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Spring Cleaning: You’re Not Using That Crap Anyway

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Moving sucks. Moving to a better apartment is always great, but the process is usually a huge pain in the ass. Pretty much the only other good thing about it is that you usually end up finding a bunch of shit you forgot you even had. Sometimes this works out great, like you find an awesome LED-equipped Frisbee on the top shelf in your closet and now you can revive your idea of starting a  late-night Ultimate league. (Just kidding, that’s lame.) Most of the time though, you just find stuff you were too scared to throw away because there was an off chance that you might one day use it again. So you know what, even if you’re not moving anytime soon maybe you should throw some of that crap away. Here’s how to prioritize your spring cleaning/pre-move liquidation sale which will hopefully result in less useless crap and more cash in your pocket.

Step 1. Start with the Obvious: If you’re moving, you really ought to figure out if that giant faux-suede couch you’ve got will fit in your new place. If you’re not moving, perhaps you really ought to figure out what that giant faux-suede couch is doing in your current place.

Kitchenware is another easy place to clean out. Do you own plastic plates? Why? Put those in the “To Get Rid Of” Box. Is there more than one foreman grill in your apartment? Again: why? “Because one is for hamburgers,” is not an acceptable answer here. In fact, that’s never an acceptable answer.

And the closet! So much crap in there you’re not using. This is a tricky area though because everyone has a threshold for fashion. Some people can throw on jeans they haven’t worn in 3 years and pull it off. Me, on the other hand, I’m pretty certain that if it’s not some kind of suit (dress suit, swim suit, or snow suit) and I haven’t worn it in 9 months I’m probably not going to wear it ever again. This part takes a lot of willpower though because I get really attached to nice shirts sometimes and I usually end up getting distracted by all the novelty items I have from Halloweens and Bay-to-Breakers passed. So I just throw those away and feel OK with myself.

Step 2. Dig Deeper: Here’s where you start looking through drawers and cabinets and under the bed and stuff. I know for a fact that the first digital camera and the first iPod I ever owned are both in a shoebox packed away somewhere in my apartment. Why do I still own these things? They will literally never turn on again and it’s not like I even lost any pictures or music when they died. This is exactly like the time I replaced the CD player in the car I had in High School. That thing just flat out wouldn’t play CDs, so I bought a new one and installed it myself. I also decided I would keep the old one around in my parents’ basement. What? Did I think I was going to purchase another 1998 Dodge Neon Coupe later on in life and might need a backup?

Step 3. No, Seriously, Get Rid of That: Have a TV you never watch because you canceled the cable long ago? An old computer that still runs just fine, but you never use? A bike you never ride? These are all major things that are hard to let go of, but could potentially still hold value to someone else. At some point you’ve got to be honest with yourself do you really want that thing around or would you rather have the money?

Step 4. Divide and Conquer: OK, so now you’ve got a list or pile or wheelbarrow full of stuff you are most certainly getting rid of. So now you’ve got three basic options of what to do with it:

  1. Sell it
  2. Sell it for less money
  3. Throw it away Recycle/Donate it

Personally, I think your best bet with well-loved sports or electronic equipment is just listing it on Craigslist. This is mostly because I’m lazy and eBay kind of seems like a huge pain in the ass. Especially if you have to ship like a 30″ TV or an old bike. I’ve heard great stories of girls hocking clothes and old jewelry on eBay though, and maybe those old records you stole from your Dad might fetch a few more dollars from some rabid online collector who lives in a germ-free bubble and won’t go to a real-world record store. Basically, you’ll want to figure if you want to deal with the post office or people coming by your apartment to ask you weird questions about your old ottoman.

Clothes, on the other hand, are the easiest thing to sell especially in New York and San Francisco where there is no shortage of thrift stores and consignment shops. Unless you’ve got designer something-or-other and you know it will fetch a handsome price on eBay, just take a big hamper full of stuff to whichever one looks the classiest and let them pick through it. Whatever they don’t take, you try to unload at the next cheesiest place. Repeat until you find yourself in front of a Goodwill holding nothing but that sweater you’ve been wearing to every ugly sweater party since 2004.

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Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew is an East Coast transplant from Virginia hamming it up in San Francisco without any intention of leaving. Having worked every typical job from Bike Shop Employee to Bartender to Ad Agency Hotshot, to Dotcom Layoff he now busts his ass covering the "weird things to do" beat for gracious local audiences at and rallies the Western Addy/Lower Haight/Panhandle neighborhoods into action at His work was published in a real, paper magazine one time. One day he might even figure out how to make money from it.