(BPT) - Before we soak up the summer sun, we need to think about spring cleaning. As you clear out your closets and drawers, be on the lookout for these five often overlooked sources of money:
1) Gift Cards: About $1 billion in gift cards goes unused each year, so instead of digging change out of your couch cushions or car seats, try looking through your junk drawer, email inbox or even your wallet for gift cards and egifts that you may have forgotten about. Instead of letting the funds go to waste, sell the gift card to a gift card exchange like Cardpool.com at close to the face value or to receive an Amazon gift card.
You also can look to a gift card exchange site to buy your preferred brand of gift card. After the holidays, gift card exchange sites are often stocked with gift cards ready to be sold at hefty discounts-up to 35 percent off. So, if you're planning a trip and want to use airline or hotel gift cards to save money, or if a discounted gift card to a lawn and garden store would help to spruce up your yard, now is the time to buy.
2) Clothes: Cleaning out the closet can also mean money in your wallet. Sites like ThredUp buy and sell quality, name-brand clothes. ThredUp will even ship you a "clean out" bag, so you can fill it up at home, ship it back and receive payment for the clothes the company purchases. With this particular site, you can choose for the company to donate what they don't purchase or send it back to you. If you prefer to sell your apparel in-person, take your gently used brand name clothes to a nearby consignment store where they'll often pay cash on-the-spot.
3) Books: When clearing out the bookshelf, consider selling some of your old favorites on Amazon. When you create a seller account on Amazon, you can name your price and choose to fulfill orders yourself or via Amazon fulfillment.
4) Furniture: While Craigslist remains a popular avenue for unloading furniture you no longer need, if you have chic vintage furniture or décor that you're ready to sell, check out Chairish.com. Chairish will list your furniture and décor for sale and will even coordinate all shipping needs for the seller to the buyer.
5) Electronics: From old iPhones or laptops to tablets and video games, sites like NextWorth or Gazelle will buy the electronics you no longer use for cash. Check each site to get a quote for what your electronics are worth and send them in to earn extra cash.
While de-cluttering can be cathartic on its own, leveraging the right tools to earn extra cash on items you may have otherwise tossed can make spring cleaning a rewarding experience, too.