A later-life move requires making a lot of decisions. How do we deal with the stuff that's left behind? The "stuff" and what to do with it seems to be the number one reason people stay in their homes instead of relocating to smaller, safer and more manageable environments. After our clients have chosen what to move forward with them, they often want to give things to children and grandchildren. We have packed boxes for the kids and arranged to have furniture shipped, all over the country. I often recommend that clients ask their children what they would like to have before we go to the trouble and expense of packing and shipping things they don't want. Some clients have done their homework and arranged for an estate sale. Most have merely wondered about estate sales, auctions and donations. Many people think their stuff will bring a lot of money but times change and the dining room buffet, table and china cabinet that cost several thousand dollars (and that you've used for 40 years) may end up selling for a few hundred dollars. We've been in business long enough now to recognize who to recommend for the sale based on the kind and amount of items to be sold.
Often, an estate sale is not the best way to dispose of personal property. The location of the home and the time available to prepare for a sale may make it impossible but great alternatives exist. Consider an auction. Our contacts will bring the truck, tubs and people needed to take things they believe their clients will buy. They keep a percentage and you get a check. If you want to donate some of your items we list them and give you the fair market value of each item for your taxes. It helps to know the rules and regulations for the local charities. Some will not come into the home, some will not take mattresses. Some need a lot more information than others. Sometimes we find an item so unusual and perhaps valuable that we refer it to an appraiser. One of our clients received a check for over $5,000 for a stuffed toy bear (that nearly went to charity) when I suggested that a doll and toy appraiser evaluate it. Often, we order a dumpster for the amount of stuff that has absolutely no value. Many choices for dispersing the property from the family home exist.
My best advice: Start making choices early so that you feel less overwhelmed when you actually do move.
Here are 12 ways to liquidate the stuff you no longer need:
- Give some things to your children and grandchildren (ask them for a list)
- Donate to charity
- Have an estate sale
- Call appraisers for specific items (old toys, silver, art)
- Send items to auction and see what they bring
- Consign furniture and knickknacks with a reseller who has a physical store with lots of foot traffic
- Mid-century furniture call Retro Inferno in Kansas City, MO
- Hire an e-bay reseller
- Sell on Craigslist (be careful)
- For those with Vintage clothes, call Re-Runs in Kansas City, MO
- Call a liquidator (you may have to write a check rather than receive one)
- Call Gerre at Senior Move Services for your free consultation at 913-302-5214