What to do with all that clutter: sell it, swap it, give it away

This Saturday (May 14th) is Give Your Stuff Away Day, a worldwide celebration of getting rid of clutter. People all over the world will be gathering up their unwanted possessions and taking them to the curb, where they hope neighbors and passersby will adopt their stuff.

As the event organizers say:

Because of all the shopping we've done, many of us now own lots of great stuff we never use anymore. And for some reason, we don't sell or give it away. Lots of valuable stuff — just wasting away. Let's take all this stuff and over one weekend, make it available to others for free.

Regular GRS readers are of course familiar with J.D.'s war on Stuff, and my own non-shopping ways. None of us here at GRS are fans of clutter.

That doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to put all of my Stuff out on the curb come Saturday. There are plenty of great uses for Stuff you no longer need. Before you lug it out to your curb, consider doing one of these things with your unwanted items:

Sell It!

One of the main reasons to consider not giving your Stuff away is that you can often turn your clutter into cash. J.D. made a lot of money selling Stuff over the past several years. He used money from those sales to help himself get out of debt.

Small amounts add up. I helped run a yard sale for my daughter's preschool last weekend. They were selling Stuff at deep discounts. People were welcome to fill a bag of clothes for a dollar. Even at those bargain prices, the school raked in several hundred dollars over the course of the day.

Selling your Stuff can be a great way to reduce clutter around your home and pull in some extra income.

There's just one problem with selling Stuff: It takes work. It's work to organize and host a yard sale. It's work to photograph the used items you want to sale and list them on Craigslist or eBay. It's work to package up your old books, DVDs, and sports equipment and send them to a buyer.

You can earn some decent money getting rid of your old things, but it's not free money. You still have to work for it.

Maybe you rock at that kind of work. You might really enjoy choosing what you want to sell, making up the ads for it, and sending out little packages to people who want your old Buffy DVDs and business clothes.

Or maybe, like me, the idea of having to lug all your excess Stuff down to the post office and mail it to buyers makes you want to gouge your eyes out. I've sold clothes to consignment shops and held the occasional small yard sale, but selling stuff isn't a big part of my income.

Some things it's worth the time and effort to sell, but some things won't be worth the work involved. For each person, the bar for that is different. J.D.'s great at selling stuff. (And he tells me has a bunch more he plans to sell in the near future.) I'm more inclined to give my Stuff away. It gets the clutter out of my house, and I find that the goodwill comes back to me many times over.

There's only one way to find out whether or not selling your unwanted Stuff will work for you: Try it! Plan a yard sale, list a few nice things for sale on eBay, or take your old clothes to a consignment shop. See what happens. If you box everything up and then it sits in your garage for six months, odds are you're not going to sell it.

Swap It!

A middle ground between selling and gifting your excess possessions is swapping them. You can swap everything from books to clothes to soups!

When you swap Stuff, you may not wind up with less total Stuff, but you're exchanging unused clutter for things you'll really use and enjoy. This works especially well for things like paperback books and fancy party dresses; stuff you'll use once and then have little need for again.

I've written before about how to organize your own clothing swaps. Similar guidelines work for setting up swap parties for other things. In addition to clothing swaps, I've been to seedling swaps, soup swaps, and toy swaps. You can also look for larger swap events being organized in your area. I've seen swaps hosted at local universities and community centers.

Online, there are a number of great websites devoted to swapping, where you can either swap directly with other people via the website, or get instructions on how to arrange a local swap with your friends and neighbors. I prefer local swaps because of my above-mentioned aversion to mailing stuff. A local swap really plays to my strengths: I'm great at organizing people around a fun activity, but not awesome at following through with mailing packages. Friends of mine really enjoy swap sites though, because they get greater variety. They can usually find the specific thing they're looking for.

Here are a few good websites for swapping:

  • Paperbackswap — This is the site for swapping books.
  • Swapstyle — A large site for swapping clothes and accessories.
  • ThredUp — A site for swapping kids' clothes and toys.
  • SoupSwap — You can't actually swap soups on this site, but they will teach you how to host a cool soup swap of your own.

Donate It!

