Where to Donate, Sell, and Recycle Your Stuff


By: , – Sarah Stebbins, Family Circle
  :  23 comments   :  18,953 Views

Clean up your act by getting tough with excess possessions. We found the best places for responsibly casting off clothing, books, furniture, electronics, and more. (You may even earn some extra money!)

Where to Sell Items
According to Cari Cucksey, who organizes estate sales on HGTV's Cash & Cari, "The average family has several thousand dollars' worth of stuff lying around." Check out how to find the right market:
Yard Sale
If you're looking to unload a bunch of goods that don't have a high intrinsic value, a yard sale is the way to go. Price items at 50 to 75 percent off the store price, and keep everything under $50. "People who go to garage sales are looking for the ultimate bargain," says Cucksey. "Higher-end items I would put online." First find out if your city or town requires a permit to hold a sale. Events are best held on a Saturday, when most people have time to shop. Then advertise like crazy a week ahead. Cucksey recommends taking an ad out in local papers; posting on Facebook and Twitter, as well as free sites like craigslist.org and yardsalesearch.com; and hanging poster-size signs on the street to direct customers to your home. 
Online Auction
Put easy-to-ship, brand-name goods (a Sony PlayStation, a Waterford vase) and collectibles (baseball cards, American Girl dolls) on an auction site like eBay, where they'll be seen by millions of potential buyers and probably fetch the highest price. Check current listings to get an idea of what your things might go for. People are more apt to bid if they know exactly what they're buying, so include a detailed description, with measurements, plenty of photos (don't forget close-ups), and info about the item's history and even flaws, says Cucksey.
Online Classified Ad
A free website like craigslist.org or ebayclassifieds.com is ideal for things that are ordinary or bulky, such as an air conditioner you're no longer using or a child's playpen. These buyers expect a good deal, and they're hauling the item away for you, so don't ask for too much—about 25 to 30 percent off the store price. You can go even lower, especially if there's wear and tear, says Cucksey. Post a detailed ad (see "Online Auction," above) and keep safety in mind. "Have someone with you when a potential buyer comes over and conduct the sale outside, if possible," says Cucksey. Not getting many responses? Consider expanding your reach with a paid ad in the local paper.

Consignment Shop
Don't want to deal with marketing and communicating with customers? Bring your stuff to a consignment shop. These stores typically take good-quality furniture, household items, or clothes (call to inquire about specifics). While you may get more for something on consignment than you would on Craigslist, the store will take a cut—often a 50-50 split with you on the proceeds from the sale. Some may reduce the asking price if the piece doesn't sell after a specified length of time. Anything you plan to consign should be clean and worthy of display, or it may not be accepted, says Cucksey.
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  • 23
    I'm a consignment shop junkie! Good way to make a some pocket money and clean the closet at same time. - 4/27/2012   9:20:35 AM
    This is one of my projects for Lent, the next forty days( I am behind a week). Once I come in from my morning walk I am going to get to it. - 2/26/2012   7:40:06 AM
  • 21
    This article says where to donate items, then goes on to list places to sell them. Interesting.
    I donate items to the Navy Thrift Store on base. - 2/24/2012   1:20:58 AM
    When we need shelf space for new books, I donate books that we have read and kept for several years to our local library. - 2/23/2012   8:00:47 AM
  • ANNEV2012
    We're a military family, we donate time, money and items to Disabled Veterans of America (D.A.V.) - 2/22/2012   6:47:01 PM
  • 18
    Women's World recently listed Bonanza.com to buy or sell like ebay
    and ThingsPeopleMake.com for crafters and handmade items - 2/22/2012   5:32:29 PM
  • 17
    I agree on Freecycle... an awesome way to donate unused things to others in your community... and if you need, ask for things in return. I gave quite a few things away last time I moved, so when I responded to an ad for cross-country skis, the woman remembered my name so gave them to me. How cool is that?!?! - 2/22/2012   12:58:39 PM
  • 16
    Freecycle! Or in my neighborhood, Freeshare. - 2/22/2012   8:44:09 AM
  • 15
    need to change the name of this article... the title is the only place where donations are mentioned.
    There are so many wonderful charities out there that take used clothing and other items.
    I donate mine to Christian Missions, homeless shelters, etc. - 2/22/2012   7:54:25 AM
  • 14
    I like to use www.Freecycle.org also! - 2/22/2012   7:03:38 AM
  • 13
    So happy to see this post - I abhor clutter but live w/ 3 packrats.... - 2/22/2012   6:57:01 AM
    I have a method I use for down sizing my clothes. When an item that I have worn goes back in the closet I hang the hanger backwards. At the end of the season it is very simple to eliminate. The clothes go in the recycle bag that is always at the ready...from there into my car. The YMCA that I exercise at has a collection box at the back of the parking lot! - 2/22/2012   5:15:06 AM
    WWW.thredup.com is fabulous for getting rid of whole boxes of kids clothes, toys, books, maternity clothes, etc. & I know the items are going to a family that needs/wants them. I also have the opportunity to select items in a larger size due to points/cash I build up. I prefer this over consignment and garage sales. - 2/22/2012   4:55:03 AM
  • 10
    I would like to know where you found a consignment shop that was 50/50. Most in my area are 70/30 with 70 being the shop owner and 30 the person with item to be sold.

