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How to Get the Most for Selling & Donating Your Stuff

With Spring Cleaning in full swing you probably have a huge pile of stuff you are looking to get rid of, but perhaps you’re not sure the best way to ditch the stuff. Should you sell your stuff or donate it and be done with it?

Actually, you’ve got three options to get rid of your stuff, you can sell your stuff, donate it, or throw it out. So how do you know what to sell and where to sell it?  Why would you donate instead of trash? So you get the tax break later. Why trash instead of donate your stuff?

Because not everything you are getting rid of is of a quality that can be used again by someone else.

What, Where, and How to Sell Your Stuff

If your first choice is to make some extra cash from your unwanted junk, then you need to decide what is sellable, where to sell it, and how to get the most for your stuff.

Household items such as furniture or rugs etc

You can use Craigslist and other local selling sites to get good money for your stuff and to sell it fast. Check to see if there is an active Facebook yard sale page in your area. I used one to sell most of my stuff fast when I was getting ready to move from Massachusetts to North Carolina. When posting your items for sale make sure you take well-lit pictures and include some detail about the item and why you are selling the item.

For example:

“This microwave works great, but the place I’m moving to already has one built in.”

Collectibles

Online sites like eBay. I’ll be honest I’m not expert at selling on eBay, so I reached out to Kate from Goodnight Debt for some tips. Here is what she had to say:

“The biggest tip is own something worth selling. Here are my [other] two cents. They are pretty basic, but they are so often overlooked.

1) Great pictures. Show people what they are buying. The more pictures you have, the more people will feel comfortable with the product.

2) Detailed descriptions. Write an incredibly thorough description. This helps more with the search function than actually selling the product. If people can’t find your product, how will they know they want to buy it?

Also, use words similar to what you are selling, so the search function will catch your listing if the search is close, but not quite right.”

To sum it up:

  1. Own something worth selling (sorry but chances are that beanie baby isn’t worth anything (though some people do still dream)
  2. Take lots of well-lit pictures from lots of angles, showing every feature of the product
  3. Write a detailed description to increase your chances of people finding your post and increase the chance to sell your stuff.

CDs/DVD/Blu-Rays

You may get more money selling via craigslist or eBay but if you want to get rid of it quickly you can sell your stuff to FYE or sellyourdvdsonline.com or declutter.com. I’m a big fan of using these sites because it is so quick and easy. They will even pay for the shipping to send the items into the site. Just remember when you are sending your stuff in to send via media mail, it will be cheaper.

Books

Bookscouter.com will show you what different sellers will pay you for your books, so you can make sure you are making the most. Again be sure to ship by media mail to get the most bang for your buck. You may ultimately use another service to sell your books but BookScouter will make sure you are making the most money for your books.

Clothing

Try finding a local second-hand clothing store like Clothes Mentor or Plato’s Closet, you can sell your gently used items for cash on the spot or store credit. If you don’t want to bother going to a store there are online options like Thred Up. The only downside is items they don’t “accept” don’t get sent back to you to donate and get the tax break. So you miss out on the ability to donate or sell your stuff elsewhere.

What, Where, and How to Donate Your Stuff

For the stuff you don’t sell in a month, make a list of it all and donate to a certified charity. I know it may be tempting to just put it on the curb with a “FREE” sign, but by donating you can get a tax break. Next year when Uncle Sam asks about your donations, you can itemize the list and get the most back for your taxes.

In 2015 I ended up donating over $1500 worth of stuff throughout the year, I didn’t even realize it was that much until I added each item to the list. Chances are the tax break will be worth the gas it costs you to drive to the donation center and it really doesn’t take long.

If you really want to spread the love, instead of just donating your stuff to a general charity, consider finding specific charities.

For example, when I moved last year and decided to seriously downsize my book collection, I donated the books that weren’t worth selling, to the local library.

When You Need to Throw Out Your Junk

Anything that is broken beyond repair or severely stained should be thrown away rather than donated. Clothing that has holes or is completely worn out should also be thrown away. Check the donation centers guidelines for additional rules on what they will or won’t accept.

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

No matter whether you decide to sell, donate or throw away your junk, make a plan so you whatever you do can benefit your finances as much as possible. If you are going to sell, the internet is a wonderful place to help you make some money. If you opt to donate for a tax deduction, then be sure it is a legitimate charity. Lastly, if you are throwing away a lot be kind to your trash man and try to make it as easy as possible.

Happy selling, donating, and throwing out! Any other ideas to get rid of your stuff? Let me know in the comments!

Hustle tools & resources i recommend

GRAMMARLY (BE A BETTER WRITER) I use Grammarly as a second pair of eyes to help me clean up and proofread my writing/typing. The best part is that it is free to use. You can install an extension on your web browser and it will check any writing you do online. While there is a paid premium version, you can get by with the free version for a long time. I only recently upgraded. If you want to know more about Grammarly, you can read my review.

30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success (to start freelance writing) Personally, I found the course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success extremely helpful to get me started with freelance writing. It breaks down everything you need to do, step by step, so that by the time you get to pitching for jobs, you are prepared and successful. For me, the course paid for itself when I got my first freelance writing job. I now earn between $2,000 - $4,000 per month (check out my income reports) with freelance writing.

Lyft (to make money driving) Driving with Lyft is a great way to earn some extra cash. I love how easy it is to just turn on an app when I feel like driving and make some money. I wrote an entire post about driving for Lyft. It includes what you can expect during the application process, what it's like to actually drive and the many perks of driving with Lyft.  Get started driving for Lyft.

BookScouter (to make money selling your books) BookScouter allows you to enter your book's ISBN number and it compares the prices it would get from various sellers, making sure you fetch the most money possible for selling that book.

Contena (for Finding Freelance Writing Jobs) I used Contena when I was working my 9-5 and getting started freelance writing. It made it easy to find freelance writing jobs to pitch. While it's not a cheap Contena is definitely worth it if you don't have a ton of time to spend looking for freelance writing jobs to pitch. Contena pulls together pretty much all of the available freelance writing jobs out there into one place and will  notify you via email of ones in your niche. 

Rover (make money hanging with dogs) Rover is a website that connects pet sitters with pet owners. I did a video tutorial on how to use the site as pet sitter and the accompanying post goes over what makes Rover a great side hustle. Read and watch the post or get started petsitting.

With Spring Cleaning in full swing, you are probably looking to unload some stuff, you can sell your stuff, donate it or trash it, figure out which is best.

Liz

Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

  • Very helpful post! I’ve actually used Craigslist & estate sales to purchase furniture (then a little DIY/TLC to refinish) for a cheap alternative to furnish my first post-grad apartment on the cheap. Now that I’m moving in a few months I’m planning on using Craigslist to resell some pieces I’ve outgrown – great for the bank account and the environment!

    I’ve also used ThredUp to resell clothes. I used to use Twice until they were purchased a few years back but both companies have the same premise. I find that if you’re trying to get rid of mall brands (Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, etc.) they offer more convenience / pricing than the local consignment shop. If I’m selling more highend pieces I use a consignment shop to get the biggest bang for my buck.

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