The holiday season has no doubt brought loads of new stuff into your house. Perhaps there’s so much new swag that your living room is feeling downright crowded with riches…or cluttered with crap, depending on your perspective. Regardless, the new year is a perfect time to take stock of what you’ve got and what you’ve got to get rid of. You’ll feel healthier, happier and you might even get a few hundred bucks out of it. Here are a few tips for evaluating and divesting your clutter:
1. Set aside a good chunk of time to properly sort your stuff. It will take longer than you think, especially if you spend time agonizing over what to keep and what to throw. Divide your belongings into things you think you can sell and things to donate to your local charity shop.
2. Assess the value of your goods. Is it worth it to try to sell a few things on eBay or will you spend more time and energy than is worth your while? Be mindful of the time and hassle it takes to engineer each transaction on eBay or Craigslist. eBay and Paypal also charge fees to list your goods, so keep that in mind.
3. Determine the best venue to sell your stuff. While you may want to list old designer duds on eBay, you likely don’t want to ship a Chesterfield to a buyer in New Zealand. Large appliances and furniture may best be suited to Craigslist, while electronics, clothes and smaller housewares can command better prices on eBay. Vintage pieces do well on Etsy. If you’re getting rid of high quality clothing, you can also consider a consignment shop. They’ll take a cut, but save you quite a lot of hassle. And if you have more than a few pieces of nice, older furniture, you can often find a local vintage furniture dealer who will appraise and consign it accordingly. If you can store your stuff til the spring, you can also have a garage sale. You’ll make less money, but save a lot of time.
4. Don’t overvalue your cast-offs. Yes, you once loved those bellbottoms, but the market may not be paying $100 to justify that love. Remember that a few bucks in your pocket is better than no bucks at all.
5. Don’t unload your junk on the charity shop. If it’s really junk, don’t give it to Goodwill. Often, thrift shops won’t even take your old televisions or electronics, so make sure you know what they accept before you schlep across town. For hard to get rid of items, you can post a curb alert on Craigslist, which lets people know you’re giving away stuff for free. Also, check your municipality’s waste program to see when they recycle old electronics, so you can avoid paying a fee to otherwise dispose them.