Clearing the clutter: The best ways to get rid of all the stuff!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

As a newly married couple, we've reached that special point in our marriage where the stuff is starting to fill every nook and cranny of our house. Actually, the stuff is on top of other stuff in every nook and cranny, so it's desperately time to clear out! 

And thus, we're on a mission to rid our storage room of everything we've decided we don't want anymore. Our neighborhood is having a garage sale in August, but we won't be able to participate, so we're trying to decide if it's worth it (and if we'll get enough traffic through here) if we attempt to have one on our own. I'm not opposed to trying, as it's summer, and I'm off school, but I'm not sure where to start with advertising (does anyone (besides me) still get the newspaper?).

Lately I've been seeing lots of different "online garage sale" sites popping up on social media. The concept is simple -- you take photos of each of your items and post them, and then when someone is interested, they contact you about meeting in a public place or picking up from your house. I joined a few recently (have yet to buy or sell on there), and I'm almost shocked at some of the things people want to buy! I feel like this might be a good option to sell at least our big ticket items, but it might be labor intensive to photograph and post every small thing we're looking to purge. 

Besides these garage sales, though, there are LOTS more options for getting rid of the stuff. I think it just depends on what it is that you're trying to accomplish (do you simply want the stuff gone, or do you want money for your stuff?). 

Donations: There are so many great options for donations in our community (and maybe yours too). Our local Goodwill has so many stores and drop boxes around our community, it makes it a no brainer. And, our local Salvation Army will even come to you if you schedule a pick up! There's nothing easier than putting goods on the porch and waiting for someone to come grab them! There are lots of other great non-profits in the community that will happily take items (old cell phones, computer equipment, vehicles, etc.), and you can find them by doing some simple internet searching. 

Resale: I see a lot of clothing items being sold on the online garage sales, but, again, it's a lot of work to photograph, inventory, and post every single clothing item you're looking to sell. Couple that with having to find someone who wants that item and is the same size... well, it's a crap shoot. While I used to just donate my clothing, I occasionally have pieces that I'd liked to sell. A few years ago, I went to Clothes Mentor to sell some of my items, and had hit or miss luck there. They bought a few of my more worn items, but didn't purchase some of my nicer, high-end items because they were more than two years old (but still VERY fashionable, mind you!). Recently, I tried the online site ThredUp, which is essentially an online resaler. You can request a bag from them which they'll ship to you for free. Then, you fill it with whatever you want (they accept clothing, shoes, and accessories for women, juniors, and children) and ship it back to them for free. They'll go through your items and bring you an offer. Whatever they don't accept can either be returned to you for $12.95 or they will donate it on to another organization. I sent in roughly ten items, just to gauge what sort of things they'd be willing to accept, and I'm curious to see what the pay out will be. I figure I'm not taking a loss, because these are probably items I would have donated anyway, so if I can get a little $$ for them, that's great! I'll keep you posted on how ThredUp turns out for me!

Community sites: Places like Craigslist and Freecycle are great for getting rid of the stuff locally. Craigslist allows you to sell or give away items for free, whereas Freecycle specifically focuses on giving away items. Both of these sites are awesome and, depending on how actively people in your area use them, your stuff might be gone pretty quickly! 


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