Spring Cleaning Is Easy…Getting The Kids To Part With Their Treasures Is Tough Family / Lifestyle / Parents Canada

You’re all set to go. You’ve got boxes for sorting “Keep” or “Release” because the kids have outgrown so many things in the past few years and you’re feeling swamped from all of the clutter. It’s Spring Cleaning Time, after all. But as you dig into that cupboard and pull out a barely used toy, it’s like a radar signal goes off in their bedrooms, no matter how far away.

“Mom! I still use that!” they cry.

“You haven’t looked at it for two years.” you say.

“But I might!” they insist.

They’ll clutch it to their chest as if their life depended on rescuing that toy’s life. I’d blame movies for giving toys ‘human qualities’ for this, but it’s been going on long before Toy Story anthropomorphized them. They’ll stomp off, take it back to their room, put it on their bed…and then ignore it completely. Until you try to throw it out, again.

The fact is, not only is having unused items lying around the house annoying because of the mess and room that it takes up, but you could be making some serious cash by selling them through the Second-Hand Economy . Garage sales, community sales, person to person, or you can do what about 40% of Canadians did in 2017, list and sell through Kijiji, online. The average annual earnings for Canadians participating in the Second-Hand Economy , according to the Second-Hand Economy Index was $1,134.

Selling is the relatively easy part; parting with kids’ items can be the hard part. And it’s not just the kids, sometimes we don’t want to sell old baby clothing or toys because they mean something to us, as well. Just ask my husband about his Sentimental Shirt Collection.

Try these tips and maybe two or three of them can escape your ten-year old’s (or 40-year-old’s) mighty clutches.

  1. Start a Donations Box in each of the kids’ rooms. Encourage them to donate to this box every time they get a new toy, or outgrow clothing. It’s sort of like a middle step to seeing it out the door. They can go back to the box and dig something out if they feel like it (they never will), but having that control can make a difference when the box is moved from their closet to out the front door.
  2.  Talk to them about how much money you, as a family, or they can make by selling gently used items. It’s up to you whether they get the money or you do, but I would suggest that toys or clothes that have been gifts really do belong to them, so they should at least get a percentage of what the item is sold for, if not the whole amount. You could start a separate bank account for the money earned.
  3. Do the research with them. Visit Kijiji.ca and see what their treasures are really worth. To you, $10.00 may not be a lot of money, but for a kid this could represent their weekly allowance. While you’re looking online to see what you could sell items for, look at what you can also buy wanted items for. Kids don’t often have a good sense of how much margin is charged simply because you buy an item new, in a store, or online, versus one in the second-hand economy. You’ll probably learn something yourself. This will set up the cycle and selling and buying online as a way of life and you could be one of many Canadians putting nearly $2,000 in your bank account in combined earnings and savings by year end.
  4. Offer the kids the option to sell the items themselves. This could be through a garage sale, to friends, or assist them online, but let them set the price and take the pictures, and write the description. The strategy here is to not ask them whether they want to sell an item or not, rather how they would like to handle the selling, or donating, of the item.
  5. Simply take the items they no longer can use or want when they are not at home. As a parent, you have this right, since you probably purchased most of the items in question. Chances are the kids will not remember a hardly used toy or favourite shirt that got too small, but if they do, be honest and let them know you donated it or sold it, in order to buy them a new toy they do use, or new clothes that fit their new size. Don’t be defensive; it’s practical and it is a great lesson on how to manage your resources.

Spring cleaning season can turn into money-making season for your family; cleaning out the cupboards and filling up the bank account is a win/win situation for everyone.

This is a sponsored post. Opinions, as always, are my own.


Kathy Buckworth is a writer, personality and host who lives in Toronto, Canada. She is a major press contributor, the author of 6 books, and is an international travel writer.

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