Why I Don’t Care Who Sells My Stuff

I’m decluttering.

What?  You thought I was DONE decluttering just because I wrote an e-book about it? 


Anyway, that picture up there is why I have absolutely no problem with someone else making money from my stuff.

(Oof.  Grunt. Ehhhh.  OK.  I just climbed up on my soapbox.  Be ready for a little preachin’.)

I’ve heard many different people say (usually at the end of a garage sale when someone offers fifty cents for something no one else wanted to pay 2.00 for . . . ) that they would prefer to throw something in the trash or donate it to charity than to have someone else make money off of their stuff.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Perhaps it’s because once upon a time I was an eBay seller, so I know how much time, work, skill and hassle goes into getting the “real” value of some random piece of junk item.

We have a new place in town that advertises they “Haul Your Junk for Free.”

They’re not a charity.  They’re someone trying to make money off of other people’s stuff.

That’s good enough for me. More power to ’em.

I called them up today, and the guy is coming in the morning.  Tomorrow morning. 

He didn’t put me on a monthly pick-up route that requires me to mark a date on my calendar and then remember to look at the calendar.  Nope.  He’s coming tomorrow.

Morning or night.  Whatever worked best for me.  And I’ll bet you that if I felt like decluttering some more tomorrow, he’d come back again the next day.

Here’s the thing.  Charity is awesome.  Obviously, that would be my first choice.  But I generally get answering machines and leave messages that are never returned.

I need this stuff gone.  Tomorrow.  We have people coming over Sunday night.  If this stuff isn’t gone by then, I’ll end up dragging it back into a room or across the house to the garage . . . . and we all know how that story ends. 

So I don’t mind one bit if someone makes 50 bucks off of the stuff I’m giving away.  I don’t even mind if he makes 600.

Those little red dart-thingys?  I know exactly which toy they go with.  I also know that toy is at the BOTTOM of the humongous box full of stuff that I don’t have to shove into the back of my Suburban. 

If I wanted the 3 dollars I could (maybe) get for that toy, I’d have to dig the toy out (mumbling not-proper-for-mommies-to-say words under my breath), and somehow get all the pieces in all the right places and then tape them together to keep from re-losing them.

They can do that.  It’s how they earn their money.  I get to toss things haphazardly into a box, and they get to make a living by renting a retail space, advertising in the local paper, having a truck big enough to haul off Crazy Slob Bloggers’ clutter, driving to my house to get all that clutter, and then sorting, cleaning, displaying, and attempting to sell that item.

And if I have three-trips-worth of stuff, they get to make three trips.  Not me.

More power to ’em.  In this economy, I’m glad to support anyone willing to take that entrepreneurial step as they provide me with a much needed, much appreciated service. 

Off my soapbox now.

Back to decluttering.

If this makes sense to you, and you want more home management strategies that actually make sense (to us not-naturally-organized types), check out my new book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. The book will be released wherever books are sold on November 8th, so pre-order now. HowToManage_3D


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  1. 1
    Jodie in MN says:

    Oh man, do I ever wish there was a service like that available to me!

  2. 2

    Amen! I feel the same way! Salvation Army has picked up for us within a day or two of calling in the past and it has been amazing. I will gladly give away any of our clutter to whichever charity, neighbor, or bum wants to come and get it! I hate stuff that I don’t want being all up in my face!

  3. 3

    Preach it, sister. While it does get a little depressing at the end of a garage sale … at least someone who wants it or wants to do something with it gets it, right?

    I just had some boxes for donation sit in my hallway for about 4 months because I’m pregnant and can’t carry them up the stairs and to the van by myself. FINALLY got them cleared out last week and taken to a thrift store. But I totally would have called that junk-hauler 4 months ago if we had one.

  4. 5

    I absolutely agree with you! If someone will come get it they are more than welcome to do with it as they please.

  5. 6

    Amen, sister. Amen.

  6. 7

    You go, girl!
    It’s like my friend Alanna just said on her blog, Kitchen Parade–a quote from Dr Phil. I’m going to paraphrase, but, if what you’re doing isn’t working (in this case waiting around for the right charity/moment/day to get something out of your home, in her case weight loss) why would you think continuing that same behavior would have a different outcome?
    Anything that lightens your load is a good thing in my book. Not that I have a book. You’re the one with the books. Books I enjoy reading. Anyhoo . . . .

  7. 9

    They should pay you for this advert! You are gem. I am tripping over my donations in my laundry room. Alas, I’d have to pay someone, here, to haul it away for me.

