Getting Organized for Real: When an Item Doesn't Make the Cut- 4 Ways to Get it Out of Your Life

Sometimes the hardest part of letting go of an item you no longer want in your life is figuring out what the heck to do with it.  Here are four detailed options that will make getting organized way less complicated.

Well, the time has come, ladies and gentlemen.  

The time has come to address one of the top three most burning questions in regards to getting organized.  

It’s a humdinger.  

You ready? 

WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THE STUFF YOU’VE DECIDED NOT TO KEEP? 

I mean, you’ve ditched perfectionism, called BS on the lies you’ve believed about living an organized life, bought into the concept of Zero, chosen your first space to work on, and followed all six steps!  

Now, look.  You and I don’t have any secrets from each other.  You know I think Kid Rock is hot, and I know you own 37 pairs of black flats.  

Let’s just all agree that this is THE main reason you’ve held on to certain things in your life even when you know it’s time to get rid of ‘em. 

You’ve held onto stuff you don’t use, don’t need, and don’t even like because you don’t know what else to do with it.  

Well, you’ve got options!  Four of them to be exact.  

Four Things To Do With Stuff You Don’t Want.  (Besides keepin’ it!)

1. Offer it to others.  

I want to be really clear about something.  Notice I didn’t say “give” it to others.  That was purposeful on my part.  

You don’t wanna be “that person” who tries to foist off all her crap on some unsuspecting victim.  Instead, you want to offer quality items to people who you think would enjoy them.   

(See the difference there?!)

You’ll also notice that this is a completely different category from option number three--sell it.  That, too, was purposeful.  

You don’t wanna be the “that person” who’s all about the money.  While it IS appropriate to sell items, it’s not appropriate in all cases and can be super awkward and/or way less than classy.

Here are a few simple guidelines to help you out! 

If it’s a family item, offer it to family members first.  If no one wants it, then you can move on to selling it.  This will go a long way in circumventing arguments about what happened to Great Aunt Phyllis’ vintage clown collection. 

Don’t be shystie.  If you know a family member or friend loves an item that you no longer want to keep in your life, make her day, and offer it to her. It’s just the right thing to do. 

Set a clear time limit regarding how long the offer is good for.  I suggest that the item is out of your life within 24 to 48 hours.  You can make exceptions if there’s distance involved, but the whole point is to get the item out of your life, not to store stuff you don’t want for someone else. 

Be specific in the other details as well.  Regardless of who you’ve offered an item to, be sure that everyone involved knows when, where, and how the exchange will be made.  Doing so will save everyone involved headaches and heartaches from complications.  

“I can pick it up when I’m in town over Christmas, right?”  

“I just assumed since you were giving it to me that you’d bring it to me.”

“Why would I pay postage on a gift?  That’s just rude.”

2. Sell it. 

Before we even look at options for WHERE to sell an item, we need to get a few things crystal clear right up front, okay? 

Price your items realistically. 

In most cases, when you sell an item, you are not going to recoup what you spent on it.  

Did you hear that? 

It doesn’t matter that you bought that jelly maker for $150, and it hasn’t even been taken out of the box yet.  If you go into the process believing that you’re going to sell it for $150 or more, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

It doesn’t matter that you only wore those designer jeans one time.  In all honesty, the tags could still be on them, and you probably still couldn’t get full sticker price back. 

It REALLY doesn’t matter if you got that Victoria Secret toiletry stuff at rock bottom prices thinking you could sell it and make a huge profit.  Unless that’s actually your business and you have research and statistics about which products to buy and sell when you’ll be lucky to sell it for what you bought it for.  

See where I’m going with this?

The purpose of selling an item with which you no longer wish to share your space is to make a little bit of cash, to get a little something back--NOT TO RECOUP YOUR INVESTMENT.  

Make sure your items are “sellable.” 

For an item to be sellable, in my book at least, it needs to be in really good condition.  

If you try to sell something that’s in less than desirable shape, you run the risk of alienating your potential buyers which could make them not take you seriously as a legitimate seller; therefore, they ignore your future items regardless of quality.   

Clean.  

This is a no brainer.  For real.  I’m not even going into more details. 

Worth the trouble.

I realize this is a bit nebulous, but let’s look at an example.  Let’s say you buy ten picture frames from Ikea at $1.99 each.  You realize you only need eight.  Is it worth the time it will take you to photograph and list the remaining two frames for a max ROI of $4.00?  

Now onto the good stuff. 

Where the heck can you sell your stuff?!

Here are a few of my favorite options.  This list is not exhaustive, by any means, but I’ve successfully used each one.  

Four Easy Options to Sell Your Stuff

Buy-Sell-Trade groups on Facebook 

These are super easy to use and normally the rules and regulations are clear and pinned to the top of the group page.  To find one you can usually just search buy-sell-trade through the search function on Facebook.

Local “consignment” shops

While you CAN go the traditional consignment route where you only get paid once an item has sold, I opt for a store that pays cash up front.  Here are a few franchise examples that are available pretty much throughout the United States. 

  • Kid2Kid 

  • Play It Again Sports

  • Plato’s Closet

  • Clothes Mentor

Local sales apps 

These are great because you enter your zip code when you sign in for the first time after downloading the app.  This means that your posted items are listed geographically, so there’s no shipping involved.   

Here are three that I’ve used successfully: 

  • Let Go

  • Close 5

  • Varage Sale

Mail order consignment shops

Honestly, this is my absolute favorite option.  Pretty much all you do is sign up, request a clean out bag, fill it up, then ship it.  For free! 

  • Thred Up

  • Swap.com

  • Rebagg

  • Poshmark

There is one quick thing to keep in mind before you sell:

While it’s great to make a little money off of the items you no longer want, the goal is to get them out of your home and life as fast as possible.  Maybe selling isn’t a viable option for your current situation, but that’s not to say you couldn’t do it in the future when life is a little more under control!

3. Donate it. 

I know there are many people who don’t like donating items to Goodwill.  Honestly, I have no opinion either way, but Goodwill is by no means your only option to donate!  While the best way to find local donation options is just to Google it, here are a few national ones to get you started: 

  • Dress for Success
  • H&M Garment Clothing Initiative
  • AMVETS
  • The Arc

Oh, and many places will pick up your donated items from your house!  

4. Toss it. 

I know it’s tough to throw something away that you spent good money on, but if it’s broken or in really bad shape or just plain crappy, you’re going to have to just bite the bullet.  Recycling is always an option too!

There ya’ go!  

The answer to one of the top three most burning questions when getting organized! 

These four options for what to do with items you no longer want or need in your life should help to make the decision to part with items a little less painful.  And regardless of which route you take, remember that the goal is to make life easier for you.  

And as for those other two burning questions in regards to getting organized?  You’ll just have to stick around.  Number two is a doozy.