Post-Decluttering: How to Decide Whether To Donate or Sell

Post-Decluttering: How to Decide Whether To Donate or Sell

Decluttering feels SO good. Sure, you clear physical space, but you also gain mental and emotional clarity. But what happens once you’ve sifted through your belongings and decided what stays and what goes–what to do with the things you’ve decided to part with? The items that are still in good condition but no longer serve a purpose for you.

The dilemma usually comes down to donating or selling. There are pros and cons to each, but which is the better route to take?

The Case for Donation

Donating items seems like an altruistic choice—a way to bless others. And in many ways, it is. When you donate, you extend the lifespan of your belongings by passing them on to someone who can benefit from them. Clothes, books, furniture, and other household items find new homes rather than ending up in a landfill.

Donating can also benefit your community. Local charities, shelters, thrift stores, and various nonprofit organizations often rely on donations to support their causes. Your contributions can help someone in need or assist a cause close to your heart.

Donating tends to be more straightforward and less time-consuming than selling. You can pack items up, drop them off at a donation center, and be done with it.

And let’s not forget the tax deduction you can often take when donating to charities.

Portion of a thrift store's awning with a sign saying ' thrift store' against a gray, cloudy sky

The Case for Selling

On the flip side, selling items offers financial compensation for your efforts. Clothing, electronics, collectibles, and even furniture may find interested buyers in the secondhand market. Keep in mind that some items have higher value or uniqueness that makes them better suited for selling than others. Antique furniture, designer clothes, or limited edition items, for instance, may fetch a good price if you find the right buyer.

Online platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and dedicated apps offer convenient ways to sell a variety of items.

The Decision-Making Process

When deciding between donating and selling, consider these key factors:

A puzzle with all light gray puzzle pieces and 1 red puzzle piece that says 'value'


Does the item have enough monetary value to make it worth your effort? Think about what you can sell an item for (be conservative) and then divide it by an estimate of the time needed to take pictures, write a description, post the sale, respond to inquiries, and ship the item (or be available for a pick-up). This gives you your hourly rate—decide if it’s worth it to you.

Time and Effort

Are you willing to invest the time and effort required to find a buyer and sell the item, or would you prefer the quicker donation process?

Safety and Security

Are you comfortable having people pick up things at your home or meeting in a public place to exchange items and cash? Are you able to determine whether someone is trying to run a payment scam?


How do you want your items to impact others? Will they benefit more from donations or from being sold?

The Decision

Ultimately, the decision boils down to your personal preference, circumstances, and the specific items you’re dealing with. It’s also possible to use a mix of both approaches—donate items that can make a difference and sell those that hold higher value.

Whether you choose to donate or sell, either choice is OK as long as it suits you.

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