I have inherited a lot of stuff from my parents. It's basically 50 years of collecting various things. Some of the stuff is more valuable than others. Some of the stuff is in better shape than others. Most of the items were probably purchased at garage sales over the years. There is so much stuff in the living and storage spaces it makes it almost impossible to look through. Some stuff probably just needs to be thrown away. I just don't know where to start.
My extended family has suggested a estate sale. They think I should just leave it all where it is, stick a 10 cent sticker on it and just be grateful if I get a couple hundred dollars 10 cents at a time. Then just throw the rest in the trash or give it to Goodwill.
Someone suggested calling in an auction house. But then they tell me they will just throw a bunch of stuff in a box and I'll end up with $5 for box that could possibly work out less than what I'd get at an estate sale, and now I have to pay him a commission too.
Ebay is an option, but it will take forever to photograph and list each item. Then shipping each item. Seems like a slow tedious nightmare.
I don't know what is best. It overwhelms me every time I set foot in the house. I need to get it cleaned out. When family comes to help, they give me conflicting information, ask me why I want to keep things, etc.
Are there options I haven't thought of? Anyone have any experience with this?
It all depends on what the stuff may be worth in aggregate and whether it is worth the time and energy to convert it into money assuming that the items aren't just junk but could be sold for at least a nominal value (often such items can add up to a lot if they were sold piece by piece - I financed a college education cleaning out garages and attics on weekends and selling the stuff at yard sales).
If you aren't pressed for time or working on a deadline I'd start by selling each item of value on ebay or even craig's list for large items with which you don't want to get into shipping.
Do you have any teenage children or rellatives? You can enlist them to do it and split the proceeds with them for their efforts. Young people properly motivated could really benefit from the experience and once they get the process down you'd be surprised how fast they can get rid of this stuff with a little motivation and supervision.
If you don't want to be bothered with the tedious listing process there are places where they will sell your stuff on ebay for a fee - you might look into that.
It is amazing what kind of junk people will buy on ebay - I've sold boat motors and fish finders that didn't even work for unbelievable prices. People will buy things for parts.
As you work through selling stuff it will become easier to root through everything and maybe have a yard sale to speed things up. This is important when you start getting into what you have things like brand name clothing and shoes can be very valuable. I've bought Armani suits at Goodwill for $10.00 that I sold on ebay for $600 - $800. Anything over 50 years old could be an antique and often have value even if rusty, damaged or broken.
I have someone close that could do the eBay work, but what is a reasonable commission to pay them? They currently have an eBay Store.
A challenge for sure. The auction house info is probably correct with regard to values. Most auctions I have info on in the auto parts industry if one gets 25 - 40cents on the dollar that is the high side. More like 10 - 20cents. That is for business inventories, shelving, and equipment placed into bid auctions.
You did not say anything regarding a timeline for how expedient you need to be. That will make a difference. If it were me I would separate all collectibles as collections. Inventory those with descriptors and any date you are able to find. Even if it is a single item collectible then separate it.
Next, I use a method of keep, sell, give away, donate, and toss for separating things when in the old days with inventory at warehouses for auctions. Give away and donate are different in the sense of giving things to relatives, i.e. nephews, nieces, friends, and etc. contrast Goodwill, AmVets, charities, schools, and etc. Always check with churches and organizations like scouting too who have rummage and parking lot sales looking for donations. Check the paper.
Don't be surprised when a friend buys something else if you give them something. Remember donations you get to declare a value and if enough it is a write off for taxes. Be careful what you toss to with regard to environmental practices regarding things like electronics - TV, appliances, and etc. Many do not allow them to be part of normal refuse disposal.
If you are an eBay member you can check the items by category for completed items or type. That selection is on the left side window area near the bottom where choices for categories is offered. A few evenings or more or available days may give good insight. That will tell you in Bold Green what an item sold for and in Bold Red the price it was, but it did not sell, for closed items in the recent few weeks or so. That will give you an idea of what the market is on eBay and a general idea for value(s).
