Sell or Donate? What To Do After You De-clutter

Contractors have a saying that goes something like this:

Good, fast, cheap: pick two

If you want your job done good and cheap, it won’t be finished quickly.  If you would prefer fast and cheap, your project likely won’t be very good. You get the idea.

The same goes for your decluttering or spring cleaning projects. After you’ve amassed a pile of items to get rid of, the question arises: what are you going to do with all of it?

You’ll need to ask yourself some questions before deciding what to do next. Do you want your stuff gone quickly? Would you like to make some money from your discards?  There’s a strong chance you can’t have it both ways. Choices will need to be made.

There are four common ways to get rid of your unwanted items without adding to the landfill, each with their own list of pros and cons.

Decluttering & Selling on eBay

A potentially profitable option.

1. Ebay: For the highly motivated

  • Depending on what you unearthed, you could make a good deal of money.
  • Selling on eBay takes a bit of a commitment. You need to take photos, write some interesting sales copy, and monitor your sale through to completion.
  • The market will dictate the price. High demand will drive up the price. You could receive more money than you thought possible. (Keep in mind that the opposite could occur. Low demand might return less than you anticipate.)
  • It won’t be fast. If you want to get rid of things quickly, eBay is not the way to go.
  • For procrastinators, attempting to sell on eBay will undermine all of your de-cluttering efforts. You might even find yourself worse off, since all the things you are getting rid of will be collected in one place, taunting you daily.

Decluttering & Selling on Craigslist

Usually a quick and easy process.

2. Craigslist: Deal or no deal!

  • You get to set your price. You’re not susceptible to the whims of bidders like on eBay.
  • If your price is too high, your item won’t sell and you’ll have to keep re-listing until you find a price buyers will accept. If you price it too low, you’ll be kicking yourself if you find the item selling somewhere else for a higher amount.
  • Fans of Craigslist spend a great deal of time there, creating the possibility that your item will be sold and picked up in minutes.
  • While not nearly as time-intensive as eBay, you still have to take photos, create posts, and answer phone calls.

3. Goodwill or The Salvation Army: Quick and painless

  • Donating to Goodwill & Salvation Army

    Donating is a win-win.

    Donating is the fast way to unload all your unwanted gear. Load up your car, take a short drive, and you’re finished. Some donation centers will even pick up your donations.

  • You won’t get any money for your stuff, but you could get a decent tax write off, depending on how much you are donating.
  • Making a donation can give you an enormous sense of well-being.
  • It may sound strange, but some items are too good for Goodwill. Expensive items might sit unsold on their shelves for months, taking up valuable space. High-end items are better off being sold on eBay or Craigslist. If you’re inclined, sell the item yourself and then donate the cash you receive.

4. Garage sale: For the masochists

Decluttering & Selling at a Garage Sale

Are you sure you want to do this?

  • Lots of work! Pricing, setting up, breaking down, advertising, and sitting in your driveway for hours makes for a very tedious and strenuous few days.
  • The amount of money you get might buy your family a decent night out, but you won’t earn much more than that.  It’s a very low return on investment.
  • You never know who will show up, for better or worse.
  • The one upside is that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.  You will be amazed at what people will buy.
  • In the end, you may get rid of a lot, but you’ll still have plenty left over.  Nobody ever ends a garage sale by selling the last item they’ve got.  You’ll likely turn to eBay, Craigslist, or Goodwill anyway.

My advice: A garage sale is by far your worst option. There is too much work and far too little return on your time investment.  Which of the other options you choose depends on how much effort you want to put in and what you hope to achieve.  If you’re honest with yourself about your tendencies and inclinations, you’ll make the right choice every time.

Regardless of what you decide to do, you’ll reap the rewards of a fully de-cluttered home, which is more than worth the effort.

Dan from California Closets

Author: Dan


Dan is a Web & Social Media Specialist at California Closets and hopes that one day his music collection will be as organized as his closets.

Tags: California Closets, Craigslist, declutter, donate, eBay, garage sale, Goodwill, home, Salvation Army, sell, spring cleaning, tips