Donate, Sell, or Throw Away?

October 21, 2015 | Downsizing , Moving Tips

clothingWhether you’re moving or simply decluttering, a huge part of the organization process is letting go of the items that no longer serve you. Our rule of thumb is if you’re not using it and don’t love it, it’s time to let it go. Now, we realize for many this is easier said than done. We recognize that the cleansing process can be the greatest challenge, as most of us have emotional attachments to our things and environments. But if you have already crossed the ‘letting go’ hurdle, we want to offer some tips for figuring out how to discard your stuff. Don’t let the confusion of disposing of your clothes, furniture, and other household items stand in your way of an organized home. Here are some suggestions and tips for deciding whether to donate, sell, or throw away.


This is the best case scenario, right? We’d all like to see a monetary reward at the end of our hard work! And there are many great marketplaces: consignment stores, CraigsList, Ebay, and so on. But before you allocate everything to the Sell pile, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What condition is it in? It can be tempting to put on rose-colored glasses when assessing the value of your personal items, but do your best to switch to a consumer viewpoint. Those never-worn, designer shoes in your closet? You probably could get a good return at a consignment shop. But if the item is worn-in or beat-up, chances are it’s not going to sell – even if you originally paid a pretty penny for it.
  2. Are you motivated to sell? As stated, it’s wonderful to feel like you’re getting paid to declutter your closet. But selling can be a headache in and of itself. Lugging everything to a store to get appraised, posting items on Ebay, dealing with buyers on CraigsList…and so on. If you feel like you’re up for it, ask yourself the following question:
  3. Is the return worth the hassle? This goes hand in hand with motivation. Will you make enough of a profit to justify the time and energy that goes into selling? Whether you are taking care of everything yourself or hiring a professional to step in, make sure the pay-off equals the work.


We suggest maintain high standards for choosing what to donate. Too many people treat the donate pile as the trash pile, which completely defeats the purpose. Truly think about whether or not someone would find value in what you’re getting rid of.

  1. Make sure everything is in good shape. For clothes, this means no stain, rips, or disfigurement. For appliances, ensure that the unit works and include all pieces and components. If you would feel good about passing it on to a friend, then it’s probably okay to donate.
  2. Check with your local charities to find out what they need. This list may surprise you in terms of what’s on it, as well as what isn’t.

Donating typically entails dropping off your items at your local charity of choice. Some organizations, such as the Purple Heart, will do a home pick-up.

Throw Away

If it’s broken or unusable, ratty or invaluable- throw it away! For many people this can be the hardest option. We want to see our stuff go to a good home instead of a landfill! But for many scenarios, simply tossing your unwanted items may be the best option.

  1. Choosing to sell or donate can drag out the the ‘getting rid of’ process. Items can sit in your car or garage for weeks until you get around to dropping them off at the consignment store or Goodwill. If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed by the decluttering process, it might be better to just get rid of everything right away- even if that means into the garbage.
  2. As previously mentioned, it can be hard to determine the outside value for our possessions. This is when it’s a good idea to have a professional step in to help decide which option (sell, donate, throw away) is the most feasible and practical.

It can be hard saying good-bye to your things. But we’re big believers in the power of home organization and decluttering. Letting go of the items that no longer serve you is an empowering shift and important step. If your project feels intimidating or overwhelming, don’t hesitate to call in for professional help. Sometimes outside support is all you need in order to make lasting positive change.

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