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Method For: Donate or Resale?

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Should you resell or donate your clutter?

I get questions and comments every week from folks who are having a hard time letting go of things they spent money on and want to sell them instead. They want to know if I offer a Resale service as part of my In-Home Organizing business. They push back on giving an item away that is ‘worth something.’ They want resources to easily make money on what would otherwise be donations. I could do a whole blog on regret purchases and the perceived value rut but this post is meant as a helpful resource for those who would like to pursue resale.

It’s true there is a huge resale economy out there and some people are making some money. However, there is a reason it’s hard to find people who do resale as a business: the ROI on time and effort is pretty low. In other words, you put in a lot of sweat equity and aren’t getting much money back for that work. That said, there are a myriad of platforms out there that make the process easier than it used to be. And if you are good at follow-through you can recoup some money. But stating ‘I’ll sell it’ is way easier than actually doing it. So make sure you know what you are getting into before you decide to sell instead of donate!

What You Need To Know

Resale platforms, in person or shipping-based

Just like any other project it’s a good idea to go into resale knowing what to expect. There are some obvious truths: high ticket, brand name, not-that-old items have the most demand and thus will sell faster and command a good price. If your items don’t fit into any of those categories, lower your expectations. 

If you have a lot to sell it’s a good idea to set up a system to make things easier . Examples include an item description template (including as much detail as possible helps), a mailing station with boxes, tape/packing materials and a plan for taking payments.

Another piece of advice I have is mindset-related. Presumably your main reason for selling these things in the first place is to free up space in your home. If that is the case, here’s how to think about resale. Instead of thinking ‘I’m going to make a bunch of money’ or ‘I’ll get most of that money I spent back’ try this mindset instead: ‘Someone is going to pay me to take this thing off my hands.’  When you flip the script appropriately you save yourself disappointment and unmet expectations.

In person Resale

Photos are required to list your item

There are 2 categories of resale marketplaces: in-person transaction-based and online shipping-based. The benefit of the in-person route is no shipping to deal with and local buyers. The work involved includes listing the item with photos and detailed description, fielding phone calls & texts to arrange pickup and potentially having strangers come to your home (or haul the thing to a neutral meeting spot.) There could also be haggling involved.

This is all important to understand going into any listing on Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, OfferUp or Craig’s List. If your resale items are large and heavy like furniture, this is going to be the best option. Someone local comes to take it off your hands. If you are someone who doesn’t much like interacting with multiple strangers then this option may seem easy at the outset but harder to follow through.

Resale Via Mail

Set up systems to make resale easier

The other option involves no in-person or phone human interaction (yay introverts!) so it’s easier on that front. It’s better for smaller, shippable items like clothing & shoes and the market is bigger since you can expand beyond local buyers. The rub for these platforms is there is shipping involved. While most sites incorporate shipping costs & have printable labels, you still have to pack and mail your stuff. And platforms like Poshmark are very social-based, meaning they want you posting and reposting your stuff regularly. That’s how it gets in front of more potential customers. I personally find the listing of items to be tedious, especially the descriptions and item detail. I started off hot during the pandemic on Poshmark, sold a bunch of stuff and then got sick of the work involved.

Exceptions to this model are more concierge-based. Replacements.com for china/silver/estate jewelry has an application/authentication process up front but once they’ve bought your items it’s pretty easy to ship them off. Ditto for The Real Real, which sells designer clothing, shoes and jewelry. The Real Real is my favorite because they literally do everything for you and then when your stuff sells they deposit the money into your bank. 


There are also independent consignment stores for both clothing and home furnishings & accessories. That route requires the most effort so I don’t normally recommend it. My favorite avenue to recommend for furniture/heavy/large items is Buy Nothing. You just list your item for free and someone comes to pick it up, usually within hours of listing. You don’t recoup any money but do not have to deal with the hassle of negotiating or hauling the thing out of your home.

Any way you slice it, donating is easier than selling and requires way less effort. It all comes down to how much you value the time in your day and the space in your home!

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