Photo Credit to Rebecca Van Ommen

A Practical Guide to Letting Things Go

(Presenting different avenues to selling, donating, and gifting away your stuff – and like yesterday, I’ve letting go of my perfectionism.Be warned, there may be typos, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.)


Amazon:

I really like listing things on Amazon, for so many items, they already have pre-set listings and you just fill in a few details and then list it, it takes less time then some other sites and many pre-set listing are full of photos, so that saves an enormous amount of time and effort to take photos, upload them, and then list the item. It’s best for anything that has a bar-code, because they use the bar-codes for the pre-set items. There are lots of options to let the buyer know the quality, from used, new, and collectible, and from like new condition to acceptable. You also get the opportunity to say a few things about your personal item to help buyers make a decision. It’s best to fill in as much detail as possible here. Over-all using Amazon has been relatively hassle free.

Pros: Only need to list the item one time, no fee to list, usually a good return for items that sell, fixed fee percentage for Amazon, automatic deposits to your bank account.

Cons: There can be a lot of the same item being listed, which means more competition, and sometimes devalues what you have to offer. Can take longer for things to sell, because of so much competition.

eBay:

I’ve had some good successes with eBay, and my seller account is in good standing, but since Amazon I haven’t used it much for the above reasons with listing items. The cons of eBay also keep me away from using it as you can lose a lot of money listing here. I know they have made some changes and improvements, but not enough to call me back. I think if you have something that is highly sought after, rare, and valuable, your better off using eBay because you will find a better market here for those items.

Pros: Listing either with an auction or buy it now helps keep things simple and gives you an option. Great for rare and valuable items.

Cons: Have to pay listing fee’s, and fee’s for selling too, plus if using PayPal, they may take their own fee’s (depending on how your buyer paid for it). You need to continue to re-list items until they sell. You’ll need to upload your own photos, and write your own descriptions for many items.

Craigslist:

Photo Credit to Rebecca Van Ommen

Photo Credit to Rebecca Van Ommen

It’s great for getting rid of perfectly usable items you no longer have a use for, and may not be able to sell anywhere else. Also great for listing items that you don’t want to bother with, because they are too heavy, or they don’t fit into your vehicle, or you don’t have a vehicle, etc. Its really great for listing free stuff, always lots of responses to those and you can get rid of items relatively quickly, with little personal effort. Its best to contact people who have given a phone number because it means they are more serious, plus you can hear their voice, and know they are a real person. I’ve had moderate to good success using Craigslist, it can also depend on the city your in and how many people use it there. The larger the city, the more likely people will be using it and the more responses you will get to your listings.

Pros: Pretty easy to find local buyers, Great for listing free stuff and letting people take it so you don’t need to bring it to a charity or throw it away (which is a shame for items that can still be used).

Cons: Because it’s listed on Craigslist, some people may devalue it in their mind as if it were a garage sale. You may get a lot of spam and people who never respond when you write back.

Goodwill:

Though it really doesn’t matter what charity you give to, you get a tax deduction (if your able to take those), and you get a good feeling for helping the less fortunate. I can tell you from experience on both sides of the giving and the buying, its good to know the things are not being thrown away when they can still be used. For people who are struggling, the Goodwill is such a great place to go and find things you need at a fraction of the cost, there is more variety, its more diverse then getting free items at shelters or through state programs or churches. And you keep a sense of dignity at being able to shop for yourself and not burn a hole in your pocketbook because you still need to eat. This is a win/win for all.

Pros: You get a tax deduction, you get to help the less fortunate, you keep usable items out of the land fills.

Cons: You won’t make any money by donating, you will need to drive it to the store to drop it off and get your tax write off. You will have to keep a record of the items donated with the tax write off in-case you ever get audited, since thats the law now.

Consignment:

Consignment stores can be a great resource if your close to one. Each store will have their own types of items that they sell, whether it is clothes, or decor and furniture items. Talk to the owner and visit the store to find out what kinds of things they sell and what is most successful with them. Then you can decide if you have items that you no longer need, use or want, and then bring the ones that you think fit with the motif to the store. Then the owner will be able to let you know if the items are salable. Each store has their own commission, the ones I’ve seen have been 50/50, and they will let you know what theirs is when you bring in items. You will get a receipt of the items you bring in and when things sell you will get your cut of the sales. This is a good way to sell items with minimal effort, and allows many people you might not connect with otherwise to find your things for sale.

Pros: Minimal effort to bring things in to sell. And it’s great that the store helps you find the buyers, so you don’t need to stress over it any more.

Cons: The store splits the sales with you, which means less money in the end.

Gifting:

A splendid way to share something you’ve used, perhaps loved, and no longer need or want with someone else. Preferably to close friends and family who will understand why you’re gifting. I wouldn’t call this re-gifting though, since usually the items your gifting here can be used and loved in a new home. Re-gifting is for things you never liked or wanted and the next person might not like or want either. Your gifts in this case should be something that the other person will value. This means that even though you no longer have it in our possession, you know that your friend or family member will value it because you did.

Pros: Helps to declutter, and bring joy and happiness to people you love.

Cons: You have to pay to ship it. :)

Bartering:

The last thing I want to talk about is bartering. Mainly I want to add it because I have such great success bartering things I don’t need or want any more for things I do need and want. Bartering things for services is a really great trade off, since you will be able to declutter and get a service (as opposed to another thing to add clutter) and it may help you in the long run. Of course that all depends on what you need and have to offer, and what others want and have to offer. They key here is striking a balance between the two. being discerning about what you can strike in your barter. When looking to barter, be sure to know what you have to offer, and explain it clearly. There are many places to barter, you can use social networks, or Craigslist, there are even time-trade websites to help you find a match.

Pros: Helps to declutter and get you things you really need and want.

Cons: Can sometimes be difficult to find a match you’ll accept, so you need to be patient and have some determination.

Good Luck in all your Decluttering and Letting Things Go! I would love to hear about what your letting go of today in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Liz from WomanlyWoman.com

    Thanks for posting! In recent years I have gotten really good at this. I was even a professional organizer for awhile. I also try to practice the “one in one out” rule – when you buy something, you get rid of something. I really like using Amazon because you can let things sit or a long time. I also like the drive thru drop off at St. Vincent De Paul. It makes it really easy to just let it go when someone meets you at your car to drop off the items – sometimes you don’t even have to get out! I also think to myself… could someone else get more use out of this than I could? That helps a lot.

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