    • 10

      Do you have Craigslist there? Or something like it? You could say, “Free stuff, must take all!”

      It’s more of a hassle though, and you do have to be careful.

  8. 11

    SO TRUE! wish we had someone like that around here. I would likely call them several tiems a year.. maybe even monthly! There is no price tag for my sanity 🙂

  9. 12

    Halleluyah! I have no option but to haul all of my junk to town to get rid of it, because I live near the edge of the earth. But if I had the option of calling somebody to come get it all, I’d do it in a heartbeat. The high of decluttering is totally killed when you have to trip over boxes of junk for days until you have time to drop it off at the thrift store.

  10. 13

    Ya know, we have trucks “trolling” our neighborhood the night before trash day looking for appliances, etc. I bet a sign with “free” would make a box go quick. Shoot, I might even tape cash to the outside just so I wouldn’t have to take it to goodwill or trash.

    • 14

      This made me laugh!

    • 15
      Carolina_D says:

      Except you KNOW someone would simply untape the cash and leave the box! (They’d assume that if you were willing to pay for someone to take it it couldn’t have anything ‘good’ inside. You would have to be ‘sneakier’ than that. Maybe put a label on the box that says ‘kitchen gadgets’ or something on that order? I’d probably take a box that had THAT on the outside. (Even though that’s the LAST thing I need to do…bring in MORE junk!)

  11. 16

    Very good point. I’m putting a link to this post in one that I’m working on about perceived value. It’s easy to think that if we don’t get enough out of our stuff, someone else shouldn’t either. I wonder… that a form of selfishness?

  12. 19

    I like it! Sometimes you just have to free yourself from the crap. What always happens to me is – it goes to the garage to sit there until the kids rediscover it or until I’m ready to sory through it. There’s bags that have been in there for years! It’s time to let go!!

  13. 20

    Amen sister!!! I wish I had someone who come and get my junk and haul it off. I’d have a lot less junk that’s for sure.

  14. 21
    Lori in NC says:

    When my husband was unemployed, my friend gave me the kids clothes she was going to drop off at Goodwill so that I could sell them at the consignment sale at a nearby church — so nice!

  15. 22
    Lori in NC says:

    We have a neighborhood Facebook page and someone will post “anybody have a twin bed frame they don’t need?” or “I have a dresser in my garage — free to a good home.”or “I”m putting a TV on the curb – come and get it.” and it’s easy to reply or drop by the house. I posted recently that we needed a VCR to play some videos and quickly got two responses from neighborhood folks.

  16. 23
    Carolina_D says:

    Has anyone used Freecycle before? There are ‘chapters’ in most large cities. You simply list the things you are offering and any pertinent details about them. You can leave your phone #, or simply a location and time they can be picked up. Just Google for locations, they are part of Yahoo Groups. I list stuff about once a month. Sometimes only 1 or 2 items, sometimes a dozen. It can be anything from toys to clothing to furniture. Give details as to sizes, colors, meant for boys or girls, overall condition, anything you think will pique the interest of someone in need of something. It could also be things like scrap lumber, leftover paint, leftover supplies from almost any project. It will all find a home about 99% of the time. (Your reputation will be as important here as it is on any other site. People hate wasting their time, gas, etc. on items that are mere ‘junk’, and that they surely won’t want once they see them. (Although ‘beauty’ and ‘value’ are in the eye of the beholder many times!) At any rate, this is a great way to ‘give back’ to the community and those in need while getting rid of things you don’t want without having to cart them off somewhere. I LOVE it.

  17. 24
    Carolina_D says:

    BTW…you can also advertise for an item you are looking for too. BUT…you can advertise as many items as you have to give away, but there’s a limit of TWO that you can look for for yourself. However, if you see something advertised that you think you would like to have, you can ‘claim’ it from the ad if it’s still available. The best things go very quickly though. You can also join the ‘Freecycle Cafe’ group for more options. I USED to belong to that group too, but the volume of mail was so high that I dropped out after a month or so. HOWEVER, if you have had a disaster and need nearly everything to get started over, it might be a good choice. I don’t remember clearly how it works, it’s been over 5 years since I belonged to that group. (I actually dropped out of almost all of the Yahoo Groups that I used to belong to cos of lack of time. Plus lots of the groups switched over to Google Groups. It just got too confusing.)

