With summer holidays behind you and the kids back at school or uni, September can be the ideal month to have a money-making clear out. If your home is cluttered with things you don't need anymore, its time to get recycling and see what can be converted into cash for yourself or for charity. You probably don't have an old master lurking in your attic, but many of your surplus items could be worth something if you trade them in. Even if you only receive a fraction of the original cost, it's better than leaving them to gather dust.
So here are my top tips for recycling your possessions and raising funds.
It has never been easier to breathe new life into your once-loved mobile by recycling it for cash. Simply clear your old phone of personal info, then go online to see what's on offer - you could get up to £150. Some sites require you to take out a new contract, but that's not always the case and Sellmymobile.co.uk, Mopay.co.uk, Money4urmobile.co.uk or Mazumamobile.com (voted the UK's best mobile phone recycler) are just a few of those worth a visit. Alternatively, head for Moneysavingexpert.com which has developed its own mobile valuer to source the best deal from a range of sites. Another option is Boots, which will give you up to 5000 loyalty points per handset or you could simply make yourself richer in spirit by donating your old moby to a charity like the Red Cross or WaterAid.
CDs, DVDs and games can be donated to charity stores too, or recycled for cash by selling them on eBay, Amazon or specialist sites like Musicmagpie.co.uk which will give you cash right away, although you must have a minimum of ten items to complete the transaction.
Gadgets can quickly be replaced by newer technology. You can cash in old iPods at sites like Money4urmobile.co.uk. And if you also have an old camera or games console to sell, then Mobilephonexchange.co.uk is a good place to head.
Amazon and eBay are the best known online market places for any books you're happy to part with. But check out Fatbrain.co.uk too, as it avoids the auction/selling and will give you instant cash. Alternatively, books are well received by charity stores or you could see if your local second hand book store wants to buy them, or sell them at a car boot sale.
Go for gold! The price of gold has trebled since 2004 and there is a huge demand for it just now. So why not sort through your jewellery and transform all the broken and unwanted pieces into cash. You can respond to a TV ad, visit a local jewellers (many independent ones will buy gold) or go online to sites like cashmygold.co.uk or Gold-traders.co.uk.
If you have clothes you no longer need then you could donate them to charity or sell them on eBay or at a car boot sale - perhaps a combination of all of these. Alternatively, look out for local second hand clothes stores which will give you a percentage if they sell your clothes. Such stores are generally only interested in clothes with a well known, quality label that are in excellent condition, so you'll probably want to cherry pick the best in your wardrobe and take them along.
Furniture or white goods can be sold on eBay, but you may have more success advertising them in your local paper or for free on Gumtree.co.uk. Some charities, like Barnardos, will accept furniture too and a few will collect and recycle furniture and white goods that are in working order. Visit the Furniture Re-use Network to find out which charities in your area would be interested.
Finally, if you have valuables that you don't really want to part with, you can still use them to raise a short term cash loan - or even to raise cash permanently - by visiting a pawn broker. Over the past 20 years, pawn brokers have become much more mainstream and have seen a dramatic growth in trade. Visit The Pawn Brokers Association to find out how it works and to locate a pawn broker near to you.
So what are you waiting for? Get recycling this month and raise some funds!