Guest Blogger: Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer ®.
: I live in my family home that’s been in my family for generations. The things from the past are crowding me out. I’d be happy to pare down and get rid of
many things, if I weren’t afraid that one or two of those trinkets might actually be worth something. I wonder if there might be value in that clutter.
What should I do?
: You are doing the right thing by asking the question and doing your research. I chuckled with your comment about “values” versus what people are willing
to pay. In general, not many things are as valuable as they used to be because everyone has access to everything now. On the other hand, some things that
used to be hard to find buyers for can sell easily since they can find a market on the internet. I myself was looking at “vintage” scratch and sniff
stickers on Etsy.com site last night. Who would have thought?
If you believe that some of your things might truly be valuable, get them appraised. A professional appraiser will research one piece at a time, or a
number of items. She does not buy anything, but will give you a documented support for what things are likely to be worth. She may arrange to have valuable
items auctioned, but she generally does not take possession. Appraiser fees are very reasonable, especially if it puts your mind at ease.
If you are ready to part with your things, take pictures of the items or the entire room and show them to an auctioneer in your area. Unlike an appraiser,
they will take possession in order to sell things. Each auctioneer works differently, and may specialize in certain types of buyers. If one auctioneer
isn’t interested in your “good junk,” then try another.
Don’t overlook the obvious, eBay and CraigsList are wonderful tools to move those items that might have little or next to no real value. If you are able to
take digital pictures and write a description, then you can make money from things that are just clutter in your own home. If you aren’t sure how to do
this, you probably have a friend who will show you how, or watch a YouTube video like this one. Unfortunately, there are very few eBay sellers left,
because there just isn’t much margin in that business. But for the average person, it’s absolutely amazing what will sell. For instance, I sold some sewing
machine parts on behalf of a customer. They only sold for $1, but the buyer paid for shipping. It was more important to the client that the item get used
and not end up in a landfill, so it was a good choice for her.
Finally, remember that even donated goods have value, and you can take that value off your tax return if documented properly. Be sure to keep a list of
goods you are donating, perhaps take a picture if it is a large amount, and staple it to your donation receipt offered by the charity who accepts your
goods. You’ll use this list to estimate the value of your donated goods, which turn into cash when you file your taxes.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, please reach out to a National Association of Professional Organizers ( www.NAPO.net) member, who can work with you to go through your things and have the most qualified person properly
evaluate the value in your clutter.