by Kelvin Belfon
Yesterday was a good day.
I was outside mowing the grass and raking the leaves from the lawn. It’s sweaty work but I enjoy the fresh air, the little exercise and the mental break from my normal routine.
Then my daughter and I started cleaning up the garage. In the process I noticed 2 boxes filled with stuff we had gathered throughout the house a few weeks ago. The intent was to take them to the donation store.
But I had some hesitation while loading the car trunk. You see, some of these items were valuable and in good condition. Should I sell, giveaway or just donate as originally planned?
It’s a question people have asked me in the past. So I’ll like to explore a few options below.
What to do with your unwanted stuff?
Sell your still-worth-something items
I was unemployed when I began minimizing my possessions. I donated my unwanted belongings, but then started selling them to help earn extra income.
One time I sold a dictionary set for $403.98! That aided in our rental payment. In addition, I sold clothing, household items, small appliances, furniture, movies, and old cell phones and more.
Turn your unwanted clutter into cash! Use websites such as Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Etsy and Facebook’s Garage Sale Groups. You can also organize your own yard/garage sale, use a consignment store, pawn shop or antique store.
But selling is not for everyone! It’s hard work, like hosting a yard sale. Online can be time consuming as well, like taking pictures, uploading images, driving to the post office or connecting with buyers.
The biggest disadvantage though is the loss of momentum in the de-cluttering process. When you decide to sell, items may sit in transit – in a room, attic or garage for months before being sold. So an alternative plan is turning them over to a new home.
Give away your need-a-new-home items
If your unwanted clutter is still in decent shape, consider giving them away. Freecycle is a great place to trade, barter or give away things still in good working condition.
Let me clarify this point.
Contrary to popular belief, one man’s junk is not always another man’s treasure. If it’s broken, missing parts, worn out, and seen its last days… discard it. Do yourself a favor, don’t try to pawn it off on others just because you’re still stuck on the sentimental web of having it. Stop yourself from making a fatal mistake and skip to my last option below.
Now that I’ve clarified what I mean by good condition, let’s move on.
There are people all around whom for whatever reasons, struggle to purchase brand new things. Thrifty stores are not always cheaper either. So bless someone with what you have lying around and never plan on using again. Let them have it…for free! Believe me, you’ll still function just fine.
Most often, we are the answer to someone else’s prayer. Rather than pray or wish a person well; give what you’ve got. One of my friends was overjoyed when I gave him a few of my books he was planning to purchase. Yet, they were collecting dust on my bookshelf.
The experience of giving our need-a-new-home items has taught me and my wife something about gratitude. Giving your stuff away is a luxury that not everyone can enjoy. And giving without expecting anything in return is the essence of real giving.
Donate your good-for-a-cause items
The idea of hosting an 5 hours a yard sale for little return or meeting up with potential Craigslist buyers may not be your thing. You’ve gone through the trouble of de-cluttering, now you want the clutter gone sooner than later.
Then consider donating. It’s by far the easiest and most convenient method.
Simply collect your unwanted items, load them up in your car and then drop off at a charity store such as the Salvation Army or Arc Thrift Stores. These agencies will accept almost anything from a books, clothing, tools, VHS and even cars!
Your charity store will also give you a donation receipt. This is a nice benefit for expensive belonging. If you decide to itemize on your taxes, be sure to keep your receipts.
Recycle/Throw away your seen-its-last-days items
When possible, recycle items like magazines, newspapers, cell phones, batteries, computers, and digital cameras. Look for neighborhood programs outfitted to recycle whatever you need to get rid of. Recycling may require a little effort but it does so much good environmentally.
Let’s get real. If it’s not the kind of thing that should be recycled, then toss it.
In my work as a food bank manager, I see people try to pass on stuff that’s at the end of its life all the time. People will donate a 7 year old expired can of soup, used jars of peanut butter, t-shirts with stains and multiple holes and broken electronics with missing parts. Seriously?
Be honest if it needs to go. And please, at all cost, let’s stop giving our crap to the poor!