Thursday, 22 September 2016

To Sell, Or Not To Sell, That Is The Question...

In the ongoing programme of decluttering my home, with considerations of recycling and Zero Waste, I find myself frequently asking the question "Should I sell this or give it to a Charity Shop?" That might appear a selfish question - but I am not simply saying "Shall I give this away to benefit others, or sell it to benefit myself?"
Books are a case in point. We both love books, and over the years have accumulated [literally] thousands. At one point we decided in a fit of madness to try and catalogue them all. There were over 3000. But the collection must diminish in the next 5 years, we cannot take them all into retirement. But will not be of much use to the local CS if we just box them up and give them away. Some of our tomes are a specialist and of little interest to the majority of readers, so they are unlikely to sell.
When we left Kirby, we packed up 6 large boxes of the theology books and passed them on to someone who could give them to other ministers in training. That felt good!
But for the last few months, I have been spending the occasional afternoon looking at the shelves and taking out a pile of volumes which neither of us want to keep. Fiction, non fiction, classics, modern stuff, craft and cookbooks...Then I use the Ziffit website to determine quickly if these books have value. Some do, some don't. The books are sorted into saleable and nonsaleable. When I get to the magic £5 minimum, I stop - parcel up the books and send them off. The reject pile goes to the CS. The bizarre thing is that the most surprising books are accepted, and others not worth a penny. Recent literature and TV linked cookbooks are valueless [Sorry - we are currently not accepting this item] so all those paperback crime fiction ones end up in the CS. Which is usually where I purchased them in the first place.
This purchased 15 years ago, paid £3.14. and a huge volume called "Leicester and Its Regions" was £2.38 - but a paperback of Frankenstein was only worth 30p. The Leicester book was one I was given as a 6th former, when I went to a Conference in Leicester. I kept the book for 23 years - just in case I ever lived in Leicestershire. Then I finally did, and read it just twice in the last 20 years [when I moved, and when I left] It seems that these two contain useful information for writing PhD theses. They seem dead boring to me!! I have made about £50 selling 50 books over the last 18months - and given away the same number, if not more, to CS. 

I am less good with online auctions - but when I was given a die cutter, I sold my Fiskars Shape Boss to finance the purchase of some dies. And I did sell my entire Martha Stewart Living Magazine collection this way - but only made a few pounds. Some income - but not much.
As for Car Boot Sales, they have never proved that brilliant. I only take things which I think are of decent quality - and the leftovers go to a CS rather than coming home. But unlike other bloggers [who seem to make £100s] I have not had much success. I am told that this is because the best and most profitable sales are on Sundays - and I have better things to do on Sundays than stand in the rain behind a wallpaper table loaded with items I don't need anymore!
I picked up a leaflet about cash for clothes - but the conditions were so rigorous, and the amount offered so pathetic, that I decided it was not a good idea. Any clothes we no longer need, but which remain in good condition can go to the CS.
So on the whole, if things can be useful to someone else, then Charity Shops are my preferred destination for them. That way four groups benefit - we get the space, others get items they want at a fair price, the charities make some money, and the binman has less to put into landfill.

And could somebody please tell me how Ross and Demelza managed to make all that money selling a rug, a chair and a few other bits off the back of their cart on Sunday evening?

Do you sell stuff on for money? or give it to CS - or do you use sites like Streetlife and Freecycle to pass items directly to people who can use them?


  1. We used Zapper to get rid of books and CDs. We made about £60 which was good. You are right - it was bizzare what they accepted and what was rejected. I hate selling at car boots. I find it soul destroying and usually I clear about £10 - just not worth it. People haggling you down from 50p does my head in. I don't suppose I shall ever be rich!

  2. I use Freecycle a lot...but with care. I dot ask anyone in the house, so things are put in the garage ready for collection. You meet some interesting people! I recently got rid of some old garden tools which were taken by a delightful girl starting an organic garden business.
    Never heard of Ziffit, but will have a look. Ebay, too complicated. CS we have one that will come and collect which makes life easy.
    Well done for all your decluttering!

    1. That is a very good tip about Freecycle & the garage. Thankyou! CS which collect are good too.

  3. We gift aid more technical books to an Oxfam bookshop in a nearby university town.

    Our daughter's university theology books have been quietly added to the library at our church.

    Have you come across LibraryThing, very good for cataloging one's own books and seeing who has similar tastes. I need to update mine,especially to record all the knitting books my husband bought me from charity shops.

    1. I used to use the Hospice Charity Bookshop in Leicester near the university, for 'technical' stuff. Will check out LibraryThing - thank you!

  4. Great post and one after my own heart.
    I have the same dilemmas.
    After many years of collecting,(hoarding) and transporting to the US from UK when I emigrated, I have many unusual unique items. I sell on eBay, its really not hard and they offer 50 free listing a month. I do a 30 day buy it now listing and it seems to work well. Some things sell quickly, others not. Its funny lots of things go back to the UK even though postage is high.
    Recently I sold my wedding cake topper from the seventies, in perfect boxed condition, to a girl from the UK who wanted it for her parents 40th wedding anniversary, apparently it was identical to the one they originally had on their cake, she sent me a picture and sure enough it was!
    Just yesterday I sold a childs soap pump dispenser, never used, given to my son in eighties. Someone had one as a child and it was lost in a move, he was so delighted to find it and wrote twice to tell me so.
    We have garage sales here in the US, but I feel about those as you do about car boots. Too much effort for almost no return.
    I am currently taking a couple of bags a week to our local Goodwill store, just regular everyday things and unwanted clothes.
    We have a book store where we can sell books, DVD's and CD's, they pay only pennies on the dollar but at least someone else gets to enjoy them.
    Best wishes to you, I enjoy your blog.Pam in TX.

    1. How lovely that your 'retro' items are finding new homes.Thanks for your comments, Pam

  5. We use eBay and preloved to sell things and CS for anything else. Never heard of soffit, will have to investigate.

  6. I usually donate to the thrift shops, but the local library might accept your donations of books, too. Our local library holds periodic book sales with the donated books and it raises some extra money to fund their activities.

    1. I have never seen donated books in British libraries, although they do sell off their own old stock.

  7. I usually just give to the charity shops. We have done car boots and the last one we did saw us £3 in profit (it's just not worth it) I've also used freecycle. I will have to look up Ziffit.


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