Post 4: Organization for LUFF’s – Selling & Donating

Monday, January 11, 2010

If you followed me on Twitter over the weekend, you read all about my adventures in organizing my mess of a guest room. It’s not 100% finished by any stretch of the imagination, but ahhhhh, it’s so much better!

I took a giant load to Goodwill, moved a box of garage sale stuff to the garage for our sale in April, and filled one of those giant black garbage bags to the brim. Just having done those three things it’s like air is circulating in the room again, brilliant rays of sunlight are pouring in the window, and birds are singing and helping me dress for the ball…you get the idea.

Now I’ll be getting down to the nitty gritty of organizing and beautifying what’s left in the room. I’ll talk about that later in the week.

Today though, I wanted to talk about the tricky issue of knowing what to sell, where to sell it, and when to donate. Everyone will have their own opinion on this, but I’ll just tell you what my take is.

What to Sell and Where to Sell It

I love Ebay. I love shopping on Ebay and I love selling on Ebay. The trick with Ebay, though, is that you can’t just sell anything (MANY people will disagree with me on this). The truth is, it’s basically a search engine for stuff, and if nobody’s looking for your stuff it’s just not going to sell. I know there are a million exceptions to this…but I’m just talking in generalities here.



Personally, I only try to sell items on Ebay that are marketable and have a monetary value. What I mean by this is, a Pottery Barn pillow cover that’s in good condition will usually sell pretty easily on Ebay. A stuffed playboy bunny that your son won at the State Fair…not so much. The bunny could fetch $0.50 at a garage sale, but I wouldn’t waste my time or money trying to sell it on Ebay or Craigslist.

Here’s a quick summary of how I see the difference in marketable items on Ebay vs. Garage Sale/Craigslist items.

Items to Sell on Ebay

  • Name Brand Items (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, brands sold at Target, Banana Republic, Gap Kids, etc)
  • Antiques
  • Collectibles
  • Books that are “In Demand”

Items to Sell at Garage Sales or on Craigslist

  • Furniture
  • Misc or Large Home Decor (Lamps, Art, Greenery, etc.)
  • Tools
  • Kitchen and Dining Appliances and Accessories
  • Seasonal Items (Christmas Decor, Patio Accessories)

These lists are by no means extensive, and I’m sure you’ll have your own additions or deletions (uh oh…the “work speak” is creeping in…watch me start prattling off “disclaimers” and sounding like Spock).

What to Donate

What do I donate? This one’s kind of tricky, and it’s definitely up to your own personal preference. I do donate some items that could make money at a garage sale such as household goods, electronics and clothing. Why?

A) I don’t always get around to having a garage sale and I really like parking my car in the garage, and

B) Most thrift stores are charitable organizations and I like giving things that can help them earn some money…and possibly help people that might not be able to afford items elsewhere. But that’s just me.

What don’t I donate? Anything that’s broken beyond repair or generally “junk”. I always feel so bad when I basically see garbage in donation bins. Again, that’s just me.

What do you think? Do you agree with my lists? Any additions or deletions? I’d love to hear what your opinion is.


Click to read Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3

13 Suburbanites Said:

Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

I agree with everything. I would also add to sell with integrity and not to throw buzz words into your ad just to draw traffic. If it REALLY looks exactly like a PB knockoff, then great. But I get annoyed when searching for something and they are throwing in a PB pencil with the quilt in order to have PB and Quilt in the search. Just my 2 cents :).

Anonymous said...

I agree too but maybe donate to a women's shelter or the homeless shelter. I love going to the thrift stores but I think they know that it's become a trendy thing for all of us to thrift and redo. The prices are often too high and it doesn't seem to cater to the needy anymore. Can't wait to see the changes!

Carry Grace said...

I think your lists are right on target!

Megandvd@Beauty in the Attempt said...

Great ideas! Maybe you could sell your PB stuff to your blog buddies. Hehe! Just let us know when you post your stuff on ebay. I am sure you could open a small boutique. What a fun little "online rummage sale." I think it would be a divine way to get rid of your stuff..and add to ours. :)


Melanie said...

Sometimes I just don't want to deal with any of it and it goes to the dump. Most of the time I give it to Goodwill. I am deciding on a consignment shop that will sell your stuff or waiting for spring when they have a community yard sale.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

If you don't feel like taking it anywhere, you can always Freecycle it! I've done that in the past with my nicer magazines that I don't want/don't have room for, but don't want to haul to my car + two kids. ;) I had a really nice lady come by and pick them up after I told her they'd be on my front porch. (the magazines, not the kids!!) ;)

ErinQ said...

I agree with Amanada. Freecycle is another great way to clear things out I ususually do this for things that I can send to Goodwill/Salvation Army/local shelter. Things like, worn sheets, towels that are old, plants I no longer have use for etc. I've found that Freecycle folks will take just about anything, just be honest about the condition its in. A lot of these folks are masters of re-purposing items I never would have thought to use.

Suzann said...

Wonderful post! I have a few things that I need to sell too. Just the advice I needed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering my questions about which direction our things should take. Your insight is invaluable to me. Thank you!!!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

I'm loving your new blog design! It looks fabulous and fits your style.

Having just spent a week and a half cleaning out my basement, I can relate to this post! I donate pretty much everything that doesn't get thrown away. Garage sales just got to be too much of a hassle to me, and I figure I'll just take the tax credit instead. I love Vietnam Vets because they'll pick it up right from your house. So easy to just leave bags of stuff on my porch and know they'll take care of it!

I also have friends and family members who get first shot at anything before I give it away.

Pauline Wiles said...

I'm at the point now where dealing with something on Ebay is almost too much hassle. I donate tonnes of things to Goodwill (or whichever non-profit is in the neighborhood doing a pick-up).
During the holidays I put a load of garage-sale type stuff on the front drive and simply posted a 'free' ad on Craigslist. It was well worth it to me just to get stuff out of the house, and frankly I was amazed what people thought they needed! If someone can benefit from my nasty old curtains, that's fine by me!

Lindy D. said...

I am a big fan of consignment shops for selling nicer things. I use one for clothing and one for household goods. This means staying on top of my clothes closet, since they don't want stuff that is out of date.

I agree with you on donating items in respectable condition. Please wash and iron clothes that you donated. Just think of it as part of your charitable giving. Clean items get sold for more money and are nicer for those in need to receive. And don't forget the tax deduction!

Christine said...

So glad you added that about NOT donating what is essentially garbage. When our Junior League used to host a sale of "gently worn (and some new)" toys for those in need, I can't tell you how many people "donated" their junk (games with half the pieces gone, dolls with missing limbs, picked apart bikes, etc.)just so they could get the tax write off. Treat others the way you would have them treat you! If you were in a bad way financially and had to buy your kids Christmas gifts at such a sale, would you want them to have garbage or a decent toy that's truly just been loved a little as opposed to torn to shreds? Sorry for my little rant. Love your blog:)


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