Let's say you really want to give your Stuff away. You've resigned yourself to the fact that you're not going to put in the effort to host a yard sale, or done the math and figured out that your time is worth more than the hours you'd spend on it. Swapping may seem like a lot of work, too, or just not your scene. You don't want an exciting new Stuff-related hobby. You just want this old junk out of your house.

Before you haul your Stuff to the curb, consider donating it to an established charity. Goodwill, Planet Aid, The Salvation Army and many other charities accept donations of goods ranging from clothes to cars. They'll take just about anything you have to give. They'll give you something in return, too. Something you can't get from your sidewalk. They'll give you a receipt. That donation receipt is worth money, if you itemize your tax deductions. You can take a charitable deduction for the value of your donations.

Give It Away!

If you're not going to sell, swap, or donate the things you want to get rid of, then by all means you should participate in Give Your Stuff Away Day. Get that clutter out of your house by any means necessary. Clutter doesn't just take up space; it costs you money. It makes it harder to find things you already own, forcing you to buy duplicates of simple household items. It increases the risk of injury in your home due to falls or other mishaps. It sucks up time and energy that could go into other things. Let it go and live a cleaner, happier life.

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Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

Great ideas 🙂 One thing i’d like to add is that you can trade things in too. For instance, my local used bookstore will give you more in store credit for my used books than if I sold them outright. Many video rental stores will take DVDs and games in return for store credit. Sports stores, jewellery stores and all kind of places that sell used or “vintage” items also have the same arrangements. Of course, this only works if you’re in the market for something, but I figured since so many of us buy used it would be worth… Read more »

chris at yardsalequeen.com
chris at yardsalequeen.com
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Along the same lines are two chains of video game stores – Play N Trade and Gamestop where you can sell your old gaming stuff outright to them or get a store credit. I prefer Play N Trade because they will take any old game system you have – Nintendo, Atari etc etc.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

We donate. And the tax deduction is always nice since we itemize. Keep your receipts!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I figure if I can afford to make a buying mistake, I can afford to let someone else profit from it 🙂 I don’t have consumer debts to pay off, but I don’t have a lot of free cash to donate to charity either. Donating items is another way I can give back to my community. (It works for me, though I realize everyone is different in how they choose to give.)

Sustainable PF
Sustainable PF
9 years ago

We moved last summer and really should have sold, swapped or donated more stuff instead of moving it. We moved into a century house with 2 closets (but 4 bedrooms!). The basement is just a concrete/stone 100 yr old basement. I have been working like mad to get the basement set up with free standing storage for things we DO want to keep but i’ve now got a few rubber totes full of stuff we don’t need and should never have moved.

We will try to get our entire street involved this summer for a street sale!

Sam
Sam
9 years ago
Reply to  Sustainable PF

I’m with you, an old house (we have a 1925 house, no basement b/c we are in Florida, but decent attic) makes you give stuff away on a regular basis.

And why did they not have closets back in the day, I guess b/c they had less stuff.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
9 years ago
Reply to  Sam

They didn’t have closets “back in the day” because property taxes were assessed by the number of rooms, and closets were considered rooms.

Leah
Leah
9 years ago
Reply to  Sam

also, closets were hard to build. people had freestanding wardrobes and other similar furniture instead of closets.

indio
indio
9 years ago

Trying to sell excess stuff always seems like more effort than it’s worth. I tried to organize a few family’s on our street to have a tag sale, but everyone slowly backed out till they dropped some of their stuff at my house for me to sell for them. I made about $200 which didn’t seem worth trading a beautiful, sunny Summer weekend to do. Now I donate and to various charities. The school and local library have a fundraising tag sale, and everything else goes to hospital thrift shop, Scouts or Goodwill. Even the Goodwill is getting picky about… Read more »

KS
KS
9 years ago
Reply to  indio

Agreed. As we’re downsizing to move overseas also, I’ve been posting things on Craig’s List, Facebook, and other places and the hassle has been just that – hassle. Scammers, no-shows, you name it.

