Thursday, September 16, 2010

What do I do with it?

I will attempt to address the question of 'What do I do with it?' when referring to the items you discover you don't want/need after 'decrapification.'

Thankfully, we live in a modern world and have MANY options to pursue when looking for an outlet for our (junk) stuff.

Option 1: The circular file a.k.a. the trash can

I know we all have several and we use them regularly, but I think it bears repeating that this is a handy resource for getting rid of things we don't want any more. If I look at something and realize that, not only do I not want it any more, but I can't conceive of anyone wanting it for whatever feasible reason, then it should go into the trash. If it can be recycled and you can do it within reason, then by all means recycle it. Don't get hung up in that hoarder mentality or you'll never throw anything out (honestly). Use this resource judiciously and it should make your decrapification job *so* much easier.

Option 2: Donation without expectation - Freecycle or the free section of Craigslist

Freecycle was started several years ago (see the history here) as a means to reuse items that might have otherwise been thrown away before their useful life ended. You may join a Freecycle group that is local to you and can provide a ready means to get stuff out of your house and get it to someone who really can use it and appreciate it. You don't get a tax break, but it generally helps out those in the community who can really use a helping hand. They have restrictions on what may be offered and there is etiquette involved making sure everyone adheres to the letter and spirit of the idea of Freecycle, but the possibilities are endless. I don't want to raise any hopes, but I've actually seen hot tubs being offered on my Freecycle group.

Craigslist is generally thought of as a website to sell your stuff (we'll cover that next), but there's also a section to list items that you give away. Craigslist is also an area-specific service, so you can deal with people on a local basis. A good friend of mine uses this and swears by it. Many times people will finish their garage sales and offer the leftovers in this are.

Option 3: Donation with expectation - Organizations that give you a tax receipt

There are national organizations dedicated to accepting your donated goods, giving you a tax deductible receipt for them, and reselling them like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. There are also many regionally specific organizations; here in Colorado, we have ARC and I know there have to be TONS of others that I just don't know about. These places have the benefit of giving you a break on your tax liability for giving them your stuff. In all fairness, it's best to donate items that do have some intrinsic value so they realize some benefit from taking your items. The retainer you've had since high school just doesn't qualify, even though you could probably slip it in (see Option #1 above for that). The catch is, you designate what the value is of the items you donate; it's best to be VERY conservative and most places give you a handy little chart showing a reasonable value for common items. There are limits to how much you can claim on your taxes and it's definitely best that you hold onto ALL your donation receipts with the copy of your return in case of an audit. I'm by no stretch an accountant or tax preparer, but I am dedicated to making sure I don't spend any time in prison for silly things like lying or not having my tax paperwork saved.

Option 4: Making money - Garage sale, eBay, or Craigslist

We all want to realize some financial gain from all the hard work we put into cleaning out our houses and you can do that several ways. You can take all the saleable stuff and price it yourself, get up at the crack of dawn to fight off all the people who have shown up an hour before your advertised start time and have your own garage sale. This has the benefit of giving you almost immediate cash in hand for your items, but you have work to do beforehand (organize, price, advertise, get up early, etc.) and realize that it means total strangers coming to your house to sift through your belongings . You can list your item for sale on Craigslist. This means it might take a little while before selling it, but you generally have a fixed price and can realize money in your hand with not much preparation. If you're not sure of the value, *OR* you think you can make a killing off of your Aunt Linda's treasured wine cork collection, then you might consider eBay. You have to set up an account and navigate through listing the items (which entails quite a bit of work the very first time you attempt this), but the benefit is that you might realize more money *AND* you have a much larger marketplace in which to sell your item (read: nationwide, if not worldwide).

And there you have it. Several options at your fingertips (literally!) to get rid of the stuff you no longer wish to have in your house.

Let me know what options you've used and to what success! I'd love to read about your success stories (both selling/donating and buying/receiving) that might give someone else hope that their stuff (trash) is someone else's dream (treasure)!




  1. I've done it all Kell. Ebay,garage sale, the circular file, and goodwill. I can't even imagine trying to "decrapify" my craft stuff.

  2. @C*A*T*H*Y - Funny you should mention that. The sheer volume of my stuff is starting to horrify even me. Much of it is Club Scrap and wonderful stuff, but it's starting to look like too much of a good thing. They have a dedicated board that I might consider listing a few things. After all, we have to continue funding our habits, right?