Donating Stuff

Sometimes the most merciful thing you can do with extraneous possessions is to throw them away before they breeds. You can become a source for the Junk Fairy!

But how can you decide when to throw something away as opposed to giving it away or selling it? Here are some guidelines:

  • Is it broken? If so, do you have a clue of how to fix it?
  • Is it outdated—but not enough to be a collectible?
  • Did it ever do what you bought it for?
  • How many do you have?
  • How many do you need?
  • Will someone else get any use out of it? Really?

Most of us have so many things that fall into the category of too-good-to-toss-but-not-good-enough-to-move. You know you should really give it away—but you just can’t bring yourself to do so.

So how can you decide what to give away? Ask yourself: would someone else really get use or enjoyment from this? If so, give it to them now. If so, but you’re not sure who, donate it to a charity that can benefit from finding it a good home. Or plan on having a moving sale. And who will take all this stuff?

  • Goodwill Industries or St. Vincent de Paul
  • Books to your local library or school
  • Clothing to a local shelter, church or Red Cross center

If you’ve decided that the junk you’re not moving has value to others, you must then decide whether to sell or donate it. Donating it offers a warm fuzzy feeling, but it’s not the same as cold hard cash!


For economic reasons (read: you’re nearly broke!), you may decide to sell anything that you’re not throwing away. We’ll cover how to have a successful moving sale in a few pages. Meantime, consider whether your stuff is salable:

  • Would I buy it (a moot point as you probably already did!)?
  • Have I seen them for sale somewhere in used condition?
  • Is there someone who will come in and buy it (books, collectibles, old kitchenware)?
  • Do I want to mess with selling it?
  • Will it bring me enough money to pay for the hassle?

Of course, you may have the world’s largest collection of white elephants! Bean-bag door-stoppers. Wine bottles with colored wax-drippings on the outside (and nothing on the inside!). Plastic back-scratchers with Wiley Coyote handles. Psychedelic lava lamps. The list goes on.

So have a going away party for yourself and give away these unique, one-of-a-kind albino pachyderms. You can wrap them and require each guest to take one home…or you can give them to friends and enemies who you think will best enjoy or hate them.

There may be a few things that you don’t want to sell, give away to strangers, or throw away. You might even consider them heirlooms: things you want family members to have once you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.

If there’s any of your things that you truly believe that others will like, give these items away now while you can enjoy others enjoying them. The family Bible. Photo albums from when the kids were growing up. Grandpa Bill’s pocket watch. The items don’t have to be of value to anyone but your family; they have sentimental value. They are gifts from you. And they will help others think of you after you’ve moved away.


Selling Stuff