Unwanted Items: Sell, Donate or Throw Away

Many of us have unwanted possessions gathering dust in our home. Choosing what to do with some of these items can be difficult. There are three main options for getting rid of unwanted possessions: sell, donate or throw away. This post explains when to choose each option.

When to sell…

If items are still in good condition and are likely to be useful to someone else, you should consider selling them. Books, jewellery, electronics, sports equipment and clothes are all common items to sell.

When it comes to collectible items and antiques, consider putting these items up for auction to see how much you can get from them. You could attend a local physical auction or you could try putting them up for auction on eBay. If you think an item could be worth a lot of money, consider getting it professionally valued first.

When it comes to more general everyday items, consider using local advertising sites like Facebook, Gumtree, Craigslist and Shpock. You can get buyers to pick these items up from your address in most cases. 

If you have lots of different small items to sell such as old toys and ornaments, consider hosting a yard sale or attending a car boot sale to help sell them in bulk. Alternatively, you can go to second-hand stores and ask how much they’ll buy the items for.

Always clean items before selling them. When selling items online make sure to provide thorough descriptions and good quality photos to increase your chance of finding a buyer. 

As stated already, most items need to be in good condition to sell, however you can still sell items that are slightly damaged – just make sure to be honest about any faults. Some electronic items like phones and laptops can be majorly damaged and still sold for cash – there are many sites willing to buy these for parts. 

When to donate…

Items that are low value and in relatively good condition are sometimes better off donating. There’s sometimes no point in going through the hassle of selling a few t-shirts or old books if you’re likely to only get a few quid for them (unless you really need the money).

Charity shops are an easy place to donate items like clothes, books and toys. You can also give away items for free on local advertising platforms like Facebook and Gumtree. Unwanted cans of food can be donated to food banks.

In some cases, you may be able to donate items to people you know. For example, you could donate old furniture to a nephew or niece that is moving out for the first time, or you could donate some old baby clothes to a friend who is expecting a baby. 

As with selling items, make sure to clean all items first. Be honest about the condition of items when donating them.

When to throw away…

If items are damaged and repairing them is too expensive/too much hassle, the best option is usually to throw these items away. Items that are generally always worth throwing away include old mattresses, expired makeup, old worn shoes, stray socks and expired food.

You could hire a skip from a company such as Sheridan Skips. This company will be able to dispose of these items for you, recycling any items that can be recycled.

If you don’t want to spend money hiring a skip, you could consider taking items to a local recycling centre yourself. You can check in advance exactly what items are accepted.

Only throw away items in the bin that cannot be recycled. If you’re unsure as to which items you can put in your household recycling, consider reading this BBC guide. Be wary that there may be specialist recycling services that can take certain items away.

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