A Q&A with Leah Ingram Author of Toss, Keep, Sell: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In
Leah Ingram is a frugal living expert, founder of the blog Suddenly Frugal and author of more than a dozen books, including her latest Toss, Keep, Sell! The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In (Adams Media, 2010).
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Q: Why did you write your newest book?
A: I wanted this new book to serve a dual purpose: to help people get their homes organized, and discover ways that they could get cash for their clutter. This book grew out of my earlier book Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less, which grew out of my blog Suddenly Frugal . That book was written for recovering spendthrifts–people who used to spend, shop, and dine out freely, and then when the economy tanked, suddenly needed to live frugally. This was the plan my husband and I needed to follow in 2007 and how I ended up starting my blog Suddenly Frugal. I know from being one of those recovering spendthrifts that, thanks to my “shopper-tainment” days, when I went shopping when I was bored, I had more stuff than I needed so plenty of clutter to clear out.
Q: If you’ve already written a book on frugal living, why write another one?
A: The secret to living frugally is to continually reevaluate your spending and saving, and find ways that you can cut back on daily or regular expenses. But here’s what most people don’t realize: after a while, there’s nothing left to cut. And when there’s nothing left to cut, you’ve got to find ways to bring in more money. I’m lucky, in that I’m a self-employed writer and I can always take on additional assignments to bring in more income. But most people don’t have that luxury or don’t have the time to get a second job. Hopefully, Toss, Keep, Sell! will help them figure out ways to put more cash back in their wallets.
Q: Where did the idea of getting cash for your clutter come from?
A: I realized that most of the posts I’d done on my blog that talked about getting cash for my clutter or cash for my trash were the best received. Also, I’d done a survey on Suddenly Frugal that revealed this: 92% of my blog readers had sold their clutter for cash and would do so again in the future.
Many of the people who took this survey have used more than one selling method to sell various household items. When they sold stuff, they most often held a yard sale (74%) or sold stuff on Craigslist (51%). Of those items they were selling and making money from, furniture (43%) and clothing (19%) sold the best. One reader added a comment to the survey that she’d made nearly $3,000 from selling her old furniture.
Q: If your readers are already selling their trash for cash, what new information will the book provide?
A: While I include some tried-and-true methods for selling your stuff and making money from it, I also offer options readers may not have considered but which definitely have the potential to bring in big money. For example, did you know that you don’t have to live on an estate to have an estate sale? One person I profile in the book held one in her suburban tract home and took in $4,000 over two days.
Q: Besides cash for clutter, what other benefits will people get from reading Toss, Keep, Sell!?
A: I want this book to help people clear out their excess stuff and love living in their home again. I’ve been there, and I know how it feels to have someone drop by unexpectedly, only to end up running around and closing off the rooms in a disaster state before you answer the front door. Because clutter usually isn’t limited to a single spot in the house, I’ve organized this book so that the chapters go room to room. I’ve suggested tasks you can do to slowly—but surely—to get your house, life and “stuff” in control over time.
Have you ever gotten cash for your clutter? Let us know in a comment below!
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