    - 2/22/2012   12:01:45 AM
  • 9
    Whenever I drop donations off at Goodwill, I feel compelled to go inside and see what they have. It's a bitter cycle... - 2/21/2012   4:29:13 PM
    Amazon is another great place to sell things, depending on what you have! - 2/21/2012   3:00:23 PM
  • 7
    I keep a laundry basket where I put things that won't be used again. When that basket is full I make a trip to GoodWill. - 2/21/2012   2:15:18 PM
  • 6
    Good article. I usually sell my items on Yardsellr. It's worked for me so far. - 2/21/2012   12:52:23 PM
  • 5
    For electronics (DVDs, CDs, and video games) and books, I usually turn to half.com. It's run by eBay, and instead of auctioning off your stuff, they give you a suggested price based on its condition. Then they list it on the site for you. They take a slice of the sale, but it's free to list. - 2/21/2012   10:52:59 AM
    Yes, freecycle.org originally started in Arizona check it out for further details..Save the planet recycle...! - 2/21/2012   9:02:45 AM
  • 3
    I clean out twice a year too and also try not to throw things out. The ideas above are excellent! The one thing I have had trouble with is electronics. It is hard to sell or even donate old electronics. If you are trading in, stores will often take the old one. Staples recycles old electronics, sometimes free. I think I paid $10 last time. I also donate old cell phones and have found no shortage of places that take these! - 2/21/2012   9:00:28 AM
  • 2
    Twice a year I give away, throw away or sell things. I call it "dejunking" my house. We are blessed with so many "things" in this country. Garage sales and a resale shop are regulars. But we also take good items to Good Will or a Mission here in town. Sometimes we simply set the good item on the curb the day of bulk trash pickup. People in our city "shop" the curbs on those days. The good items are picked up before the bulk trash folks arrive. Often we get to chat with whomever is picking through our stuff. It's a "neighborhood give away" of sorts. - 2/21/2012   7:05:34 AM
    I give away stuff through freecycle.org, a Yahoo usergroup with branches in communities all over the world. Many freecycle members are committed to the principles of "reduce, reuse and recycle" - they don't want to add to landfill if they can avoid it, so they post items to give away on freecycle or look for free stuff. I've found that the people looking for free stuff on freecycle are much more flexible than those on Craigslist. As a donator, you can set whatever terms you want (e.g., come to my door between 2 and 2:15 pm on Tuesday wearing a clown suit and sing me a song), as long as you're giving things away for free. It's a particularly great way to give away old clothes in good shape that are too big. - 2/21/2012   6:41:56 AM

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