A decision must be made what the priority is = money or liquidate. If money then list at eBay for money and be patient. If liquidate undercut with the knowledge you gain from the review of completed items and what items are listed at today. Price to sell. Remember everything is profit unless there are estate taxes involved, which usually there are not unless of immense value for an estate.
If you haven't done it before the hardest part is like you said the pictures, figuring out shipping weight by item or small lots with packaging/boxes, and then be sure to check the listing for buyer pays shipping. Only offer to pay for shipping on items that you have a real high dollar sale on and not a consequence. That is an added inducement if priced to liquidate at a high enough price - FREE shipping.
Look into Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping. Most allow up to 70lbs for the large shipping box at a set rate nation wide. Sometimes that is too high and sometimes it is a deal. You have to play with it or just make it as said buyer pays shipping. Don't ship internationally as their are duties and Value Added Taxes involved (VAT). Complicates stuff a lot.
The items that are not collectibles I would have a yard/garage sale. Advertise it with a two step sale. First a sale by lots only on a Saturday and then pick and choose on a Sunday for single or group items too. Or, do those by different weekends. That way you move more items more quickly if luck is on your side. I have had yard sales and a swap meet marketer offered me a price for everything. He was there before the advertised time of the sale. All I did was collect the money and help carry stuff to his trailer. (Same guy twice).
The buyers who are looking for inventory will check out the lot sale. The buyers looking for a deal with impulse purchasing or deal items (browsers and treasure hunters) will be there on that day. The only concern with that is the local and such. I live in a medium size city that has a weekend swap meet year round and the same in four nearby town/cities. Good amount of lookers for inventories. So, advertise in border cities too. I have had yard sales two or three weekends apart too on both Sat and Sun. That way you get the people who couldn't come because of an activity - kids baseball, fishing, picnic, and etc.
No matter just have fun
I had a similar situation regarding my Aunt, an Estate Sell is the best way to go, they will let you what is of value and if not they will help you get rid of everything or sell it. They do give options and make things easier.
Estate sale = bottom of the barrel prices and people will arrive looking for dirt cheap deals.
1. Ebay, time and patience. There are similar sites that specialize in certain things too.
2. Open house sale. Advertise in style with flyers. Make clear that its for antiques and collectibles. If for example there are star wars collectibles, advertise for free on star wars boards.
Either way, price from Ebay. Just browse through and price your stuff on the site then paper sticker them for future reference.
I have been doing flea markets for years. For as little as 15.00 depending where it is you can sell tables upon tables of stuff. My first one from someones discard I made 2,000. From then on I was hooked. You can look up flea markets in your area on the internet. GOOD LUCK!
I think you got some great advice! If I may share. If there is stuff that has been collect for 50 years, this is a history treasure! Get a book on antiques. I would contact American Pickers on History Channel. They travel the states looking for history artifacts.
Antique stores are another option.
Universities museums might be an option. I am not sure of the pay.
I live in Mi. Our small business is devoted to history. If you find items that are worth money and want to sell it, please contact me. I am willing to pay for shipping. Also not being rude, there are things folks feel is garbage but it not. I be honest with you if you choose to do business with me. It a lot of work. I won't lie. When dealing with history items, history lovers will pay!
There another option and I can't think. It your decision. I wish you the best!
P.S Sorry for bad grammar. Have a Bless night.
Anything over 20 years old is considered "Vintage" -- and collector's love vintage items. Like myself, I love vintage china, cream/sugar sets, salt/pepper sets, kitchen items, etc.
Etsy.com is very big on vintage items. Check them out, maybe set up an account (it is free to join as a buyer or just for fun in searching, I think it may also be free as a seller) and sell sets of vintage items. You will get good ideas on prices by reviewing the site and also ideas on what is popular.
