When it comes to downsizing, it’s not always an easy thing to do. Whether you are downsizing because you are moving to a home that is smaller, or whether you realize that there is just too much stuff in your home – it doesn’t matter. The goal in downsizing is to reduce in number and my personal goal is to ensure you love your home!
When looking at what to do with items that ‘don’t make the cut’ to stay in your home, there’s always the question of “What do I do with it?”
There are many options when looking to downsize your things.
It’s always a good idea to let your family know that you are looking at getting rid of some of your things (that’s if you have a good relationship with your family). If there happens to be family heirlooms and your first wish is for them to stay in your family, let them know. Although we are finding that many family members either don’t have the additional room or do not wish to have extra items, you just never know until you ask.
While there are pros and cons of using a service like Kijiji or Craig’s List, here is what we have found with our experience:
- If your items are priced to sell, they will sell!
- Have as many pictures as you can online. This will cut down on the phone calls or emails asking a multitude of questions.
- In your description, add as much detail as you can. Again, this will cut down on the phone calls or emails.
- Ensure that you clearly state that the purchaser will need to come and pick up the item for sale.
- If you live in a home with a garage, place your item(s) in your garage. By doing so, potential buyers will not come into your home.
- If you don’t have a garage, you may want to consider meeting the person at a location (depending on what you are selling) like a parking lot, a coffee shop or somewhere where there are other people around.
While donating is a wonderful option, we are finding that donation sites are becoming more and more pickier (and justifiably so). It will be important to check out your local area to see what charities are looking for donations.
In Calgary, for example, Made by Momma clearly states what they are looking for. You can see their donation list here. Women in Need Society also has a list on their website with donation items. You can see their list here.
If you Google “charities looking for donations” and add your city, you will most likely find that there are a variety of organizations looking for items.
As with everything, there are pros and cons. This really holds true with auctions.
- Your items are taken right away (whether you deliver your or the auction comes to pick up them up).
- You can downsize many items at once.
- An auction is never a ‘sure bet’ when it comes to making money. Most auctions (depending on what you wish to sell) will not put reserved bids on items (and I’m talking about regular household items – not antiques).
- It may take some time to sell your items so you may be waiting for your pay cheque for some time.
Additional Information About Auctions
We recently had a client who tried to sell their dining room set on Kijiji and were unsuccessful. The option was to take it to auction as they were moving to a smaller home and it would not fit their new home. The result was horrible for them. The dining room set eventually sold at the auction, but for a measly $125.00 minus the $37.50 commission that the auction took. As you can imagine, the homeowners were stunned and extremely upset. This dining room set that they had spent many family dinners around profited them $87.50! When it comes to selling items that you personally hold value to, there are some facts that you need to be made aware of:
- All auction houses follow rules and regulations and they have to comply with very strict regulations.
- Auction houses work on commission and they want to sell items for as much as possible. Larger items take up a lot of space so after 2-3 or perhaps 4 weeks of having this item on their floor, they finally have to let it go for what someone is willing to pay.
- If there is no demand for your item(s) and they just won’t sell, they will go to donation sites and/or to recycling or landfill.
The reality is that selling used items for a good dollar, as much as we want someone to pay, are not always sold. We live in a consumerism society and when consumers can purchase brand new items versus paying almost the same price for used, they will buy new. There are few people who are prepared to pay a lot of money to purchase good used furniture…and if they do wish to purchase used furniture, they want it at blowout prices.
So whether you are looking to downsize and move to a smaller home or you are just ready to rid yourself of some of your possessions, know that there are a variety of options available to you.
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