Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trash to Treasure

I will admit, I'm not exactly the poster child for eco-friendly.  I take 30 minute showers, I run the water when I brush my teeth, I didn't use eco-friendly paint in our apartment, and I only recycle my water bottle if there is a recycling bin within walking distance.  I love the Earth and I'm trying to live more greenly, but it's small steps for me.  (Small is better than none right?)  However, the one thing I absolutely cannot tolerate is people just throwing away their stuff.  It's one of my biggest pet peeves in the world.  I can't stand driving past apartments and seeing couches, bikes, and tables stuffed into the dumpster.  I hate driving through neighborhoods and seeing people throwing away furniture, TVs, sports equipment, etc.  Let me be clear: I understand people wanting to get rid of their things, even if they're in perfectly good shape.  Our tastes change, we get new things, families grow, we change the color scheme of our house.  Sometimes we just don't like things we once did.  I toooootally get that.  But what I don't understand is people who just throw these things away to forever sit in a landfill.  Haven't you ever heard of donating to Goodwill?  Or how about dropping your stuff off at Salvation Army?  Or even could even sell your used things and make money!  And who doesn't want to make a little extra money? 

Growing up, we had garage sales at least once or twice a year.  When I'd outgrow clothes or gotten tired of my pink floral bedding and my brother was over his Power Ranger phase, my parents would put out of garage sale signs and set up shop.  And every time we'd finish, we'd take all the money we bought, and buy it on something our family needed.  It didn't just go into savings or grocery money (booooring) it would go into something fun that we'd all get some enjoyment out of.  So it only natural that as I've gotten older (and realized money doesn't grow on trees) that I've turned to reselling my stuff.

When Matt and I moved into together, we were each coming from 2 bedroom apartments and trying to fit into a 2 bedroom for the both of us.  (I realize this should be enough space for 2 people, but we are slightly out of control with the amount of stuff we have.)  I suggested having a garage sale.  Matt said we didn't have enough stuff.  A Saturday afternoon and what felt like three billion customers later, our garage sale was over.  Grand total...are you sitting down?  $1400!  Yep, you read that right, we made $1400 at our garage sale, just selling stuff that we had planned to take to Goodwill.  Crazy I know.  (And yes, I later told Matt "I told you so.")  Also, just this past weekend, I helped my parents at their garage sale, selling stuff that had been in storage while they were in England.  No furniture, just little knicknacks, books, etc.  Grand total for the afternoon?  $600.  Not bad for stuff they had absolutely not interest in keeping anymore.  However, for those of you still skeptical, thinking you don't have enough stuff or don't have a house to have a garage sale, I encourage you to sell your stuff in smaller ways. I recently cleaned out my closet to free up some space and get rid of things I knew I didn't like anymore.  I was on my way to Goodwill to donate the pile of unwanted clothes, but since I passed a Plato's closet on the way, I thought, why not just see if I'll get any money for this stuff.  I walked out of that store with 43 more dollars than when I walked in.  I drove straight to the nail salon and spent that money on a manicure/pedicure.  Not a bad trade if you ask me.  And lastly, don't underestimate Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.  Matt and I decided to get rid of one of our couches, so I thought I'd post it both places to see if there was any interest.  Within 4 hours of posting it, I had 9 emails and 5 Facebook messages.  We sold it that afternoon and it was loaded up the next weekend.  Hellloooo extra (and easy) cash!

So for all of you out there who think you don't have enough stuff to donate or sell, or think it's too much trouble to have a garage sale or that its takes too much time to post an ad to Craigslist, I say think again.  You never know what you'll get for the stuff you don't want!


Taylor-made Wife said...

I do the exact same thing when it comes to recycling as long as there is a recycle bin close. And I so feel ya on throwing perfectly good things away. Even if you can't make any hard cash on things, you can always write off your donations come tax season. I have never done the Plato's closet thing, but have wanted to try. Im worried that I'd end up spending more in there than what I get back :) I always find a reason that i "need" stuff, when clearly I don't.

Kendall and Brooks said...

I tried to sell some of my stuff to Platos Closet once....they turned me down.