Polishing Pays Off: How to Get the Most out of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a tradition that goes back to the old days. Cleaning up the cobwebs and airing out the house when the warm breezes blow makes us all feel good after a long winter living with our dusty things. In modern times, along with dust bunnies and cobwebs, we also face a pile of clutter we stacked up over the past year.

Shelves full of toys and closets bursting with last year’s clothes make the task of cleaning those nooks and crannies seem like an enormous job. The good news is that there are hidden treasures in the back of that closet just waiting to be discovered. You might be able to sell your sneakers and make out like a bandit.

Step by Step Spring Cleaning

Making your home fresh and clean for the spring is easier if you work on it in steps. Tackling the work in small chunks is more fun, but you don’t want to end up going back over something you’ve already done.

Find a helper, if you can, and put on some motivating music to make the time fly as you:

1. Start at the Top

Start on the upper floor, if you have one, and clean one room at a time. Dust the cobwebs, light fixtures, and baseboards before you clean furniture and floors, or the dirt will just fall down on something you’ve already cleaned.

Remember that you don’t have to do the whole house in one weekend. Cleaning one room completely will give you the motivation to tackle another one.

2. De-Clutter as You Go

As you work through each room, get rid of things that are broken or worn out, are out of date, or haven’t been used in a year. Fill garbage bags with the trash, and box up some things for donation, but keep your eyes open for things that might have real cash value.

A little later, we will list some items you might be hoarding that can put cash back in your pocket. It is much more rewarding to sell designer handbags than to toss them out with the unmatched socks!

3. Wash Window Dressings

Take down those curtains and check the tags. Most curtains can be washed, either in the washing machine or by hand, and hung up to dry in the sun. Even if they aren’t washable, a good shaking and a spray with fabric-safe freshener and time hanging in the sun will air out the fabric and kill mold spores.

Clean the blinds and wash the windows to let the sunshine in and get rid of the odors that accumulate over the long winter. While the curtains and blinds are down, open the windows wide and air out the room!

4. Flip Your Furniture

If you have a traditional spring or foam mattress, flip it over so the bottom is now the top, then put what was the head end at the foot of the bed. This helps prevent dips in the mattress and gives you a fresh side to lie on. Wash the sheets, pillowcases, dust ruffle, and blankets or comforters. Wash pillows or replace them each year.

Chairs and couches need care too. If covers can be removed and washed, and cushions flipped over, that will make upholstery last much longer. Some carpet shampooers have attachments to deep clean the fabric. As you take the couch apart, remember that old coins may have a high silver content. You could sell silver coins and get those new pillows!

5. Clean Carpets, Wash Floors, and Replace Rugs

Carpets and rugs need a deep cleaning with a shampooer or rental carpet cleaning machine twice a year to prevent permanent damage to the fabric. The deep weave of carpet fibers holds dirt, stains, and odors which can only be removed with water and suction. You can wash hardwood or vinyl floors with a disinfecting floor cleaner and water.

If you need some extra cash to rent that carpet machine, buy cleaning supplies, or get some new rugs, selling a few of the things you found in the back of the closet can make spring cleaning pay for itself and give your home a clean new look.

young family couple doing cleaning in the house

6. Eliminate Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are fungi that grow in damp places around the house. They not only cause a musty smell that gets worse on damp spring days, but the spores they produce can be bad for your health. Especially in the bathroom or laundry room, use a cleaner that kills mold or contains bleach when doing regular cleaning.

For the spring cleaning, make a point to get to those hard to reach places like under the sink, behind the toilet, and the edges of the shower stall. Window sills in the kitchen or bedrooms might grow mold if they develop condensation or frost in the winter. Wipe these down with a mild bleach solution to go into spring fungus-free.

Turning Clutter into Cash: Selling the Spring Bounty

We all love to watch those shows where people find things at a garage sale or in the attic that end up being worth thousands of dollars. Even if Grandma’s coo-coo clock isn’t worth a small fortune by itself, the small things you have around the house can add up to quite a bit of cash. Certainly, enough for some fun in the sun with an umbrella drink.

How can you tell the gems from the junk as you get ready to sell your stuff?

What Are the Best Items to Pawn or Sell?

You might think of a pawn shop as just a place to sell engagement rings or buy some used DVDs, but, in fact, it makes a great place to sell your valuable items and get instant cash loans, and it may offer the highest prices paid in your area.

Be on the lookout for items like these that can be in high demand:

  • Antique Fiesta Ware. Although it can be purchased new today, vintage Fiesta ware is highly collectible.
  • American Girl Dolls. The original collection, including Felicity, Samantha, and Molly, are in high demand. Condition is important, with sealed-in-box dolls bringing the highest prices.
  • Vintage Video Games. It can pay to sell used electronics that are in great condition. Unsealed early Super Nintendo games have a solid resale value but bring almost 10 times more if sealed in the original box.
  • Modern Electronics. Apple products can bring a good price. Customers are always looking for iPads, iPhones, newer smartphones, and high-quality laptops.
  • Depression Glass. Produced between 1920 and 1940 during the Great Depression, these brightly colored plates, glasses, and bowls are especially valuable in pink, green, and cobalt blue.
  • Antique Toys. Old toys in good condition, especially mechanical or windup toys that work, can be very collectible and are worth bringing in for appraisal. Mint condition in the box (MIB) toys bring the best price.
  • Sports Memorabilia. Age, condition, and rarity of a piece of sports equipment, a baseball card, or a sports program have a lot to do with how much the item is worth. An autograph can drastically increase the value, as does a popular player or legendary game.
  • Jewelry, Gold, and Silver. Old jewelry, even if it seems out of style, can bring big bucks. The weight of those heavier chains and pendants can add up in gold or silver prices. Pre-owned Rolex watches and handmade Native American jewelry are always in high demand.
  • Musical Instruments. Vintage used guitars, especially brands like Fender or Gibson, can fetch a high price. Even that trumpet you don’t play anymore will likely be worth something. Musical instruments in good condition are great items to pawn or sell.

A Few Things with Only Sentimental Value

Of course, not every box of things you once collected is worth a bundle today. Some things that might bring a disappointing offer include:

  • Precious Moments Figurines
  • Marbles
  • Hot Wheels Cars
  • Baseball Pennants
  • Beanie Babies
  • Pre-Owned Cars and Old Toy Trucks
  • Cabbage Patch Kids

jeweler inspecting ring through magnifying glass in workshop

Sweep Up a Pile of Dollar Bills

As you look at that pile of things that you know are worth some money, consider the work involved in trying to list everything you want to sell one item at a time. It might take weeks or even months to move these items by yourself. Odds are you won’t get top dollar for the most valuable items.

When you go to a pawn shop like GEM Pawnbrokers, you always have the choice to get an instant cash loan with your valuables as collateral or to sell them to us on the spot. Either way, you walk out the door with cash today and no need for credit or those annoying credit checks.

Just stop by any of our 24 convenient locations and have your items evaluated by our friendly expert staff. Your fine jewelry is examined by one of our GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and JA (Jewelers of America) Certified Staff, and we are ready to offer the highest prices paid in the area.

If you are looking for pawn shops that buy electronics, make your choice based on our 70 years of experience in a business that depends on quality customer service and long-term relationships. We’ve been paying our customers for their spring cleaning finds since 1947, and we want to help you clean up on your unwanted items today!

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