Patti B
Patti B
9 years ago

Several years ago I ran into a financial crisis caused by a contractor. It put me near the brink of financial ruin. I was never so scared and out of control as during that time. Desperate, I went on a great purge to sell anything – literally anything – I owned. What at first was a horrible experience (I felt like it was a great loss) turned into something of a cleansing both physically, mentally, and emotionally. It forced me to place true value on items, and I found myself releasing more and more of the physical in order to… Read more »

Danielle
Danielle
9 years ago
Reply to  Patti B

I had a somewhat similar situation, in that a crisis had some positive purging consequences. For me it was breaking up with my fiance and relocating back home. Across an ocean and int’l borders. It would have been expensive and time-consuming to ship all my stuff overseas (again). I was in a fragile emotional state and just did the easier thing — sold and gave away 80% or more of my Stuff (books, clothes I didn’t LOVE anymore, knick-knacks, kitchen supplies, etc). It actually felt great. First to feel in control of SOME part of the situation. Second to earn… Read more »

MutantSuperModel
MutantSuperModel
9 years ago
Reply to  Danielle

Funny enough, when my Ex husband moved out, I had a huge garage sale. I just kept putting things out there all day long. I made a few hundred bucks and had a MUCH emptier house but more importantly, I felt AMAZING.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago

I have gotten GREAT stuff at breakup/divorce garage sales. Also heard some amazingly personal stories.

Joanne
Joanne
1 year ago
Reply to  Patti B

I love this! I teach people how to turn clutter to cash and the biggest lesson (other than the increase in savings account) is that living with less stuff affords you more time and space for what really matters.

Jen
Jen
9 years ago

Freecycle! (freecycle.org) I use it for things that seem too odd to donate (an unfinished knitting project with the associated unused yarn, or a jillion of those plastic, sealing or snapping plastic envelopes that sheets or comforters or the like are sold in) or weird sizes or just odd things (old futon went to someone who fosters dogs). Put up the listing, answer an email or two, set up a time to leave it on the porch and it’s gone. Last year was the one time that I actually took something from freecycle (since the idea is stuff out!) —… Read more »

SF_UK
SF_UK
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I was going to suggest freecycle, but you got there before me!
Has the added advantage that you often end up donating stuff to someone who really *needs* it but can’t afford it (like a charity, or a young family struggling to make ends meet), and you can offer the wierd and wonderful stuff that a charity shop can’t or won’t take.

Melanie
Melanie
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Absolutely! The freecycle community is awesome where I live. When we moved here we were able to find lots of things we needed through the freecycle group. Now we are regular contributors!

Marsha
Marsha
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

When my kids outgrew the swingset, we put it on freecycle. The father of a couple of young kids came and disassembled it and filled in the holes in the ground. It was a win/win, since they got a free swing set, and we got an unwanted object removed from our yard.

We also gave away our very heavy wooden playhouse to a man who had a flat bed tow truck. We would have had to pay someone to take it away otherwise.

laura
laura
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I second (or third) the freecycle suggestion. It truly is a cool thing. We’ve gotten rid of junk we didn’t need, and we’ve also gotten a few things that we did need.

But the greatest thing about freecycle is that you can sometimes end up interacting with people in your community that you wouldn’t have interacted with otherwise. Every interaction we’ve had via freecycle has been a positive experience. And we’ve kept a lot of stuff out of the landfill that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get rid of.

smirktastic
smirktastic
9 years ago

Charities you mention are definitely worthy recipients of your unwanted items, but they certainly don’t take “just about anything.” Check their respective websites to see if there’s anything they won’t/can’t accept because of health reasons, legal issues or if it’s more costly to refurbish it for sale than what they could sell it for. And if they end up throwing it away, that costs them money too and that’s not exactly the intent of donating. So, like anything else, do your homework ahead of time so your donations have the maximum impact.

RC
RC
9 years ago

I am really struggling with this right now. I want to move this year but I have so many things I want to get rid of like old VHS tapes, CDs, misc stuff. I started putting items on ebay but it takes time to take pictures and write up an auction. For low cost items like CDs, after you subtract out ebay fees, paypal fees, packing material cost and postage you can end up losing money on the deal. I am getting very close to just donating it all.

Danielle
Danielle
9 years ago
Reply to  RC

I sell stuff like this on Amazon. They usually have the item already listed, so you just take advantage of their photograph and description. Makes things MUCH easier!

