Decluttering…What to do with your stuff

Thursday, January 9, 2014

    During the post holiday mental hangovers that many of us are suffering, we often decide that it is a great time to declutter (at least I do).  It is really a great time to work on cleansing our bodies and our homes. Many of us (well many of you, not me) are spending lots of time indoors due to snow so it is a great time to really think about parting with some of the crap that we don't need in our lives.

     I have a big bag of clothes that I love but don't look great on me right now. I've decided that if they don't fit by the end of the school year, they are getting donated. Other than this hair-brained scheme, here are some other ideas about where to purge your crap, I mean, precious belongings…

     My most important piece of advice, no matter how you dispose of your items, is that you get them out of your house quickly.  Leaving a box of stuff by your front door for a while may lead to you digging through it and putting stuff back in your drawers, closets and cabinets.  Purging should be a one-way street.

Here are some thoughts:

    Ebay:Yesterday I posted a few of the items from my ebay store. I've been eBaying as a business since 2000. In addition to my consignment clients, I often sell lots of my own stuff on eBay. I find that it is much easier to part with my precious crap if some cash is coming my way. I've justified selling designer goods with the promise to myself that I can buy something better with the proceeds.  eBay is a great way to part with items that have some value but is a lot of work if you are selling low value stuff.  (I'll blog soon about eBay strategies).

     Like Twice: I've also blogged about They will buy your gently used designer duds and it could not be easier.  Go on their site and look at the list of brands.  They take designer and many mall brands such as Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J.Crew and Nordstrom but don't take more common items such as those found  at Kohl's Target, etc.   Then you request a bag, they mail it to you, you fill it and throw in the mail. Shipping is on them.  A few weeks later, they send you an offer. You can accept the offer and they will pay you in store credit, via paypal or mail you a paper check. If you don't accept the offer, they mail your stuff back to you but you pay a small stipend for shipping.  I've done this several times.  The pay around $5 per item so you probably won't get rich BUT if you are not going to wear it, a few bucks is still good for no work. There is also a site called I've never used it but it may be worth checking out.

   Craigslist: I'm not a huge fan of Craig's list because I really don't like strangers coming to my house HOWEVER, watch the movie called "Craigslist Joe" (Not the craigslist killer movie). It is a documentary about a guy who leaves everything behind (his phone, his car, his money) and tries to survive off of Craigslist.  It is really entertaining.  I know a lot of people who have gotten great bargains buying stuff off of Craigslist, but not a lot of people actually making money off of it.  It's a great way to get rid of furniture or other stuff that you don't want to haul anywhere yourself and if you make a buck or two, all the better.

  Garage Sale: My homeowner's association does not allow Garage Sales so I have no personal knowledge, but my friends that have hosted them have reported that it is a lot of work for pennies and around here, the bargainers are more like beggars and are fiercely annoying.  It's a great idea to move a lot of crap at once but don't expect to get rich if you're hosting one and prepare to be almost insulted at the low ball offers.

   Consignment Stores: One of my best eBay clients is a former consignment client.  She is making so much more giving me stuff to sell on eBay (she'd tried to ebay herself but it was too much work for her). She stated that she loves that she can follow the eBay auctions of her things  (keeps me honest) and I don't require items to be perfect. Her consignment store took forever to sell things and she never knew if they were actually giving her a true number of what her things sold for.  I think consignment is amazing for old baby and kids stuff.

    DONATE: My youngest son did a huge toy clean out last summer and really did not want to give his toys to Goodwill as he did not see the big picture that the selling of his stuff would help people. He wanted to give his stuff to actual kids. This was harder than you think, especially given the fact that my local Goodwill has not only a huge manned trailer a mile from my house that you can drive up and drop off, as well as a drive thru drop off two miles away.   I called around and the local foster care places only wanted new stuff! We ended up giving the neighborhood kids a bunch of books and stuff but my laziness and my desire to get the stuff out of my house before the kid changed his mind about getting rid of the precious crap made me throw it in the back of my car and take it to Goodwill.

              CHARITIES: Many places seem like a charity but actually are for-profit companies that use the cause's name to get the donations but actually donate a very small percentage of sales from their profit making stores.  You still get a tax deduction and many of these companies pick up at your house. If you are concerned about  whether you are really doing charity, google before you donate. 
Some "legit" charities that will appreciate your donations are:

             Suited for success :  a great program to donate your career items to women who will actually use them for job interviews
            Prom dress charities: where you donate formal dresses to and they pass  them onto girls who can't afford to buy them themselves.  

            Schools: I always donate school uniforms to my 
            school. They give the new ones to poor kids and keep 
            the used ones for the kids who have accidents, etc.  
            Teachers love unused school supplies and the librarian 
            of my local k-8 hugs me whenever I drop off a box of 
           our old books

            Hospitals: Supposedly they like donations of books 
            and magazines but call first 

            Homeless Shelters: They love those little soaps and 
            shampoos that you must take home with you from
            hotels but never actually will use at home.  My local 
            shelter will send you a bag to fill and you send it back 
            to them with toiletries. They every send a personal 
            thank you note back! I'm sure that they would love 
            donations of coats, blankets and pillows too. Once 
            again, call first. 

            Habitat for Humanity: They will come and pick up 
             your old cabinets, hardware, during your home 
             renovations and love donations of any construction
             supplies that you did not use.

            Churches, Missions:   My Synogogue only collects
            clothes if there is a special case (like Superstorm 
            Sandy) but many local places would welcome your old
            clothing and will pass it on to families in need. I'm
            going to work on finding a local place that wants my 
            old stuff and will actually give it to people who will 
            wear/use it. (any suggestions from my Miami peeps?)

My family is big on passing old stuff around but lately we all seem to be in the purging mode and don't want each others crap precious belongings.   What do you do with your old stuff? Any suggestions to add to this list? 


angryparsnip said...

hahahahahahaha,,, I started to clean my closet before Christmas what was I thinking ?

cheers, parsnip

NanaDiana said...

This is a GREAT post. I actually am printing this out to save it for myself. I really have to do something- xo Diana

Anonymous said...

I run a tight ship, I hate clutter, so we don't have masses of rubbish, spend things go to Ebay, the rest to the homeless shelter, though they once turned down a suit of hubs as being past it!

Anonymous said...

I run a tight ship, I hate clutter, so we don't have masses of rubbish, spend things go to Ebay, the rest to the homeless shelter, though they once turned down a suit of hubs as being past it!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

These are wonderful tips and ideas. I took a trunk full of stuff to the Hospice Thrift store yesterday...household stuff. My better clothes that don't fit or look good I take to a consignment shop. I buy there too so it helps to get a little money for my things to use to get something different! Hugs!

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