Cleaning House

By Alexis Soohoo

July 12, 2019 5 min read

Over the last few years, the world has joyfully embraced Marie Kondo's tidying methods. With her Netflix show and book, people are sorting through massive stacks of 10-year-old knickknacks, clothes from fads four cycles ago and furniture gathering dust in the corner to see what "sparks joy."

Many Goodwill stores have seen a year-over-year rise in donations that they associate directly to the show, says Lauren Lawson-Zilai, senior director of public relations at Goodwill Industries International. Unfortunately, the increase in donated goods has also meant an increase in donated trash. So, be sure to sort your goods between things to donate, things to sell and things to throw away.

Goodwill accepts gently used items ranging from clothes to electronics; they then refurbish and resell the items at a greatly reduced price and donate the earnings. Do some additional research into how your local Goodwill works. There are many ways to avoid crowds and some centers even offer pickup services.

And there are plenty of options that you may not realize beyond the crowded collection center of your local Goodwill.

--Dress for Success is a nonprofit organization that provides professional attire and development tools to those in need within your community.

--Habitat for Humanity ReStore will drive out to pick up household goods for donation. This organization is great for donating large items such as couches, beds and washing machines. There is the added bonus of knowing your donation is helping people across the globe obtain affordable housing.

--Baby2Baby is a philanthropic nonprofit that donates old backpacks, diapers, cribs, toys and other kid items to local shelters and hospitals.

In addition to these organizations, many local libraries and food banks are always looking for donated goods.

For those more interested in selling their old belongings, here are some ways that you can maximize some online resources in the rapidly digitizing world:

--Nextdoor.com is a private social network for residents in a specific neighborhood and surrounding communities. The platform is used for things ranging from stray dog complaints to party invites, and it is also a great way to advertise anything you want to give away or sell. Because you are selling to neighbors, you know transportation costs will be low, everything can be handled without a third party and your old belongings will go to a good home.

--Craigslist is a hub of classifieds that is also wildly popular for selling belongings. With the ease of use comes a plethora of shady sellers and thus wary buyers; however, this is still a great platform for those interested in selling online.

--eBay Giving Works allows you to sell your items online while also donating to charity. After the auction, the customer can donate a percentage of the final sale to a charity of choice.

For those who are less technologically savvy, traditional methods of selling your stuff continue to work. According to The New York Times, a well-designed garage sale can net $500 to $1,000. It is most effective to start the sales on a Friday to attract serious buyers and antique dealers. Journalism professor Patty Lamberti offered a few other tips: avoid pricing goods, pay attention to your signs and make the shopping environment pleasant and comfortable.

If you're looking for more specialty resources, consignment stores are a perfect place to drop off nicer items with no hassle, and they will take care of listing and selling. The only downside is that these businesses will take a large portion of the profit. If you're looking to replace your electronics, pause for a second and look through your old belongings gathering dust before you run off to the Apple store. Many chain stores such as Target, Best Buy and GameStop offer trade-in programs where your old gadgets can gain a second life and you can go home with a new product at a discount.

Cleaning house can be simultaneously exciting and frustrating, but the only way to approach it is one step at a time. The end result is certainly worth it!

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