Donate vs Selling

teresavaNovember 3, 2012

Is there any way to tell when it's better (more economical) to sell items or donate and get the tax write-off? I'm trying to decide what to do with our old baby stuff.

My DDs are getting older and we have A LOT of baby clothes, items, toys, furniture etc. I have given some things to friends, but I was planning to sell most of it at a HUGE local church consignment sale. My DD goes to the preschool at this church. I have been to this particular sale a few times and the prices are fair, no bargaining, so people can potentially make a lot of money.

Here's some background on me. In my family I am the pack-rat and my DH is the neat tidy one. I am also the frugal one. My DH wants to just donate it all, get a write off and be done. Frankly he'd dump it on the side of the road and not think twice, but I have rubbed off on him a little to not waste.

I want to sell it and make some money. Probably $400-500ish? Selling in the sale means making tags on the computer, fastening with safety pins, hanging them on hangers and paying $10 for the vendor fee. The church also keeps 30% of the profits, which I would feel good supporting them. I know it will be a lot of work, but I think the reward would be a nice big check.

Please don't suggest having a garage sale. Around here people want to haggle for 10 or 25 cents.

So am I crazy? I am slightly heading towards the donation route now too, because the house is getting cluttered and the sale is not until early Spring time, but I have a HARD time letting go of the idea of a big check. We don't NEED it to cover bills or anything, but wouldn't it be nice to have!

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It depends on the sale. Do you have a booth and have to be there all day? If that's the case, my vote would be to donate it to Goodwill or Salvation Army. I'd rather have a root canal than go through that! There are many people who may benefit if you donate, because they tend to charge less. Any time I've donated to GW, they hand me a blank form to fill out for tax purposes. I usually donate to Habitat for Humanity, but they don't take clothing. But they do come pick up your donations. They also give you a blank tax deduction form. So write down in advance what you donated, so you'll remember all those things, should you decide to go that route.

Whichever way you go, you'll be happy without "stuff" taking up room in your home.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:17PM
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I hear ya sister! I am trying to divvy up my extra things. I have donated a lot to Goodwill and Vietnam Vets, but I have baby equipment which DGC no longer need and some really cute clothes...dresses that the GDs wore once or twice. I am going to take some of them to Once Upon a Child, where they give you almost nothing for your things, but if I get $15 for the lot, that's $15 I don't have right now. But I also have some REALLY expensive dresses that I bought the girls at chichi children's stores. I may try to eBay those, but talk about a hassle! But I hate to settle for $1.50 for a dress I paid $85 for. I'll let you know. I'm worried I'll put the good dresses back in the closet until some time in the future!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:18PM
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If you're on Facebook, check around for local sites where people buy and sell stuff. You will be surprised at how many people are looking for baby stuff. While it means taking pictures, posting them and meeting up, you might move the stuff you have quicker.

If you create an envelope for all the money, you can track how much you earn. Maybe save it for something special!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:27PM
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I would be surprised if you made as much as you think you might. But depends on the area you are selling in also.
If you really want to donate some of the items, contact the Women's Domestic Violence group. Most of the time, these mothers and babies/children are coming into the safe houses with NOTHING and they appreciate anything they get. Maybe go thru the keep the very best, cleanest etc for spring and get rid of others? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:33PM
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If you don't need the money, donate.
You'd make a lot of new mothers very happy.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:50PM
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I donate.
I get a tax deduction of $700-1200 every year.

Way better than selling to me!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:08PM
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For more expensive items, I would craigslist them with pictures. Easier then a garage sale, no mailing of items thru ebay. You can meet up to make the sale at a public place if you don't want someone coming to your house. I find it the most profitable way to sell. The expensive dresses mentioned would be great to post now for the holidays! Only once was I asked if I would lower the price on something. Its thru email-easy to say yes or no.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:26PM
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So you will spend hours and hours sorting and pricing all of your items. Then you have to load them up, deliver them to the sales place and set them out. When they don't sell, do you have to pick them up again? Way too much work.

Frankly, I would either donate them outright to the church sale, or Goodwill them.

Most people vastly over-value the things they want rid of. People shopping at church sales or garage sales want something for dirt-cheap, and won't pay more. You think that cute baby dress is worth $5.00. Someone else is going to look you right in the eyes and say "It's USED" and offer you 50 cents.

I know you said this was a consignment sale, but at the end of the sale day, the people in charge will be practically giving things away, just to be rid of them.

If you have an expensive item use Craig's List or Ebay. Otherwise, get a software program like "It's Deductible", which will give you current values of your donations.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:46PM
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I can't imagine you'd make anywhere NEAR the kind of money you're talking about. I even think it MAY...not sure if this is only in my illegal to sell a baby item if it has been recalled...and there's lots of THAT! Do you know they can't even sell drop-side cribs anymore? Even Goodwill throws away a lot of baby clothes and furniture. I think you're wasting your time trying to sell. Is there any track record for items like yours at this church sale? Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Baby and child clothes get almost nothing, because they can be bought so cheaply at places like Walmart and Target. Even if *your* stuff isn't from those stores, they're your competition.

