Donating vs Selling

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October 4, 2018

A vintage gold trinket on a white background.Warning: This story contains math of an adult nature. You may hear about numbers with multiple zeros after them that are escaping from your wallet.


Is your stuff stealing your time and money? You know those doo dads on your shelves, your clothing, the flotsam and the jetsam piled up in the nooks and crannies of your house. For most of us, the answer is a resounding YES! Your stuff is making you poor and you probably don't even realize it.

Say you just went shopping and bought an amazing doodad and a stylish suit. They look so innocent, but without knowing it you may just have willingly brought two potential thieves into your home. If you use the two items right away and they become part of your everyday life, you have strangled the thieves and all is good. Yea! But what if it is three weeks later, and both of these items are stashed in the back of the closet, untouched? You have unleashed the thieves and they are starting to drain your wallet.

It is important to know the signs of a potential thief. One of the biggest signs is that they came into the house with so much promise! Think about it. Was that doodad something you saw on TV and just had to have? Did you tell yourself, it will save me countless hourslike those commercials where the happy owner is slicing, dicing, and chopping all at the same time as they dancing around the kitchen, this item will make me SUPER PRODUCTIVE!


What about that great suit, that is just a shade different from the five others in your closet? Did you tell yourself, AHH! This is the suit that will get me the job of my dreams! I will give my best interviews ever when I wear it!

So much promise, but did they live up to the hype? If they are still in the back of the closet NO, and now it is too late; they have already started robbing you blind. But how? This is the math part mentioned in the warning from the beginning of this story. It's like this:

How much is your mortgage? Let's say for round numbers, your house is 1,000 square feet and you paid $50,000 for it. Your house is valued at $50 a square foot. If you are storing the items in a space that is a square foot, it is costing you $50 of house space to store them. If you keep them in this space for 10 years, you will have paid $6,000 in house space to store two things that you never used. YIKES!


Say a year has passed and you are only at $600 in storage costs. You are cleaning and find the items and think, "I will just sell them on eBay and recoup my losses."

You sit down and spend 30 minutes posting the ad, and then waiting for the sales. The thieves are happy, they just sucked another $10 from your wallet (if your hourly wage is $20/hour and you spent 1/2 hour) while you tried to sell these items. Then, if the items didn't sell after the first month and you spent more time tweaking the ads, and they steal even more money from your wallet.

After several months of no sales-- probably because there are zillions of these exact items out there (high supply) and you want too much money for yours (causing low demand), you get angry and tell yourself, fine, I will hold on to them and in a few years (when they are vintage) I will sell them and make a killing.


Fast forward 10 years. You find your now vintage doodad and suit and there is the promise of Cool, I can sell these neat vintage items and make a fortune. All excited, you check eBay. What do you find? Neither item has sold, ever. There are now bazillions of them out there, all unsold. Your frustration boils over.

You load the items into your car, and drive them 10 miles away to the nearest thrift store because you tell yourself, they are still in nice shape, someone can use them, right? These two thieves have now stolen another $10 of your time and who knows how much money for gas to drive you thereand poof, another zero just got added after the comma. You drive home wondering why your wallet is always so empty.

So how do you stop these thieves in the night from emptying your wallet? Stop them before they come into your house. Think carefully about each purchase. I am not telling you never to buy anything. That is not realistic and would make life pretty boring. Like crime fighting, you need to be the good cop and a good detective and lock up the enemy.


The good shopping cops and detectives look at what they have and what they need. They only buy exactly what they need, when they need it. They lock up, and toss the key, on all those glitzy ads and TV promises that they will be amazing if they own ____________________ (fill in the blank). Under the single light bulb of interrogation, they break all of those promises that those seductive items make to them.

But even with the best intentions, what do you do if a thief sneaks in? Watch it carefully. If you see you aren't going to use or wear it after two weeks, find out if can return it and get that thief OUT of your house and the money back in your wallet today.

If a return isnt possible, look for other ways to rehome it. If you check online and there is only one of these things for sale and the sold section tells you they are selling like the proverbial hotcakes, by all means, sell it. But if not, look for alternatives. Find someone you can give it to. Maybe you have a family member or a friend who actually NEEDS this item and will use it, thus thwarting the thief trying to get into your house. Donate it to a charity that is dear to your heart, just get it out of your house.


By keeping those thieves out of your house, you will not be forced to look at an empty wallet or do any kind of math that causes you to carry ones and add commas after the zeros! You and your wallet will be safe and happy!

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