Monday, January 11, 2010

Selling vs. Donating: Why Bother?

After reading about my goals to declutter by selling, you're probably wondering why I'm bothering to sell rather than just donate our extra stuff. It would definitely be easier to make a pile of belongings on the driveway and call a local charity to come pick it up--and this is a great option to have access to. In fact, I already have a pile of worn out clothes ready to take to Goodwill, but I will tell you, these clothes are pretty wrecked. I'm not sure Goodwill will be able to sell most of them in their stores. I hope they find some use for them other than adding them to a landfill! I really want to keep as much stuff as possible out of a landfill. While keep it in mind as an option, I want the trash can to be the final option after I've exhausted all other options.

You see, I feel responsible for our stuff. If it's useful to someone, somewhere, I want to unite that item with that person. I could do this for 'free' by donating to charities or posting items on freecycle, and I will ultimately donate items that no one wants to pay for, but in my experience, people tend to value items that they have paid for over items that someone has offered them for free. If it's free, they shrug and take it, and figure they will decide later whether it's something they can use. If they decide they don't want to use it, the item becomes part of the 'stuff' that's cluttering that person's house, which is exactly what it was doing in MY house in the first place. If the same item costs $2, a person has to decide how much they value the item right away, and s/he may think twice about parting with their money! In this paying scenario, I think it is less likely that my clutter item will join someone else's clutter pile.

I am inspired by the Used Marketplace that is developing in our culture. I have purchased used toys, books, clothes, baby equipment, decorations, DVDs, etc. and I've been really glad to have these options so that I don't have to pay a higher price for a new item when the used item works just as well (and sometimes better!) I want to support this marketplace and get more comfortable with being a seller as well as a buyer. I don't want to make profit my highest priority, but it will definintely be fun to see how much I can earn, and having a bill to apply it to each month will hopefully keep me motivated. In the end, I hope to have less stuff and some great ideas on how I want to handle our unneeded items in the future.

3 comments:

wonderandwill said...

Might I suggest that you donate your well-used clothing to St Vincent de Paul isntead of Goodwill. As I hear, they are one of the only clothes-collection charities that don't just trash clothes they cannot sell in their re-sale shops. Instead, they sell such items as rags and use the money to support their charitable causes. Just a thought...

Michelle said...

Thanks for the suggestion! I did find one St Vincent de Paul thrift store here in Virginia, unfortunately it is pretty far from my home. I am going to research this and see if they do pickups. Maybe there is another organization in my area that doesn't trash clothes? Anyone know?

Michelle said...

Great news! I checked with Goodwill and several other organizations and they sell unwearable clothing to the textile industry instead of adding them to the landfills!

I did some research on this and posted here: http://navigatingdomesticity.blogspot.com/2010/02/donating-yucky-unwearable-clothing-what.html