Breaking Free of the Guilt of Giving Things Away

Breaking Free

I’m following the steps outlined in Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’m finding that my thinking about possessions is changing as I go.

While letting things go is pretty easy for me, I am conscious of the value of the items I no longer need or want.

Finding value in my clutter is my biggest challenge.

Over the past few years as we’ve deliberately simplified, we’ve sold everything from outgrown baby clothes and books to electronics and furniture. We’ve gotten clutter out of our home and brought in some extra cash in the process. My frugal side loves bringing in money from selling our unwanted items!

I try to sell items that have a value greater than $5 and have successfully sold quite a few things via Facebook pages and Craigslist in the past couple of years.

However, it seems like we always have a ‘for sale’ pile somewhere in our home. And, our current ‘for sale’ pile has some items that have been in it for at least 6 months.

I donate items quite regularly but sometimes it’s hard to donate things that could potentially be sold and sometimes I feel guilty for just giving ‘valuable’ items to thrift stores.

Marie Kondo writes, ‘To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful or shameful.’ How freeing this statement is for me. 

One of my biggest takeaways from ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ has been breaking free of my guilt of giving away ‘valuable’ things.

And, as an avid thrifter, I am thankful that people donate nice, ‘valuable’ things (like my boys’ Georgia jerseys) so we can benefit from purchasing them and support a charity in the process.

Within in the past year, I’ve thrifted a smocked dress and a pair of Matilda Jane pants for Cecilia, a set of Duplos for my kids, a Marmot pullover for me and a Camelbak bottle, paying no more than $2 for any of those items.

My mindset has shifted from feeling guilty to being excited that someone is going to find our former possessions in a thrift store, find value in them and get a thrill from thrifting.

This change in thinking is getting things out of my house much faster and it’s so much easier than taking pictures, posting items for sell, storing them until they sell and arranging to meet up with a buyer once someone is interested.

Instead, I load items into bags and boxes, place them in my car and drop them off at The Salvation Army at my convenience.

During this season of life with 3 small children, it’s so much easier to donate. Yes, the extra money is nice when we do sell things but since we’re debt free (except our home) and living comfortably within our budget, it’s not necessary for us to sell everything that has some value.

Do you ever feel guilty about donating ‘valuable’ things? 

*In full honesty, I probably will still *try* to sell items that have a value of $10 plus but if they don’t sell within a week or two, I’ll just give to a friend or donate!

Related Posts:

Beginning Our KonMari Journey

First Week of KonMari

responses to “Breaking Free of the Guilt of Giving Things Away” 18

  1. I recently did a "final pass" of our house (mostly toys and such) before our new baby arrives this spring. I put anything I valued at $10 or more for sale on a local Christian homeschool buy/sell/trade site. My rules were that I listed it the day I decluttered it, people had to come to my home to purchase items, and things that had not sold within a week would be donated. All of that clutter is gone now and it's so freeing! In the future, I think that even when I choose to list items for sale, I will keep the rule about storing it no longer than a week before letting it go to the thrift store!

  2. This is good. I am guilty of trying to sell all our clutter resulting in piles of stuff in certain rooms. Some does sell for a good profit but not everything. I've been in the habit of having a yard sale each spring(and we live in a great yard sale neighborhood) but as I've been decluttering this winter while preparing for baby's arrival, I'm not finding that much to make a yard sale worthwhile. So I'm thinking that I will donate and/or Freecycle most of it and only sell those things that really are worth the time and effort.

    As an avid thrifter myself, I can relate to the joy of finding something wonderful for cheap so why wouldn't I want someone else to get that same joy from items I have?

    1. I love the idea of having a yard sale and have had a couple too but they've just not been worth storing all the stuff for weeks/months to then invest time to prepare and have the sale and then and make very little money. Donating is so much easier! And, isn't it fun to find the good stuff while thrifting?!

  3. I needed this today!! I have quite a few bigger baby items I’ve tried to sell with no success. A friend down the street takes stuff, frequently, to a part of the city with real everyday needs. Instead of trying to sell them and taking up room in our home, I’m just going to give them to her. Like you, we are living well within our budget and have no debt. Yes, the money would be nice but I know my items will be loved and used and are needed by others. As always, your posts are so helpful to me!!!

  4. I happily donate all items I don't need. If it has a value of $50 I will aim to sell it often, though not always. I figure we are incredibly blessed in our lives. We are far from rich, we live a modest life but we have a warm and comfortable home, (well we are renovating, but by choice to get rid of our mortgage.) clean and comfortable cloths to wear, our children have some beautiful toys they treasure, go to a lovely school, and we have plenty of good food in the cupboards.

    The thrift shops are charity owned and they do valuable work in the community for those less fortunate then I. I donate good items so their stores are good and attract the traffic they need, and also to help other people out who are budgeting like we are, or perhaps less fortunate. Imagine the joy of finding beautiful, good quality clothing for your children if you are going through hard times? Or a good quality near new toy to give to your child for their birthday when you thought you might not be able to give anything? That is why I donate good quality things rather then selling. Because we are blessed and its part of the way we can pass it on. We have already spent the money on the item and managed without it so for me its usually an easy decision to donate it. 🙂


