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You’ve done the hard part – you’ve decluttered your home. But now you are left wondering what to do with the boxes/bags of your unwanted stuff. While some things truly belong in the garbage, there are so many better options to get rid of stuff. I typically elect to donate or recycle most of our old things because I just want it out of the house quickly. But there have been a few times that my husband will only get rid of stuff if we sell it. Whatever methods you use, my recommendation is to get rid of it immediately. Don’t let your giveaway boxes become your new form of clutter!
Get Rid of Stuff
How to Donate It
I love to donate my old stuff. It’s so quick and easy to remove the items from my house and it helps benefit a worthy charity. Now, everyone has a different way to determine if a charity is worthy so chose whichever one suits your beliefs. I’m providing a list of some national charities (click on the name of the national charities to go directly to the donation section of their website) as well as ideas to Google to find local charities. Be sure to check with the local branch or store on their policies, as there can be variances from location to location.
Accepts: New and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, household goods. According to their website, many stores also accept items outside of these categories but be sure to check with your local store before.
Additional info: Most items you will need to drop off at one of their locations but pickup service may be available for large items
Accepts: Shoes, clothes, toys, baby items, books, bikes, household items, small furniture, rugs, tools, small appliances, jewelry
Additional info: Pickup service but it’s not available in all states
Accepts: Clothing, furniture, household goods, appliances, automobiles
Additional info: Dropoff locations and pickup service are both available depending on where you live.
Accepts: Most clothing and household items
Additional info: You will need to drop off your items at one of their dropoff locations but some Goodwills will offer pickup service for a large quantity of donations.
There are also various types of local charities that may be in need of your old stuff. It will take just a little bit of research to find local organizations and determine what items they accept. A simple Google search may be all it takes or try asking for recommendations on local Facebook groups.
- Animal shelters: old towels, blankets and pet supplies
- Women’s shelters
- Homeless shelters
- Food Banks
- Churches – be sure to check with the church to make sure they have a program accepting items
How to Recycle It
I’m a big supporter of curbside recycling for traditional household waste like paper, glass and aluminum. But there are also services available to help minimize the amount of other stuff we dump into landfills.
According to this organization the average American household throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year! You can use the search function on their site for places that accept clothing and other textiles for recycling. In many cases, you may be able to donate your “end of life” clothes to the same charity that accepts gently used clothing. In my case, all the local Goodwill donation centers sort the clothing and recycle the items that are unsellable.
Knowing how to get rid of old computers, cell phones and other electronics can be tough. EasterSeals makes it simple by partnering with a recycling company, which provides a postage-paid shipping label for old cell phones, laptops, iPods, tablets, e-readers, and laser and inkjet cartridges. You easily get rid of unwanted items, the proceeds go to charity and less stuff ends up in a landfill. It’s a win-win-win.
Old technology can store a lot of personal information identity thieves would love to get their hands on. The FTC provides several good articles about how to protect yourself by clearing your data before getting rid of your computer/laptops and cell phones.
Freecycle was started to connect people giving away stuff for free in order to keep it out of a landfill. If you have something you’re willing to donate but can’t find a charity that will accept it, you may want to consider posting it on Freecycle.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are also good resources for giving stuff away for free. Just make sure you follow personal safety guidelines when you communicate/meet with a buyer/seller.
How to Sell It
Sometimes the only way you’ll part with an item is if you can make money from it, My husband has a much harder time getting rid of stuff than I do but he’s can be incentivized to let it go if he can get cash for it.
Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace
My husband has had a lot of success selling items on Facebook Marketplace, from a $7 high chair booster seat to $150 drone. Similar to Craigslist, you can sell your goods online to people in your area. Post photos, description and price. Interested buyers send a direct message from Marketplace to ask questions and make offers. From there, it’s up to the buyer and seller to work out the deal. Facebook doesn’t facilitate payment or item delivery. Just make sure you think about safety when you schedule meeting up for the sale. Both Facebook and Craigslist offer a few safety guidelines with links to additional resources.
You can sell items on eBay yourself. There are a ton of guides available online to teach you how to sell on eBay. Here are selling tips from thebalance.com.
But if you don’t want to invest the time to learn or sell yourself, then eBay has a few options in which experienced sellers will sell your stuff for you. The downside is that the services are only available for select categories of products.
- Luxury Handbags via eBay Authenticate – Experts authenticate, list and sell your luxury handbag for you. You’ll get 80% of the selling price (until 6/30/18, you can 90% of the sale price). The service is only available for certain high-end brands, worth $500 or more. Although until the end of June 2018, they are accepting those worth $250 and up.
- Collectibles via eBay Consignment – eBay provides a list of industry expert sellers, you work out a deal with the seller, send in your items, and the seller takes care of the listing and selling process. How much you get paid is going to depend on your items and the deal you work out with the eBay seller. Categories include Stamps, Sports Memorabilia and Cards, Coins, Comics, Jewelry, Art Pottery and Watches.
- New or Used Phones via eBay Quick Sale – Just enter information about your phone (brand, model, carrier, etc.) and eBay will instantly provide an offer amount. Ship the phone to eBay’s partner for free and once they verify the phone is exactly as you described then they will send your payment.
- Old technology can store a lot of personal information identity thieves would love to get their hands on. The FTC provides information about how to protect yourself by clearing your data before getting rid of your cell phone.
Other Online Resale Websites/Apps
There are a ton of other online resale websites and apps. Each one works a little differently and charges different fees. Make sure to read each site’s policies and guidelines before listing or sending in your stuff.
Poshmark is exclusively for fashion and beauty items for men, women and kids. You’ll need to download the Poshmark app on the Apple App Store or Google Play in order to sell your stuff but listing and shipping are super easy. You create the listing by taking pictures and writing a brief description. When your item sells, Poshmark provides you with a pre-paid pre-addressed shipping label to put on the box.
Poshmark also offers a concierge service for luxury items ($500+) that authenticates and sells the item for you.
Mercari is similar to eBay in that you can sell across a wide variety of categories. The listing and shipping procedure is similar to Poshmark but you can create a listing from your desktop, not just the app.
ThredUP is only for women’s and children’s clothing and related items. The selling method is different from Poshmark and Mercari because you do not sell directly to the buyer. Sellers request a bag to be sent to them, and then fill it with their unwanted clothing. ThredUp then inspects it and lists the items they accept. Sellers either paid upfront (as soon as the item is processed) or consignment (after the item sells), depending on the item. You likely won’t make as much as the other online resale sites but ThredUP is doing all the work for you and you’re able to get rid of a larger amount of clothing at one time since you send it off upfront.
Local Resale Shops or Community Garage Sales
A quick Google search should let you know where resale shops are near you. Talk to neighbors, friends or coworkers to see if they are aware of any annual community garage sales.
Whichever methods you choose, the bottom line for you is that you get rid of stuff you no longer need and are either helping a charity, the environment or making a little money in the process.
What are some of your favorite resources to donate, recycle or sell your old stuff? Do you have any hard-to-get-rid of items?