“But this is worth money…”

As a professional organizer, one of the most common objections to ditching clutter is its monetary worth. And I completely understand that!! I mean… I don’t even throw pennies away as we organize. Why on earth would I ask you to throw money away? But being unsure of its worth and how to extract that worth creates deferred decisions. Deferred decisions are the number one cause of clutter! There is good news! I can help you!

The first step to this debacle is to find out IF something has worth. Just because an item is old and/or beloved does not make it valuable in any way. The appraisal value of an antique or collectible is also incredibly different than the worth of it. The current worth of your item is how much someone would be willing to pay for it TODAY. Yesterday’s value is null and void.

The easiest source to find the current value of your item is eBay. There is an easy to use search bar at the top of website. Perfect!! Now all you have to do is figure out what you are searching for. Obviously, if you know the brand name and a little description, you are pretty much golden. If not, you may have to do a little trial and error. After your search, you will find a list of ALL listings matching your item. The problem is that this includes all the “perceived values” sellers have listed their items for. Remember Beanie Babies? At “press time” for this blog I can type in the Princess Diana Beanie Baby and find a listing for $349,000.00!!! Can you imagine a plush doll for that much??? No… neither can eBay buyers. For true market value, you need to filter the list to only items recently sold. A quick scan down the left hand side menu reveals a check box for sold items. As for the Princess Diana bear? It now shows no one has received even close to $349,000.00. In fact… the approximate value of this particular Beanie Baby is currently $10.00. It was hardly even worth listing!

So now you have armed yourself with an estimated worth of your item and have assessed you DO actually have an item or items with a decent current market value. Congratulations! The next step is to decide what to do with this item. Do you save it hoping it increases in value? (They don’t all!) Or do you sell it (and finally get it out of your house and off your to-do list?) If you decide to sell, do you sell it locally on Craigslist? Do you list it nationally on eBay? Or do you find a local dealer to take it off your hands?

If you choose listing the item yourself, you need to decide how much time and effort you are willing to invest in your sale. You will have to take into account the amount of time to take pictures and list the item. You may have to consider the time to field emails and questions. You may have to be available to set up pick-up/drop off times. (Local police departments suggest you do exchanges at their precinct for safety.) Depending on the location of the buyer, you may have to pack and ship your item including insurance. You even have to consider all could be lost time, as the item may not sell. But, if you are ready, each of the websites has reasonable instructions to list an item.

If managing your own sale sounds like too much time and energy, but you still want to sell, it may be time to contact a reputable dealer or consignment shop in your area. The difference between a dealer and a consignment shop is who owns the item. In a consignment shop, you own the item and sign a contract to leave the item for sale with the shop owner. Normally, this contract means you are in charge of picking up the item if it does not sell during a specified amount of time. In return for selling on your behalf, the owner will get a cut of the proceeds of the sale. On the other hand, a dealer will buy the item from you immediately, and you will never think about it again. BUT, this dealer has to run the store front and takes the risk the item will not sell. This is the cost of doing business for the dealer. It also means the dealer is not going to be able to meet you at the market value you researched earlier. He/she needs to be able to buy the item, factor in the cost of holding it, AND make a reasonable profit. You are now armed with the current market value of the item and a good starting negotiation price for your sale.

At this point, you know HOW to sell your item and about HOW MUCH you can expect for it. Does all this sound like too much? Is your head spinning? You have two more choices. The first is to donate it to a local charity and get a receipt. Under current IRS guidelines, you can write the current market value of the item off on your taxes! What is your second choice? Hire a reputable organizer to take care of all the legwork for you!!! That’s right!! How do you think I know to write this blog? I do this for ALL of my clients with items of value! Look for a reputable organizer in your area through NAPO.net (National Association of Professional Organizers) and get organized while making a little money! It sounds like a win/win to me. And as always, please contact me with any questions. I am here to help; decluttering the world one household at a time!


One response to ““But this is worth money…””

  1. Great tips! I love the idea of being a minimalist and reducing clutter in our life. I have been on a mission to declutter my life materially and electronically.

    From a material perspective, I’ve started a twice yearly spring (and fall) cleaning exercise where I get rid of things I haven’ used since the last spring cleaning.

    From an electronic perspective, having notes scattered about just adds stress to life. I decided to use an app to help with electronic decluttering: http://www.aMemoryJog.com.

    All the best.

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