Giving is easier than selling

Last month, my friend Clara tweeted about not being bothered to try and sell stuff, because she either ended up giving it away or recycling it.

This resonated with me a lot and I sent a reply in agreement. She said it is more efficient and effective.

Cheap mass-production making items more worthless

With regards to not being bothered, I find that I can’t be bothered listing things on eBay, especially trivial items like clothes. I tried to sell clothes and CDs on eBay but they don’t go for very much. The seller fees add up, especially for items that are not worth a lot.

I have sold expensive items on eBay like phones, a MacBook and a camera, and that works out well. But it’s not worth it for cheaper things. With the rise of sales and bargains these days, it can even be hard to make a profit off what was so cheaply mass-produced, when you try to sell it. What’s the point? I considered a garage sale or opening a stall to sell clothes, but let’s be realistic here. Why do people want to buy second-hand clothes when they can get sucked into fast fashion, where there is cheap clothing everywhere and you can get a nice new shirt for $10? Why would you then spend even $5 on a second-hand shirt? Only designer items sell for a lot of money when second-hand, if the item is still in good condition.

So with my clothes, I ended up just donating them to charity, or to H&M, where you can get a 15% off voucher. Not that I even shop very much at H&M anyway. You know, the place where you can get a new shirt for $10. 🙄

I’ve decided to pay more attention to the items I purchase. Over the past few years I have made an attempt to purchase more quality clothing over cheap stuff, but every now and then it’s easy to fall back again. Sales are still good, but I look at sales for good quality items, and buy things I really need.

Giving things away for free

It’s true that it’s a lot easier to get rid of something when I’m willing to give it away for free. I had two tripods, and I got rid of one. The other one was much better but after a month or so, I thought I might as well get rid of it too. It was just an aluminium piece of crap, nothing too special, and wasn’t very flexible. But I gave it to a girl at work who was excited to use it for her telescope!

I tried to offload more things. I wanted to get rid of a Back to the Future poster that I had had for a few years. I was going to keep it for when I move to a nicer place, but I didn’t feel like it anymore. No one at work wanted it, so we ended up pinning it up in our team’s desk area. Cool!

I gave Lilian some of my books to add to her collection. In my decluttering post about CDs, I wrote that I gave a whole lot of my CDs to my friend Matt, because I knew he would appreciate the local bands whose music I collected. Similarly, I knew Lilian would appreciate my books because she’s building up a collection herself. I’ve only got eight physical books now, because I gave her a few that were easily obtainable as a digital copy. Plus, I knew she would take good care of them. I guess this is an example of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

I’ve almost made it a habit to go to Slack and message my coworkers if they would like to have something I’m giving away. I got rid of a couple of bits and bobs. I’m slowly, but surely cleaning out things that I don’t need.

What are your thoughts? Do you think giving is easier than selling? What have you successfully sold or unsuccessfully tried to sell?

Comments on this post

I tend to take my old clothes to H&M and swap them for a voucher. A few other shops in the UK do this as well so we’ve got a bit of a choice. So for example, if I’m need of new underwear I’ll take a bag of clothes to Marks and Spencer instead!

I’m not a fan of selling online. Although I never sell anything of any value so it never seems worth the time and effort.

It’s great if you can give away things you don’t want anymore to someone who will appreciate it more. When I moved house last year I had a lot of stuff I needed to get rid of because we only had a small van for moving. I didn’t have enough time to sell the stuff so I offered it to friends and family. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff got turned down and I ended up having to bin it, but it breaks my heart to think of what I threw away that could have be useful to someone else. So much waste. :(

I usually end up donating all of my old clothes. They were pretty cheap in the first place so I figured that no one’s going to want to buy it so why waist the time?

It’s good that you were able to find new homes for a lot of you old stuff, even if it was just giving it to a friend or co-worker. Plus, it just makes things a lot easier in the long run and you feel good about it in the end.

I do agree that giving items away is easier than selling them, but now that I’m living on my own, I’d rather sell items that I don’t want than to give them away. It’ll help me out in the sense that I’ll make a little bit of money on the side for necessities.

