Originally Posted by caedenmomma
I am torn between trying to sell stuff on e-bay vs. getting rid of stuff through Goodwill. Our local resale store pays so little for child's clothes that it is hardly worth taking things there. Any ideas? p.s.: editing to say that I did check out that thred.up site, but the $15/box fee is no good for me.
I think that for those of us who are clutter-challenged, the idea of selling stuff is just another clutter-crazymaker. My inner dialogue on the topic usully sounds like this:
"Ooh, here's a nice Thing that I don't use anymore. I'll get rid of it. But oh, wait, it really IS such a nice Thing. Maybe I could get some value out of it if someone else out there also thinks it's a nice Thing. I'll set it aside on this shelf/in this box/in this closet to be sold online later."
Red flag!!! Send in the clutter police with sirens blaring!!! The worst thing you can possibly do when decluttering, IMO, is set stuff aside to deal with later. Because 'later' never comes -- or it comes so far in the future that you still have years of dealing with that clutter ahead of you. Just ask pear_shaped, who had to bring fabric on a transoceanic journey and hold onto it for 15 years before it got used. (I loved that story, btw!) We all have boxes of stuff like that.
OK, so that's not to say that I don't do it anyway. I currently have a bag full of clutter that has been waiting to get listed on Ebay for three years now. And a shelf of books in the front closet that are waiting for some lucky Amazon shopper to scoop them up. But for the most part, the nice Thingies go straight to the Salvation Army or St. Vincent De Paul collection. They are likelier to do good in that context than sitting in my closet/shelf/basement box any longer. And I can write them off on taxes and get them out of my house.
Someone on this thread said, early in the year, that one reason she gives away even Very Nice Clutter, instead of trying to sell it, is that she is never going to get anywhere near the original value of the item by selling it. And that the illusion of getting "value" back just encourages her to pile up more clutter. When you have to give away nice stuff that cost money, however, because you have too much of it, then it hurts a bit. And that bit of pain can help with curbing the buying/collecting/hoarding patterns that got us all into this mess in the first place.
All of that being said, however, here are a few observations about when it might be a good idea to try to sell stuff. For me, I use the following formulae:
- Ebay: I sell anything that has a designer label (people do name-brand searches) and anything obviously collectible (vintage clothes, old movie posters, etc.). Also things that are in high demand online because you can't get them in stores very easily (brand-name cloth diapers, wraps/slings, etc.). I start all my auctions at less than $1, figuring that the real end goal is to get rid of it, not make money.
- Consignment/antique shops: I sell anything that has the tags still on it (consignment shops) or looks like someone else might appreciate it as an 'antique' (whether I think it's actually 'antique' or not -- I let the store judge that and set the price on it). I take whatever price they offer, remembering, again, that my goal is to get it out, not make money on it.
- Amazon: I only list things that will sell for $5 or more, since Amazon's outrageous commission pricing and low shipping rates make it impossible to break even for less than that. If it's selling for less than $5 on Amazon, it goes to Half-Price Books, where I happily accept 50 cents or so for the privilege of getting it out of the house.
- Other odds and ends: any trinket that looks like it might be gold or silver, no matter how junky, goes to the gold-buying people. My last trip there earned me over $80 in junk jewelry from ex-boyfriends. Things that look really collectible or worth a lot of money (like old coins or musical instruments or real jewelry) I sell to people who deal specifically in those things.
Everything else goes straight to charity, except big stuff I don't want to haul anywhere, or broken stuff, which I Freecycle and let other people deal with. (I do feel bad, sometimes, that I'm contributing to other people's clutter problem...) And here's the hardest part: everything I want to sell, I try to get into a highly visible place where it is obnoxiously in the way, and I put a date on it. If it isn't sold by that date, it goes to the Salvation Army or out on the lawn. It does NOT get stored for later. It does NOT get tucked back into the basement. Etc. For me, selling stuff is my biggest challenge for decluttering, and I'm trying to really limit how much I'm trying to sell, and give more of it away, instead. I have to say, it was so freeing to give away a laptop that has been sitting in the closet for five years waiting for me to get around to wiping the hard drive and selling it online. The irony of that, of course, is that in the intervening years, the laptop has aged beyond any resale value it might have had anyway.