Where should you dump your clutter?

Garage sale

Garage sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re often asked by our residential clients about what the best way is to get rid of stuff.  Have a garage sale? Take the items to a consignment store? Or just donate it all? Everyone has a different situation, so here are some scenarios to consider to help you figure out which is the best way for you to part with your things and benefit in a monetary way from that parting.

1. Garage sales – I know that some folks can bring in $200 – $500 on a single Saturday. That’s some big bucks! But the question becomes, how much is your time worth? If it takes you 1 hour to get the permit, 2 hours to create the flyers and get them printed, 2 hours to distribute them, 5 hours to set up your garage to have a sale, 5 hours to get everything laid out and tagged…all of that time adds up. Not to mention that you’ll spend at least 6 hours bargaining with people during the day of the sale. (Keep in mind that you might be able to sell your items for $100 at a consignment store, but garage sale shoppers won’t pay that much.) You’ll spend 1 hour bagging up the leftovers and taking them to a donation drop off.  In this example, the time spent adds up to 22 hours. If you bring in $100, you’ve made $4.50 per hour.

2. Consignment shops – They usually take 50% for their commission. So, if they can sell your used clothing/items for $100, you’ll walk away with $50. Your “time cost” will be bagging up the items, bringing them to the store, waiting for the clerk to catalog all of the items and sign the paperwork – 2 to 3 hours, maybe? That’s roughly $20 per hour.

3. Donations – The monetary factor will depend on your tax situation, so you’ll have to do some figuring based on your tax return from last year. That same $100 worth of items that you took to the consignment store could turn into a $100 tax deduction. (Check out www.itsdeductible.com for a free,  easy valuation tracking log.)  So, in addition to helping others, you’d be getting a break on your taxes. If you take a standard deduction (in other words, you don’t itemize), however, then you’re still helping people, but you don’t get the write-off. Total bagging and drop-off time is approximately 1 hour. This isn’t exactly $100 per hour because it’s not a straight $100 off your taxes; there’s a formula involved, and the amount of your other deductions are a factor.

In the end, you’ll need to decide which is financially best for you, which is easiest for you, and which takes an amount of time that you’re willing to spend. I am a supporter of Goodwill (calculate your donation impact here) and prefer to save time and help people all at once, so I take all of my extras there. However, I know some people who live to have garage sales and enjoy the entire process, so they need to do what makes them happy.

What do you do with your extras when you declutter?

 
2 Comments
  • Jayne
    Posted at 13:51h, 26 June

    Sell ’em on ebay! It’s AMAZING what people will bid on, the amount they’re willing to fork over, pay shipping for, etc. Just a thought…check the ebay listings before you send it to Goodwill. I also list on Craigslist.

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