Decluttering: Should I Sell, Consign, Or Donate?

One of the most freeing feelings is to declutter your space or your home. Sometimes without realizing it, we accumulate a lot of material possessions. Before you start decluttering, you may wonder whether you should sell, consign, or donate.

While it will largely depend on what type of items you’re decluttering and how much time you have, you should consider doing all three. Why? Because you will prolong the life of your items by selling or consigning while making extra money. And you can donate to a good cause.

Decluttering: Should I Sell, Consign, Or Donate?

While we may buy things to make our lives easier, sometimes having too many things makes it harder. It gets harder to find what you’re looking for when you need it. So let’s get started on the steps you should take to declutter your life!

Sell Your Stuff First

There are many reasons that you should try selling your items first. First of all, if someone is spending money to buy from you, they value it enough to keep and use it. This prolongs the life of your item if someone or another family is getting to use them.

Secondly, you can recoup some of the costs that you paid. You can spend this extra money on something else. Or you can put the extra money towards a trip, investing, or savings.

Nowadays, it is very easy to sell online.

There are plenty of marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Poshmark, Depop, Facebook marketplace, Mercari, and your local selling groups. Some people may think selling online is hard or takes too much of a hassle, it really is not. Most selling apps like Poshmark take the guesswork out of shipping by sending you a shipping label for your sold items right away.

All you have to do is print your label and go to the post office with your item. You will then be able to use any of the Priority Mail boxes or envelopes. Most post offices have free Priority Mail tape as well to tape your label and you can drop off the package then and there.

Reselling is the best way that you can make the most of your money back. We have plenty of resources here at the blog. If you need guidance on where to sell based on what type of items that you have, check this blog here.

The last and most important reason for trying to sell your stuff first is to learn the lesson on depreciation. Just like buying a car and driving off the lot makes the car depreciate, the value of most things depreciates as soon as you buy them.

You will find that most clothing, shoes, accessories, sports equipment, etcetera will not hold their value, no matter how the retail price was. It is an important lesson to know how much value something holds so that you don’t overspend next time you buy something for yourself or your home.

Consign What’s Left

Consigning should be a second alternative to selling. Consignment stores tend to take a much higher percentage than selling yourself. That could be 35% to 55% of what the item will sell for. So if your items sell for $100, you will get only $45 to $65.

When you sell your items yourself, you can keep 80% to 100%. For the same $100, you can keep $80 to $100. How do you get fee-free sales to give you 100%? By selling locally on Facebook marketplace. If you’re not comfortable with coordinating or meeting with people, the lower end of 80% with Poshmark is still much better.

But for those who don’t have the time or patience to deal with listing, packing, and shipping online orders, consigning is the most fuss-free way to sell.

You can consign with your local consignment stores like the Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, Plato’s Closet, Clothes Mentor, or Uptown Cheapskate. The advantage of selling at local consignment stores is that you can usually walk in with your bag of items. They will be able to sort through what they will take on the same day and offer you the cash on the spot.

Another option is to consign with online consignment stores like the Realreal or ThredUp. Keep in mind that it can take weeks or months for these online consignment stores to sort through and list your items. There is also a chance that they may not take most of your items.

You may have to wait even longer for someone to buy the listings. And then you will have to wait some more for the return period to pass before you get paid. If you don’t mind waiting for a payout, consigning is a great option.

And Then Donate

Before you dump what the consignment store did not take to your local donation center, make sure you go through your items.

Donations still require manpower to sort the items, process them, and recycle them.

You will not want to waste the donation center’s precious resources on finding ripped, stained, and trashed items that will have to be thrown out.

For furniture made of real wood, not compressed wood, it is worth donating even if they are a little dinged up. Someone can refurbish them and make them look brand new if they choose to take on the project. You can also donate your vehicle to Goodwill.

Remember, it is other people that are shopping for your donations. Be mindful and think about what you would want to find if you shop there. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of donated items actually get sold. The rest may be recycled, get sent to other countries, or end up in landfills.

Recycle The Rest

For items that are deemed too damaged to be donated, look for recycling centers in your area. Recycling what you cannot sell, consign, or donate is a great way to contribute to the planet. Certain retailers like H&M and Madewell take clothing donations to recycle.

Another way to recycle is by Upcycling. There are many different ideas out there to upcycle common household items to be used in another way. Doing too much upcycling will not solve your decluttering problem. But doing so strategically and mindful will help prolong the life of your items. Do your research for the best way to go about recycling in your area.

Consider Repairs

One last option and alternative you can do before selling, consigning, or donating is to see if it is worth repairing your items. If you have expensive clothing or bags, it may be worth repairing holes, tears, and rips. You can also re-sole expensive shoes. You will be able to sell or consign for more with minor issues repaired. It will most likely sell when you donate them as well.

Sell Versus Consign Versus Or Donate?

If you still feel stuck about whether to sell, consign, or donate, know that you have even more options. There are services in bigger cities that will take everything you’re decluttering from the comfort of your own home. They will sort through what they can sell and donate or recycle the remaining items.

No matter the reason that you’re decluttering, whether you’re on a journey to become a minimalist or simply to free your space, knowing that you have many options to get there is empowering.

What Is The Best Action To Take?

As much as prolonging the life of your items and recycling is important, it is even better to be reducing waste. Clutter can show up in our lives when we buy without intention. We can buy things just because something is cheap or there is a discount on it, rather than actually needing it.

It is helpful to make a wish list and wait on it for a week or a month to see if you still want it. Buying less means you will have to declutter less in the future. Another way is to buy items that are made with better quality materials, instead of cheaper alternatives. They may cost more initially but they will last longer.

You can also buy used or refurbished to save on retail. You will be saving money now and time later when you may have to look into whether to sell, consign, or donate in the future.

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