Friday, January 27

To donate or to sell? Why you should donate and recycle old clothes instead of selling them

Many de-cluttering advice articles will suggest making money out of the clothes, shoes, and accessories you no longer want or use.  It's one of the key steps towards a simpler lifestyle, promising to reduce the stress of clutter, decision anxiety, and even the dents in your wallet.  Sounds surreal.

The problem I had, and I assure you my sister has as well, is that then you "collect" all those unwanted items, take photos, post them on eBaylet go, or Facebook and then wait for someone to take them off our hands.  Sure, some items, deemed impossible to sell, get donated into those donation drive boxes, but the majority sit in an unseen corner of your closet, storage, or garage because hey! One person's trash is another's treasure, so you'll be getting your money back any day now...right?

Closet full of cash
Deciding to sell with the motive of recuperating spent cash, or to earn money for new purchases, means that you'll be thinking about the prices of all the items you no longer wear.  By thinking about the original cost of the item, you decide its value and the amount you require for your item. If you don't get a satisfactory offer, your item won't sell.  But wait, doesn't that mean you might want to keep your item?  That if you don't sell it, you'll want to keep wearing it?  

...Yes, it does.  

So, unless you're on the fence (and you shouldn't be--more on that later), do yourself a favor and stop reminding yourself how much you paid for each item and just get rid of it. Let someone impartial (like the good people at Goodwill) decide its value.  You're just giving yourself unnecessary feelings of guilt, shame, and regret by giving value to the clothes you're throwing out.

Burn more than you earn 
When you sell online, you have to do market research, a.k.a browse through existing listings to compare prices.  Unless you were already doing this, in which case you should probably stop (you shopaholic!), you're effectively opening Pandora's box by allowing yourself to shop online.  Not only do you suddenly covet more pretty items you previously had no idea you wanted or needed, but in thinking you'll be recuperating funds, you feel empowered to make purchases. You're getting money from all those items you've put up for sale, after all. In the end, you're sure to be losing more time and money than if you had just given the items away. 

Lighten your load now
Over the last six months, I have thrown away a lot of stuff, donated bags of clothes, including a large IKEA bag of baby clothes to an orphanage.  I've joined community-based groups and given away clothes, sometimes exchanging for other children's items (like a clothing swap). Most recently, I've taken all the kids' clothes and summer wear I've cleaned out and taken them to my favorite Westfield mall: Santa Anita.

Refashion the Future

Recycle at Westfield
Westfield Shopping Centers partnered with the nonprofit organization, I:CO, to make it easier for all of us to recycle clothing and shoes and keep them out of landfills. All you have to do is take your clothes to their concierge before April 21st, 2017, and they will donate clothes in good condition and recycle cloths that can't be reused.

When I went with my bag of clothes, they offered a free valet pass or a $5 Coffee Bean gift card. If you bring over 20 lbs of clothes you get a $10 Westfield American Express gift card! But those gift cards won't last forever, as evidenced by how they raised the threshold from 10 lbs to 20 lbs in just a week!

Tip: Donate shoes--they're heavier!