Declutter, Donate, Sell: What's Your Time Worth?

Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether an item should be kept, donated, or sold. During your decluttering efforts, you might form a "Maybe" pile of items you think you might want to keep, but would donate or sell if they don't fit you (like clothes) or don't fit your space (like furniture). Donating items takes little time--simply box or bag up items and drop them off at a donation center. Selling items to recupe some money, however, can take valuable time and effort best spent on something more important.

I want to keep this post short, sweet, and to the point for those who try to sell items after decluttering. Ask yourself: What is your time worth?

It might help to reframe the attempted sale of items in terms of how much your time is worth, whether to yourself or your employer. Then weigh the cost in time of selling those items against how much you can get back for them. This is a very cold and transactional view of items, but that's kind of the point. You don't want it, after all, so how much is it really worth? How much is your free time worth? For me, it has taken on average 4-5 days to sell an item on an online marketplace to recupe, say, $100 from an item that cost $300 new. So it took a workweek of my time waiting to "make" $100. For a 40-hour week in the US, that's a bad deal. However, it takes me a grand total of 10 minutes for a round trip to and from a donation center drop-off point. Sure I recupe nothing monetarily unless I wait for a receipt for a tax deduction, but I save days or perhaps weeks worth of free time by choosing to donate items instead of sell them.

Consider also, unselfishly, the value an item might have to someone in need who doesn't have the monetary resources that you do. If the path of opening up more free time comes in the form of donating an item to a secondhand store or charity organization, consider the improvement of someone else's life in terms of your time vs. its meaning and value to someone else. It might take minimal time (and therefore, minimal money) to immeasurably improve another person's life.

The TL;DR of this short post is: LET THAT SHIT GO. Respect the value of your own time, and do what you can to help others with your discarded items. Recuping monetary cost isn't always worth the time and effort. Recupe the cost by paying it forward with a good deed, and donate the items you no longer need. Go forth, and be good!