Personally, I'd donate it all and get it out of the house now.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:12PM
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We donate to the Salvation Army. We have donated hundreds of dollars worth of stuff and money stays in the town or city where it is donated.
I will never donate another thing to Big Brothers & Sisters. They sell the stuff that is donated for prices that you could buy for less at Walmart. My Daughter was a Big Sister and all the while she was helping on her own free time, not one dollar from the organization went to help her Little Sister and the family.
As far as I'm concerned that organization can take a flying leap into a dungeon.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:42PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I donate I know I could make money but just not worth the effort and time and when I want it gone I want it gone now before something changes and it ends up staying!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:05AM
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When DH died, and then when I moved .. I did a combination of 3 things
1. Expensive items(like designer clothes(Zenga, etc) I sold on Ebay and/or Craigs list
2. Good condition things went on yard sale
3. Rest was donated

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:37AM
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RuthieG__TX yourself the hassle of dealing with the mess, people, the work etc etc and in the end what doesn't sell you still have to donate. you have to get it to the sale and get it back if it doesn't sell.

Donate and they come and pick it up, give you a slip and you just have to figure what it's worth. There are scales for every item and you do have to make a list but you would have to do that at the sale.

To me it would be easy...I would take the easy way out.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:14AM
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I've had several garage sales over the years, every one turned out bad for me. People stole things, I never made much money, just plain aggravating. I'd rather donate and get a tax deduction. But some charities are picky and won't take everything. So you may end up tossing stuff. I'd also consider listing stuff for free on Craigslist.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:36AM
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donate is no hassle, no work. I donate.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Back in the day I donated all my baby stuff to a Womens/Kids shelter, not sure if we got a write off. I have never sold anything, I donate everything to a Hospice Thrift store. My DB died in June, he lived with my mom and my DH has sold a few of his things on Craigs list and given the $$ to my mom~~if it does not sell fast then we donate to the thrift store. My son sells and buys a lot of stuff on Craigs list. I do not like to do garage sales we work forever getting ready and get very little in return~~~I just rather donate and be done.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:38AM
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For many years the girls and I had garage sales. We enjoyed it but now since I am older and can't really help out a lot, only with fixing food for us to eat. We have not had any for a couple of years. I usually donate my things to Goodwill, not other place in the area to donate to. Amber takes her baby items to a consignment store and she is pleased with what she gets. There is a big difference in consignment stores, some are not so good as she found out. I have some boxes I am getting ready again for Goodwill will get a tax credit for it too. You can if you do a long form of taxes.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:08AM
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We donate and claim the tax deduction. It's the same 'money', whether you sell and get a check (which is taxable income, BTW) -- or you donate and pay less to Uncle Sam. I believe you can claim up to $500 without a detailed receipt.

Also, it's G-O-N-E. All at once. They'll even come to you to pick it up!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:14AM
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I've always donated. Don't want the hassle of selling and it's not worth my time. I'd rather just give it away to someone who needs it and can't afford to buy it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Yep, I donate, too - then go back the next week and buy something else I don't need.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 6:37PM
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I think you should just do both! I don't think you're crazy. The prep work for the sale doesn't seem to bother you, or spending time at the same, so why not try it, since you're feeling good about helping the church? Yes, you might not get as much money as you're thinking, but who knows ...
And then whatever's left, find a good charity and take the tax deduction.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:45PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Don't forget freecycle it's a great way to get the stuff to someone who really needs it. You don't have to meet the person if you don't want to, select a drop point, or leave it outside.

My cleaning lady was able to get all of her sons school clothes through freecycle.

I put all of my husband's suits on it and the people who got them were so excited and thankful it was exactly what needed to go job hunting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Freecycle

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Freecycle is very busy here. There's lots of activity, and I've gotten rid of and also received some great items.

We don't get any tax-deduction for donations. Lucky you! That's what I would do in a heart-beat.

Even on Freecycle, car-seats, cribs, etc aren't allowed because they might be expired or dangerous. Some cities don't take bedding or mattresses because of possible bed-bugs.

I've sold stuff on Kijiji (craigslist isn't popular here) and people always, always try to talk you down. In some cases I've accepted their offer and in others I stuck to my guns.

There are tons of baby and kids clothes and furniture for sale on Kijiji. Check your craigslist to see what the going price is, so that you don't price yourself so high that you won't even have anyone respond to your ads.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:10AM
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Sally Brownlee

Any chance you can find a church van heading towards the East coast and Sandy victims?
There are so many people that lost everything...anything is a blessing right now.

Yesterday I dropped off blankets and some pots and pans I was saving for a yard sale.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:23AM
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