Turn this year's annual spring cleaning chore into a profitable routine. Instead of fearing the mop and dust towel, make a game out of going through your things, cleaning out your closet and rearranging your furniture. From under your sofa cushions to your CD collection, look for lost treasures -- or perhaps discover new ones. With more than $10 billion in loose change sitting idle across the U.S. you're already sitting on hidden riches.
Consider these tips to help turn your spring cleaning chore into a spring cleaning treasure hunt:
1. Declutter: Don't limit your decluttering to the usual garage, basement and attic. Look at the common areas -- drawers, cupboards and places where things tend to go that we think we'll get to later. Divide clutter into boxes marked "keep," "donate," "sell" and "throw out" -- even though you don't want it, someone else might. Hold a garage sale or sell it online, you never know, that old comic book might complete someone else's collection.
2. Clear out the storage unit: Sort through old boxes you've had in storage and determine if the contents are worth keeping and why they're important. What about that box that has moved with you the last three times that you've never opened? Do you really need the contents? If you clear out enough, who knows, you may not need a storage unit or the accompanying monthly fee.
3. Cash in and splurge: Most of us have a coin jar, but loose change also ends up under the sofa cushions, in drawers and in the laundry room. Coinstar estimates that the average American household has about $90 in change floating around. Why not use the money you find to reward yourself for cleaning? Gather up your change and take it to a Coinstar Center, found in retail locations across the country. Coinstar quickly and easily turns loose change into cash which can be used to purchase a special treat for yourself! To find a Coinstar location, visit www.coinstar.com.
4. Sort through old photos and refresh the family room art: The grocery bag of photos you've been meaning to put into albums for 10 years is full and falling apart. Sort out blurry and unrecognizable shots that would never go into an album. Enlarge some and update the photos in the family room. The bag will go away and you'll save money by not having to buy new art. Not to mention, your friends and family will enjoy them as well.
5. Clean up your music collection: Anyone with even a modest-size collection has CDs separated from their cases, missing case jackets, scratched discs, damaged tapes and case-less cassettes. Gather it all together in one spot. Separate into stacks and toss damaged ones. Not only will you find the ones that went missing, you can take the CDs you no longer listen to and sell them at the local music store.
As the saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." You may find treasures of your own that still have great value if you put them in a place where they're used and appreciated. If not, sell them or donate to a local charity for others to enjoy. Not only will your house be cleaner, but you'll feel good about giving someone something they'll be able to appreciate.
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