Why I prefer to donate unused items instead of selling them for profit

Earlier this year when we were renovating our house, I’ve embarked on a decluttering exercise- and gave away some larger piece of furniture. As for smaller items that collectively takes up a lot of space, I plan to start another serious round of decluttering next month in August.

I would be arranging to donate most of my items away instead of trying to sell them off.

Why I prefer to donate unused items (and perhaps you may want to do too)

1. Time is money 
It takes time to take photos, get the items listed by writing product description, answer questions. And once someone buys the items, you need to arrange for shipment of the item.

Some people find that this model works well for them. In fact, some of the power eBay sellers have shared that they initially started selling in ebay just to get rid of their stuff and eventually find it to be very profitable.

If it works for you, then it is great because whatever that you choose to trade your time for should bring you returns in investment either monetary or experience. But selling online is just not my forte….

Initially I was inspired by articles and YouTube videos of folks who make a living selling second hand items online. Sometimes, they even go to bargain corners of popular stores to pick up some good deals and try to resell them again.

I have attempted to list my items for sell online….selling them at a loss in order to recover just something back. I’ve listed these items for a few months and have gotten a number of inquiries but I had to spend a lot of time to message back and forth with potential buyers. Then they often dropped off after I declined to give discount (they know they cannot get a similar item that the price I am offering).

Assuming even if I am able to sell off all my stuff, I would be able to make at most maybe 300 bucks. The process is going to take months. I could have invested  the time and mental energy to make long term passive income for myself.

2. The items becomes yet another clutter that is undermining your efforts at decluttering
If you need to declutter quickly to make space in your home, most of the time you would not be able to sell the items quickly. Before ya know it, you may end up abandoning the project to make more space and peace in your home.

Back to square one.

It is very easy to get demotivated when it comes to decluttering- especially if you are a clutterbug or a naturally messy person. It is often quicker to arrange for a charity body like Salvation Army to come and pick up all your stuff (but please don’t give damaged, spoil un-sable items- these items should just be thrown away).

The Joy of Giving

When I listed a solid wood (a little run down but nothing a knowledgeable carpenter would be able to work wonders with it) for free…with the condition that the interested party come over to collect, I did receive a number of inquiries. Some people knew the value of table.

One guy was willing to borrow his friend’s Ford pickup (the table cannot be fitted into a car- it requires minimum a pickup truck) and then drive in from another state just to pick up the table. Eventually I gave to a lady who came in her husband’s delivery van as she made the arrangements with me first and I promised her the item. She came with a baby in hand and asked me to carry her baby while she and her husband tried to hurl the item into the truck. Her husband then gave me two packets of fresh buns as a token of gratitude.

The feeling is very different when you give away something to someone who appreciates it rather than sell something for profit. I know, we cannot live off generosity and polluted city air. Of course we need money to survive. However, we would have some form of income rather than selling off our existing items.

The items are something that we are planning to part with but hesitated because of good money that we have paid for.

Another case is while I was trying to sell off my beads collection, I was approached by someone who wanted to buy it for practice sessions for adults with autism.

Some Beads for donation

He shared with me his Facebook page to show his authenticity and I was touched by what he is doing. It’s a small world and so happened, I had a former colleague who know him personally and could vouch for his credibility.

Basically this man had an adult son who is autistic. His mission is to teach his son to be independent and in the process, help other kids along the way. He set up a cafe where autistic adults like his son could work and make a living. He did not want to depend on any NGOs or government body for donations. He wanted them to be independent.

And another skill that he taught these adults with autism to make bracelets for sale. That was when he found me because he needed materials to be used for practicing.

It felt different- of course I bought the beads with my hard earned money but I have decided that I am going to part with them anyway. Rather than trying to sell and going back and forth with bargain hunters which can get a bit disheartening because they may undermine your products in order to insist for a price reduction… I would rather give the items to someone who truly appreciates it.

Too much items and the stagnant energy it creates

If selling items online is your forte, by all means continue to do it.

But if you have been struggling to sell items and stocking up lots of inventory no one is paying money for and is cluttering up your living space, then perhaps it is a good time to cut your losses and move on with your life.

Too much stuff that we no longer use would gather dust…okay,  perhaps not so bad if you put them in plastic container boxes. But they would be there, staring you in the face and subconsciously preventing you from moving forward.

Therefore, try to give them away to new owners who would appreciate them. And then move on.

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