  18. 27
    A kindred slob named Amy says:

    I just want to tell you that this post…actually your whole blog in general, and YOU in particular have FREED me! Seriously. I am you. I struggle with slobbishness constantly. It’s not that I am not capable of cleaning/decluttering/decorating. Oh no. When someone calls to tell me they are coming over, I can toss stuff in a bucket and whip out the Pledge with the best of ’em. I can make lists and sometimes I even have the energy/drive/motivation to do the stuff on them. I have, in the past, had an orderly home…that lasted until the kids came home. Or for a minute – whichever came first.
    What you have done, my kindred slob-spirit, is freed me from my stupid, ridiculous, crazy expectation that SOME DAY my house will just stay clean. You made me realize that this is an on-going, never-ending process (journey, if you will). I kept thinking that when I spent 2 hours cleaning, dusting, tossing, and scrubbing, I should be rewarded with my home staying in that pristine condition for evermore. I shouldn’t NEED to put out that kind of man-power ever again. Somehow you got through to me that my expectations are skewed. MAYBE when I am old and the only living person on the planet, I can clean my house and it will stay that way as long as I don’t touch anything. But what kind of life would that be? I would rather have kids screeching merrily through my hallways (I don’t really have hallways, but I’m painting a picture here)…and a husband who can put his mug of frosty beer on the coffee table (don’t have a coffee table either…or beer for that matter. lol)…than a perfect, HGTV home with no one in it. Right? RIGHT? Who’s with me here!?
    Okay, I am done. I wanted you to know that your work means something to someone, and I hope you continue for ever and ever, Amen. 🙂

    • 28

      Thank you sooo much for this comment! It means a lot to me.

    • 29

      This is good stuff! Dana, this comment makes me happy for you! This is real true grit. Nony has inspired me to start a blog. How to do more on less is my premise. Emotionally and financially

    • 30
      Lisa Rhinebeck says:

      I love your painted picture Amy. Nony, your site is awesome. I have all my clutter from grown stepkids down to my G-Babies pretty much stuck into one 10×10 rm. I feel like I am getting free rent on a storage shed. I get to shut the door an Wala, not see it. But I do, mentally in my head everyday. Health wise, mine sucks. I have all I can do at almost 49 to keep the downstairs looking half way decent an keep up with that. But recently I have started working on a much cluttered kitchen. And since it is basically only myself an a 13 yr old, Lazy child… Who has terrible hoarding habits, I truly believe are inherited from her fathers side. And a husband that truck drives an is never home.. How we can get so much ” JUNK” in one 3500 sq-ft house I have no clue. But I have started by getting rid of my hoards of Corelle Mismatch by design 😀 and given 3 ppl full sets of dishware along with silverware. You dirty it U WASH it too. Since I have started reading your articles, I have been given a renewed strength to fight the urge to buy anything I do not need or want. We lived a whole yr and I bough only the nesseseties to live.. Christmas I spent 12$ a piece on junk food packed stockings for everyone. It was so liberating to do. But the 13 yr old an 8 yr old GBaby, have learned some valuable lessons they even remind me of from time to time, Grammy, Less Is More… My BFF, who has 6 children, 13-2 is now adopting that way of life with having to downsize into a 2 bedroom apartment. Keep up the great work and thank you an everyone that comments their stories of Hope an Inspiration..

    • 31
      Margie Adam says:

      I feel the same. She has changed my perception of my slob problem and as you said “freed me” from many of my justifications and excuses for why I’m keeping this stuff. One of my favorite concepts is “when a treasure isn’t being treated as a treasure”. This in itself has freed me from so much.

  19. 32
    Constance says:

    This is what I do and so glad someone appreciates it.

  20. 33

    I agree wholeheartedly! I do the same with Lupus foundation and the Veterans. With a garage sale, I find people are looking for furniture, baby items or antique type things. Little games, books, clothing, do dads don’t sell very good in my area. I would much rather have them come and get it all in one fell swoop! Then its gone.

    Besides, if you calculate an hourly wage for sitting outside for whole day, gathering, cleaning, haggling with people, it doesn’t always sound worth it in the end

    • 34
      Elaine in Ark says:

      I’ve had good success with the few yard sales I held, until the last one a couple of months ago. I decided that it would be my LAST yard sale. I sold more things on craigslist than I did at that sale. Yard sales are just too much work and yes, they do tie you down for a day or two days. Done and done.

