donating, money

Selling Your Stuff

I used to sell a lot online; this was when I was an undergrad and needed all the pennies I could collect. I would sell old textbooks on half.com (RIP – that was the BEST site to sell on), and I sold a few things on eBay that took off in the last few minutes of the auction, much to my broke-student relief!

Since then, I haven’t sold much online. I used to list a lot of books on PaperbackSwap, but that’s a fair trade, not selling. When it comes to getting rid of things, I would rather get rid of them immediately instead of have them lurking around a week in hopes they sell. I try to match my items with the best donation center, like taking books to the library and baby clothes to Catholic Charities, who gives them to families for free.

I had a few days with no projects on the task list, so I decided to take time to list a bunch of items I had around the house. I had planned on donating them, but I thought they might be worth something to someone. A Squirrel Girl figurine, for example – just donating that might be a waste because they might not know what it is. Why not list it for a couple of bucks?

I ended up listing 31 items over 2 days. It took about 15 minutes to list each item, from photographing it and measuring it, to writing about it. I tried to write funny, engaging descriptions because I’ve seen auctions go well because of the writing. I wasn’t trying to go viral – I just wanted someone to want one of my things and bid on it because they liked the overall tone and wanted to buy from me over someone else.

Three items sold from my first day of auctions. Three out of thirteen. Not great.

Three more sold the next day. Three out of eighteen. Even worse.

I thought it was better than nothing – I wasn’t working those days, so at least it was something. You could say that I made about $70 on those days, for about 10 hours of work (listing, packing, shipping).

Then… the post office. I don’t know if I got ripped off, or if ebay shipping estimates are just totally off, or what. But I spend almost $45 on shipping! This majorly cut into my profits. I still made about $30 on junk I was going to get rid of anyway, so I’m trying to see it as free money. But I put so much work into it… just not worth it.

For me, it’s just easier to donate what I don’t want anymore. I know I paid money for it, but I got my use out of the item and don’t need it anymore, so what little I actually lose on it is fine, because I get peace of mind. I know the item is not cluttering up my house anymore, and hopefully it goes to someone who wants it. I will probably list a few more specific things, like camera accessories, but otherwise I’ll just donate the bulk of my unwanted items.

Have you had good luck selling things online? Is it worth the time and effort you put in?

home life

Donating

Getting rid of clutter is great – your house looks clean, you realize it’s WAY bigger than it seemed with all that unnecessary junk, and you can appreciate what you have.

When I unpacked my storage shed after six months of traveling, I was astonished at how much stuff I had. I’d previously downsized, had garage sales, and given away stuff, but I still had so much. I was moving into a 2 bedroom duplex, but I still had too much stuff. Moving from that duplex into a studio apartment meant I had even more to give away.

I took so many clothes, trinkets, and household items to Goodwill. I support them because they give jobs to people with disabilities, and I’m passionate about that. There is some discrepancies with their salaries and mark ups, so I’m kind of torn on the whole issue.

I give books, music, and movies to the library. They have a used bookstore, and sometimes donated books even make it into the library’s collections. I don’t really know how much music and movies sell or circulate with everything available online, but I would rather give it to them since it’s something kind of specific. When I donate, I try to think about who needs the stuff and could use it best, and give them first dibs. If the library doesn’t want something, they can donate it elsewhere or recycle it.

I recently started giving pretty much everything to Catholic Charities – they give donations away for FREE to people who need it! That’s what I’m talking about. They prefer clothes and household items, so I donate our clothes, jewelry, bags, and kids’ toys. I recently got a new set of pots and pans so I gave them my old ones and they were thrilled! A family had asked about kitchen stuff the day before – I hope they came back and got it! The last time I donated, a family was there looking through things. They took a few of my son’s old toys and it made us so happy to see the kids smile.

I love taking my son with me when I donate so he sees what’s happening and what it means. He sees me taking bags and boxes to the car and asks “Are we donating?” He loves picking out toys he doesn’t play with anymore to donate. I hope that spirit stays with him as he gets older.

home life

It’s All an Experiment

This isn’t actually the beginning. This started years ago, when I lived alone in a cute duplex. I had just started a recycling program at my graphic design job – meaning I put out a box and asked coworkers to dump in their drafts, rejected designs, and old papers. I took this box home every week and loaded up my small personal recycling bin.

At the same time, I started washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar. I bought clothes from thrift stores. I was obsessed with zero waste blogs, and tried to have no more than one small bag of trash each week.

When my graphic design company closed, I decided to majorly downsize instead of start a big job hunt. I put my stuff in storage and traveled for six months. I carried one backpack and my camera bag. It was exhilarating to live such a simple life.

I had to come back to real life, of course. I moved into a 480 square foot apartment and got rid of most of my belongings, both out of necessity (such a small space!) and desire (going from one backpack to a whole “house” was a huge change!). A year later, I moved into a two bedroom house. I didn’t buy much more furniture, so it was still a very minimal space.

Then I met my husband, and he moved in, and we had custody of his son every other weekend, and during summers. Then we had our own son. Things accumulated. I try to purge every so often, donating my stuff and kids’ stuff to a local organization that freely gives things to families in need, but more stuff shows up somehow.

My husband is finally on board with minimizing our lives. It’s a long story, and his to tell; I hope he will – this blog is for the family! I will go into more details with my story as well. I just wanted to get started, or re-started, as the case may be. We are trying to cut down on belongings, trying to stop consuming so much, trying to be more conscious about how and why we spend. We are trying to rely more on ourselves and local artisans and businesses. We are trying to lessen our impact on the world. We are trying – it’s all an experiment.