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Make Money by Cleaning Out Your Closet

Streamlining your clothing clutter really can be good for your wallet

3. Donate to a good cause

You won't earn any money here, but you can certainly claim a tax write-off at the end of year, not to mention the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing you've done a good deed. There are an incredible number of nonprofits in need of like-new clothing. The Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries are two reliable options. But you can also explore more specialized groups. For shoe donations, try Share Your Soles or Soles4Souls, or Give Running if you have athletic shoes to donate. Donate career wear to Dress for Success. Pass on old purses to Change Purse.

4. Swap and save

Swap parties allow you to update your wardrobe for free and get rid of your clutter at the same time. This option can work in one of two ways: Host a swap party, asking your invitees to drop off their own used items before the day of the event. Send out invites at least a month in advance to give attendees time to rummage through their closets. Display all the items for the party in an organized fashion. On the day of the party, allow swappers to browse and bag what they want. (You may want to come up with your own swap policies and guidelines to ensure fairness.) Leftover items can be donated to a local organization.

If you have no time for party planning, then try online swapping networks, such as swapstyle.com or bigwardrobe.com. Upload a photo of an item, and wait to see if someone reaches out to negotiate a swap with you. Or you can send another swapper an offer. On these particular websites, membership is free. But you do pay for shipping.

5. Help the planet

If, after decluttering, you find clothing that may not be worth selling or swapping, aim to reduce landfill wastes by donating to a local recycler. Check the parking lot of your grocery store, and you may find a convenient drop-off bin for organizations such as Planet Aid, a nonprofit that collects clothes and shoes to support community development programs. Know that a growing number of nonprofit and for-profit groups operate recycling bins for various purposes. If you're willing to go this route, take the extra step to research the organization that owns the drop-off box to make sure you agree with its mission.

Stacy Julien is a writer and editor with AARP Media.

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