Use spring cleaning to raise some cash

This year, turn your spring cleaning into a mission to find sources of cash, since almost all of us are looking to raise some money in the recession.

The newspaper and Internet are tried-and-true spots for selling furniture and finding a market for, say, your old camping equipment, musical instruments or kitchen appliances.

Local shops also can be a good source of extra cash for other items. Maybe the workout equipment you purchased for a New Year's fitness resolution in years past gets more use as a clothes rack, or your children have outgrown last season's soccer or softball gear. You could sell it to Play It Again Sports, which markets used sporting goods in Baltimore, Cockeysville, Bel Air and Ellicott City.

Sellers can elect cash or consignment options or get a store credit toward buying their children new gear - new to them, at least.

If you or your teenager has a taste for labels, try selling apparel such as designer jeans at consignment shops or used-clothing stores, such as Plato's Closet in Towson. Remember, many stores will buy items only in season (no sweaters in July). Local children's consignment shops, such as Kidz Closet in Catonsville, stock used baby clothing and furniture, although they won't buy items recalled for safety reasons.

Unload your remaining items with a garage sale: Team up with friends or neighbors to increase the draw, and don't forget to advertise. Then donate the rest, and hang onto the receipt as a charitable deduction.

Remember, you definitely won't sell your stuff for as much as you paid for it, but it's better than paying for storage space - or buying a new bookshelf - for items you don't need.

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