Breakups can sometimes feel like the end of the world. For many, the first step in getting over your ex is to get rid of every item that reminds you of the other person.
But rather than toss these items in the garbage, why not make the best out of a bad situation — and make a little cash at the same time?
Not only could selling old gifts and clothes allow you to purge negative memories and bittersweet reminders, but it would also give these items a second life and prevent waste. While that tiny locket or stuffed lion may bring you unbearable pain, it could bring someone else joy.
How could you profit from the detritus of past relationships? First, we have to ask one question.
Is It OK to Sell Your Ex’s Stuff?
“It’s always important to get rid of your ex’s stuff because if you’ve got it hanging around, you’re still psychologically clinging onto the past,” psychologist Dr. Cheryl Fraser told The Huffington Post.
“By getting rid of it, you create space for now, either for the relationship you’re currently in, or to get into another relationship without hanging onto what used to be.”
So you’re ready to get rid of those old gifts and the stuff they left at your place — but can you sell it?
While some people are inherently opposed to the idea, others think differently, depending on the item in question and the nature of the relationship. It also depends what it is — is it your ex’s PlayStation? A necklace they gave you last Christmas? An old T-shirt you sleep in?
Consider any legal repercussions. Is the item very valuable? Does it belong to you or your ex? Do you own the item jointly, which would entitle your ex to part of the proceeds?
If items actually belong to your ex or to you both, you should check in with them first to see if they want anything back or have any preference as to what you do with it.
As Lifehacker Australia writer Chris Jager points out, “Once you sell something for money, it’s difficult to argue that it was worthless clutter that you wanted to get rid of.”
OK, so you’ve checked in with your ex and they don’t want anything back. What can you do?
1. Sell Your Stuff Online
The internet offers more than one way to cash in on a broken heart.
For example, after Kelsey Maxwell divorced her husband of almost a decade, she sold her old wedding set online and made enough money to buy tickets to a Royals’ World Series game. “When people ask me how much I spent on those baseball tickets,” she explained, “I like to tell them ‘eight years of my life.’”
While sites like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon offer plenty of opportunities for selling goods, some sites cater specifically to the post-breakup market.
For example, on Never Liked It Anyway, which calls itself “the eBay for Break Ups,” the newly single can sell their items to supportive community members — as long as they share their story first.
“It’s cathartic commerce!” CEO Bella Acton explained in an email. “Our sellers have to say what they’re selling, why they’re selling it and their ‘Bounce Back Plan’” — how they’ll use their earnings to “feel fabulous again.”
Acton’s inspiration for the company came after a particularly bad breakup. “[After we broke up,] I started thinking about all these other things I had that I didn’t want any more […] I started joking about a site that would let you offload your breakup baggage – I wanted to make it playful and positive and warm.”
Unlike eBay, which charges users to list certain items and limits the amount of time listings stay live, Never Liked It Anyway lets users post their unwanted jewelry or stuffed animals for free and for however long they want. Once an item sells, the site takes 6% of the listing price, as opposed to eBay’s 10% fee (up to a total of $750) plus PayPal fees.
2. Use an App to Sell Your Stuff
If online selling doesn’t seem convenient enough, grab your phone — there’s an app for that.
Some of these apps let you sell directly to other users, while others buy your items and handle reselling themselves. For most, you’ll just need to snap a photo, upload it to a listing and wait for the offers to roll in. It’s as easy as one-two-sold!
3. Host a Massive Post-Breakup Yard Sale
What better way to get rid of your ex’s trash than by turning it into someone else’s treasure?
While selling your items online may be easier and helps you reach more potential buyers, selling your goods at a yard sale can be much more immediate. A table filled with old necklaces and pen sets could sell in a single day at a yard sale, whereas it may take a few weeks online.
Physically handing your old keepsakes to another person also gives you some emotional satisfaction that shipping it off into the great unknown doesn’t offer.
Two months after author and teacher Sara Schmidt and her boyfriend of seven years broke up, he called to see if he could pick up some of his stuff.
“He ended up just taking a reclining chair and a few other things and said he didn’t want the rest,” she explained. “I had a big garage sale and sold his things. There wasn’t anything really worth a lot of money, but I made about $200.”
4. Repurpose and Sell It
Maybe you acquired a collection of clothing that you no longer have any interest in wearing now that the relationship is over.
If you can’t find anyone to buy it in its current form, why not try fashioning it into something new? Rip up the memories that old sweatshirt holds and sew it into something worth having, like a quilt or a rug.
5. Take the Items to a Pawn or Consignment Shop
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of organizing a yard sale or creating online ads, you can always cash in your goods the old-fashioned way: by going to a consignment shop.
Many consignment and pawn shops will allow you to exchange your goods for cash right at the counter. Though you may not get much, something is better than nothing, and this is the quickest method for earning money from something that’s sucking up all of your emotional energy by simply existing in your home.
6. Donate It for a Tax Deduction
If you can’t bring yourself to sell the items, or you don’t want to have to sort through the pile (and the memories), consider donating items to a local nonprofit organization or charity-run thrift store.
Clothing, shoes, books, electronics and other items in good, working, usable condition can go to new homes where they’ll be valued, a charitable organization will earn some funds, and you’ll be able to deduct the items’ value from your taxes next year. Win-win!
Your Turn: Have you sold any of your ex’s stuff? If so, what did you sell and what did you do with the cash?
Disclosure: What would Abe do? Probably pat us on the back for placing affiliate links in this post. Thanks for helping us fill The Penny Hoarder’s beer fridge!
Tyler Vendetti is a recent college graduate who hopes to win the lottery and lead a carefree life, or if that doesn’t pan out, work in television. When she’s not traversing the world or liking cat pictures on Facebook, Tyler can be found on Twitter @HeyThereFuture. You can also reach her via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you feel so inclined.