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How to Sell, Donate or Recycle Your Stuff

If you are starting the new year by saying goodbye to some of your less-than-favorite possessions you might be wondering: Now what? Here’s how to get rid of it for good.

Ready to unlock your inner Marie Kondo? We’re here to help.

 

By Ronda Kaysen

If you’re like a lot of the people watching the new Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” you have already looked around your home for things you want to get rid of. If you’ve already done the hard work of sorting through your belongings and culling what you do not need, great work!

If you want to give your home an organizational makeover, but aren’t sure how to start, consider signing up for our Tidy Home Challenge, which will walk you through each room of your home and give step-by-step instructions on how to neaten any space. (You will need to be an NYTimes.com subscriber to sign up.)

If you already have bags of stuff that you do not want in your house any more, don’t succumb to the urge to take all the junk to the dump or leave it on the curb. Many items can be sold, donated or recycled, giving them another life that will be better for the environment and perhaps your pocketbook, too. Below are some options for how to dispense with the excess.

Sell It

You could make a buck or two by hosting your own garage sale.CreditOwen Franken for The New York Times

 

You could make a buck or two by hosting your own garage sale.CreditOwen Franken for The New York Times

Only attempt to sell items — clothes, books, electronics, accessories, jewelry and toys — that are in good to excellent condition. Designer brands and jewels may fetch a tidy sum. But even lesser items might deliver you some pocket change.

Option 1: Garage Sale

Hold a stoop or yard sale. If you decide to go this route, brace yourself for the work ahead. Yard sales take planning and require at least a full day of your time. But they can also be fun, social and a good way to make money on items you might not otherwise sell. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pick a date.

  • Get permits from your city or town, if needed.

  • Visit other yard sales in the area to get a sense of local pricing.

  • Post signs around the neighborhood and on any local social media groups like Facebook or Nextdoor, if permitted.

  • Price all the items with stickers, and group like items together. Be reasonable in your pricing, as people come looking for bargains. Remember, the goal is to get rid of this stuff.

  • Make sure you have plenty of small bills, a calculator and a comfortable chair.

  • Sit back and enjoy the day.

  • Plan to donate anything left over at the end of your yard sale, unless you want to take it to the next level...

Option 2: Online

There are plenty of options for hosting a virtual stoop sale. Here are some options for where to try to sell your stuff online.

Clothing

Electronics

Jewelry

Furniture

Children’s apparel and toys

Media

China, flatware and dishes

Everything and anything

Tips for selling online

  • Be prepared to create a profile, manage the sale and eventually ship the items to buyers. (Facebook Marketplace, for example, allows buyers to find items close to their home, so you may be able to avoid the shipping hassle.)

  • Before you price items, do your homework. Look for similar items online to get an idea of what yours may be worth.

  • If you are selling jewelry, have it appraised first and make sure you are selling to a reputable company.

Option 3: Brick and Mortar Stores

Check your local listings for nearby consignment shops, jewelers and resale shops.

  • Used bookstores buy books. Some buy CDs, vinyl and DVDs, too. Some stores can be quite selective, so give your local shop a call to see what they’re buying first.

  • Used record stores buy CDs and vinyl, assuming you can find one in your area.

  • Consignment shops will pay you a percentage of the retail price after the item is sold. Some consignment shops will sell jewelry, children’s toys and books and accessories.

  • Resale shops will pay you a set amount at the time that you bring in your items. So make sure you know the store’s policies before you arrive. Call and ask what sorts of items they want before you go.

  • Clothes should be clean and pressed and, ideally, in season.

  • If you are selling valuable items on consignment, make sure the store has insurance in the event of theft or fire.

  • Jewelers. Make sure jewelry is appraised, and only sell to a reputable jeweler, like one that is a member of a trade association like Jewelers of America.