cash for trash
The Cash for Trash Programme gives you instant cash for your used items.

More and more Singaporeans are selling their unwanted goods and pre-loved items. Aside from recouping a bit of cash, selling stuff clears clutter and helps with organisation; for me, I find it to be very therapeutic. From the moment we are born, we are consumers, constantly wanting, using, and accumulating things. When we buy something, we enjoy a sense of “ownership”.

But do we really own it, or does it own us? When we’re constantly concerned about an object (be it a car, a phone, or our clothes), taking special care to protect, safeguard and maintain it, or having to spend extra hours in the office just to afford it, who really owns whom?

Just about every item has an ongoing cost, but we often don’t think about it. Clothes need to be laundered, phones need to be charged, and even items that don’t require ongoing “maintenance” will require space, and that space (whether you own your home or rent) can be measured in terms of a cost. For example, a person might live comfortably in a smaller home if that person had less stuff occupying space.

With “ownership” comes responsibility, and with all the responsibilities that are already upon us from our families and our jobs, why take on additional responsibility in owning unnecessary things? I’m reminded of this from Jerry Seinfeld, where he describes a home as a “garbage processing centre.” (2:19). The first way to live with less is just to buy fewer things. This is the first “R”, Reduce, in the three “R’s” of Conservation, often the most overlooked and underappreciated. But if you already have lots of things that you don’t use or are no longer in need of, other than regifting them (as Christmas is just around the corner), here are some ways to “recycle” them.  

  1. Sell Items via Online Classifieds

Ebay, Gumtree, Craigslist, and Locanto are all free-to-use online classifieds listings. All platforms allow you to list your item, along with a description and photos, for free. Among them, Ebay is the only one that charges the seller a fee for a successful transaction, as a percentage of the sales price (though the listing itself is free). I’ve bought and sold many things across all the various classifieds platforms and found that each of them has their pros and cons. For example, Gumtree tells you how many page views your item gets, while Craigslist allows for easy reposting, which helps to move your item back to the top of the list where it gets more attention. Ebay can draw international buyers. And Locanto gives the buyer some amount of protection as it does not allow for non-registered users to post.

For baby-related items, you can also post on Baby Marketplace. And if you have branded or designer labels, you might recoup a better price selling through Reebonz.  

  1. Sell Items via Apps

Carousell, Trezo, Duriana, Tompang, Letgo and Shopee make it easy to sell items with just a few clicks from your mobile. These apps also make it easy to chat and exchange information, rather than emailing. Most of these apps have similar interfaces. Carousell has been around the longest (I believe). And most people are familiar with it and already have it on their phones. Hence, it probably has one of the largest user base.

Trezo, on the other hand, is owned by STClassifieds, so using it will give you exposure to both platforms. Letgo and Shopee are relative newcomers to the mobile marketplace. Letgo originated from the US, and Shopee is unique because customers make payment through the app, instead of in person. This discourages buyers from reserving an item and then not turning up to collect it (been there, done that!).  

  1. Sell Locally to Shops

Cash Converters is a good place to sell household items, electronics, DVDs, and other items. They, however, will not buy clothing. They offer instant cash, but in exchange you’ll have to take a huge loss on your item. This is my go-to place if I don’t want to bother with lengthy transactions or the back and forth communication from prospective buyers. If you want to sell used mobile phones, there are a hand full of second-hand dealers all over Singapore, even ones that buy broken phones (such as Taj Electronics).

If you want to sell used furniture that’s still in good condition, you might be able to sell to places like Thrift House Marketing, or have your item auctioned off by Expat Auctions. To get instant cash for your used clothes, the only thing I’m aware of is Veolia’s and Sembcorp’s “Cash for Trash” programme, which you’ll usually see at various Earth Day and Clean and Green events. However, you will only get $0.30 per kilo, which will not even cover your transport fare. Instead, you might want to donate your used clothing.  

  1. Donate your items

You probably already know that you can donate your used clothes, household items, and various bric-a-bracs to New2U Thrift Shop, The Red Cross, and The Salvation Army. Other charitable organisations that you can also donate to include MINDS shop, Blessings in a Bag, and the Metta Welfare Association. What you probably might not know is that you can also bring your used clothes and textiles to any H&M outlet. For many, this is probably the most convenient as there are 9 stores across the island.

To donate furniture or home appliances, The Salvation Army provides collection services. You might also choose to donate a specific item to a needy family through Pass it On, or bring your items to the next Really Really Free Market (RRFM) session, which takes place monthly.

For me, there is a feeling of liberation whenever I let go of something I no longer need; it not only clears up space in my home, but also space in my heart and mind. And that makes it possible to fill my heart and mind with more important things, like people, relationships, and experiences.

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