    1. Thank You… I needed to read what you wrote. At one time I was a shopaholic and would just hoard new items in bins. When I donated 90% of my new items I felt guilty because I’m ashamed to say it was all new with tags and I felt guilty about the wasted time and money I spent buying all these items but I needed it out of my house to start my “minimalist” journey. I was too ashamed to have a garage sale and let people see how I was wasting our family’s hard earned money and I could not give it away to a relative because of my shame. I felt guilty that I got us into debt with my wasteful and impulsive decisions of constantly having to buy things. While I felt great donating everything a part of me did feel guilty not keeping it and trying to use it. I will never be that wasteful and impulsive person again but I still have a lot of guilt when I think about all the new items I donated. I try to think of it as I made many families happy with my new items but of course the thrifty side of me can’t let go of the guilt. I rescue animals and my time and money could have been better spent. My goal now is to live much more “minimalistic” and watch everything that I bring into my home to make sure that I absolutely love it and will use it because I never want to become that wasteful and impulsive person again. My home was always neat and organized because my hoarding was of new items. I just loved to collect new items in my bins which when I think about it now is the most ridiculous concept ever. My closet looked like a store and I feel really bad that I wasted so much money and the only thing that makes me feel good is that I made many families that are going through hard times very happy. I try to remember that whenever I feel guilty about how wasteful I was at one time in my life. Lots of new make-up that I could not donate but many shoes, clothes, handbags and jewelry was donated and I hope my items gave many people joy.

  5. We have learned that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. God has blessed us SO much, and so freely bestows such bounty upon us daily, it would be a shame for us not to give to others. It takes some time to reach that mindset, though. I think often of the Scripture that tells us to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the "renewing of our minds". The world's way of looking at things finds no logic in the joy of giving. I know how you feel and have often struggled in the past with coming to terms with letting go of things that could bring in some much-needed income. God has taught us that the more we give away, the better it feels, and knowing it is going to those who need it, just far outweighs what few dollars it could have brought in to our home. If we can't find someone or a family, personally, who needs what we are donating, our first go-to charity is the Salvation Army, also. We love what they stand for, and recently we had their truck come out to pick up a huge load of things that we just no longer needed. It blesses me to know that our donations will bless others.

  6. I know EXACTLY how you feel! I have a hard time with this also. In my case, the items I am getting rid of are items a paid a LOT of money for but never really used, or didn't use for long. I don't have the time or desire to sell these items, so if I paid $150 or more for them, I usually have a friend sell them on Ebay for me and we split the profit. But for items I paid less than $150 for, I just give them to a friend or family member. If it's an item that I paid $30-$50 or less for, I just leave it at the DUMP…there is a big section for unwanted items that are not trash, and people are constantly driving there just to pick thru those things. For me, it's easier to just bring it to the dump with my trash and recycling, rather than making a separate trip to the thrift store and wait in line an lug things in. But yes, I don't feel good leaving all these things at the dump that have value to me and I paid for and probably didn't use much, but that's on me–I am happy to donate nice things, I'm just super mad at myself for wasting all that money on things I really didn't need and didn't use much or at all. But it's so fun to give, and usually while I'm at the dump still unloading my trash and recycling, I actually see people find my old treasures and some of them have handfuls of my stuff and huge smiles on their faces for finding nice stuff. That is priceless to me, and reminds me it's all worth it.

    1. It is fun knowing that other people can find our unwanted items useful! Thanks for sharing your perspective, I've been challenged to give even more than I have been instead of *wasting* time trying to sell things!

  7. I feel exactly the same way about donations!! Our home has a perpetual "donate or sell" pile by our back door or in the back of the car. In this stage of life with little kiddos, it's just plain easier for me to simply offload unwanted items, no matter how "valuable" they are to a thrift store. (I frequent the Arc and our local crisis pregnancy center.) I'm frustrated lately because even when I TRY to sell an item that could bring in some cash, it either takes too long and I'm impatient (meanwhile it lays around my home!!), or it just plain doesn't sell. I'll give things a couple weeks for sale and then OP! Out the door it goes. My floor space and peace of mind is much more valuable than however much that item could bring in dollars. 😉

    However, last summer we purged our storage items from when we lived in our tiny apartment. Much of what we were getting rid of was not just nice stuff– it was REALLY nice stuff. I couldn't bring myself to even just drop it off at a thrift store but it was wayyyyy to much to load up on a for-sale site. I prayed about it. Less than a week later, God provided connected us with a family we didn't know who was hosting a garage sale to generate funds for their adoption from China. I was thrilled to drop off all our really nice items to them to go towards their beautifully eternal goal of bringing home a baby girl. <3 So grateful that God is one who orchestrates such sweet stories! 🙂

    Great post Rachel!

    1. How exciting to donate to an adoption fundrasier, knowing that your 'valuable' things are raising money to bring a child home! Trying to sell things does take a lot of time and it's often not worth the time and effort for just a little cash. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, I've been encouraged to be even more generous with the giving of our things through reading these comments!

  8. I needed this! I have a good-sized "garage sale" pile in our basement right now. We participate in a very successful, multi-family sale every year in May. All I have to do is mark it all and drop it off and the rest is taken care of. Th host feeds those who work it and she divides the cost of food out between all participants and takes it from our earnings. It really is a nice thing, "easy" money. However, last year we didn't make as much as previous years. Probably from all of the decluttering I did and then selling online (WAY too much work!). I'm not certain she will host a sale this year as her health isn't the greatest right now (cancer) so I am now feeling inspired to go downstairs and tackle that pile and DONATE it! I'll save some stuff to sell online I'm sure but I think I will have to put a "rule" in place so I don't sit on it forever! Thank you for sharing this!!!

  9. Honestly I would feel guilty donating something that was not of value. A lot of people donate what they should really be throwing away.

  10. Thanks you for this post! I’m through saving things for a garage sale! I’m gathering up the garage sale boxes and taking them to a charity shop. Again thank you for this post, it was exactly what I needed.

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