Clear clutter

Why I don’t sell my stuff … and you shouldn’t either

Why I don't sell my stuff and you shouldn't either. Decluttering advice. Image of swing tags marked donate, free, hand down, giveaway.

I have decluttered thousands of items from my home over the last few years. I can count the number of items I sold on one hand. Selling things is not my go-to method of getting rid of my excess stuff and I don’t think it should be yours either.

When I started decluttering, the first thing to go was my Nintendo Wii. It had been sitting there, still in its box from when we’d moved into the house ­- two years ago! I loved that Wii; I managed to complete an entire 12-week fitness programme on that thing (something I’d never done before and haven’t managed since). But my life had changed, so it just sat there.

Just because I didn’t use it, didn’t mean I didn’t think about it. I’d catch a glimpse of the box under the coffee table and feel guilty – what a waste.

I must set that up.”

Ick, I can’t be bothered with setting that up. All those cords.”

Hmm, I should sell it. I’m never going to use it now, I can get some of the money back.”

Right, I’m going to sell it. Better set it up to check it’s all there.”

Well, if I can set it up, I might as well keep it. If it’s set up, I’ll use it.”

Ick, I can’t be bothering setting that up now, all those cords. I’ll do it later.”

Sound familiar?

On 1 June 2015 I decided I was going to get serious about decluttering. I was playing the 30-Day Minimalism Game. I chose the Wii as the first thing to go because I wanted to stop feeling guilty about it. I listed it for free on a local Facebook group. It was gone by the end of the day.

I got a huge response to the post. People offered me money for it. I briefly questioned if giving it away and foregoing cash was the right decision, but I stuck to my plan. As I continued to declutter, the value of that decision not to sell the Wii (or anything else) was reaffirmed.

Three practical reasons not to sell your stuff

If you want to declutter, there are three practical reasons why you shouldn’t sell your excess stuff:

  1. Selling your stuff is a momentum killer
    Yay, you’ve decided to get rid of a bunch of stuff. It feels great … and then it sits there while you get around to listing it … and then it sits there until it eventually sells. You don’t see the benefits of your decluttering for weeks or months. Compare that to putting your stuff on the kerbside with a “free” sign, or driving it off to a donation centre. Instant results, and in turn further motivation to continue.
  2. Selling your stuff is more work
    You’ve gone through your stuff once already, do you really want to go through it again to list it for sale, and then again to transact with purchasers? Given that this is stuff you’ve already identified as no longer adding value to your life, why waste any more energy on it? Move on. Direct that energy to something that does add value to your life.
  3. Selling you stuff creates drama
    When people are paying for something, they have expectations, and not always reasonable ones! There are the time wasters, nit pickers, people who treat $20 transactions like they are buying an Old Master. Sure, most people are great most of the time, but do you want to risk it?

One fundamental reason you shouldn’t sell your stuff

If you are really serious about making a change – there’s another reason you I don’t recommend that you sell your stuff. It’s about mindset.

The problem with selling your stuff is that in doing so you adopt the mindset that your excess stuff is money, just currently in a different form. As long as you associate getting rid of excess stuff with wasting money, its going to hamstring your decluttering. No one likes to deliberately waste money. That’s why, if you want to make a real change, you need to flip your thinking and adopt a new mindset.

You waste your money when you buy an item, not when you get rid of it

This shift in mindset is life-changing. It has allowed me to let go of thousands of items with ease. But the value of this mindset doesn’t stop at decluttering. The real power of flipping your thinking like this is that it makes you more intentional in your purchases.

If you look at a pile of your excess stuff and think, “What a waste of money”, then you need to start bringing that thinking into every purchase that you make. This is when waste is created, at the time of purchase.

Adopting this mindset will get you further along the path to minimalism and financial freedom than getting $500 for your excess stuff. Give it a try.

Does not wanting to waste money prevent you from getting rid of stuff?

Still set on selling your stuff? Check out my post on how to sell your stuff without losing your mind.

Why I don't sell my stuff and you shouldn't either. Decluttering advice. Swing tags marked donate, free, hand down and give away.


  • Midlands Minimalist
    September 2, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Such a sensible approach, Amy! In the past, I sold things on eBay, but it’s only the high sales value items that are worth the effort. Otherwise, it’s so much better to let things go. After all, you’ve already paid with your time, your attention and your energy in keeping this stuff. As the Disney song goes: Let it Go!!

  • Jeffrey Pillow
    September 5, 2017 at 1:16 am

    I’m the same way. I sold one item, a Keurig, and after that, said never again. It was far more time consuming than I thought possible. Ever since, I switched to donating all items to charity, preferably to homes for abused women starting a new life, refugee organizations, homeless veteran groups, and lastly, Goodwill. I even found out Nike has a recycled shoe program for old worn out shoes. They use the old shoes to make playground areas globally.