Tracy Geier
Tracy Geier
9 years ago
Reply to  RC

The company I work for accepts VHS, DVDs, CDs, Video Games and books for cash. Our website is http://www.abundatrade.com. We have a calculator so you can see the estimated value of your items before you ship them to us and you may even qualify for free shipping. All the details are on our website. We believe in smart consumerism and reCommerce. We pay you for your used items and then resell them online to keep the items out of landfills. We were even one of 8 companies in South Carolina to receive 2011 S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program ‘Outstanding Waste… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

The best place to sell your junk is a local flea market if you have access to one. It beats the best yard sale by a bazillion miles. I know I’ve posted this before over and over, but the article doesn’t cover it, and I can’t emphasize enough the advantages of selling at flea markets. A flea market is full of customers with cash in their pocket looking for a bargain. No need to advertise on craigslist, or post signs on street lamps, or wait for customers in your empty street. No need to answer emails or phone calls. No… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Sierra Black

I think it depends on the city and neighborhood. When I lived in DC, the flea markets I frequented (e.g. Eastern Market) were mostly for crafts, antiques etc. In New York however people sell all kinds of things in the street. (Edit: DC has this one though, it’s either new or I just never heard of it: http://www.thefunkyfleamarket.com/ – might not be for civilians though) In New Mexico where I am now the flea markets are huuuuge. There are some that specialize in jewelry, crafts, etc, and others are places where everything goes. Here’s the website for the one in… Read more »

chris at yardsalequeen.com
chris at yardsalequeen.com
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

There are pros and cons to each. I’ve had a yardsale at a flea market – and biggest hassle is the loading up your vehicle, unloading the stuff, and the having to pack up at the end of the day. When you have it at your house, you aren’t lugging stuff all over. Also access to a bathroom is much better at my house than at the flea market 🙂 I have sold well at the flea market because of all the people like you said, but I find them wanting to bargain more than at a regular yardsale. Even… Read more »

Sam
Sam
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Good suggestion, we have a bunch of flea markets in Fla. and I’d never think of selling there.

Barbara Friedberg
Barbara Friedberg
9 years ago

There’s incredible liberation getting rid of stuff, no matter what the method. It’s important to know yourself well enough to know whether you have the motivation to go through the “work” of selling, or you are better off donating. Good article!

Pat S
Pat S
9 years ago

Sell it all! Take the cash and invest it…

Justin
Justin
9 years ago

One of the nice things about donating your unused items is a lot of charities will actually come and pick it up, this seems to be more with charities associated with religious denominations. When I sold my house I gave away a working refrigerator and a few other pieces of furniture and didn’t have to worry about moving any of it myself (I still have no idea how those nuns got the fridge out of the panel truck when they got back to the church).

steven@hundredgoals.com
9 years ago

As much as I hate clutter, I’m not keen on just setting Stuff out on the curb. I’m not sure why…I mean, I’ve done it, and people have taken what I put up, but stacking up a bunch of Stuff on the curb for people to rummage through seems…weird. Maybe I’M weird. I like the idea of turning as much of my Stuff into money as I can. Donating what’s left to organizations that can use it, and then, if there’s anything left over, put that out for people to take, or just throw it away. Maybe I’m not a… Read more »

Marsha
Marsha
9 years ago

Wait until your neighbors go on vacation, then pile your clutter on their curb. Then everyone will think they are the ones with the odd taste in books, music, movies, or clothes.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

I would love to see a picture of your house, Sierra, or J.D., illustrating just how bad this clutter problem really is.

This particular part of the internet (not just GRS) has dedicated ton of time to this problem over the last few months (or maybe years now), and I just don’t understand it. It’s a problem that can be solved really quickly:

1) Take all the stuff you don’t use.
2) Throw it in the trash.
3) Done.

Yet there’s article after article trying to explain how and why to do it.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

Some folks would strongly disagree with #2, especially if local landfill space is at a premium. (No matter what your environmental etc. views are.)

Also, I predict that in about a year give or take, depending on how generous your parents/in-laws are, you will truly understand clutter.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I agree that some people will disagree with #2, but for the most part, I can’t see their reasoning. Most of our clutter isn’t particularly useful things just waiting to find the right owner, most of it is basically useless, and will be clutter in anyone’s house. Even if they buy it from you, or if you can give it away to them. You can put almost anything out on the street with a “free” sign and someone will take it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t immediately become clutter again as soon as they get it home. So, if… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

Because maybe at your neighbor’s house it won’t just sit in their garage? They may actually use it. I am continually amazed at what people will take through freecycle. Broken stuff, weird stuff…everything. There is always someone who wants and needs something.

