Earn Money and Do Good While Decluttering

Ideas for where to sell or donate your items

After unpacking some of the underlying reasons around why decluttering may make sense for you, let’s make a plan about what to do with all with the stuff leaving your home.

Here are some tips I often offer to my in-person clients for what to do with the items you have decided to let go of–and how to earn some money or help a charity along the way.

1. Identify which pieces offer the highest return on investment (ROI) 

Focus your efforts on selling the highest-quality items you have. If you have any furniture for example, or luxury goods (like clothing, jewelry, or watches), prioritize selling those items first. You may need to contact a few resale options to find buyers but overall because you will earn a higher amount of money potentially for selling those items this will make better use of your time than focusing on selling lower-cost items. 

Be realistic too: selling items is often time-consuming. People often overestimate how much items can fetch in the resale market. That said, if you have a good amount of high-quality items or you have time to spend finding buyers, then you may want to consider selling. 

For clothing, there are many resale options for secondhand clothing through websites like The Real Real and Poshmark. Consignment stores looking for vintage pieces may also be interested in what you have to offer depending on the season of the year and the season of clothing you wish to sell.

2. Donate items that are in great condition 

When deciding whether or not to donate something, consider first the condition the item is in.  Dropping off broken or unsanitary items at donation centers just creates more work for the staff members there to sort and throw those items out. Most donation centers have guidelines – follow them! For example, some places do not want old kitchenware, so don’t drop those items off there. If you want to get your donate pile out of your house but don’t have an easy way to bring your donations to a local center, order up a Dolly service (like Uber for your things) to collect and drop off the items for you.  

Remember that many charity groups who offer pick-up services for furniture donations are inundated around the New Year transition months (November–January) so wait times can be long. Last year, in December, the wait time was two months for a donation pick-up for one of my clients who was letting go of many pieces of furniture. In Washington DC, there are local shelters and support organizations that I recommend contacting to see what their current donation process is like, including So Others Might Eat, A Wider Circle, Homes Not Borders, and the Oasis Alliance

3. Get rid of stuff that “needs to go” with services like Freecycle or OfferUp

Consider services like Freecycle or OfferUp for no or low-cost ways to get items out of your home. I use OfferUp now with my clients instead of Facebook Marketplace because it doesn’t seem to need as many fussy pictures or lengthy descriptions. Plus, Facebook Marketplace can involve a lot of back and forth. Just take and post a photo and then arrange for local pick up of your items. I always set pick-up locations near but not at my house or my clients’ homes, for safety reasons. 

Those three options should answer a lot of your questions around what to do with ‘the things’ after you have decluttered. Sign up for my newsletter for more tips and tricks for people with luxury goods, entire homes full of belongings to sort, and entire closets to unpack.  

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