I’ve never sold on eBay, so I can’t really speak on it. But have you tried selling apps? I use Mercari & Depop! I’m not sure if they’re U.S. only apps though. :( But the selling fee on Mercari is fairly cheap. And you’re able to set your shipping prices so that it’s free shipping for the customer (meaning you pay out of your own pocket), or that the customer pays for shipping.

I had no idea you’re able to donate clothes to H&M! :o I might have to check that out. I have a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore & they’re not getting that many views on Mercari.

Off topic, I love Slack! :P I miss using it! We used it a lot at the startup I used to work for. It was very helpful!

I haven’t tried Depop but I just saw some sellers from around Australia so maybe not all hope is lost!

I love Slack – at first it was so fun and too distracting but now it feels like it really helps with communication. Much more thoughtfully designed than some other chat apps out there. 😊

I can’t be arsed to sell stuff because taking packages to the post office is never an easy thing for me.

I’d much rather donate my things to the local thrift shops, library, etc and just give them to friends who would like them. That’s what I ended up doing recently. I went through some of my things and gave them to a friend who I know would use them more than I would. Not only does it help me de-clutter, but I feel happy knowing that I made someone else feel good with the things I have given them. I just like the whole no-string attached feeling when I do give things away because I am not expecting anything by doing that.

I’ve donated tons of books since I was a kid. I’d go through my bookcase and take out the books I no longer want or have it on ebook, and my dad will take them to the “Take one, leave one” section of the library for people to take my books. The joy of giving is a great feeling :)

I wish my library accepted donations, but they didn’t. They only accepted certain books. 😞

i agree though, i think decluttering isn’t always about selling things away. it all depends on the items. if the item i’m going to give away has the potential to give you fruitful amount of cash then i’d definitely choose the path of selling the item. but not everything can be given away in such manner. like you said, there are cheap and expensive things (ugh, i hate calling something cheap. it has such a bad connotation to it!) and it’s better to just give the less expensive things away for free because why wait for someone for weeeeks or monnntthhhs and let your item collect dust instead of quickly doing what you wanted to do in the first place? the main objective is to declutter and add more space to ourselves, right so yeah… it’s not always about the money even though letting go of something and receiving something in return makes us feel good.

i personally never sold any of my item online. now that i think about it, it’s either i’m a huge hoarder or i’m just… letting them to collect dust, LOL. i’ve been thinking about decluttering though but i’ve been canceling that plan out of laziness! urgh.

I sell some things online, for example electronics or film memorabilia, but for most things (e.g. clothes, books etc) I’ll take them to a local charity shop. I have a box in our spare bedroom marked ‘donations’ and when it’s full I take the box into town with me.

I mostly agree, selling items online is often not worth it. I tried to sell some of my clothes once and for all the time and effort it took (taking photos, making the listing, posting the item) I ended up making less than £10. On the other hand, that’s still a couple of coffees and it’s nice to know where your item has ended up. I didn’t know shops offered vouchers for donations…I am going to have to investigate that.

I totally agree with you – that basically sums the experience I had. Maybe have a look around – the vouchers aren’t much, but it also feels better than just donating to charity. H&M have a sustainable clothing program so they attempt to recycle the clothes.

I totally agree that giving away things is easier than selling! For things that wouldn’t sell for much, I just don’t think the hassle and effort is worth it, especially if I have to list and ship it. I’ll sell expensive things, but everything else, I try to find a place to donate it. A lot of places that take clothing donations will also take household items, so I’ll donate those along with the clothing.

That’s nice that you’ve given away things to your friends and coworkers! We have an employee forum where people will post things they sell or give away, and I did that before to get rid of some art supplies I don’t use. People grabbed them up quickly! We also have a “library” (really just a small office converted to a small library) where we can donate books.

I’m currently in the process of decluttering our house again, so I have a feeling I’ll be giving away more things soon!

I totally agree with you on this, I hate the hassle of selling online and I don’t really have the time. I’ve impulse-bought nice things really cheaply, like Rocket Dog boots and a Firestick, and ended up donating them to friends or charity. I used to hang on to everything ‘just in case’, but I realised it stresses me out more to have things cluttering up my home.