Ann
Ann
9 years ago

I agree that people will take weird things over Freecycle. We were removing a bathroom mirrow to paint, and it broke. I posted it on Freecycle because it was large enough to cut and use. My first response was from someone wanting the broken pieces! She does mosaics and needed them. It ended up that her parents took the big piece and cut it into two for her younger siblings to use, and she got those scraps also, so the whole thing went to good use.

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

If the items are still in good use, throwing them in the trash is wasteful. And to my green, recycling heart, horrifying. There are better ways to rid of your stuff besides filling up the local landfill.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

I don’t understand why everyone seems to think their neighbors are so much less-susceptible to collecting clutter than they are themselves. This is essentially my entire argument — that by giving stuff away, mostly you are just moving clutter around. Sure, there are a few exceptions, but most of those things you wouldn’t have called clutter in the first place.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

I guess it depends on your definition of “clutter”. That unused kitchen appliance in my cupboard isn’t clutter per se — it’s just an item that should probably find a new home. I think we’d all agree that it would be silly for me to throw it in the trash. When I think of clutter, I either think of 1) stuff that’s making my home messy — in which case I need a better organization strategy, or 2) old magazines, figurines, broken stuff, ancient technology, cheap promotional items, etc. that is essentially junk and not much use even to charities.… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Like I hinted at before, when you have a million great toys that all work but don’t fit in one room and baby clothes that got outgrown before being worn… you will understand.

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

@Nicole, I haven’t been blessed with kids, so that’s one problem I’d be happy to have! My grandparents grew up during the depression and didn’t get rid of anything. There’s a big difference between getting rid of your kids’ useful items and dealing with items that were useful 50 or 60 years ago. (My grandparents were incredibly tidy, they just had a LOT of storage!) After giving stuff away and estate sales, there was simply a lot of junk that wasn’t much use to anyone. If we’d had to worry about finding the ideal home for all of it rather… Read more »

MutantSuperModel
MutantSuperModel
9 years ago

Not everyone can afford to buy items first-hand. Clothes, shoes, accessories, home furniture, home accessories, etc. Just because it is clutter in MY home doesn’t mean it’s clutter in another person’s home. An example, there’s a woman whose blog I read and she has a borderline hoarding issue– with lamps. Now, she’s giving those lamps away little by little. I’m not saying those lamps ONLY go to people who really just need a lamp but a lot of them do go that route. Also, I am going to assume (risky, I know) you don’t have children. Because if you did,… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago

There are a lot of efficiencies in the organizations that specialize in recycling, scrapping, and reselling. I can take a whole trunkload of clothes to Goodwill or ARC and they will find buyers for nearly all of it. Four holey t-shirts is just trash at my house, but a baled semi load of them at the Goodwill plant is valuable cotton for making paper. My neighbors don’t want my 4th pair of red mary janes or the hideous nightgown Grandma gave me, but someone who wants them will find them at the thrift store. When I had more free time,… Read more »

Gretchen
Gretchen
9 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

No, holey tshirts are garbage to goodwill, too.

Don’t donate it if if you wouldn’t use it.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

If you really want to take all your junk to goodwill instead of throwing it in the trash, that’s fine, go ahead. The main point still stands, though — decluttering is simple: 1) Take all the stuff you don’t use. 2) Throw it [somewhere else that makes you feel good]. 3) Done. Making a big deal out of all the possible different ways you could get rid of each item is a recipe for never finishing. You can throw 50 old t-shirts in the trash in 1 minute. You can take them to goodwill in 15 minutes. It will take… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

That’s basically what we do, though #2 is Goodwill, trash/curbside recycling, or one of the local recycling/hazardous waste days (for things like broken electronics or paint). So there’s some sorting.

Well, and some hand-me-down stuff for clothing that is in good shape but doesn’t fit anyone. That happens with kids.

When we lived in a city, freecycle was the easiest way to get rid of stuff, but now goodwill is easiest.

