During the purge part of the organizing process, I’m often asked if an unwanted item should be donated or sold. This is a great question! The short answer is that it’s an individual preference. In my experience, most people know what mechanism they want to use to discard unwanted items.
There are some items that have been in families for generations, and the current owners think they may be of value, but they’re not sure. For those items, I recommend getting an appraisal to determine value. Then decide whether to contact other family members to see if they want the piece to keep it in the family.
Both selling and donating unwanted items falls into the category of recycling. If at all possible, we should consider recycling to be good stewards of the earth. There are times when we run across items that are broken, missing parts, or no longer work properly that need to be discarded. When you can’t recycle the entire item through a recycling facility, consider recycling parts of the item to keep the majority of it out of a landfill.
There are some things to consider whether you sell or donate unwanted items. The lists below may not be all-inclusive, but should provide some ideas to help you make decisions about your unwanted items.
- The item has known significant value.
- You have available space to store the item until it sells.
- You have multiple items that have more value than you would get if you donated them for the tax write-off.
- You have the available time & skillset required to research sale options.
- You have the desire to deal with a sale – garage, estate, online, or other type of sale.
- You have already tried to sell an item and it doesn’t sell by the deadline you set.
- You won’t get a realistic return on the time you would spend to sell the item.
- The item doesn’t have significant value.
- You hold a garage sale, or estate sale and the item, or items do not sell.
- You are in a time crunch and don’t have time to hire out the sale, or do it yourself.