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Sell it, Store it – Dump or Donate??

You’ve decided on the big move.

Home has been bought, home has been sold. Finish line is in sight and within reach.  Now that you are moving, it’s time to decide what you’re moving.

There has been a lot written about how to best decide what’s worth keeping, worth selling, donating or dumping.  Most of us have heard of the 3 month (or 6 month/18 month etc) rule where if you haven’t used it, needed it or looked at it in a given time frame – then it’s got to go. Obvious exclusions to this rule apply but in general for those not overly sentimental about things, it tends to help.

From experience I can submit that most movers take too much with them.  Whether we’re upsizing or downsizing, a move should be an opportunity to divest oneself of clutter and let’s just say it – hoarded belongings.  Deciding what to divest of will be a time consuming, soul sucking, emotionally draining experience.  And most of us I’m sad to say…get it wrong.  I’ve given away, donated or just simply thrown away things that had more value than I realized.  I paid to store things for months that upon unpacking, left me questioning my own intelligence. Battle worn tricycles, old toys, stuffed animals.  Spare mattresses, a “perfectly good chair,” car seats (so old you may as well read “death traps…”) and cribs.  A lot of things kept and stored because when you’re leaving behind not a house – but your home – you may make the same mistake I did.  You may feel like you’re packing memories when you’re really only packing junk.


Step 1 – Sell it.

There are so many options today to sell your trash aka “someone else’s treasure.”  We posted things on local community yard sale sites on Facebookand also cautiously posted on other sites like craigslist and ebay.  Neither had huge success for us and as such, most of what we deemed worth selling automatically was deemed worth storing…for months…and then moving and unpacking into our new home.  See the section on dumping down below for where most of that finally ended up.

Yard Sale

We also went the route of holding a yard sale over a couple of weekends.  

This was a lot of fun and highly successful.

Said no one after holding a yard sale…EVER.

We got up early each morning, pulled our tables out, arranged our items attractively and waited in anticipation.  First came the people I’ll lovingly refer to as the collectors.  Thanks to Antique Road Show there is a perception that now exists that you’re one yard sale away from your first million.  Eager and early these collectors pawed through our belongings with smart phone in hand, googling everything from Beanie Babies to old books.  Unfortunately for them, my wife had already done much the same before putting anything out there.

After the collectors left in disappointment come the neighbors.  Then despite what you may have read in the forecast, the rain.  It will always rain the day of your yard sale.  Always.  From time to time we even had some buyers.  Some.

Our various efforts at selling did net us a little.  Usually the big ticket items that we truly hope will sell do – but at a much lower price than we ever imagined we’d settle for.  You get beaten up a bit during the process so by the time you’re offered 100 bucks for the rider lawn mower you truly couldn’t move anyway – you take it.

Step 2 – Donate


This is probably the easiest of the divestitures.  We actually felt good packing things up and dropping them off at our local Goodwill.  They were helpful, thankful and convenient.  Even better, we knew that someone would eventually get some use out of the carefully worn clothing, still functional bikes and furniture we just didn’t need anymore.  There are Goodwill stores nearby in most communities and I think you’ll find as we did that we should have donated even more.  Check with your accountant at year’s end – you may even earn more as a deduction than if you sold it at the yard sale from Hell.

Step 3 – Dump It

See “Step 5 – Dump It.”  This pre-move version of dump it was woefully underutilized.

Step 4 – Pack It/Store It/Move It


I honestly wished for selecting a packer/mover/storage company, we had an app like the one Stephen Cooley provides. In addition to his locally famous moving truck benefitthe Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group at Keller Williams also maintains a list of preferred vendors under our HomeKeepr application.  Simply follow this link and download it and you’ll find pre-screened local experts that we’ve used and recommended in the past.  Included in them is Smooth Move Professional Moving Services.  Any moving related questions – give them a call at 803-366-MOVE.  If we facilitate in your move, and if our truck is available and works for you, then they can help load it for you at a discounted price.  They also have solutions available for full service packing, moving and local storage.  You can find more information on their website.  In any event, we packed, stored and moved WAY to much.  Again, being overly sentimental and staring at the unknown, we fell into the trap of “better safe than sorry.”  Imagining we might need this or that down the road and regret not taking it.  After paying for months of storage, we might have been better off with a little less stuff and a little more regret.

Step 5 – Dump It


Please, please, please read this carefully.  


Unless you have a clear, described reason or purpose behind taking something with you, or are able to find value in selling or donating it…DUMP IT.  Because if you don’t before moving, you will after.  Again, a lot of services are available today.  Anything from a full scale dumpster, to dumpster bags available at big box hardware stores allowing for pick up when full.  You may even find some satisfaction from freeing yourself from years of accumulated clutter.

One final useful piece of advice?  Do not allow any child under any circumstances to see what you’re throwing out.  Or donating/selling for that matter.  It will simply end up in the pack it pile.

Let us know if you’ve been through this scenario yourself.  

Do you agree or have other thoughts?  Let us know.


John Kotrides

John Kotrides




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