Andrew
Andrew
9 years ago

Thank you! You’re a man after my own heart.

I never stop being amazed at how little value so many people (particularly those who post on PF blogs) place on their time. They will spend hours and hours of their life in order to save minuscule sums of cash. It borders on pathology.

Lincoln
Lincoln
9 years ago

We recently donated a few loads of stuff to charity. We could have sold a lot of it, but that would have taken much more time, and we felt good about donating to that particular charity.

Jadzia
Jadzia
9 years ago

Here in Eugene I am having an incredibly frustrating time trying to sell stuff, which is something that I need to do (and I need the $) because we are moving overseas and will be taking very little. I list things on Craigslist, people ask to see it, ask me questions, make an appointment, I stay home to wait for them, and then they don’t show. This has happened to me SIX TIMES in the past week. What is wrong with people? The stuff in question is for the most part in perfect condition (which is shown in the many… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Jadzia

I might be hammering my point at this juncture, but here you go:

http://www.planeteugene.com/fleamarket.htm

http://fleaportal.com/Flea_Markets/Index/Oregon

MutantSuperModel
MutantSuperModel
9 years ago

The Vietnam Veterans of America come and pick up items. You go to their website, schedule a pick up, tell them where to find the items, set them out, and boom. They have a specific list of what they can and can’t take. I’ve used this more successfully than any other donation system out there

Rosa Rugosa
Rosa Rugosa
9 years ago

I’ve used VVA too on many occasions, and you can’t get much easier than that!

Sam
Sam
9 years ago

This is an area I really need to work on. I get stuck when it comes to giving stuff away. I’m in the process of cleaning out my closet and I’ve got things I want to send to my niece, suits that instead of going to Goodwill should go to my local career transition charity, books that I know my neighborhood can sell at its annual yard sale, etc. My issue is I’m willing to give it up and give it away, but then I become bogged down in who should get it and then I end up with shopping… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Sam

if you’re bogged down with finding the “right” place, stick with Goodwill or another big generalist – it will find a good home. It’s better to get it done than to do it just right.

Rachael
Rachael
9 years ago

There are also some websites out there that buy your used electronics, DVDs and old CD collection. We sold most of our old CDs to secondspin.com and got a nice little check in the mail. They don’t pay that much, but if you have boxes of old CDs, this is the way to go.

Sam
Sam
9 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

CDs sell great at yard sales too. I had a big box of CDs from my Mom, which had come from my Grandparents. My Mom was decluttering and gave them to me. They were not stuff we were going to listen too, I brought them to our neighborhood yard sale, all the money goes to the association for BBQs, parties, and the like, they went like hot-cakes. I think the folks that buy CDs and books in bulk at yard sales turn around and sell them on E-bay (they are the ones who have the patience for it). One guy… Read more »

Monika
Monika
9 years ago

When my family moved to another state for a job transfer we had to put our household goods in storage at first. Then when we found a place to stay we had to prioritize what came out of storage first due to our schedule (dedicating a whole day traveling back to the storage unit), and space in our vehicles. I was surprised at the amount of things that stayed in storage too long because we didn’t need them right away, if at all. Now with the timing of this article, plus a few other “clues from the universe” I feel… Read more »

No Debt MBA
No Debt MBA
9 years ago

In the last year we’ve gotten rid of a ton of stuff and it has been so liberating and, surprisingly, fun. A lot of it we sold and the rest we donated. It now gives me a little thrill to get rid of something so I have make sure I’m not actually getting rid of things we need.

KM
KM
9 years ago

It’s interesting psychology why some people obsess so much about how/why/who to get rid of stuff. I think it’s avoiding facing up to the fact that they bought something useless and that it’s probably not useful for anyone anywhere. They really really don’t want that to be true! It would be better to just face up to it, give it away to goodwill or throw it away, and be done with it.

Trying to find the perfect place/person to bestow your stuff on–it’s just another way to let stuff rule your life. Better just to let it go…!

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  KM

Agreed! The first time I was a bridesmaid, I tried really hard to find the perfect place to donate the dress I spent all that money on — even to the point where I shipped it to a Cinderella Project in a nearby city.

