Saying Goodbye….How to Sell and Donate Your Stuff

Saying Goodbye….How to Sell and Donate Your Stuff

You’ve made it through the hard part, going through all of the things in your house! Or, maybe it was just a room or closet. Regardless of how big or small you now need to purge and get rid of what you no longer need. The biggest hurdle I found was where do I even start? 

The First Five Steps to Becoming a Minimalist

START WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

I tried to tackle this logically so I started with friends and family members. Joel and I were taking this to extreme by getting rid of about 90% of what we owned so I had a lot of things that I wanted to find good homes for. Most of it was furniture and a few family heirlooms. 

This process was pretty straight forward. I began by taking several good pictures of everything I wanted to offer to friends and family. Next I set a fair price and sent the pictures on to friends that lived nearby or least within 30 minutes of our house. I was able to place several items this way and my parents ended up taking all of the family heirlooms. They even took a couple pieces of furniture so that was really helpful. 

SELL YOUR STUFF

The next big task was selling and man did we have a lot of stuff to sell! We started about 4 months before we needed everything gone and in hindsight I would have started a lot earlier. The first step was sorting everything by how we thought we could best sell them. 

Joel began listing items on Ebay while I focused on Facebook Marketplace. We set aside a lot of things for a garage sale and ended up adding to this as we got closer to our deadline. 

@JulieK via Twenty20

E-BAY

If you have the time to sell on Ebay this is a good way to get rid of things. But if you’re in a time crunch then I would not recommend it. It can take time to sell most items unless you’re willing to part with your stuff at steep discounts.

Even though we started 4 months early and felt like it was enough time it really wasn’t. Looking back on this now we should have given ourselves about a year. Ebay is great for selling higher priced items if you have enough time as they may need a while to find the right home. There is definitely a learning curve to learn. 

There are several key steps to an Ebay listing that will increase your chances of successes.

  • Researching pricing to see if its worth selling
  • Taking the highest quality pictures you can
  • Listing the item and writing the description, title, etc.
  • Answering questions and low ball offers from potential buyers
  • Packing and shipping it off to the buyer
  • Dealing with returns

It can be a pretty labor intensive and frustrating process. It is like running a business. 

We found it was essentially pointless to list anything that couldn’t not fetch a price of $15 excluding shipping due to the time involved. Your mileage may vary depending on how much time you have and how many items you’re selling. 

FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE

Facebook Marketplace works pretty well if you’re in a decent sized city and can meet people at public places. I think we had a couple of people come to our house to pick up some of our larger furniture like a freezer. I would usually meet them at our local post office or in a busy parking lot and Joel would always come with me.

If you have a Facebook account it’s super easy to list on their marketplace. All you do is take pictures of what you want to sell, select the appropriate category for your item, set the price and then post. I found it similar to selling on Ebay with a few exceptions.

The biggest downside to Facebook Marketplace is trying to answer multiple messages from people and then making sure they will actually meet you at a specified time and date. This can waste a lot of your time. 

Be prepared for people to flake out on you and not show up, or cancel at the last minute. You will need to have patience, and don’t be afraid to negotiate as 80% of people will offer you half of whatever price you ask, even if it’s already a fair price. 

GARAGE SALES

Our garage sale ended up being very successful but it took a lot of time and effort. Luckily my best friend was able to help Joel and I set up the day before so that definitely saved us some time. 

This is probably the most labor intensive way to sell your things. We lived in a pretty dense neighborhood so most people saw our sale from driving by, neighbors stopping to look, and a couple of signs we put out on two busy intersections. We had our garage sale on a Saturday but we did so well with it that we ended up having it on Sunday too. 

Garage Sale

We were outside manning the sale for a good 8 hours each day plus about 4-5 hours of setup time on Friday. That doesn’t count gathering up all of the items and putting prices on them which probably took me another 8 hours. All in all I would recommend doing this since it’s a good way to get rid of things quickly in just over a couple days or weekends, but it does require quite a bit of work and time.

A COUPLE MORE SELLING OPTIONS

The Selling App Mecari– Similar to Ebay, sell and ship almost anything.

Letgo Marketplace App-Another App to sell and buy pretty much anything, includes cars and appliances. 

Poshmark Clothing App-One of the top apps to sell women’s and men’s clothing. 

GIVING YOUR STUFF AWAY

There are so many places and different charities to donate your things to that I’ll only touch on a couple or else this list could go on forever.

Goodwill Industries

If you’re in the United States there is a really good chance you can find a Goodwill nearby. We made a lot of trips here and it was very easy and convenient for us. There was a donation drive thru station about 5 minutes from our home. It got to the point that pretty much every time we left the house we stopped by with a box of items to drop off.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is also a great place to donate, you can usually just do a drop off in the back of their building but check with your local store. 


Rescue Missions

The Nashville Rescue Mission. There are lots of other Rescue Missions throughout the United States so your best bet is to do some quick research online and see if there’s one in your city. Places like these always need clothes, blankets, towels, toiletries and home goods. 

It is our favorite way to donate clothes as it directly benefits the recipients and does not need to be sold first. Since there is less bureaucracy and overhead to deal with it makes for a far more efficient process.

Habitat for Humanity

Another great place that we donated some of our furniture was Habitat for Humanity. We still had a few furniture pieces that we didn’t sell in our garage sale and we needed to get rid of them quickly. We called the store, explained what we had and then scheduled a pickup.

The team came 2 days later with a truck and picked up everything, super easy! The great thing is we know that the furniture will be used for people who need it.  

Local Homeless Shelters and More

A couple of other places to think about are local homeless shelters, shelters specifically for women and children and The Arc. Check with The Arc’s local chapter in your area to see what kind of donations they take. They are also one of the few places that will take cars, vans, trucks, boats and recreational vehicles. 

There’s so many more places that can put your unneeded items to good use. Churches, State retirement homes, Special needs organizations, etc. With a little research and a few phone calls there are lots of ways to do good. 

THE LAST RESORT OPTIONS

Finally two more “Last Resort” options for your consideration. Leaving it all by your curb and throwing it all away. 

Your Neighborhood Curb

Putting your stuff out on the side of the road could be an option for you if you live in a highly trafficked area. We ended up doing this with a couple of things and sure enough, what we put out during the day was usually gone the next morning. Not necessarily the most elegant recommendation but if you’re in a pinch this will work. 

We have used this in the past for unwanted or broken washers and water heaters. In our last neighborhood in Nashville there were always entrepreneurial people making the rounds looking for scrap metals to turn to cash. It was a free way to get rid of large heavy items that you would otherwise have to take to the dump or pay to have removed. 

A “FREE” sign goes a long way too. We have also successfully gotten rid of smaller items like shelves, books, old patio furniture and even scrap lumber over the years. Additionally a posting in your local Facebook Neighborhood group can help to find new homes for items as well.

Throwing it all Away

And our last option, which we really don’t like to do, is to throw stuff away. Unfortunately we ended up throwing away way more than I thought we would. We just ran out of time, plain and simple. This was our last resort and while it helped us get our house listed quickly and ready to sell we should have started this process a lot earlier. 

So lesson learned, if you think it will take 6 months to sell everything, double it, it will probably be more like a year. 

@mespilman via Twenty20

We hope this short list helps you to continue your minimalism journey or even if you’re just decluttering after being stuck at home.  

Would you sell it all to travel?

Let us know in the comments