Five tips on what to do with unwanted stuff

NEW YORK — World-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo is sparking joy among shoppers feeling the urge to clean out their homes.

But once you master the Japanese organizing expert’s novel approach to de-cluttering, what do you do with all the stuff you don’t want?

Charitable organizations like Goodwill have cited how Kondo’s popular Netflix series, “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” has led to a surge of donations. And sites like OfferUp and thredUP also note an uptick in the number of items being sent to them for sale. Kondo recommends getting rid of items that don’t spark joy, and she calls for decluttering by category, not by location.

Still, there’s a lot of angst in figuring out the right home for unwanted items.

“I think we’re living in the age where people are taking the stress out of their lives so Marie Kondo comes at a perfect time,” said Wendy Liebmann, founder and CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. “But there’s a lot of stress in trying to find all these places that will take all these things.”

Liebmann recommends getting rid of the easiest items first. Then, deal with the harder items to give away or sell.

Here are five more rules to embrace:

— BE SMART ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE SELLING: Study a variety of sites from thredUP and Poshmark to find out what they accept, what carries the best value and any fees. Make sure to sell in-season items and only clean garments. For those who have a closet full of Chanel and Prada bags, check out luxury consignment online retailer The RealReal.com.

“This is not a way to get rich. But it is a way to clean out your closet,” said James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of thredUP.com. At thredUP, only 40 per cent of received items are accepted and sold online the rest are recycled through a third-party partner. If interesting in selling secondhand items on thredUP, request a cleanout bag. New this year, customers can request a shipping label that can be used on any box. Many of the sites including thredUP and RealReal list recently sold items so customers will know their worth. Many sites set the pricing based on quality, style, and the available inventory. Check out selling fees, which vary. For example, for all sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95. For sales of $15 or more, Poshmark’s commission is 20 per cent. The fee at selling app Mercari is 10 per cent.

— CONSIDER APPS THAT HELP YOU SELL LOCALLY: Move over Craigslist. A growing number of marketplace apps like LetGo and OfferUp let you sell locally the big sofa or other large item that would be too expensive to ship across the country. EBay also allows customers to post local listings.

Many give the option to register with your Facebook account, helping to verify its members and make it a safer exchange. OfferUp says it’s the biggest mobile marketplace for local buyers and sellers. Last year, however, it began allowing sellers to ship item across the U.S., widening the market of prospective buyers, says Natalie Angelillo, vice-president of community at OfferUp. OfferUp allows users to create a custom profile link and lets buyers and sellers leave reviews for a particular deal.

— STUDY WHAT CAN BE DONATED: You don’t want to waste time carting a big piece of furniture to only find out your local thrift store doesn’t want it. Best to call the local Salvation Army or Goodwill store to make sure they can either pick up the item or you can drop it off. Goodwill’s main website says acceptable donations include clothing, shoes, books, small appliances and small furniture. At the beginning of the year, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey stopped accepting book donations at their Goodwill stores but they are now accepting them again.

— SCRUTINIZE DONATION BINS: Heading to a local donation bin may be convenient, but unfortunately, many items wind up supporting for-profit groups. Look for signs that spell out a clear mission statement. Also, look at what per cent of sales are contributed to the charitable organization. Be wary of a donation bin without a clear mission statement.

— RECYCLE ELECTRONICS: Many electronics makers and retailers offer recycling programs. Amazon allows customers to receive an Amazon.com gift card in exchange for a variety of electronic devices including Amazon devices.

And, of course, there’s always that garage sale.

“Check to see if your neighbourhood or homeowner’s association has a designated garage sale date,” says Target Corp.’s home style expert Camille Styles. “If not, team up with a friend who may also be looking to sell some of their items.”

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