THE DISCARD PILE
Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. With books like “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” decluttering is at the forefront of many people’s minds, but what do you do with all your stuff without personally filling a landfill? There are many options to sell and donate your used goods. Donating is definitely quicker, so if you want to be done with it, donate it all in one fell swoop. But if you’d like to make some side change, selling is also an option. Here are several options available to you and your excess stuff.
As you clean out your closet and get ready for a new season, consider taking your clothes and accessories to a consignment shop for resale. While there are many local consignment shops, there are a few that are nationwide. Buffalo Exchange is one. They will happily buy your excellent-condition men’s and women’s clothing, and accessories. They buy all seasons year-round. If in doubt, take it in and see if they will buy it. They are open seven days a week, all you need is a government-issued ID to sell your stuff. You will receive 30 percent of what they will sell your items for in cash or 50 percent of what they can sell your items for in-store credit. Your choice.
Much like Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads is a consignment shop with locations across the country. They, too, buy excellent-condition men’s and women’s clothes, and accessories. They stress that they are looking for current trends that match the season. In fact, they have a detailed selling guide on their website highlighting what they want. When in doubt, it’s worth taking an item in to have it appraised. You can do so seven days a week with a valid, government-issued ID. You may even choose to drop your items off and return within 24 hours to collect your payout so you don’t have to wait. If you choose to take store credit as payment for your items, you will receive 50 percent of what your item will sell for. You can also choose to take cash and receive a 33 percent payout. A third option is to consign high-end items. Crossroads has a payout system in which you could get up to 70 percent cash back depending on how much the item sells for.
ThredUp is a great way to get rid of your gently used (excellent condition) women, kids, maternity, and plus-size clothing. Simply request a clean-out kit, and the company pays your shipping. Once they get your clothes, they will assess what they can buy. You will get a payout of 5 to 80 percent depending on the value of the items. Anything they don’t buy, they will donate unless you request it back, at which time you will pay shipping to get it returned. Aside from cleaning out your closet and sending in your bag, you don’t have to do much. They inspect your items, photograph them and list them for you. One of the great perks of ThredUp is that they take everyday brands: Gap, Old Navy, J Crew, etc. Things you would find at the mall, they take and resell. They don’t have to be high-end brands.
2 is also an online selling platform, but works a little differently than ThredUp. Instead of sending them your stuff, you list it yourself. You download the app, photograph your items, upload a description, and then they market it for you. You manage your listing and pricing. When an item sells, they send you a prepaid mailing label so you can send it directly to the buyer. They keep a fee ($2.95 for items selling under $15, and up to 20 percent for items selling for more). You keep a larger portion than places like ThredUp, but you do a lot more of the selling work. You can sell many brands on PoshMark, but the company does have a list of popular selling brands that is worth noting.
Goodwill takes donations of just about anything, but they do prefer that the items aren’t ripped or stained, that they work, and have all their parts and pieces. This makes your donation go further with Goodwill being able to sell it easier and for more money, therefore making a bigger profit and maximizing your donation. Goodwill cannot take recalled items or items that don’t meet current safety standards. Most Goodwill locations allow you to bring in your items during operating hours, some will even pick up your items, but you need to call your local Goodwill to find out if they offer this service. Proceeds from sales are used to provide critical job training and other valuable services that help people become gainfully employed. Goodwill’s mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families through education, job skill training, and employment support. Roughly 87 percent of Goodwill’s revenue goes to providing these valuable services in your local community.
PLAY IT AGAIN SPORTS
If you’ve got kids that play sports, you should be aware of Play it Again Sports. You can easily take in any sporting item during your local store’s business hours and have that item assessed for a price they will pay you for it. The whole process typically takes about 10 to 15 minutes. They will then turn around and resell it. The price you make depends on the item, brand, condition, and demand for it. You may sell your sporting good items for cash, or store credit. The stores do not buy firearms, but all other sporting goods are a go.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Dress for Success accepts donations of gently used women’s professional attire and accessories. A general rule of thumb they suggest is, if you would wear it to a job interview, then it’s an acceptable donation. The whole mission of the company is to support women in becoming independent financially. They provide networking support, professional attire, and professional development tools. Your gently used professional attire goes directly to a woman in need, therefore the organization asks that your donation is freshly laundered, ironed, no more than 5 years old, and suitable for a job interview. They also accept footwear, jewelry, accessories, scarves, handbag and such. Donation hours and donation specifications can vary.
