To Donate or To Sell? That is the Question.

A guest post written by last year’s Simple Year author, Kerry, who is still trying to keep it simple, some days better than others.

In spite of my best efforts to keep my kids little, they continue to grow up.   Of course that’s the way it’s supposed to be and even though I have tried my best to savor and enjoy each moment of their childhood, I’ll admit, I’ve had moments when I just couldn’t wait until the next milestones.  These include the ability to pour their own bowl of cereal on Saturday morning instead of waking me at 5:42 AM or being able to wipe themselves—effectively.    I remember the exact plane trip when I realized I no longer had to be a one-woman comedy sketch show, making barf-bag puppets and plastic cup hats because suddenly my little ones could ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES.

These moments are both sad and sweet.

As they grow, they leave behind a trail of toys, clothes, books and games that no longer fit.  Last year’s Littlest Pet Shops and Polly Pockets are now just clutter in a closet, pushed aside for Lord of the Ring Legos and Barbie doll clothes.

Good-bye Polly and your plastic friends...enjoy your new home.

Good-bye Polly, I hope you, your two yachts, waterfall, castle, RV, and shopping mall, enjoy your new home.


In years past, in an effort to simplify, I just packed the back of my car with the castoffs, most of which were probably purchased used in the first place and drop them off at a local charity.

It’s quick, simple, tax deductible, and in theory, the items stay out of the landfill.

Recently, we moved temporarily into a house which is half the size of our last one which is in a small town on the edge of the earth.

It’s a three hour drive to the nearest airport.

That’s far.

Anyway, with our much smaller space, it becomes pretty crucial to get old stuff out, before anything else comes in. To complicate matters, the nearest drive through Goodwill drop off is three hours away (incidentally, close to the airport).

The last time I listed something on Craigslist, I found myself apologizing to a young man who called just after I sold the bike rack.

Suddenly, in some vaguely eastern European accent, he screamed,

Only, he didn’t say truck.

And he fired it off in such rapid fire succession, he was able to say it at least six times before I could get my finger to the disconnect button.

So, I haven’t been too keen on Craigslist since that incident.

Instead, I stumbled across a local Facebook group that serves as a virtual yard sale site.  This one serves our local Air Force Base and is closed to members of that community.

I started using it the first weekend we moved in to get rid of some larger items like a train table and kid furniture that were creating an OSHA safety violation stacked on our patio.  They were gone in less than a day and I found myself with some cash on hand.

Since I found this site, I’ve heard from quite a few people that have something similar in their community.  So, if you haven’t found one in your area yet, do some research.  Maybe your neighborhood has one?  Maybe you could start one? (I know, I know, easy for me to say)

In any case, over the last couple of months I have been offloading things on this website at a rate of a few items or groups of items each week.  I’ve also sold some higher end, more specialty items like a camera lens and collectibles on Ebay.

So has it been worth the hassle?   All of those five and ten dollar sales have added up to about $600 which is the exact amount I spent on Christmas gifts and charitable donations for our family this year. Plus, I feel this odd sense of satisfaction when the items move on to a younger family and I know they are appreciated and being used.

Yesterday, I saw a little girl running down the street wearing a pair of cowboy boots and a tutu I recognized.

I had to smile.

7 Responses to To Donate or To Sell? That is the Question.

  1. that is so cool that you recognized the cowboy boots and tutu on new owners :o) I’m more in favor of donating than selling, as I don’t seem to be very good at selling. Donating also gives me warm fuzzy feelings. Sounds like you got lots of warm fuzzy feelings yesterday!

  2. I try to use Freecycle here in the UK but am getting fed up of time wasters who think I will stay at home for a couple of hours after the designated collection time, those people who don’t even bother to say thanks, and those who arrive in a truck and are obviously Ebay resellers.

  3. Hi Kerry, Nice post! I always like to donate or give away. I’m fortunate to have a Salvation Army donation center right down the street. I know that many people use freecycle – perhaps it’s available where you live?

    Christmas blessings to you & all!

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. I am a Military spouse and frequent the yardsale page for our base … and I must admit … it definitely pays to sell the little things. Even if it is just $5-10 … it all adds up in the end. I love that you recognized the boots and tutu while out and about 🙂

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