Where to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Things
Have you been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo? This new Netflix show is all the rage right now. Organization guru Marie Kondo uses her KonMari method to help people declutter their homes, bringing increased order and happiness into their lives.
My husband and I watched a few episodes together when it first came out earlier this month. Soon after, I found him decluttering our closets and other spaces around the house! It’s been an unexpected but welcomed result of the show.
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The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up provides a much more thorough explanation of the KonMari method than is given in the Netflix show. I recommend it if you’re unfamiliar with her method or having trouble organizing your own home. I read the book a few years ago and found it very logical and beneficial for cleaning up in my own life.
One of the tenets Mari teaches is to hold on to an item and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to discard it. If you’re anything like those people on the show, you could end up with lots of things to discard. What should you do with these items? Where should they go? Don’t throw them away yet! Here’s a look at what else you can do with your unwanted goods.
1 | Sell it online
This is hands down my favorite thing to do with unwanted goods. They can actually earn you money! You have to do some work to list items, package and ship them, meet with potential buyers, and so forth. It can take time for things to sell, so your listings might be up for a while. I think it’s worth it though if you have the time for because you’ll earn the most money off your goods this way. You’re unlikely to earn as much by donating your goods or having someone else sell them for you.
These are a few of my favorite places to sell:
eBay – You can sell almost anything on eBay: household goods, clothes, sports equipment, toys, books, and other knickknacks. eBay has millions of users worldwide, which makes for a great potential audience for your goods.
Poshmark – Poshmark is a US-only platform for selling women’s, men’s, and children’s clothes, shoes, and accessories. Listing is easy compared to eBay but the commission is steep. It’s a flat fee of $2.95 on items $15 and under. The commission is 20% for items over $15. I recommend using Poshmark for selling fashionable and on-trend items.
Mercari – Mercari is similar to eBay in that you can sell a wide variety of items. I don’t think it has the same number of users as eBay, but it’s easy to list to the app and commission is a low 10%.
You can read more about the above three platforms and tips for selling. There is really no shortage of places to sell your goods online. There’s Amazon, The RealReal, thredUp, Depop, Vinted, and more. There are also local online sites and apps like Craigslist, Nextdoor, LetGo, OfferUp, and Facebook groups.
By the way, if you don’t have a Poshmark account, you can receive a free $5 bonus when you sign up with my code SFGIRL2015. On Mercari, you can currently get $10 when you sign up with the code JENMHM. The amount varies by promotion.
If you decide to try to sell your things, here are a few tips:
Consider if the item is actually valuable or functional. Is the item something you could still wear or use? I almost only sell things that are in good condition to provide a better buyer experience and save myself from attempted returns. You won’t have a lot of buyers who want old, worn clothes or furniture that has seen better days, so save your time and avoid listing those things.
Look up past sale prices. You may not find any similar listings, but if you do, this is a good way to check how much they’re being listed for and their past sold prices. Then you can see if it’s worth your time to try to sell it yourself.
Be realistic about possible sale prices. A lot of people sell stuff thinking they’re going to recoup a good amount of what they paid for it, even close to retail. That’s rarely the case when you sell something second-hand. Be open to receiving a lot less for an item and go for the best offer.
2 | Sell it at a physical shop
Before I started selling online several years ago, I would take my old clothes to second-hand stores like Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, and Plato’s Closet. You bring in all your clothes, shoes, and accessories to these second-hand stores and a worker reviews them. They keep what they think will sell and pay you for it.
I recall that you receive 1/3 of the expected sale price in cash and 1/2 in cash if your item is consigned. You get 1/2 the amount if you decide to keep your earnings as store credit.
Quickly get rid of your things
Money immediately in your pocket
Save time having someone else sell your goods
Receive little money for your goods. I remember receiving about $3-5 for a shirt to about $7 for a dress.
Shop workers are picky about what they select. You’ll likely leave with a lot of what you brought in to sell.
You’ll have unwanted goods leftover. Sometimes you can leave your items there and they will donate them for you.
Many cities have individually run consignment shops that can earn you more for your goods than the above-mentioned stores. If you have designer or vintage items, it may be worth your time to call or visit consignment shops and ask for advice on your items.
3 | Donate it
If you have things that are still usable but not worth reselling, try donating them to thrift stores. These stores are typically run by charities and the sale of your items help fund their causes. Your donations may be tax-deductible depending on the specific charity/shop. You can donate a wide range of items too, which is good for getting rid of most or all of your items in at once.
Check The Thrift Shopper for places that may accept donations. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Out of the Closet, and The Arc are a few of many thrift stores out there. One tip to save you time – check if the charity offers pick-up service. Some charities will arrange a time to stop by and take your goods. You may not even have to venture out of the house to donate your things.