My suggestion is to keep extended family members out of the whole process. Just my thoughts from experience.
It is often suggested to make 3 piles. 1 is for stuff that is worthwhile, 1 to donate to Goodwill and the last to put in the garbage. Sell the stuff that is worthwhile and give the rest away or throw it in the garbage.
Once you have your piles made it will be less overwhelming. When my FIL died, we were overwhelmed. My husband sold a lot of stuff by the box to friends and then later we had a garage sale. You wouldn't believe what we put in the garbage either. He never threw anything out.
No matter how you do it, it is going to be a lot of work. It is up to you if you want the money or would rather pay someone to deal with it.
As a collector I have seen many estate sales , what you could do is consign items for sale at a local resale shop. Or call to an estate sale rep. They can tell you how to set up and clean. Also just have a garage sale, if you have old paintings save them, if you have old books save them jewelry ,these items can bring in some big cash if valuble ,if you do not know do research on line ,go to your nearest library if you need more search. Do not throw treasures away that could be worth more than a home. Just do some home work on what you have .if you give it away .some one else will get your treasure.thats ok if you do not mind. Also as a quick story a relative died and had many things , he had no will or children, just nieces and nephews, so the family members came in and help themselfs. What was left was books and albums our part of the family took the Albums , what that collection held was jazz he played the Sax . He had some of the first blue notes .and some of sonny Rollin first albums , that collection was worth 10000 dollars we settle for less . Check all things before it to late. I hope this will help you.
"One" of the items I inherited was a vinyl record collection of approximately 6,000 country albums. I've had two collectors look at it and both made purchases. Unfortunately, country albums aren't nearly as collectible as blues and jazz.
Maybe Johnny cash would be in your collection of albums and records they are collectible.
Lots of Johnny Cash in the collection actually. It would just take a really long time to sell 5,000 albums on eBay....but I might have to do that with some of the more collectible ones.
You can sell lots on eBay too. You don't have to sell by item or small group. You can do the whole lot of the whole album collection. eBay is just advertising, a means of stating selling terms, collecting money through Pay Pal, shipping terms, and etc. I look at sport card lots with more than 1,000 cards now and then looking for NHRA cards instead of baseball. You will be surprised. If they can sell a car on eBay you can sell all those albums. The packaging and shipping is the challenge.
Oh, don't forget where you advertise is a consideration too. Advertise that lot of 6,000 albums in country / western magazines may be inexpensive and worth it too. Get it the word out to the people who would consider such a purchase. Some of the magazines I read for hot rods have an advertisement section at the back where people list stuff. Maybe there are those kinds of country / western magazines.
Also, check with museums. Check with the Smithsonian and associated magazines. Maybe someone in Nashville is willing to purchase the albums for a home collection. Or, near you in Austin Texas. Those are two centers for country / western.
It may be best to advertise or market the albums within some kind of trade journal advertising for record stores. Stop by an independent record store to see if one does exist. There are online auction houses too. They are used all the time for estate sales as well as those of industry too. Just search Google. Here is a link I discovered. Not sure how it works http://www.dallasonlineauctioncompany.c … l.cgi?doac
With the albums consider they would be pick and choose or lots. How to do the lots would that many - Artist, year (1940-1949 and etc), type of country genre, and etc. One thing to bear in mind is selling as is. Vinyl albums warp in storage if not stored flat. When that occurs they are useable. A good reason for lots and 'as is'.
Regarding a timeline.....I really don't have one, but there are some things I need to consider. If I don't get it cleaned out, then I can't rent or sell the house. If I continue to own the house, I'll have to pay property taxes on it. Right now the water and electricity are still on and that is a new expense to add to my own.
Separating items into piles is a method I try to use as well...I just have no room to do that right now. They packed every square inch almost. It's also been difficult for me to determine the piles since I couldn't figure out if it's best to do a garage sale or auction, etc. I think what goes in each pile changes with each choice.
