Spring has sprung and it is a great time to think about cleaning up any unnecessary items that have collected over the long winter months, likely covered by snow or Christmas decorations. The whole idea of spring cleaning can actually have very practical personal financial aspects to it, too.
Although it can be hard to look at stuff you own and part with things that you don't really use but still have some sort of attachment to, it's a good practice to have not just in spring, but throughout the year. Picking up something you own and asking yourself if you really need it is similar in practice to going to a store and asking yourself whether you really need to buy it in the first place. Getting into this frame of mind will prevent you from buying stuff that will end up being spring cleaning specimens in future years in the first place, saving you both time and money. With that in mind, if you honestly ask yourself the question of whether you really need anything you have or are considering having, you will declutter and keep it that way for good, and you will be able to avoid spring cleaning in the future.
When it comes to spring cleaning, there is the possibility of the actual financial impact of doing spring cleaning in the form of either selling old stuff or getting rid of something that has an operating/recurring cost associated with it. When you go through your garage, basement or closet and find some old furniture that is still in usable condition but you simply don't need, you might be inclined to leave it because you may use it one day, your aunt said she might be able to make space for it a couple of years ago or do not like the idea of disposing it. A great way to push yourself to get rid of it is by searching on a used site like Kijiji, Craigslist or Facebook "sell" groups for your city to see if people are selling a similar item. If they are, it might be worth dusting off, snapping a few photos and listing on Kijiji for an appropriate price based on differences in condition/brand/model/etc. This type of spring cleaning does take a bit more energy, but if you put some fair starting prices and are willing to deal with sometimes unreliable buyers, at least you are getting some money back.
The idea of financially benefiting from spring cleaning through a reduced operating expense is a little harder to predict, but the windfall can be even more substantial over the long run. Are you still getting magazines you subscribed to ages ago and have them stacked in the corner of your living room waiting to be read in a mad frenzy? Not only will getting rid of all those copies you will never read save you space, but if you cancel the subscription, you'll save a bunch of money in the future that you may have forgotten about. What about that storage facility you have rented because you are keeping a bunch of family heirlooms in it in a sort of time capsule? That can be a substantial drain on your monthly income, and it would be wise to take every effort to either find space in your house to move all the stuff to or simply get rid of what is being stored. You might think they are valuable, but with each month you are paying dozens or hundreds of dollars for storage, you are effectively losing money. Another common item that takes up a lot of room are toys like snowmobiles or motorcycles, which are often still under insurance. These bigger ticket items generally sell fairly quickly at the right price, and you get the added benefits of lower insurance/registration costs if it's a vehicle you probably won't be riding much. It can even be something as minor as an old lamp sitting plugged-in in the darkest corner of your basement, ready to illuminate anyone's face that is brave enough to want to go down there. Although we are talking pennies, that lamp is costing you money that it shouldn't.
At some point, you are probably going to find a bunch of items that are not saleable or a way of reducing costs in some way. This is where the effort spent to gain any small return from them is not worth it. Think of things like a box of old pre-teen novels or some old clothes that don't have holes but aren't exactly in fashion anymore. This is where donating them to a local library/school or a place like Goodwill would likely be the best thing you could do. You are helping some people who could genuinely use the items that would otherwise sit, and over time this would have an overall positive influence on your neighborhood and city. In that sense, a great investment for stuff you didn't want.
There's also the possibility of giving items to family or friends if you see that they have a potential for getting more usage in their hands. The tried-and-true hand-me-downs between siblings is always a great idea. Or, if you have a relatively young baby, the clothes they quickly grow out of may help one of your friends who are currently expecting in the near future!
Finally, if you have a few unfortunate items that just are not in any shape to sell, donate or give away, don't forget that the garbage/recycle bin can welcome it with open arms.