Thrift stores are not the only places in need of donations. Consider these:
Children’s books —> preschool or elementary school
Work clothes —> an organization helping people find jobs
Unused toiletries —> homeless or domestic violence shelter
Non-perishable food —> soup kitchen
Unused pet items —> local animal shelter
4 | Recycle it
Another option to consider is recycling. Depending on where you live, you’ll have more or less option for recycling. Some of the most commonly accepted items for recycling are aluminum, plastic bottles, cardboard, glass, newspaper, and other papers.
Mail – Do you get a lot of junk mail? Drop it in your recycle bin or try to get off the mailing lists. Sometimes I write unsubscribe or that person doesn’t live here and return it to the sender. When I receive a catalog in which I have no interest, I’ll call or email the company to unsubscribe me.
If you have anything with personal identifying information – credit card offers, bank and medical statements, bills – send them through a shredder before you recycle them. This puts you at less risk of having your information stolen.
Skip paper mail altogether by opting for electronic notices. Important bills can come via email and phone notifications nowadays. Some companies even give you an incentive like reduced fees when you opt into electronic notification.
Clothing - Some localities offer textile recycling for clothes and similar material items. Call your local recycling company and see if you can schedule a pick up for textile recycling.
5 | Give it away
If an item doesn’t spark joy for you, could it spark joy for someone else? Your unwanted goods might be something that a friend or family member would want. I’ve definitely received things as gifts and passed them on to someone I knew would like it more. I’ve been on the receiving end of regifted items too. Some people are offended by receiving regifted items, so make sure you know your recipient well first. If you can manage it, this is a good way to ensure things don’t go to waste.
It’s only January now. Start filling up your gift closet with birthday and Christmas presents for the year. You’ll save time and money by not having to shop later in the year.
6 | E-recycle it or trade it in
The next thing to tackle is getting rid of electronics. You may be able to sell some of your electronics even if they’re not the latest models. My husband recently sold his old iPad and iPhone on eBay. They were a few years old but still sold for a reasonable amount that made the time and work worth it.
If your electronics don’t sell or aren’t worth selling, you have other options for disposing of them. Electronic and office supply stores like Best Buy and Staples offer electronic recycling. Best Buy allows you to trade in your items for a gift card if your items still have value. You can also take advantage of discounts on items like printers and networking devices when you recycle older versions. It pays to look up retailers and manufacturers first. Many other companies such as Walmart, Target, and Apple offer some sort of trade-in program as well.
Don’t forget to remove all your personal information before you recycle anything. I once bought a used computer and the previous owner was still logged into some of her accounts. Luckily, I had no interest in wreaking havoc on her life.
Side note: Target offers an awesome program in which you can trade in gift cards from participating merchants for a Target gift card. Do you ever find old gift cards lying around? You know you’ll probably never use them but you don’t get rid of them because there’s still money on the card. Take it to Target and trade it in.
7 | Repurpose it
Another alternative is to repurpose your old items. I like to use old shirts as rags to clean around the house. I save old toothbrushes to clean small hard-to-reach places and crevices around the house. All plastic bags are put to a second use, even if it means rinsing them a bit.
Old mugs —> pencil holder
Glass jars —> flower vase and trinket storage
Cereal boxes —> magazine holders
Plastic jug —> loose change storage
If you’re into crafting, do-it-yourself work, and home décor, you can go all out with home do-it-yourself projects. There are familiar projects like reviving old furniture with a new coat of paint. Then there are unique projects like making a strainer or globe into a planter. You can have a blast finding new ways to use your old items.
8 | Return it
Sometimes you get lucky and you decide you don’t want an item anymore while you’re still in the return window. Take advantage of that and get your full money back.
Some stores give you a discount on a new item if you bring an old item in. Just a few months ago, I heard a commercial that Madewell will give you $20 towards a new pair of jeans if you bring in an old pair. MAC cosmetics has the Back-to-MAC program in which you receive a free lipstick when you return six packaging containers. Companies such as The North Face and Patagonia offer similar programs.
9 | Trash it
Sometimes the only thing you can do is to trash your old goods. You can’t resell it, repurpose it, or anything with it. Zero waste is a great idea, but it’s not that easy to implement. Give yourself the green light to throw things away.
Many cities have a bulky item pickup. You call and schedule the garbage or recycling company to come and pick up large items like furniture, mattresses, appliances, exercise equipment, power tools, electronics, etc. I used the service a few months ago to get rid of an old carpet. It was free for the first pickup of the year. Any subsequent pickup would be a small fee. A quick online search will tell you what your city or town offers.
Related post: 12 Things to Buy Used if You Want to Save Money
After reading these many ways to get rid of your unwanted items, you may just be in the mood to clean the house. I’m getting ready to tackle my closet this weekend and put more clothes up for sale. I’m already looking forward to a clearer mind, cleaner home, and some extra money in my pocket. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to start the year?
Have you tried the KonMari method to organization? What did you dispose of and where did it go? What do you think of the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?