Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What to do with the STUFF?

Well THANK YOU for all of your sweet comments and thoughts on my last post! I’m so excited about the kitchen redo! I’m pretty sure I’ve been to Home Depot nine times in the last three days, so they should know me by name soon.  ;)

I hope to get our sink and faucet installed this week, but it’s not an easy job I know, so we’ll see. I’m being patient. Being patient. Being patient. (If I keep saying that, it will be true, right?)

So I wanted to talk about a topic I get emails about ALL the time – and I figured it’s about time I do a post on it! The question is – when you do all that decrapifying that I KNOW you all are doing, (ahem), what do you do with all of the stuff you want to get rid of? 

There are many options available -- some will make you some money, some will make you a tax deduction. ;)

The first option is probably the most obvious:

The majority of my stuff goes to Goodwill – like new, nice or just OK condition. I find it’s the most convenient option for me, but that’s mostly because I’m insanely impatient. And I can’t stand crap. So when the crap sits around, it drives me mad. Even if it’s something nice, I’d rather just drop it off to Goodwill, get it out of our house, and move on.

That being said, I’ve had a Goodwill pile in our foyer for three weeks now. The good thing about that is friends stop over and take most of the stuff in the pile, so I have less to lug to the drop off.  ;) (Thanks K!)

There are other options as far as donation goes – Dress for Success is a program for women who are trying to find jobs and need professional clothing. I know there are other similar programs out there as well.

When I did the major decluttering of our basement earlier this year (I still need to finish up a few things and show you!), I took a TON – and I. mean. a. TON. – of stuff to a local women’s shelter. (Two SUV’s full!) It was a lot of baby gadgets and clothing, and I just felt like the shelter was the best place for them. The battered women who stay there often leave home with very little for their kids or themselves and need to start over – so it felt good to donate so many things I knew they could use.

And of course there’s ways to make money while getting rid of crapola, which is a total win-win. A biggie this time of year is the garage sale, of course!:

I have to tell you, I’ve never been a huge fan of hosting garage sales. It may or may not have to do with the fact that I have to be up at 7 a.m. on a weekend to get it accomplished – which is just absurd. I mean, really. I sleep.

Secondly, I hate the haggling. I mean, you should see me in NYC’s Chinatown – I’ll go after a price with the best of them. But something about going back and forth about $2 just rubs me the wrong way.

And it’s usually hot.

And early.

Oh, I mentioned that. :)

Instead of hosting my own, I prefer to take a carload of my crap to a friend’s house for their garage sale, and let them get up at the crack o dawn and sit in the sun all morning. Works for me!!

When it comes to home decor items, I’ve had GREAT success with consignment shops:

They are shops filled with great stuff people don’t want anymore that you see and you totally didn’t know you wanted (but you do). You’ll find furniture, dishware, art, light fixtures, accessories – it’s a treasure trove!

The shop I use goes through my items when I bring them in (this depends on the shop – you have to make an appointment at some places), picks out what they want, then keeps a record of my items. When they sell, I get a percentage of each item, and then I get a fun little check in the mail every month.

Or…I may or may not go in and check my balance and then spend said balance in the shop. Maybe.

I always make more than I would at a garage sale. And I have to do very little make that cash. Awesome. Some shops will give you money when you drop off items – they’ll determine what they would sell it for and give you your percentage up front.

There are also consignment shops for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and baby gear. I find these are much better to shop at than to sell at – I just don’t get the same return that I do at the home decor shop. But that could be because I spend $4 on Wal-Mart t-shirt and call it done.  :)

The Web is another option for making money off your items – eBay is one site of course. I used to sell junk great stuff on there all the time and made good money. The fees seemed to get higher though, and all of the buying shipping supplies, finding boxes and packaging items just became too much.

There’s another option I know many folks use – craigslist:

Something about craigslist has always given me the heebies. I just have never felt comfortable having complete strangers come to my house. The few times I have sold items on it I have been a nervous wreck the whole time – and I don’t use my name, a email with my name in it, I don’t give out my cell number – and it still makes me queasy.

I have only had two buyers come to our house – one picked up the items from the front porch and left the cash under the mat. The other came in because I had called her and talked to her for days and felt comfortable with her coming in. And even then I still regretted it when she left. Every other time I have met folks at a public location to give them their item.

It’s a personal thing – I’m a freak, as you know, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. ;) I know many who have made great money and found some fantastic items through craigslist!

I tried out one final option a couple months ago and absolutely, positively loved it. I hosted a swap for a few friends – everyone brought their goodies and we piled them up:

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Obviously, we ran out of room. ;) Next time, I’m borrowing a bunch of tables!

I prepared a few snacks, some drinks, and we had fun just hanging out. Because there weren’t many of us, we just kind of had at it and grabbed what caught our eye:

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There was very little hair pulling and just a bit of pushing.  :) Nahhhh…we all behaved. But I expect the number of attendees will grow next time I host this, so we may have to draw numbers in the future. I’m considering a “holiday” swap as well – just for Christmas decor. Wouldn’t that be festive?

I highly recommend the swap – I can’t tell you how fun it was! I got a fab find from my friend Beckie – I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it though. I have to sit on things for a while. And leave them in my foyer. Yes…it’s still there, two months later.

So did I forget anything? Any other options for donating or selling that stuff you don’t need anymore? You know I’ll keep harassing you to decrap your place, so you might as well get to it. Seriously. I can be very irritating persuasive.

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