Thursday, September 14, 2023

How to find a new home for your stuff without stressing out

I cleaned and sold on consignment for a friend
Storing stuff seems to be a favorite past time for many American consumers. The shiny fruit is too irresistible. Worse than voluntary acquisition is involuntary inheritance. Don't get me wrong, my family heirlooms are my most treasured items. As a vintage seller, there is nothing I like more than an  antique piece of furniture or a piece of art deco jewelry with a beautiful patina. But as we age, how can we whittle our treasures down to what our heirs want in order to not burden them with a bunch of unwanted junk?

Trash or Treasures?
Recently I was the executor of a dear friends estate. She loved to buy things, and she had developed quite an online ordering addiction. As a vintage seller, it was quite interesting to go through her estate but it was unbelievably overwhelming, even for me! Mixed in with the good was the mess which is never fun to sort through. Fortunately she assigned the right people to deal with her items after she passed and we knocked it out over a series of months and were able to save the treasures and dispose of the rest. Out of respect for her, not to mention I'm personally committed to reducing the waste that goes into a landfill, we were able to divert many things into others hands.

Technology changes fast, equipment obsolete
How can one avoid leaving a disaster area for family before one passes on? Waiting to cull your stash at end of life is not the way to go about doing this right. Graduated gifting is my preferred way of getting rid of things and there are several free sites where one can gift almost anything, even what one would consider to be junk. Joining several local Facebook buy and sell groups is currently the way to move items. Even simpler is to give to a local thrift store. Please consider donating first to the SPCA, salvation army, refugee organization, or church charity.

My Grandmother, a keeper!
Additionally, identify items of historical family significance and find those heirs that are interested in such things and pass them along now so there is no confusion once you have departed. Identifying items of value can be tricky but google has become pretty helpful in such matters. Try googling a few items that you believe to be valuable and see what you can discover. No one wants to accidently donate a valuable piece. You hear about it from time to time. I wonder how much of this is due to panic selling. Overwhelmed by a family members death and just wanting to get rid of all the stuff. One person's trash can indeed be someone else's treasure. I remember as my Grandmother aged she was throwing out the baby with the bathwater. She didn't need all this stuff any more. I remember grabbing sterling silver out of the items she had set aside for a garage sale.

Country cute, not worth the energy or time
The key to selling is to gradually do it and not try to get rid of everything in a weekend out of desperation. Chip away at your stash and make progress. I would recommend that you set aside anything that you really treasure or believe is valuable and start with the "junk and excess stuff".

If you believe you have a somewhat valuable item that could bring you some revenue, by all means, try to sell it. I don't sell anything for less than $15, it's just not worth the time and energy unless your are desperate to pay the light bill! Facebook Marketplace is the easiest place to list and sell right in your own community. The speed of listing has all but taken over selling from Craigslist (which still is a viable option). You can ship through Facebook but that's another complication you don't need initially.

Mirror's perfect for FB Marketplace
Listing on Marketplace is somewhat of an art. Like anything that catches on, scammers target inexperienced listers. If your list an item that is of significant value, a scammer will hit you up seconds after you list. Before messaging anyone back, check their profile to see how old their account is. An account created yesterday with a top models photo is a dead giveaway that it's a scam. Accounts with no followers are dead giveaways as being fake. Do not ever, ever, ever, under any circumstance give out your cell number to anyone that asks! They will steal your Facebook account or sell your phone number to other scammers. If a buyer can only find your meet up spot or house by calling your cell number, then they have no business buying an item through Facebook. Ignore, report and block any account that appears to be fake as a scam and move on. Price items higher than your bottom line price because rarely does anyone pay full price on Marketplace.

Seek expert advise for tricky collections.
If you don't have time to research or sell things, look for a friend of family member that is a savvy seller that can help for a fee. Often it's a matter of trying to determine what has value and what doesn't so you can actually take the first step to dispose of items. For your sanity, it just might be worth paying someone to help you! If you have a really really valuable collection you will need a reliable second opinion. I recommend you only discuss your collection with someone that is an expert or is a close friend or family member. Sadly there are scammers waiting to take advantage.

It's not acceptable to buy more stuff to replace what you are gifting or selling. The habit of acquiring needs to come to an end in for your to make progress! Picking up free stuff that you really don't need, has to be halted. Move your life forward to be a considerate consumer, purchasing only what you NEED to live on, helping to save the environment from industrial pollution created from the manufacture of new goods.

I hope this helps to get you started. Set a goal to identify three items a day to get rid of in an environmentally conscience manner.


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