Thank you for the eBay info. I am a member and will try to do some research like you mentioned.
I guess my priority right now (it may change as we go along) is not letting all my parents' hard-earned collecting go to waste. It's all I have left of them. It is my inheritance. In a dream world everything will sell effortlessly for a price that amazes me and nothing will be left to have to discard. LOL
I have worked with ebay sellers who have sold stuff for me, and I have sold stuff on ebay for others. I personally am a bit fairer than others in my own opinion, and believe the ebay seller should get 30% and the owner should get 70%, but I am not everyone. I would work to find someone who is willing to work at a rate you think is fair. There are many ebay sellers out there, so if the first gives you a bad quote, move on to the next one.
Everyone has been so helpful! I knew I could count on you to help!
I failed to mention that even though my parent's house is on a busy street, they have virtually no parking around their house and again I have the problem of how to set everything out to be looked at.
I think you have helped me realize that there is not just ONE answer to this. I'm going to have to handle different parts of it differently. Some of the more collectible things will have to be handled differently than the "butter bowls" and junk drawer stuff.
No, 50/50 is absolutely unfair and many will ask for that, but I know the time and effort it takes to sell on ebay, and I calculate it all into my 30/70 arrangement. I have always been pleased with the people I've dealt with, and rarely get complaints as a seller for others.
On the 30/70 split what is everyone's responsibility usually? For instance, do I clean the item, photograph it, type out the description.......where all they had to do was to list it, monitor the auction for questions, pack and mail the item?
I think you should do some research on specific items. You can probably for the most part tell what is valuable and what isn't. Get some prices from research and then have a true estate sale. Don't just out a price on it to get rid of it. Trust me, if it's worth money, people will pay it. Or another option is pay someone to come in and do it for you, but that could be costly... Depending on the amount of stuff.
My instincts are telling me to do the research and sell the items individually. It just overwhelms me when I think about how much time that is going to take. Although, I don't know why that matters to me. I have no deadlines to meet and I'm not hurting for the money.
The more I talk this out with you guys the more I realize that I'm going to have to go in more than one direction with this. I kept trying to make one decision that was best for all the variants. I don't think I can. I'm going to have to handle some of it like a garage/estate sale and some of it like a collectors auction (eBay or Craiglist for large bulky items). I just don't think I'm going to find the caliber of buyer locally here either for most of dad's collectibles.
I always think that is the smartest option. After all, they are your items, and you know what they are worth. All you need is a simple point and shoot and you can do well yourself. Let me know if you need any more tips or advice and I would be happy to help you.
Thank you so much Kathleen! I really appreciate that!
I used to sell full-time on Ebay, so my husband and I would go to local auctions every weekend, looking for items to buy for resale. We loaded up our basement so full of stuff that it was ridiculous.
When we moved, we just called a local auctioneer who held consignment auctions on a regular basis. He came with his truck and workers, and they completely hauled off everything out of our basement, and put it in his next auction. We didn't have to do a thing, and it got rid of everything. It was worth the percentage he took, since those guys did a LOT of heavy lifting, loading the truck, then unloading it and setting it all up at auction.
Another time we had a garage sale--we sold a lot of things, but still had a lot leftover...just not worth it for us.
We sold a lot on Ebay, too, but it does take a lot more time if you have a lot of items, especially if you don't do it on a regular basis.
There also are people who come in and buy out your entire estate, but I don't know a lot about what they're willing to pay, since they are probably wanting it for resale themselves.
Honestly, these days, with internet access right on your phone, people find out the value of items much more quickly when you have them in a consignment auction, and tend to bid higher than they used to. That's the main reason we have pretty much gotten out of selling on Ebay, because items were selling so high at auctions, that we couldn't make enough profit, lol.
So obviously, since you're the seller in this situation, that would be my recommendation.
Good luck, though, with whatever you do!
Thank you to all for the additional comments and suggestions. It is helping me tremendously.
