eBay or Goodwill?

When I started this, I listed the disposal method in order of importance. My thoughts were that the best gain from my old stuff was going to be from eBay. After all, money in the hand is better than none right?


After doing research on eBay for the most recent selling prices on the items that I wanted to get rid of, I found that the amounts were just not worth it. The effort that I would have to go though, plus the time that I would have to devote would ultimately mean that I was working cheap for no reward.

So we took as much as we could to Goodwill.

So far, 10 full size garbage bags of clothes, 2 boxes of computer equipment and a excersize bike. All in good condition or working order.

Why Goodwill instead of eBay?:

eBay: eBay would have taken approximately 20-30 hours of Listing, emailing, boxing and shipping. Assuming that I could get someone interested enough in my old suit jackets, t-shirts and such. Probable return: a few hundred dollars

Goodwill: All over in a single afternoon. I've given away ten bags of itemized clothing, computer items and equipment, all of which good for a deduction off my taxes.

Even if we assume the "value" of the clothing at $1.00 per item we've already managed most of what we would have gotten with eBay – except, instead of a check, we get a deduction.

Realistically, we probably walked away with a couple thousand of dollars in donated items in this trip. If your tax rate is 33%, a thousand dollars of donated items saves you 333.00 off your taxes.

If you add in the saved time that would have been spent boxing, shipping and listing along with other hassles, you can see how this method really added up to a better idea.

There is one important thing to remember when you donate items: You must get a receipt for the items, no exception. The IRS requires receipts for donations, and for items over $500.00, you are only allowed to deduct what the charity intends to get from the item. (turns out that people were deducting junk cars and taking off the full blue book value – no more of that I think)

It’s a good idea to ask the charity what they intend to do with your donation. In my case, it's easy, since I can go right in to Goodwill and look at what similar items sell for.

Of course, I haven’t even added in the intangible benefit of just feeling great to have given something to a great charity. That feeling alone would have been worth it. Maybe if I keep this up long enough, I can clean up a bit of bad Karma while I’m at it.

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