Very similar to Dress for Success for women, Career Gear is the same idea for men. It helps lower-income males achieve job readiness, professional development, and mentoring opportunities. It also provides them with interview and business-casual attire. That’s where your donations come in. Men’s clothing donations must be new or gently used, clean, and in style. They accept suits, ties, footwear, shirts, pants, belts, coats, briefcases, and more. The downside of Career Gear is that it’s small, with locations in just a handful of cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C. In-person donations are taken on only one day of each month. That said, you can still ship donations to them.
HALF PRICE BOOKS
Half Price Books is a great resource to offload not just your books, but also textbooks, e-readers, games, gaming consoles, music, movies, mobile phones, tablets, and more. We’ve even seen toys for resale. The process is simple, just bring in your items and they review them and make you a cash offer. They buy everything no matter what. Your offer price is based on the condition of the items and supply/demand of the item. If they have a surplus of an item, Half Price Books will still buy it from you and donate it to a non-profit organization. A few of the organizations that have benefited include the Girl Scouts, the YMCA, Feed the Children, and many more.
VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA
Volunteers of America (VOA) takes donations to fill their many thrift stores throughout Ohio. Their list of what they take and do not take is extensive. They do take most clothing and household items that are in good working condition. VOA makes it easy to donate, all you have to do is simply bag items and leave them outside clearly visible to the drivers. They will additionally come in and pick up items on the first floor only if requested as long as they don’t need to carry items up or down stairs. You can also donate your car, boat, RV, or truck. It must be in running condition, and they will come pick it up from you hassle free providing you with a large tax deduction. When you donate to VOA, 88 cents of every dollar goes to helping those in need in your local community. People they serve include: the homeless, formerly incarcerated, recovering addicts, seniors, veterans, those with mental health issues, those with behavioral issues, and those with disabilities.
THE SALVATION ARMY
Sure, the Salvation Army is perhaps best known for the Christmas Red Kettle bell ringers that can be spotted collecting small cash donations outside stores during the holidays. But did you know that you can donate goods to the Salvation Army? They make it quite easy with local drop-off locations or filling out a quick form online for a pick up from your home. You can donate clothing, household items, furniture, and automobiles, among other things. The local Salvation Army you are donating to has the right to refuse any item they deem unacceptable. All items collected are sold in their Family Stores, and the proceeds go to funding adult rehabilitation centers.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat for Humanity has resale stores open to the public called Habitat ReStores. These stores accept appliances, furniture, home goods and building material donations among other things. Each local ReStore is different, so check your local store to see exact donation guidelines. You can either take items in for donation, or if it’s a large item, you may call your local store to arrange pick up. Proceeds from the ReStore sales go toward helping people achieve suitable housing, be it reviving neighborhoods, building affordable housing, fixing housing problems, or restoring communities where disaster has struck.
FACEBOOK SELLING GROUPS
If you want to make a chunk of change for stuff you no longer need, online selling groups on Facebook are a good option. There are many to choose from — some local and some nationwide. While this is a good option — you don’t even need to leave your house, and you set the price you want for each item — there are some downfalls. Meeting a stranger to exchange goods and money always carries an element of risk. And you have to take the time to photograph each item for sale, upload each picture, and list each item, which can definitely be time consuming. Each group has its own set of rules, and there are always situations where people don’t show up to pick up an item they want to buy, which leaves you back at square one.
Facebook also has a Marketplace for local sales. This is a good alternative to local selling groups on Facebook because everyone with a Facebook account has access to Marketplace. This gives you a much larger pool of local people that may be interested in buying your goods than a private selling group that limits who they accept into the group. That said, while the pool of people is bigger, there also may be more people selling the same items you are for a lower price, adding a healthy dose of competition.
Much like Facebook Marketplace, you can sell items on Craigslist. This online forum makes it convenient for you to list your items at your leisure and set your own price requests. It also has some of the same drawbacks as Facebook Marketplace and Facebook selling groups: meeting a stranger to exchange goods and money, the hassle of taking pictures, and making the listing for each item, etc.
HOST A GARAGE SALE
If you don’t want to waste time taking pictures, listing items individually, and arranging to meet someone to actually sell the item, then a garage sale may be a good option for you. You can sell all of your stuff at once from your own home. Garage sales do take some advance planning. You’ll need time to organize and price everything, you’ll have to advertise to get people there, and you will need to dedicate a half day, whole day or even multiple days to the garage sale in order to sell the most stuff. Garage sales work great when several houses or a whole neighborhood do them together: it’s safer, you can pool together and get more advertising, and more houses means more stuff and more people coming to shop.
If you want quick and easy, your local schools will likely take donations. While they mostly likely don’t have guidelines, it’s a good idea to call and check. Books, art supplies, board games, and other classroom materials are a good place to start. Gently used backpacks could help out a child in who doesn’t have one, while gently used toys can benefit the school fundraiser as game prizes.