Purging Your Stuff Using Craigslist, Donation, and Freecycle

I recently went through a pretty major move that involved two toddlers, buying a new house, and selling a new house. This was a situation that called for a lot of de-cluttering and purging before and after the move, and I have learned a lot about the pros and cons about these  3 ways of purging.

3bins

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Choice:
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Craigslist
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Donation
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Freecycle
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Pros:
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More cash
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Purge faster and feel good
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Local, feel good
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Cons:
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Takes the most amount of time, flakes
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Tax deduction only
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No money, flakes and odd people
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Considerations
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Best for items that are easy to sell and has good demand (e.g. kids beds, strollers)
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Good for most things inside the house, as well as non-working electronics
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Good for one-off items that you can’t sell on Craigslist too well and would be useful for particular situations (e.g.: large stacks of paper, moving boxes, unopened pantry food)
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Craigslist is great for a virtual yard sale because I simply cannot be setting up a real life one and sit in front of a yard for a whole weekend with two kids running around. For many  high-demand items like expensive toys, strollers, bookshelves, kids bed, the best thing to do is to take a picture and post it on Craigslist. I was able to get money for my goodies and use it to help finance the move. You have to take pictures, add good descriptions, and be ready to deal with questions about it and do some emailing back and forth. The problem with Craigslist is that you have to deal with a lot of back and forth, making appointments, and sometimes people might flake out on you. This is why it is best reserved for items that have high demand and are likely to yield many offers. Of course, with Craigslist, you are also dealing with the public, so there is more risk as well. Craigslist has been used in the commission of many crimes, so one does have to take precautions. For me, it is really only worth the trouble if you think you can sell the item for more than $50. Otherwise, it is just easier to donate to charity or Freecycle

When it comes to getting rid of things fast, there is nothing like just donating it to your local charity. A lot of times you would get a postcard asking for you to put your stuff in the front driveway for pick up and the charity would accept most household items like clothes, shoes, blankets, even old electronics for recycling. I prefer to chose my own charity and just drive it over (I happen to live close to a really good one) because I don’t like to have things sitting in the driveway and not get picked up (which has happened) and I also like to research my charities. Having a tax-deduction is nice too, so it is important to get a receipt. You get to feel good that your items do benefit a charity you support. You save a lot of time by not having to take pictures to post online, not having to have email back and forth with people, or deal with any flakes. However, it does not guarantee that your items are going to avoid the landfill. What the charity cannot use they will toss.

Freecycle can be either the most convenient way to get rid of something or the least. Since money is not going to exchange hands, you can simply leave your item out in front of your house (if you are not skittish about it) and have the designated person pick it up. However since you are dealing with the public, you will have to prepare yourself for the possibility of flakes, and maybe even weirdos. A lot of people will email you with “Is this still available?” or “I want it” without any other explanation and I tend to pick the person who would at least add why they would need the item because I don’t want to be supporting any hoarders out there. By my experience, since these things are “free” there tends to be a lot more no shows than Craigslist, so one might have to go down the line of offers or repost. I have also had a situation where someone who took an item from me told me she decided that she didn’t want it anymore and could she bring it back. I was advised by our local moderator to tell her that if she did bring it back it would be illegal dumping and I would let the Freecycle community know about it. Luckily for me, she didn’t bring the item back to my home. Like most people, I give away stuff on Freecycle to feel good that my stuff is being useful to someone and that experience was not conducive to that!

In the end, I think if you are under a time crunch, the winning way to go would be donation, followed by Craigslist for easy to sell items. I found donating to be less fussy and easier given I have two kids to juggle on top of the move.

 

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