  • eemusings
    October 21, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    It depends … but in lots of cases I prefer to give stuff away 🙂 Recently gave away a couple of very old appliances as I couldn’t be bothered going through the hassle of listing etc and we well and truly got good value out of them. Donating them was a way to pay it forward, people are grateful for free and I felt really good after that. But I sold a dog collar that was too big for our dog (he wasn’t going to grow into it) so that it wasn’t a total loss.

  • Amy @ More Time Than Money
    October 22, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Sounds like you know what is worth your time and what isn’t.

    • andherewelivegmailcom
      February 27, 2018 at 10:17 am

      I’m so happy someone else out there feels this way. My frugal side has been unhappy with the 20 plus boxes and bags that I have donated while decluttering. But it just felt so good and freeing to be done with them. Also I’d add decision exhaustion to a reason to simply give things away. It’s tiring enough to decide to keep or toss things. Selling adds another 5 decisions or more to each item.

      I also really like to your comment about equating stuff with money and therefore giving it more value.

  • […] list it, cluttering up your home and life for longer than necessary. If you’re on the fence, this post by Amy of More Time than Money will give you lots to think […]

  • Astrid
    April 20, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    So true!
    I’ve let the money part be such a big moral road block in decluttering. I’ve done everything from listing online to setting up at fleamarkets. Every time the profit barely covered expenses. And it never changed, not when I had amazing items, nor when they were the dregs of what was left.
    Once I’d done that in different settings, I came to the conclusion that selling second hand goods just wasn’t a good business plan, unless you make it your business, and I definitely didn’t want to do that!
    Now I take everything to the charity store. I am happy with the thought that someone, somewhere will pay a small amount for it, what they can afford to get a good item.
    I now only sell clothes from a high end label online. I try to talk myself out of it as much as possible, because selling is always a lot of work! I just get discouraged when I think about how many steps are involved in recouping some money from stuff I can’t or won’t use anymore!
    More and more, I’m just letting it go. If it’s a high end item, I’ll still try to let it go, because like you said: once the decision is made to get it out of my life, I really want it out of my life NOW.
    Thanks for a fantastic blog post. I love the line: “You waste your money when you buy an item, not when you get rid of it.” That’s the reason for all that comes after.
    Kind regards.

  • Stasia's Studio
    September 16, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I needed this advice so much. I have been a demonstrator for a stamping company for over 16 years. I’ve sold a lot of my retired items, but still have boxes of stuff. Three of my customers left me more boxes. I could open a store with the amount of stamps, paper, punches, etc. that I’ve accumulated. The extra boxes line the walls of my garage. I’ve had sales at my house; gave around 20 banker boxes away and still my shelves are full. I’ve tried to sell on Etsy, but that is an effort with one sale. I have plans to sell some items at a couple of scrapbook crops. When those opportunities are finished, I think I must just give the stuff away. I have couple of teacher friends who take anything I give them.
    I was trying to get some money for all the beautiful things that my friends and I have paid for. After reading this article and the comments, I’ve come to realize the burden of the clutter is not worth it; I’m constantly overwhelmed in my physical space and in the wonder of how to get rid of it, which is time consuming.
    Thanks for sharing the article and for the encouraging comments.

    • Amy @ More Time Than Money
      September 16, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      So glad to help. I hope the sales go well and I like your plan to then giveaway what’s left. You will be free of the clutter and all those things will be out there being used.

  • Amanda Browne
    November 10, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I sell my stuff because I desperately need the money. My husband is a gambler and sometimes need is a higher priority than morals.

  • Angela
    June 4, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    You have already wasted your money made so much sense to me. It actually put into words how I feel. Although some items have been worth every penny I paid and more but now I no longer need them. The worst items have always been those I bought in a sale or for a bargain price like half price fabric and boxes of bargain threads from the charity shop or car boot sales. And I‘ve come to the conclusion over the past few years too that giving away is easier and doesn’t hurt at all. I did sell a few items like a very expensive riser, recliner chair my husband no longer needs as he is well now, but we had some very questionable people come to the house to view and offer us a pittance. With some, I got defensive and decided I’d rather give it away than sell it to them so that told me how little the money meant to me. It was more that I wanted it to go to a good home where someone needed it. It did in the end. I’ve even stopped Freecycling as I don’t want all those people coming to my house. It feels an invasion. I just take it to the charity shop now or call them and get them to come and collect it, if it’s big stuff. It’s such a relief to know there are others out there that feel the same way and I’m not being daft.


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