Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now
Following Graham Hill’s recent NY Times Op Ed, a far-reaching conversation has opened up about stuff–namely living with less of it. And to the best of our ability, we’ve tried to dole out sound advise for getting rid of your stuff. We’ve tried to help you navigate the perilous waters of eBay. We’ve looked at the online yard sale that is Krrb’d. Even though we haven’t written much about it, who doesn’t know about Craigslist? All of these services offer great ways to make money when offloading your stuff–the perfect present for your new edited existence.
But you know what? Selling stuff is a pain in the butt. Unless, you have very desirable, coveted items with clear market values or you are offering things at rock-bottom prices, your selling process is likely to be fraught with haggling, answering questions, shipping and dealing with scammers. Sure, pros can handle these situations with aplomb, but for many of us, selling can be more stressful than keeping.
We know it’s tough to do, but sometimes the best thing to do with our great, valuable stuff is give it away. When considered carefully, most of us will find selling is not worth the effort. While “time is money” might sound a bit facile, the fact is our time is worth money; you don’t work at your job for free do you?
To illustrate: Someone who makes $50k a year gets paid about $25/hour for his or her time (see how we got that number here). Let’s assume that’s your salary and your free time is of comparable value. Looked at this way, the cost/benefit analysis of spending an hour or two selling the Cuisinart you bought for $200 for $50 on eBay isn’t quite there.
There is no shortage of ways of giving your stuff away. Friends and family are an obvious choice. Craigslist has a free section, where things get quickly snagged. There’s Freecyle, a national grassroots network of people reusing and keeping “good stuff out of landfills.” There are tons of worthy charities such as Goodwill, many of whom will pick up your stuff and provide tax deductible receipts (you still have a couple weeks!).
We were recently turned onto a website called WebThriftStore, which allows charities to set up virtual storefronts. Through the site people can donate stuff as well as buy other people’s stuff. Donors actually send their stuff to buyers, cutting out the store. Proceeds go straight to one of the site’s partner charities and you get a tax receipt. WebThriftStore provides free mailing labels and shipping supplies for the donor.
While donating your stuff to a good cause might not have the dopamine spike of a wad of cash, it might have more influence on your long term happiness.
How about you? What’s your favorite way to give? Or do you know a secret way of selling that’s not so much of a drag?