  21. 35

    we have a free groups on facebooks that are local… people love free stuff! 😉

  22. 36

    My sister is one of those people who say “If I cannot get X amount for the item, I won’t get rid of it until I get the right offer.” Then it will sit there for a few years…being worth less and less each year. IT’S JUST STUFF! It costs you more to rent TWO storage spaces than it would be to just have gotten rid of that stuff for free. You WILL NOT make your money back after storing things for 2 years. GAH!

    At the end of a garage sale, I start putting clothes at $5 a bag. If you can stuff the bag full of 50 items…more power to you. The last few people who come up can take whatever they want just so I don’t have to pack it up. I usually haul it off to the local charity (5 minutes from my house) but if someone wants to pick stuff up, YAY! I just gave away a broken snow blower. It probably would cost maybe $100 to tune up and fix. We had another one and didn’t feel like hauling a snow blower to a repair shop…hauling it back…and paying $100 for that, when we had a good working one already. I offered it up on a local facebook page as free to whomever wanted to fix it. It was gone in 2 hours. 🙂

    I have no problem getting rid of stuff…other things keep finding their way in to take their places!

  23. 37

    I’m going to keep my eyes open for a service like that around here, I can declutter, but then it just sits in the garage waiting for me to take it to the Salvation Army or somewhere similar. One thing our community does that has helped us declutter lots of stuff is a free neighborhood dumpster. One neighber fills out the form and gets 4 other signatures and then schedules a drop off date. The dumpster stays for 3 days and 2 nights. It’s fabulous. Lots of dumpster divers come and raid it, but I don’t care, it’s stuff I don’t want anyways and if they’re willing to go in for it, more power to them. Thanks for all your help Noni, my house is really starting to look great!

  24. 38
    Catherine says:

    I also wish we had such a service, but sounds like some research may reveal something just as effective. And, kindred slob Amy: I am right there with you!
    I had been thinking today about trash (a little harsh sounding word that could be applied liberally in our home these days since the holidays started hedging in and shifting old papers around). How in time, all things will ultimately fall into this category. Maybe not tomorrow or even 5 years from now, but eventually. I just need to speed up the aging process so that more of that stuff leaves the premises (you know, that which nobody wants cause nobody needs, like Dr. Seuss says). Whether it go to the junk co., the thrift store or even the garbage dump is really not my concern, as long as it leaves and nothing remotely similar comes in to take its place. It will be/is enough for me to keep up with tidying things regularly to cope with the dust of the universe which accumulates on every horizontal surface in our home without rebuilding this stockpile of miscellany.

  25. 39

    Oh my. People do get funny about such things. Getting the stuff out of your house can be a challenge. I used to be one that would keep a box of stuff to garage sale or to send to the thrift store, but somehow it always took months to get it there. In Utah we have They have a classified section that is super popular. There is a section for free stuff. If you want something gone, just post it in the free section and within hours it is gone! Just make sure to mark it sold afterwards so that you won’t continue to get calls. is nice, but people do not tend to pick up the stuff and it is a slower process. Now I am off to go and get rid of some stuff.

  26. 40

    Just got my announcement that the charity is coming through the neighborhood Jan 28… time to get to decluttering. Clothes, check, toys, check, electronics, check check. Maybe I’ll be able to walk through my garage without tripping. Maybe.
    I tried decluttering my food storage containers the other day… didn’t go so well. I just can’t get rid of ‘useful’ stuff. I did get rid of the bottles and sippy cups (my son is now 5 and we haven’t used them in YEARS)

  27. 41

    My husband has always had this mindset, and it took me awhile to get with the program (married 20 years this year 🙂 ). We just had someone come and get all the trash/scrap metal, etc that has been piling up, along with scrap from some remodeling projects. It included a car that was left here when we bought the place. I could have called several different people to get the different things, or advertised, but we live WAY out and it’s such a hassle. My husband always says that it’s been sitting here, doing nothing for us. We never counted on it for money, anyway, and someone else may need it for grocery money – let them haul it off and make what they can. It clears everything away for us, help them – win, win.

  28. 42

    Yes! Our local thrift store is called SMILE and they are the frequent recipients of my “SMILE-pile” sitting at the top of my stairs. It’s a beautiful collection of Amazon and Pampers boxes that sits out in plain sight because I have a bi-level and wooden railings. So attractive. BUT…they have limited donation times, which means the day that it’s convenient for me to schlepp three little kids out to the car and go is invariably a day they are closed.
    If someone wants to take my junk, they can profit at will!