I just need to do more research. I need to find the right publication(s) to advertise the albums in. So many of the big collectors are after the rare items like old blues and jazz. The country albums aren't as collectible, but I know there is still a market for them. I just need to tap into that.
Same way with the other stuff. I just need to locate the source(s) that puts me in touch with the right folks that would want to purchase these items.
I really believe the bulk of the stuff will have to be relocated to actually be accessible to look it. That's a big undertaking and it's not like I can just have someone come in and point and tell them to load it up. There is so much to do to get it to that point and again, I have no where to put things while I go through the rest.
I will just have to work on it little by little.
Another suggestion if you do have a valuable Item or more ,and you are not so sure of value ,you can send a message with some pictures ! Some Auction houses will appraise free. With the thought that you will Auction your item with them. It doesn't hurt to ask or send a picture .try to send to different ones. It is up to you in the end.
Thank you for all of the help! I'm doing some research!
You have received excellent advice here. I may repeat what others have said but here goes.
First open up a place to work. Go through the house as best you can, and get rid of some large furniture. Craigslist is free and that's what I would use for this purpose. If you can leave the furniture in place and still get a decent picture, that would be your least amount of effort. Take steps to be safe when meeting someone from Craigslist to show the items; hopefully you can have someone come with you.
If you can clear an entire room, that would be best. The dining room is usually easiest. Set up some large folding tables in the center of the room and use these to sort and categorize your stuff. Establish four sets of boxes, Keep, Sell, Donate, Worry about later. Set up a couple of large lined trash bins. Drop by Goodwill often and leave off your donations. Public schools have large paper bins out front and accept donations of magazines, newspapers, and books for recycling. Focus on one task at a time. This is key to making progress.
Be wary of companies who run estate sales. Some will not be up front with you and they will make an unfair profit. Separating items into "lots" is smart in many cases (costume jewelry, stuffed animals, toys, clothes). Be careful not to unknowingly include a collectable. To avoid this, research and knowledge are required; no getting around it.
I could give examples all day long. I am a mixed media mosaic artist and have shopped at thrift stores extensively, looking for items to re-purpose. I gradually gained some expertise in recognizing valuable pieces of table china, figurines and jewelry. Often it's not the prettiest piece that is worth something, either.
Goodwill used to sell jewelry in "lots," a large plastic bag for $5. I used to find valuables mixed in with junk. Remember the big enameled metal flower pins from the Sixties? They became hugely collectable several years ago. They suddenly went from being worth a dollar at a garage sale to $30-$50 each on eBay. The key to establishing worth is the name brand or mark on the bottom or back of an item. Now the thrift shops in Austin are doing such a great job of identifying and pricing all the good stuff I hardly ever find collectibles.
Do you have friends who could help? How about a part-time job for young teenagers who will be out of school for the summer? If you have someone who will take certain items or "lots" and sell on eBay for you, I think a 30-70 split sounds fair. You could be responsible for sorting, identifying and setting aside the items, then they clean, photograph, list and ship.
The easiest way (for me) is to stick to the USPS priority mail flat rate boxes, (this limits you to listing smaller items on eBay). For larger items, consider shipping UPS.
In addition to eBay and Craigslist, you might consider local consignment shops (especially for furniture) and even Etsy (which is for hand-made items but you can also list vintage collectibles).
If you haven't already, set up an eBay account and a PayPal account (easy and free).
Try to avoid being overwhelmed by dividing it up into smaller tasks and focus on one area at a time. I myself would start with the large items because you will clear out space and see progress right away. Then I would address the clothing because that's not likely to contain collectibles. After that, you can focus on collectibles like record albums, books, jewelry, figurines, vases, etc. You may soon reach the point where you can move what's left to your own house for further organizing, and get this house cleared out and ready for sale or rent.
If you have any questions that I can help with, email me, silvahayes (at) gmail.com.
