The Practicing Parent: How to clean up while spring cleaning

It's an annual ritual: spring cleaning. If it sounds like a chore, you may not be doing it right.

Money Expert Stacy Johnson says don't think of spring cleaning as cleaning.

"Instead, think of it as cleaning up. Because you know, sometimes decluttering your home could mean money in the bank," Johnson said.

Johnson offered tips to clean up while cleaning.

Step one: Pick targets by deciding what's fair game. For example, consider getting rid of anything you haven't touched or worn in a year. Don't forget the garage, attic and storage rooms.

Step two: Look at labels. A local consignment shop might turn your designer duds or expensive knick knacks into cash, so set those aside.

Step three: Take your old electronics and see what they're worth on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist or specialty sites like Nextworth or Gazelle.

Step four: Take what's left and yard sale it. Important: Ask your neighbors to join in. You'll have a bigger, better sale, and you'll have help.

Johnson said if you have stuff left over, it's time for step five: Donate." Get a receipt, and deduct the value from your taxes next year," Johnson said.

"And that's how you turn clutter into cash. But there's one more step, and it's a biggie: take the money you made and do something productive with it, like paying down debt or increasing your emergency savings. And note that you just sold a bunch of stuff for pennies on the dollar. Think about that next time you go and buy something you may not want or need," he said.

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