The second time I was in a wedding, that expensive dress went to the Salvation Army along with my other clothes! My memories are what is important, not the dress or who ended up with it next.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  KM

@52 Sorry, but you’re wrong. There is no absolute trash. One person’s trash is another one’s treasure (ever heard of fertilizer?), and the function of markets it to match supply with demand. If you can’t sell your “useless” stuff you’re probably doing the equivalent of bringing a hot-dog cart to a vegan colony– you don’t know your market. For me, it’s fun to sell used things I no longer want–it’s an experiment in microeconomics and a way to get some cash for things that would otherwise go in the trash bin. I sell used business equipment and house wares when… Read more »

crivera
crivera
9 years ago

There is one monetary advantage of giving stuff away. Often enough, it can be used towards charitable donations on your taxes, lowering your taxable income. That can actually have a greater potential for returns in some cases.

Amy P
Amy P
9 years ago

“I list things on Craigslist, people ask to see it, ask me questions, make an appointment, I stay home to wait for them, and then they don’t show.” This has happened to me a few times. We mostly do Goodwill now, but here are a few ideas: 1. List a whole bunch of items at a time (for instance on Friday afternoon), allotting one Saturday to moving the stuff out. If it doesn’t get sold in your time window, pull the Craigslist ads and take it to Goodwill or whatever. 2. The first person to actually show up gets the… Read more »

Tara
Tara
9 years ago

I love bagging up stuff and taking it to Goodwill – great to just get it out of the house, and I feel good that someone else will have the opportunity to use it. I plan on doing a massive purge next fall when we move.

BB
BB
9 years ago

Timely post! I was going to sell stuff, then calculated I’d get a better return with less hassle by donating the stuff to Vietnam Vets of America. My goal is to donate at least a few bags of stuff per month, if not more often, until I’m done with the excess stuff.

JM
JM
9 years ago

Going through this right now as we’re moving out of state in two weeks. Already got a bunch of stuff we need to drop off at the library (books, DVDs) and Goodwill (everything else, mostly clothes). We already sold a lot of video games on Amazon Marketplace or using their trade in program. And yet it still seems like there’s so much stuff!

retirebyforty
retirebyforty
9 years ago

I have to sell a few things. I’ll try Craigslist.

Rosa Rugosa
Rosa Rugosa
9 years ago

The most important thing is to not fill all the newly emptied spaces with MORE STUFF!
Otherwise, you’re just playing a game with yourself, or engaging in a pathetic new hobby 🙂

David Alexander
David Alexander
9 years ago

I have been doing this myself over the last few days to some great success. First I found an old cell phone put that on craigslist, $45 in my hand. Encouraged by that I listed 2 barbeques that were left in my back yard by the previous owner, $30/ea. sold in 2 days. Now I have 3 more old cell phones for sale total asking price $145. Lastly I’m putting some final repairs on an old power chair that the previous owner left in the garage when they moved after doing some research I plan to list it for $700.… Read more »

Frugal Living
Frugal Living
9 years ago

I usually give my clutter away so that I can get a tax write off for the stuff that I donate

Shane
Shane
9 years ago

Even more effective than a yard sale is getting on-board with a group yard sale. Yard sales are all about foot traffic so the more sales you can get grouped together, the more traffic everyone is going to get. We have some friends who live in a neighborhood that hosts a neighborhood-wide garage sale every June. They take it one step further by inviting their friends to bring things to their house. As a result, their sale is, by far, the biggest one in the neighborhood. The key to making this work is organization. They have a clear list of… Read more »

Andrea
Andrea
9 years ago

About giving stuff away- don’t take bags of ripped up stuff to a charity- unless you know for sure that they recycle textiles. I work with a shelter- and no one wants torn dirty clothing or bedding- we have to throw it out(and out trash pick up isn’t free). Torn/stained bedding, towels and worn small rugs can be given to animal shelters(if you shelter is taking it) for bedding.
So some things are trash- face it and throw it out- don’t make it someone else’s problem.

Joane Nickey
Joane Nickey
8 years ago

I went to go ask sprint about the $10 unlimited data plan for the Iphone 4s, but they somehow the total came out to be $150. I think that the $10 unlimited data plan only worked for the individual plan or something? Can someone explain this? I want to get my family of 3 the Iphone 4s but we’re tring to find the cheapest plan as possible.

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