When I moved out of my my apartment in Taipei, I gave away all my things I couldn’t fit into either my suitcase or backpack. Several of my friends, even the beneficiaries, asked why I’d do such a thing. I could have sold them on an online classifieds board and maybe made a couple of hundred dollars.

Here’s why I didn’t:

  1. It worked out terribly for a good friend of mine who did exactly that. It was frustrating and more of a hassle than it was worth.
  2. A lot of my stuff wouldn’t bring in anything near what I paid for it– people are generally hesitant to buy certain things (such as rice cookers, or bread makers) second hand.
  3. The value to my friends of the various things I was getting rid of was more than the value I’d get from selling them.
  4. I really wanted to get rid of everything. By setting up a free give away, adding certain game mechanics to determine who got what and establishing a ground rule that people take what they ask for, I was able to get rid of far, far more stuff than I could have by putting up an add on a classified board. That would have just gotten rid of a few choice items.

In the end, I got rid of my stuff, my friends benefited and it was a fun party. What more could I ask for?