One particular trap I believe most people fall into while trying to declutter is the "But I can sell this!" trap. I know I do. Who has clothes in their closet with the tags still attached because it was cute and/or a great deal? I have at least one dress that fits this description. It was on sale, my favorite color, and it made my butt look phenomenal. I have yet to wear this dress. Partly because I got pregnant shortly after I bought it, but also because I have nowhere to go all dressed up! (This is another trap -- The "Someday!" trap -- but I'll save that for another post.)
Nothing provides a clearer visual of throwing away money like getting rid of something brand new and, if you're like me, you HATE that! So what do we tell ourselves? "I'll sell it!" While there is nothing wrong with attempting to recoup a piece of your original expense, there is one question you always need to ask yourself before you make that decision:
Is it worth it? Is it worth the time, effort, and maybe even more money to try selling an item?
In order to list something for sale on eBay, CraigsList, or any other online auction/classified/swap website you need to:
- take and upload pictures
- calculate shipping
- have shipping supplies on hand
- maintain and update your listing
- respond to any contacts from potential buyers
- make a trip to the post office or meet up with your buyer
- pay shipping/eBay/PayPal fees
- advertise your sale at least a week in advance
- set prices for each item
- get up REALLY early (my biggest issue)
- physically haul out everything you're planning to sell
- haggle with people who want to pay you a nickel for a garbage bag full of clothing
- drag everything that doesn't sell back into the garage or house
In other words, are you willing to go through the trouble to list every single Beanie Baby you've ever owned to possibly make $5 a piece? What if they don't sell? Do you look forward to the physical demands of a yard sale when it's possible you'll end up with $100 and a horrible farmer's tan at the end of the day?
Remember, the goal here is still to minimize your clutter and get rid of STUFF. If you have listed items for sale online or plan a yard sale, you need to have a back-up plan for the items that remain when the party is over. How long do you give yourself to sell before it's time to just donate? You have to set a deadline! For the items I just listed (a ton of shorts, jeans, and pants that no longer fit since pushing a person through my pelvis has widened my hips) I am giving myself 30 days. After that, I am off to Goodwill to make another donation. Otherwise, things sit around and take up my valuable space which is exactly what I am trying to avoid.
Not to get off on a tangent, but that reminds me of the Storage Wars-type shows where they buy junk and then they show us their "profit" even though they haven't sold anything yet! Just because that old gas station sign is worth $300, you don't get the $300 until you sell it! Don't count your chickens, people. You may think something is worth a lot of money, but it's really worth nothing if nobody is willing to buy it from you. You are better off donating what doesn't sell instead of waiting for someone to come along and pay you for it. A clutter-free home is priceless!