  29. 43

    Amen, Keep on de-cluttering; you are a wonderful motivator!

  30. 44

    One of the many advantages of having kids that drive is that you can order them (cause you pay the gas and insurance) to take your bag(s) of crap to Goodwill “right this minute” and “don’t come back without a receipt!”.

    Even BETTER than “tomorrow”!

  31. 45

    I have been trying to find a battered womens shelter that will take my sons baby clothes for over a year now. I was astounded to be told they only take what they need when they need it and they don’t need baby clothes right now so I understand your frustration with the message machines and unanswered calls. I know I should just find the first and most convenient place to drop thw clothes and toys but 98% of those items were given to us from my coworkers and friends during a time that we were unable to properly dress my son. I am so deeply thankful for this that I want to make sure the clothes go to someone who truly needs them. My obsession with giving to a battered woman’s shelter stems from an abusive marriage I found myself in years and years ago. My husband is just about at his wits end with these three 45 gallon tubs full of clothes and to be honest I am inching toward that line also. If only my friends and family would stop having girls all the time.

    • 46
      Elaine in Ark says:

      We have a couple of thrift stores in the area that benefit the women’s shelter. If the shelter needs baby clothes, for example, they can get them from the thrift store. Plus, the money they make at the store helps support the women’s shelter. You could check around and see if there’s something like that in your area. That way, you would know for certain that the women’s shelter is being helped by your donation.

  32. 47

    This past March our family of 5 downsized from a house over 3500 sq/ft to a house totaling 1850 sq/ft. Purging on steroids, and I still have boxes to haul off. Sometimes I wish there was a truck, like an ice cream vendor, that would drive around the neighborhood every week, sounding out his merry little song and we could just go dump stuff as he drives by.
    My hubby is one of those who has to get top coinage for his items during a sale …. me it is call a Garbage Sale for a reason. By the end of 30 days of boxing, moving, cleaning and purging …… make me an offer, you haul it you can have it.

    • 48
      Elaine in Ark says:

      When I decided to have my first garage sale, I got advice from my hairdresser, who holds them all summer long. She said that I could either price everything high and put it all away when the sale is over, or price everything low and get rid of it. I priced everything to move and made over $400. I had to count it 3 times because I let everything go so cheaply. I guess when people can get lots of stuff for very little money, they buy much more because they’re “saving money”. (Hangers for 5 cents apiece! I had a few wire hangers, lots of plastic one, and some wood hangers. One lady bought them all because they were so low. Ha ha, her problem now!)

  33. 49

    Most recently, I will take photos of stuff I want to give away and post the photos with a brief description and the words “must take all” and “must pick up ” to my FB page. I almost always have a friend who will gladly take them off my hands.

  34. 50

    I have listed my free ‘on the curb’ items on Craigslist. I was so grateful to have people remove those old items, even if it took two days.

  35. 51

    What do you recommend for items that are quite valuable…for example I have a huge collection of wooden Thomas the Tank Engine. Honestly, it is so large it would be hard to ship via Ebay. I am thinking of breaking it into several smaller lots? I hate to just donate it…not to be selfish, but it’s quite a bit of money. Most people I talk to say to keep them for grandchildren, but there is just too much. Technically, we have space, but moving them around for year and years? I was going to keep a small track and a couple favorite trains and that is all.

  36. 52

    I use VarageSale. Community-minded online sales and is connected to Facebook. The money I earn goes to bills or clothes or school trips, etc. I’ve met great people and I make some money. Whatever doesn’t sell gets donated to a charity that can make money. VarageSale is awesome and it’s a part of our community.

  37. 53

    Do you have a Buy Nothing Facebook page in your area? I use mine often and I love it. It’s great for giving things away in your area and connecting with people in your community. I still take things to Goodwill, but it’s nice to give and receive in the Buy Nothing Group, as well.

  38. 54

    I only care if the seller is picky and won’t take my stuff. If you take my stuff, you get my stuff.

    Oh. And the seller cannot be me.

    BUT…. If you take my stuff, I want a receipt. I also want to remember where I put those receipts next April 12 when I finally get around to do our taxes.

    Some days I’m so unpicky, I don’t care if the taker of my stuff drives a big green truck with “Waste Management” on the side. ?

  39. 55
    Holly Barlow says:

    I dropped off a couple bags of “too big” clothes (Yay, me!) at the local charity drop. The attendant thanked me and I said, “Thank YOU for this service!” Really, by taking these things off my hands, they’re really helping me.

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