Oh, and . . . keep notes and write a Hub about this.
Another place to get an idea on how much your items can be worth is the message boards on Ebay. There are quite a few seasoned sellers on there that can give you an idea on how much something is currently selling for on and outside of Ebay. Especially if you have something that you have no idea what it is, a piece of artwork that is unsigned or pottery, glass or even old dolls that are unsigned. You'll have to post multiple photos of an item so they can see exactly what you have but it's another source to evaluate the items. They were extremely helpful to me on one occasion a few years back on tracking down an artist and value on a painting that I purchased.
A word to the wise regarding E-Bay....and other things to be aware of.
When you check and compare prices there, you want to be sure that you check what the item SOLD for; and if it sold at all. (You do need to be registered with E-Bay and have an account there to see this information.)
What anyone is asking doesn't count. They can ask for the moon--that doesn't mean they're going to get it.
You see this all the time on the show "Pawn Stars." People come in all the time with, "...but I saw it for $xxx dollars on E-Bay." To which Rick Harrison will reply, "But did it sell for that, or is that just what they were asking?"
There is a world of difference, and in the end, something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
While so many of these 'reality' TV shows are not worth the time it takes to produce them, the ones such as Pawn Stars and American Pickers do have some value from a historical standpoint. You can learn a lot there (more especially from "Pickers,"), about what is/is not collectible/desirable, and what is common vs. what is rare.
Condition is also important. If what you have is a lot of "smalls," (a term you'll see on "Pickers,"), such as antique toys or old bottles, values can range wildly from $10 to thousands. Even those experienced guys take stuff to be appraised if they are unsure.
Many auction houses do have free appraisal days, once a month or so, where you can bring a small selection of your items to them, and have one of their experts give you a suggested value. You might be disappointed, but you might also be pleasantly surprised.
With large items such a furniture, make certain to have it checked out before you do anything. Some items are worth more "as is," and restoring or refinishing can tank the value; with other things, a cleaning-up can help.
Coin collections, for instance, should never, ever be polished up and made all shiny-new.
I feel for you, as I have a LOT of items that were my mothers that I have yet to decide how to dispose of. Some of it will hand down in the family; other stuff I'll sell; a few things might end up in the charity bins. But yes, it will take time, and I don't plan to rush.
If your situation is a matter of selling the house, and having to empty it quickly, then I would suggest getting a storage locker, and moving the items there, to give you time to sort/sell/donate while you get the house ready to sell, and move on with your life on that front.
There is no worse feeling than to quickly get rid of something, only to find out it was worth thousands, that might have paid for your kid's braces or the repair to your car.
I wish you all the best. (Gee--this is long--maybe I should have written a hub! LOL)
Thank you to everyone for the great advice!
The house is very small...roughly 700 square feet I think. However, they have managed to add some storage space adjoining the house and then 3-5 storage buildings. Every space is packed with stuff. We spent tonight trying to clean out one of the bedrooms so that I can begin to place the more valuable items there.
I'll keep you posted.
Hey--I just realized--I referenced a TV show--but those people themselves may be at least some help in off-loading some of your 'treasures.'
Mike and Frank of American Pickers TV show are owners of the store called "Antique Archaeology." They are based in Le Clair, Iowa, and also have an E-Bay store (as well as a secondary brick-and-mortar shop in Nashville, TN.)
They travel all over the country looking for items to buy, and they really like it when a place has a bunch of outbuildings and stuff in the house...they call it "tonnage."
Here's their website-- (take out the spaces to make the link work):
http:// www. antiquearchaeology.com/antique_archaeology_leclaire_ia.php
Their contact info is on the page.
Here is just a sample of vintage items:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/188296128/a … p-header-2
Are there any luncheon/snack sets from your mother? They were very popular in the 50s and 60s then fell out of favor. Now, they are vintage and very collectible:
http://www.etsy.com/hk-en/listing/16898 … pe=gallery
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