In my quest to declutter our home, I have found we have MANY things to purge. Some of it is truly trash, but much of it could have a second life. I dabbled in decluttering last year and sold a few things during the process: an old stroller – $45, our uncomfortable sofa – $50, an infant bouncy seat – $15, old pacifiers (true) – $5. No lie – getting that cash money in hand was a total rush. That said, these dollars were not free. Reselling has inherent costs in time, space, and mental health, and as I now turn to declutter mode with more earnest, I am finding that these costs are too high and impede my progress.
Each sale takes time to post. Most things needs a picture and many also need to be measured. Then there is the time involved in posting it, and perhaps you post it in a few places to increase exposure. At that point, the “trash” then prompts a waiting game that makes me feel like an insecure teenager. Will people like my stuff? Will anyone take it? When will they call? If it is a particularly high demand item, you have to field inquiries and track who’s first, etc. If it’s not an in-demand item, there is the inevitable back and forth of emailing/texting.
After settling on terms, there’s the meet up. This can lead to either (1) the flake out, a common occurrence, or (2) the sale. The flake out brings on it’s own brand of emotional exhaustion. You pretty up your trash for its new owners, and then, no dice. Alternately, during a sale, you may get asked to lower your price, and after all the work to get to this point, there’s a strong likelihood that you will. Also exhausting. Once it’s sold, you have money in your hand and more space in your house. So, yes, a win. But is it worth it? Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.
During the above mentioned waiting game, the stuff continues to take up space. Space in your head, wondering if it will be sold, and space in your home, waiting to go. One reason my home is, shall we say, “overstocked,” is that for years we have held onto things because “we’re going to sell them.” But you know what? We still have much of it. Unsold and unused. On the other hand, every time I take a box of things to Goodwill, it’s as if a huge weight has been lifted. For me, I think the priority now needs to be getting rid of the stuff. Less stuff in my house seems to equate to more space in my head. Perhaps the added space will also become more functional and allow me to rent it to others.
To be sure, when donating items you are forgoing the immediate cash-in-hand, but donating is not without its financial perks. There is the tax deduction associated with donating to charitable organizations. The return is not immediate, but you will realize it eventually.
After the Great Purge of 2017, my goal is that our house be filled with only those things we use and love. In turn, I hope that one day we can rent it out when we travel. By limiting the amount of valuables in the house, they will be easier to identify and safely stow when guests come. The money from short-term rentals could be significant. Like MANY old pacifiers significant.
Last, but absolutely not least, is the fact that giving your items to others feels good. Although there is no tax deduction associated with giving to a personal friend or stranger, you know it will help them. I have gratefully received hand me downs from friends in the past, and when met with the chance to help someone else, I am happy to give them things they want or need. In some weird way, it’s also nice to know that the things that have served me well are getting a second go.
So there it is. On my determined quest to eliminate clutter, I will likely bring the majority of it to the Goodwill around the corner or give it to my friends. And I finally feel good about this decision.
What are your thoughts on the donate/resell question? Any other considerations I’m overlooking?