Feb 23, 2022

How to sell or donate your belongings when you move?

Manny Cominsky

One of the questions we’re always hearing from people who are moving is what do I do with all the stuff that I don’t want to bring? While people may be meticulous about deciding what’s going to be decorating their new home, they sometimes neglect to prepare for what to do with everything that’s left over. Thankfully, there are many easy, efficient ways to make sure that all your belongings make it to a new home. For many people the most attractive options are to either sell or donate their belongings, and there’s a host of creative solutions depending on what's right for your move.

Selling your possessions

Many people’s first instinct when they are moving is to take what they want in their new home and sell the rest (after all, who doesn’t love a little extra cash for old possessions they no longer want?). For people looking to sell possessions when moving there are several options. The first is the good old-fashioned garage sale, which is often times the easiest way to get sell a lot of possessions with minimal hassle as the customers just come to you!  That being said, if you’re going to host a garage sale we do recommend at least putting a little effort into advertising (like light flyering around your neighborhood, if it’s allowed), and trying to host it on a pleasant (weather-wise) weekend day. This will help ensure that your garage sale has the highest chance of success.  

Nothing like a good old fashioned garage sale for selling all your odds and ends!

If you don’t want to conduct a garage sale yourself, there are plenty of great companies who can help you organize selling your old things. For many people, the easiest option is to just use one of the bigger players you’ve probably already heard of. We often hear that people have a lot of success selling their possessions over Facebook, using either the company’s popular “Facebook Marketplace” feature or simply finding people through their networks or in relevant groups. Searching for groups in locations where you want to buy or sell will usually find someone willing to take your things off your hands. And don’t forget eBay as another tried and true way of selling possessions online! eBay will even provide access to expert “Valets” who can help you market and sell your things (while taking a cut of the final sale price as compensation). And finally, another large and popular website is Craigslist, which gets a lot of traffic for local people looking for all sorts of possessions from furniture to old clothes and sports equipment.  

If you don’t love any of these larger options, or want to sell a more unique item or to a more niche group of people, then you might want to try OfferUp, which provides a mobile app that you can use to sell your possessions. Much like Facebook Marketplace or eBay, OfferUp lets you post photos and descriptions of your items, and advertise them to other users. An important additional feature is that OfferUp allows users to review each other, so you can make sure that you are only dealing with reputable parties. If you like the idea of using an online network, Nextdoor.com is another popular option. Nextdoor provides private social networks for specific areas and communities, and has a feature to sell possessions to those nearby in its classifieds section.

Finally, if you just want to get rid of your possessions and take some amount of money, you might want to try a consignment store. While the process for consignment stores is certainly very simple and appealing - walk in with your old things, walk about with money - there are two things to keep in mind with consignment stores: (1) they take a very heavy percentage of the final sale price in commission; and (2) these stores sometimes have limited selections of what they’ll buy, particularly those that sell clothes who may only take more recent styles.

Donating Your Possessions

While the idea of selling your possessions is certainly very appealing (who doesn’t want a little extra cash?), we often find that people make less from selling their things than they would expect.  It’s simply often the case that possessions have more sentimental value than economic value, and people are disappointed to find that items of furniture or electronics that were very expensive at the time of their purchase, are worth very little years later.  If you think the juice won’t be worth the squeeze for selling your things, or just want to make sure your things make it to those in need, donation is another great option. Along with being a good deed, its also deductible on your taxes! So while you can’t donate literally everything, places that accept donations generally have their own standards, donation is a great option to explore.

There are plenty of amazing organizations that would love to make sure your lightly-used possessions find a great new home.

Probably the most popular, and one of the easiest, ways to donate goods is through Goodwill, which has over 3,200 stores around the country making it likely you have one nearby. Goodwill takes a wide range of possessions, from clothing to computers, and makes for a good one-stop destination for making donations. Another good place to bring general household goods and clothes is the Salvation Army, who resell products in their Family Stores. While places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill are great if you’re looking to donate a wide variety of house hold items, there are also some great charities that work with specific types of items. For example, Dress for Success is a worldwide non-profit organization that seeks to empower women and break cycles of poverty by providing professional clothes and developmental tools like interview assistance.

Also finally don’t forget your local food bank! While you may not have a fully stocked fridge when you’re moving out, we often find that people inevitably end up with some odds and ends in their kitchen or pantry when they’re moving. Most often, these are leftover non-perishable goods like frozen or canned foods, which happen to make for perfect donations to local food kitchens who often favor nonperishable goods. Alternatively, if you have any old baby toys or supplies, Baby2Baby is a great non-profit that collects all sorts of baby related items - from high chairs to clothing to diapers - and provides them to those in need. Finally, if your house is full of old books that are too heavy to make sense to bring with you, local libraries are always looking to grow their collections! And many take not only old books, but also DVDs and CDs that you may no longer have a need for.  

Regardless of what you ultimately do with your possessions, it’s important to try and take as little as possible with you when you move if you’re using a moving company.  This is because, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, moving companies primarily base their rates on the distance traveled and the total weight of the goods moved. Many people end up saving themselves hundreds to thousands of dollars by limiting the amount of possessions they bring, with the biggest savings associated with leaving behind big items like furniture or TVs. So make sure to explore all your options for selling or donating before you move, the time spent on the project could end up more than paying for itself.

If you're looking for other tips to have the most efficient and cheapest move possible, check out our blog posts on getting organized for your move and ways to save money on your move. And if you'd just like Sunbound to handle all of this for you, reach out to us at info@sunboundhomes.com or visit our services page to learn more.

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