How to Donate and Sell Items Before You Move

Everyone knows that change is hard and moving can be tough. But one of the unsung benefits of moving is that you're forced to get rid of all the stuff you don't need. When you know you have to go to the trouble of packing and moving the item, you're more open to the question: "Do I really need this?" 

Take advantage of this time to declutter your life and make your next house that much better. That's right, less is more, people. Let's dig in and discuss how to buy and sell your belongings before a move.

Sell your stuff 

With all the costs that come with buying, selling, and moving, it's nice to earn some extra cash. Think your stuff is still worth something? Try out these platforms based on what you have to sell.

Common ways to sell your unwanted belongings

  • Word of mouth—it doesn’t get much easier than word of mouth. Simply send an image to a group text and let the word spread.
  • Garage sale—if your street organizes an annual neighborhood sale or if you have a whole house of stuff to get rid of, this may be the way to go. If you’re only trying to unload a few items, proceed with caution. The downside to garage sales is that they’re a bunch of work and shoppers tend to be stingy. 
  • eBay—if you have smaller items, like collectibles, appliances, or fashionable pieces, this e-commerce site may be the way to go.
  • Amazon—do you have a bunch of stuff you’ve never used? Or how about books, videogames, or software? Amazon may be worth a shot.
  • Craigslist—the online platform is typically good for selling larger items like furniture, appliances, bikes, and the like.
  • Facebook—another option for those who want to sell to nearby audiences and avoid shipping costs. Unload everything from kids’ stuff, appliances, and bulky sofas.
  • Consignment stores—ideal for selling furniture or clothing that’s still in good condition.
  • Other niche sites—do a search for online sites that specialize in selling whatever item you have tons of, for example, Poshmark sells fashionable clothing and Dibs focuses on antiques.

Donate your stuff

Often times, donating is the best way to go. Gather your stuff, drop it off at a charity, and you're done, mostly. There's certainly no staging, posting, bartering, delivering, and collecting money involved. And most importantly, you're helping others. 

Tax considerations

If you want to get a tax break for your donation, keep these things in mind before you drop your items off. And remember, December 31st is the last day you can donate for the current tax year. 

Donate to a “qualified” organization

First, make sure you donate to a “qualified” organization. Most organizations actually have to apply to the IRS to become a qualified organization. You can simply call the organization or check their website. Still not sure? Check the IRS database to be certain—your search will be the most accurate if you have the organization’s employer identification number (EIN).

You can also use sites that vet charities if you want to know more about how the organization operates before providing your donation.

Document, document, document

It's also important to get a receipt when you donate your stuff. If the value is less than $250, simply get the receipt with the charity’s name and what you donated. This is where most people call it quits. But, if your donation is worth more than $250, make sure your document itemizes the donations. And for more than $5,000, get an appraisal on your donations.

Examples of itemized documentation:

  • Description of the item
  • Explanation of the condition 
  • Image of the item
  • Estimated fair market value—check out the Salvation Army’s value guide or look up the going rate on sites like eBay, craigslist, and facebook.

Simplifying life certainly takes time. And while it may seem like a bunch of work now, it will make your move easier and fill your heart, or earn you money.