Spring is here and we all know what that means — spring-cleaning!

This year, why not clear your house of clutter, and make some money at the same time? How? Simply clean out those never-used items, then have a garage or yard sale to sell your goods. If you sell your clutter to someone else, it will never have the chance to creep its way back into your home. You can even try recruiting friends to make your garage sale a blowout clearance event.

Start with the Bedroom
But first, you must tackle the clutter. Start with the bedroom closets. You have to make the switch from winter to spring clothing anyway, so it's the perfect time to re-evaluate your wardrobe.

As you gather your winter wardrobe for storage, set aside any clothing that you haven't worn all season (or haven't worn in years), doesn't fit, has holes or permanent stains, or you know you'll never wear again. Save these items for your garage sale, and store the remaining winter clothes until next year.

As you put spring clothing in drawers and closets, re-valuate items in the same way. When you're finished, anything not in a storage space, closet, or drawer is merchandise for the garage sale, or you can throw away or donate any clothing that you don't think you can sell. Do the same thing with each bedroom closet in the house.

Clear Kitchen Clutter
Now move on to the kitchen. Kitchen drawers are notorious for storing too much clutter — sometimes they even earn the nickname "junk drawer."

If you have a junk drawer, it's time to tackle it and clear out the junk! Start by emptying the drawer. Get rid of anything you don't need — year-old receipts, instruction manuals for equipment you no longer own, grocery lists, old magazines, expired coupons. Put anything worth salvaging on the garage sale pile, and throw the other stuff away.

Move on to other parts of the kitchen and part with any chipped or broken dishes, and old, stained, or broken utensils or silverware. Sell duplicate kitchen accessories and reconsider any kitchen tools you haven't used in the last year. That 1970s fondue pot collecting cobwebs in the depths of your cabinet could be a cash cow at your garage sale.

Basement Bonanza
Next, take on the basement — yes, the basement, or the garage, or the attic or anywhere you store most of your larger "junk" or seasonal items. Because it's practically a breeding ground for clutter, we've saved this room for last.

First, take stock of what you have and repeat this mantra: "When in doubt, throw it out." If you haven't used it in the last year, to the garage sale it goes. If you store seasonal decorations here, make sure to create sections and designate them to the appropriate season. Put darker, heavier accessories into fall and winter sections, and combine lighter, more airy accessories for spring and summer. When separating them, take a close look. When was the last time you set out that bouquet of dried flowers? Do you really need to hold on to a half-burned candle? Pitch or save whatever items you can for your sale.

Scattered Clutter
Of course, another kind of clutter isn't so easy to get rid of — that's the "lost" clutter, and it's not specific to one room. It can be scattered anywhere. Children's toys in the den, DVDs in the kitchen and hair accessories littering the bathroom drawer are all examples of items that have lost their way. They should have a proper place, but unfortunately, someone has aided them in their escape to freedom.

Gather toys and put them in a toy box, consolidate hair accessories into their proper place, and store DVDs by the TV. By going through everything, you'll realize what your family does and doesn't use and what you might have too much of — all of these items are fodder for the sale.

Going Once, Going Twice
Now it's time for your sale. Mark your items with a fair price so you're sure to sell them. That old, scratched candleholder may have sentimental value, but the casual garage sale shopper is not likely to pay $15 for it.

At the end of the day, take anything that is left over directly to a local charity. Don't be tempted to store it in your basement or garage — you'll be missing the point. Good luck!

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