Creative Ways to Donate and Sell Your Clutter During COVID

May 21, 2020 | KonMari Tidy Tips

There’s a secret art to discarding, recycling, donating, and selling piles of items in your home that no longer spark joy, but are in quarantine limbo.

This is clearly a great time to start, restart, or finish your KonMari Tidying Journey, but what do you do with all of the stuff that needs to leave when many donation centers have temporarily closed their doors?

Do not let uncertainty around how to get no/low joy items out of your garage discourage you from tidying up your entire home.

Your health and safety is always the priority. Now is the perfect time to make thousands of decisions about your treasures to best prepare and make space for whatever’s on the other side of The Curve.

You and your family can still give back, contribute to your community/environmental causes, or even turn your stuff back into cash.

Here are some safe alternative ways to discard clutter without leaving your home:

Postpone your drop-offs

If you are determined to channel your clutter to a very specific charity, store, or recycling center – organize the process.

Make a list of the places to visit after reopening and sort items accordingly. Check back with each location regularly for updates.

Communicate this plan with your family and move discarded items to a low traffic area in your home. Make sure to respectfully pack and prepare these items to reduce visual clutter as you patiently wait to drop them off.

Note: Avoid storing donations in your car or any other exposed location to prevent theft or damage. 

Consign from your computer

If you’ve ignored your “things to sell” pile for way too long, now’s the time to strike this task off of your to-do list and get money back in your pocket. I’m a big fan of bulk resale options for clothing, books, home goods, and electronics. They help you save valuable time and leave the sorting, selling, and valuation to the experts.

Most offer free shipping and handling and automatically recycle or donate goods that aren’t sold. Here are some of my favorites:

Make sure items that you bring to the resale market are in good condition, free of signs of wear, damage, or alternation.

If you choose to sell and ship individual items online, remember the value of your time.

Whether you’re sheltering in place or not, you don’t want to spend two weeks trying to sell something for $2. Remember, your item is worth what the market will pay for it. Prioritize high value, high quality items and let go of the rest with gratitude.

Give back from home

Have you been leaning more on delivery services and subscriptions during quarantine? I certainly have.

Give Back Box is one of the most convenient ways to give your things a second life using empty shipping boxes that may already be cluttering your entry way.

Respectfully pack household items such as clothes, shoes, toys and jewelry into a cardboard box (70 pounds or less) and they take care of the rest, including distributing items to local charity organizations:

Find a free-standing donation bin, local pick-up or drop-off

When my trip to Greece was postponed for a year (boo.), I carefully packed away my vacation gear. As I grieved this significant delay, three dresses emerged that no longer sparked joy.

Instead of overcomplicating the “releasing” process during this time when more pressing matters are top if mind, I organically shed these items into a free-standing kiosk at the end of my block, as I walked my dog and returned home.

Research local donation bins in your area that typically accept clothing, books, or miscellaneous items. Here in Chicago, I recommend GreenCity Project and Open Books. Books 4 Cause makes free local pick-ups for over 100+ books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl/collectible trading cards.  I also recommend dropping or any art, school, or craft supply you have at Waste Shed (art tools, art paint, ink, paint brushes, studio quality pens, pencils and markers, art paper, canvases and canvas making materials, sharpies, scissors, googly eyes, glitter, maps, screen and block printing materials, film, glue and tape, embroidery hoops, and jewelry supplies, etc.).

Finally, with The Honest Junk Company, there is no job too big or too small. They pick up everything and anything from residential to corporate projects and liquidations. Pickups can be scheduled within 48 business hours. All usable items to nonprofit partners to both help the community and reduce waste in landfills. All revenue goes to the Chicago Furniture Bank, furnish 3,200 homes for families leaving homelessness for free.

Recycling remains essential

Some recycling centers and drop-off options associated with essential services have remained opened. For example, Target has recycling stations that conveniently allow you to recycle plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones, and ink cartridges.

Some locations may have suspended product trade-in and recycling services, as in-store services turn curbside. Research local availability as needed and look forward to these options reactivating as reopening begins:

  • Lowe’s Collection Centers (bulbs, batteries, and cell phones)
  • Staples and Best Buy (everything from CDs to printers)

When it comes to recycling your rejects, do your research and check in with your favorite brands. For example, Knickey accepts any ready-to-retire intimates by mail, turning them into insulation, rug pads, and rags.

Lean on your virtual community

If you have unique items like eyewear, Christmas ornaments, or knitting goods that you’re looking to move on to a second life, I highly recommend leaning on various virtual communities. Here are some options:

  • Tell your friends! (personal post on any social media platform)
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Join a “No Buy” Facebook group or app
  • Join your neighborhood’s Facebook community page
  • Join a private Facebook group, specifically related to item you’re trying to find (for example, “Vintage Christmas for Sale Buy Trade”…there is a group for everything!)

Note: While exchanging goods, please follow local guidelines about physical distancing and staying home. Appointments may also be required. Make sure to call ahead to verify store hours and policy.

Join The Club!

Are you interested in tidying alongside my past and existing clients, Spark Joy podcast patrons and those actively getting organized during quarantine?

Join The Spark Joy Club! Within this exclusive Facebook group, I’m customizing donation strategies for our members real-time.

Add The Tidy Home Joy Journal (currently $9.99) to your Amazon cart to gain access to The Spark Joy Club and more!

Kristyn Ivey
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