The Million Dollar Question: How Much is My Stuff Worth?

January 24th, 2018

When cleaning out a home in preparation for a move or an estate sale, I’ve  heard from many of my clients that they “don’t want to just give everything away” if it’s possible to get some money in the process. This makes sense to me.

But the question, “How much is this worth?” is a common one and surprisingly answered with, “What someone is willing to pay.” This often is not a match with what someone thinks the item is worth. The first thing to keep in mind is that what you paid for something has nothing to do with its current value.

Take china as an example.  Many of us think of china as expensive, special and valuable. This is how we were all raised to think. But believe it or not, it no longer has much value at all. This can sometimes be a little heartbreaking to my clients.

But, in some cases, there is a possibility to have some financial rewards. Here are a few tips that will help you plan your approach to downsizing and selling your items.

  1. Do the research. The market for second-hand items and antiques is constantly changing; what was popular yesterday may not be popular today.  The Spruce offers some great articles on how to research the value of things for yourself to see if selling is an option for you.
  2. Check with consignment shops and private galleries. Search online for consignment shops and galleries near you and stop by or call. Introduce yourself to the manager and ask him how their program works. Talk about the things you’d like to sell and decide if this is a viable option. These venues works best for antiques and artwork. This approach can take time, but in some cases, it might be worth it.
  3. Online options. Some items, like fur coats, are best sold on Ebay. Sometimes Craigslist will yield you the most money for things like lawn equipment, while on-line auctions can work best if you have an attic full of things.  You can find resources by calling us, or check out these two websites that sell a variety of home goods on line: AptDeco and Viyet.
  4. Have a garage sale. This can be a lot of work, but if done properly, you could earn enough to make you feel it was worth it, depending on what you’re selling.  Check out these tips from Money Crashers on how to make the best of your sale.
  5. Offer items to friends and family. Often knowing that our valued belongings will have a good home is enough reward. Invite family and friends to stop by and look at the things you can no longer use. They might have a fond memory of using the item and want to take it home. This can be a very rewarding option.

Some key things to remember:

  • Set realistic expectations when it comes to the monetary value of your belongings.
  • Keep your emotional attachment in check. Easier said than done, I know.
  • Past appraisals are not an accurate representation of current value.
  • The more time you have to sell your items, the more successful you will feel.

Downsizing is a big job and a rewarding job. Use these tips to set yourself up for success.You have a lot to look forward to.The selling process will be over before you know it, and you can then experience the joy of moving forward.

Filed Under: Downsizing
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