How a $5 Sale On OfferUp Got Me to Declutter Again

What does $5 buy nowadays?

It doesn’t cover my Starbucks order. It’s not going to get me very far in terms of gallons of gas. I can’t even buy a footlong at Subway.

$5 doesn’t go far, so why would I bother with a $5 sale on OfferUp? It turns out that like most things with money, small wins matter. In this case, it’s not so much about what the $5 affords me as what it inspired me to do.

Here’s why I’m so excited about the Abraham Lincoln that just landed in my pocket.

What This $5 Sale Doesn’t Do

This isn’t going to move the needle on my retirement account.

It isn’t going to compound so hard that it pays for HP’s college. Or even a single textbook.

This is not going to move us from middle class to upper. (Though, I suppose you cross that threshold with just the right penny at some point.)

A $5 sale on OfferUp isn’t going to change the way we live, but it’s absolutely going to change our living space.

A Failed Minimalist

I don’t make it a secret that I think I suck at minimalism. But I had been making terrific strides at decluttering.

Then, I lost my momentum and was basically buried under the kindness of others. That’s a polite way to say we received a lot of toys. An avalanche, really.


For a few months, I let things pile up, and I wasn’t sure sure I was ever going to recover. This past weekend, I looked at two toys we absolutely positively didn’t need, and I snapped two photos. I put them on OfferUp for a steal because I am all about that low ball life now. And in a few days, they were gone.

I didn’t do it to get rich. I’m not looking for a new side hustle or a reason to quit my full-time gig. Instead, I simply needed enough of a momentum builder to tame the toys that had started to take over.

I Made $5 on OfferUp

Those are drums…good riddance!


Here’s Exactly What A $5 OfferUp Sale Does

Keeps plastic out of the trash.

I don’t know if your thrift stores look any better than mine. But whenever we visit, the toys are such a jumbled mess that I’m positive they don’t ever get sold. In fact, most of them just sit in a heap of sad plastic. Selling something on OfferUp keeps things out of the plastic graveyard.

Forces me to do hard work.

Getting rid of toys feels like taking something from your kid. Why? Because in order to get rid of toys, you have to take something from your kid.

I know! Earth shattering. But somehow, that piece always gets glossed over.

Yes, we try to make HP a willing participant in the process. He’s very good about adding to our community pantry to share with neighbors. He doesn’t mind returning his library books. He even understands that his puzzles go back to the library, too.

But he can ignore a toy for months, and the second I contemplate packing it up, donating it, or selling it, it’s as if I’m attempting to sever a limb. 

Forces me to do harder work.

Another aspect of kid clutter that doesn’t get discussed openly is how simply awkward it is to decide what to do with things. Do I pack them away? Do I keep them? Do I donate them? Do I sell them?

These questions are sticky in any situation, but it seems to be especially complicated when it comes to kids’ things. Yes, there’s the sentimental aspect. I remember how delighted he was when he first saw such-and-such toy, and how excited the gift-giver was. But I can cut through sentimentality pretty well at this stage in the game.

What I can’t do is say that I know our family size. 

Obviously, we have one kid now. We love him to pieces, and I think only children are awesome (I know because I am one. See how humble we are, too?). Still, sometimes I wonder if we might decide that we want another baby and if we might be able to have another one.

Rather than hold onto things for what-ifs and maybes, decluttering forces me to embrace my current reality for the fun, funny, messy, loud, silly, giggly life that it is. 

Frees up space.

I think we pretty much covered this with the whole avalanche thing earlier, yes?

Clutter seems to really stifle his creativity. Plus, it really makes me anxious. So the less of it we have in our home, the happier we are.

Gives me back time.

The world of resale can be a huge time suck. Especially if you haven’t embraced the idea of a sunk cost. Thankfully, I am finally through that doorway.

That means that my resale world isn’t a time suck because I won’t allow it to become one. OfferUp is so easy to use. I don’t think I made more than 20 clicks on my phone from listing to five-star rating of the buyer.

More significantly, though, is the time that I get back from less clutter. Removing these two toys from our basement freed up an entire shelf. That means less clean up and less time spent looking for things.

A few minutes spent on an app is a small price to pay for that.

Lets us set goals together.

Right now, we have an envelope system that we use for outings with HP. We keep a few envelopes in our desk drawer, and we add to them when he gets a one- or two-dollar bill in greeting cards. I also add to them when I sell his things.

He doesn’t totally understand it yet, but we do talk about things he wants to do and how we can “put our bucks away for later”. This particular $5 is going toward a return trip to the county fair. It only covers the cost of a few rides, but it’s a start.

Final Thoughts

It should surprise exactly no one that someone who titles a blog about spare change is excited about a $5 sale. After all, that’s a lot of pennies to pick up!

My $5 sale on OfferUp is so much more than five dollars. It’s a reminder about the power of decluttering and how much better our house feels with a little less.

So Tell Me…Have you ever made a little bit of money and found it surprisingly motivational?



  1. Great points about decluttering kid stuff. I have a similar problem with a non-child family member. I don’t want to blame my failed minimalism entirely on my husband, but he did rescue a broken free water bottle (one of those giveaway ones) for the second time last week… Still thanks for the inspiration to work on the decluttering again.

  2. Love this! I’ve been decluttering for the past two years and haven’t sold anything recently. But I DO have stuff in a pile waiting to be sold. You’ve inspired me to get on it! I have never tried Offer Up before but might give it a go. My favorite so far has been FB Marketplace. Thanks for the reminders on all the good reasons to keep on the decluttering path 🙂

  3. I love selling things at a low ball price. I declutter and someone who really wants or needs something gets exactly what they want.

    I feel the same way you do regarding donated items at goodwill or similar stores. So many sad plastic and unwanted items that may never get sold. At least when you sell on Offer Up you know the other person wants it.

    If the item isnt in high demand, I usually try to sell quickly at a low price or give it away free before donating to Goodwill.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only person working with this strategy! Our Goodwill just moved the toy shelf to above the clothing racks. I understand that it probably keeps things from being damaged (more?) or moved about. However, I feel like no one looks through them now. The plastic just sits and sits.

      I’m happy with OfferUp, even if it only gets us a few dollars!

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