. (Granted those selling little girls' clothes and big ticket items were able to line their pockets a bit more!) In my opinion, it was hardly worth the time, energy or trampled grass.

Go Big or Stay Home. Still many opt for the traditional yard sale environment. If that's you, then look for larger community sales, church consignment sales or groups where you can go in together with others to rent a space. It's true — the more stuff a buyer has to choose from the more likely they'll stop and shop, resulting in a successful sale.

A Picture is Worth a Million Dollars. With Amazon, Craigslist, eBay and the myriad of virtual yard sale sites on Facebook, it is that much quicker and easier to sell your unwanted stuff. Snap a picture, upload with a description and set a price. With very little time and effort, comparable to the time spent tagging stuff for yard and consignment sales, you can be successful.

Time is Money. You may want to have someone else sell your stuff for you. Consignment stores offer this opportunity and give you a fraction of the sale. It's still a great opportunity to unload unwanted stuff, de-clutter without the hassle, and still make a few bucks.

Donate. When all else fails, give your excess stuff to churches, Goodwill or the Salvation Army for a tax write-off.

I've been "Spring Cleaning" throughout the winter months when I've been cooped up inside. I've divided and conquered the closets and playroom. I am confident my junk will be someone else's treasure and I will successfully make enough to buy another Lego set on my son's wish list.

Nikki Ducas is a budget-savvy Fredericksburg mom teaching her two young sons that a de-cluttered home makes for a simpler, more relaxed lifestyle.

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