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VOL. 128 | NO. 178 | Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dana and Ray Brandon

De-Clutter for Cash and Control

By Ray and Dana Brandon

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Ray’s Take Marketers are very good at persuading you to buy stuff. That’s why so many homes are literally stuffed so full that additional storage facilities have become a booming business. Instead of you controlling your stuff, it controls you.

Clear away all that clutter and you will not only have more time, peace of mind, and space to breathe – it could help enrich your bank account. Tim Luke, from HGTV’s “Cash in the Attic,” believes the average American household could gain $1,000 to $2,000 by selling unneeded stuff. While that may seem like a drop in the bucket in the big scheme of things, breaking the “acquisition cycle” can be a significant and life changing event.

There are plenty of avenues for selling things you don’t need, from fine antiques to old floral vases. Chose the right one to maximize the money you make. Yard or tag sales are great for small items, clothes, and other inexpensive items. More valuable items that are relatively easy to pack and ship might bring more on eBay or Amazon. Craigslist can be used for almost anything. For truly valuable items you might use an auction company or consignment shop. While the fees are higher, you have a better chance of finding the right buyer for the best price.

For some it is all “found money.” For others, it’s a cold slap in the face when they remember how much they paid for these items in the first place.

A more symbolic and karma-enhancing gesture might be to donate to a worthy cause, so it all goes to those who really need them. Whether you de-clutter for money or charity, you stand to regain control of your home and your life as long as you don’t rush out and start the cycle over again. That could be the richest benefit of all.

Dana’s Take Close your eyes and imagine how you want to feel in your home. Serene? Does that peaceful home look clean and sunny? For most of us, that’s the ideal. While that is a satisfying vision, we tend to purchase and hang onto so much stuff that we end up with the opposite effect: clutter.

A few years ago, a home staging professional changed my vision of uncluttered. She removed about 60 percent of our decor, leaving a spare 40 percent. She removed rugs, photographs, tables, chairs, dressers and bookcases. The result was a shining clean home that felt like a spa. I wanted that home. Wait, it was my home – minus a ton of excess furniture and all those “just in case” items that filled every closet and cabinet.

A stager or organizing professional can deliver the serene home of your dreams. After they leave, imagine how much time and money you will save on shopping by maintaining your new Zen décor.

Ray Brandon is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning (www.brandonplanning.com). His wife, Dana, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is a licensed clinical social worker. Contact Ray Brandon at raybrandon@brandonplanning.com.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 81 217 5,290
MORTGAGES 94 276 6,985
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 22 72 1,628
BUILDING PERMITS 384 712 12,691
BANKRUPTCIES 66 241 5,541
BUSINESS LICENSES 27 85 2,146
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 52 234 7,292
MARRIAGE LICENSES 10 53 1,511

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