I feel like I am constantly decluttering: used up coloring books, old toys, clothes and shoes that have been grown out of or are no longer wanted, empty cardboard boxes… The list could go on and on. I’ve always been the type of person to use something for as long as possible before I get rid of it. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed a desire to purge my belongings more often and give away things I no longer like or find useful. I don’t like stuff just lying around cluttering up my space (pun intended). Do you feel the same?
So what do you do with these things?
You could just throw them away. But some of these things are good enough to be reused by someone else, which means you have a couple of options:
- Sell it.
- Donate it.
At the beginning of the summer, I posted about how to host a successful yard sale. I have a lot of experience with yard sales and share some really valuable tips that really make all the difference between selling your stuff and…not selling it.
Then, a couple of months ago, I wrote a 4-part series about “How To Sell Your Stuff Online”. It is a really in-depth look at how you can make money selling your unwanted stuff online and tips for getting the most for your items. You can click on any of the links below to learn more:
- How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Taking Pictures
- How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Pricing
- How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Anatomy of a Post
- How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Posting and Follow-Up Etiquette
Another way to earn money from unwanted items is to sell it at a local consignment store. These types of stores generally take clothing and shoes and sell them for you. You then receive a commission from those sales.
But what if you don’t want to go to the work of selling it? The other option is to donate it to a local non-profit organization, where it will go to those who aren’t able to afford these things on their own or need to buy them but don’t have much income.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a blogging event at a new thrift store/donation center called Deseret Industries the week before it opened. (If you live in Utah, you are probably pretty familiar with these stores, but they also have stores in California, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho.)
We got a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on there. And it’s more than simply reselling donated items. In fact, their main purpose behind the store isn’t to sell things. It’s vocational rehabilitation. They offer assistance to those who need help getting back on their feet. Maybe it’s something as simple as going through a certification course so they can qualify for a higher paying job. Or they need some help sprucing up their resume for a new job. There are others who have addiction problems and need help maintaining a consistent job while receiving help to kick their addictions. They offer business partnerships and internships to help people gain on-the-job training and experience. (You can read more HERE.)
Another aspect of how the Deseret Industries (also known as the D.I.) helps the community is through their humanitarian efforts. When items are donated, they are sorted, priced and put out on the floor to sell. If an item doesn’t sell after 4-6 weeks, it is removed from the floor and sorted once again. Depending on the item, they will take it apart and reuse or recycle it. For clothing, they sort it out based on type (pants, skirt, long/short sleeve, etc), whether or not it has a logo, pattern, etc and then it is bundled and shipped out to other countries based on need. The store manager for the location we visited made it clear that a huge effort is made to use as many items as possible before letting it go to waste.
I was really impressed with all the different resources offered through Deseret Industries. I’ve been donating to the DI for years, but wasn’t aware of everything else that went on behind the scenes. Their mission to enable self-reliance is a service to both the people who learn the skills they need through the program and to the community who benefits from their skills.
When you donate your items to Deseret Industries, you are helping people you’ve never met in unexpected and miraculous ways. If you want to help others in your community, but aren’t sure where to start, begin by decluttering your home. What you donate might be purchased by someone who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. Or it might end up donated to a family out of the country unable to purchase it. Regardless, you can feel good about knowing you are helping your community.
(If you’d like to see if there are any locations near you, you can click HERE
I hope this post gave you a little more insight into what goes on at Deseret Industries. For me, just knowing that what I donate actually makes a difference in someones life is a huge motivation to look at what I have and try to donate more freely. I encourage each of you to do the same!