Spring Cleaning: What to Sell, What to Donate, and What to Throw Away

by Kristina on February 29, 2012 · 3 comments

cleaning gloves

Welcome into March DINKS.  It’s time for the snow to stop and the sun to start shining.  It’s also time for spring cleaning.  Every year around this time people start to clean out their closets, their cupboards, their drawers, and their shelves.  Very often we see posts from financial bloggers about making extra money by selling our stuff and getting rid of our unwanted items.  Unfortunately not everything can be sold; but we don’t have to throw out all of our unsellable items, we can donate them to local charities and organizations.

If we are cleaning out our closets and getting rid of unwanted items we can donate some of our unsellable items in order to help those less fortunate people who are in need.  Think about the last time you cleaned out your home during your spring cleaning frenzy.  What items did you keep, which items did you sell, which items did you donate, and what did you throw away?

Sell Your Unwanted Items

Many people’s first instinct is to sell their unwanted items.  It’s definitely a great financial strategy to sell our unwanted items because we can get rid of our stuff and make some money at the same time.  Adam Baker  at Man vs. Debt has created an entire lifestyle from the belief that people should “Sell your crap, pay off your debt, and do what you love.” It’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So gather up your unused and unwanted items and sell them.  As a rule of thumb if we haven’t used an item in 6 months and we haven’t worn an article of clothing in the last 3 months (or during the last season) then we should get rid of them.

We can sell old Furniture, Toys, previously read Books, unwanted Home Decor, big ticket Electronics like Stereos, DVD Players, Telephones, TVs, and Appliances.  We can post our ads online to sell our unwanted and unused items or we can visit thrift shops and second hand stores to sell our items.

Which Items You Can Donate

There are several different organizations and charities who accept donations.  Last spring when I cleaned out my entire apartment (thanks to a few sleepless nights and a little bit of OCD) I had over 10 boxes of clothes, books, and computer equipment that I wanted to donate.  The problem that I kept running into was not that charities would not accept my items; the problem was that they would not come to pick up the boxes.  Charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Diabetes Society, as well as The Boys and Girls Club accept donations.

If you don’t have any unused items that you can donate to a charity or organization we can also donate food, and money, as well as our personal time.  If we have books that we want to donate we can visit our local library or our local daycare, school, or bookstore to donate unwanted books.

Throw This Stuff Away

Basically if you don’t want it and you can’t sell it or you can’t donate it then you have no choice but to throw it away.  I know that it can be hard to part with some of our beloved items, but we have to do so because we don’t want to become hoarders of unwanted items.

Whenever we throw away large amounts of items we have to make sure that they are clearly marked and packaged correctly. Some items (such as broken electronics) require special disposal.

Photo by Recycle This

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bethy @ Credit Karma February 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Great tips. When it comes to selling your stuff, you also have to take into account the amount of time you spend photographing and posting your items (if you’re selling online). Or the time and energy you spend bagging up and carting your stuff to the clothing store that buys your stuff (think Buffalo Exchange). Sometimes, it’s easy to think you’ll make a quick buck, but other times, it’s just not worth it. So, you’ve gotta have a lot of discretion in choosing what you think will sell (and setting prices).

2 Kristina February 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I have not yet started my spring cleaning but I have started making the lists of items that I want to keep, donate, and throw away. It’s truly amazing how much stuff we can accumulate over one year and also how many things we keep that we really don’t use!

3 Carrie - Careful Cents February 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm

You’d be surprised at the things people will buy on Craigslist or eBay. Especially broken electronics, those are like a gold mine. Also, don’t forget to get receipts for the FMV (fair market value) of the items you donate. This is considered a charitable contribution!

I actually love when Spring rolls around, and it’s cleaning time. I already cleaned and re-organized my closet in preparation. I bought a few nice bins from Ikea too! Now, I’m in the process of selling stuff on eBay and will donate the rest. Like Bethy mentioned, it takes a lot of time to photograph and list things. But for some pricier items it’s worth it.

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