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Old 08-24-2014, 02:06 PM   #21
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I think in most cases it becomes more difficult to declutter when someone's mindset is getting what something is "worth". A brand-new tool is worth full value when someone who wants one today can go to a store knowing one can be had today. My old tools are perfectly serviceable, but their "worth" is a lot less. Why? Because I can't make them available for sale all day, every day, until someone happens to want one on a particular day. I have to be satisfied with what someone (who probably wasn't determined to get one) is willing to pay on the day I am selling mine. Would someone want to pay $40 for a $60 used tool as an impulse buy? Unlikely. But I suspect someone would buy it for $10 or $15 even if they weren't in the market for one.

Who makes up the market for used household appliances? Not a lot of people. Electronics? Same. Quality but non-antique furniture? Again, your customer base is the small number of people who are in the market that very day you offer it for sale and have the ability to transport it. It's always going to be a trade-off between more money and a quicker sale.

I have a friend who does estate sales and she's careful to set expectations. When you want stuff gone, she'll get it done, but you can't hope to get a lot of money. She's a turnkey operation - when she's done, it's ALL gone. Some gets sold, some goes to a landfill. But it's all gone. She has a group of contacts, mostly resellers and collectors of certain items, who will come to her estate sales, and will publicize it in the local papers and on Craigslist. Her estate sales generally draw lookie-loos from the neighborhood, specialized collectors, and people who resell what they buy. The resellers pay very little because they don't know how long their money will be tied up and they have retail storefront expenses to pay.

An example: we have friends who just bought their first house. They need living room furniture. And within a week or two, they'll have bought some either from a private seller or at a low-end furniture store. Chances are during that two weeks there will be estate sales that have better stuff at a lower price, but they won't know about them, so they won't be there.

Books, records, glassware? I see that stuff in thrift stores for almost nothing.

With coins, it's different and there are strategies for maximizing results. She has me go through them before the sale and lay out a plan for the owner. Only the common stuff stays in the estate sale - and oddly enough, it's one of the few types of items that often bring more than they are worth (uninformed buyers paying too much).
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Old 08-24-2014, 02:14 PM   #22
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I am in the middle of all this right now... Books are next. I already dumped a ton of books a few years ago.... And since I didn't recognize half those books there was little reason to think I'd ever read them again. I've been stacking them by the trash and letting them get hauled away rather unceremoniously. ...
My local libraries accept book donations for their periodic book sales. And I've also placed all kinds of books in those donation bins outside my local Goodwill that ships the books to other countries or recycles them if they have little value. (These bins don't seem to be related to Goodwill. I forget the name of these book bins.)

And, for anything, I suggest investigating if your local senior center accepts donations. Mine does, as they have a successful, money-making thrift shop. I stop there first before heading to Goodwill.
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Old 08-24-2014, 02:22 PM   #23
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We cleaned out our whole house a few years ago. I found this book to be extremely helpful to get over any emotional attachment to stuff: http://www.amazon.com/Minimalism-Mea...d_sim_kstore_3

Also, I have adopted a lot of the philosophies from the book and have kept our possessions to a minimum after the big purge we did.
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Old 08-24-2014, 02:50 PM   #24
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prudent_one made a good point.

When we were moving to our current home which is smaller than our old home we couldn't bring all furniture. There was no room for it. We did put a few adds in Craiglist and got reasonably good prices for a few items. But, not everything sold. We spent money to have Got Junk come and pick up a few things.

I read everything about garage sales and donating stuff. In the end, we threw away most everything we wanted to get rid of. We did donate some good stuff that was easy to transport. But, most stuff just got thrown out.

DH and I are currently having a debate. We are once again decluttering some stuff that we had been unsure about when we moved (2 years ago). And, we've replaced a lot of books with Kindle books. And, we have a couple of large boxes of DVDs. Many of the DVDs were only watched a couple of times and are in good condition. But, so many of them can now be streamed from Netflix or Amazon. Rarely do I even think to watch a DVD. We are keeping some DVDs, but there is that couple of boxes of DVDs and a few boxes of books.

The DVDs can be sold online for next to nothing (a few cents). It isn't worth the time to do anything with them.

There is a Half Price Books maybe an hour away. We could sell everything there but I've done it before and everything would probably be only a few dollars (they usually give you pennies as well). DH thinks it isn't worth the gas to drive to Half Price Books. I sort of agree but could combine with a trip to a restaurant near there. So I'm inclined to go ahead and do it.

DH doesn't want to...but he resists just throwing these things away or donating them. So...they sit in boxes while we debate it....
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:31 PM   #25
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In our downsizing move, the one thing I consistantly did was make sure the large Waste Management trash can we have was completely full before I took it to the curb each week.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:08 PM   #26
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Some really good insight here. Thanks! Will ask DW to read through the posts.

Most of the problem is caused by me. I don't consider myself a hoarder, but as a frugal manager... saving things that I could use... saving time and money. We pay full price for almost nothing. Large storage containers for plumbing, bike parts, computer parts, rope and cord, canvas and vinyl covers, Wires of all kinds, small misc. parts, and jars and small cabinets for screws, nails, washers, and a metal cabinet for all chemicals, paints oils etc. A source for myself, but also for neighbors.
The rest of the excess "stuff" is for hobbies, which I continuously alternate.

It's a psychological thing... While I'm aware of it, I don't think it extends to the hoarder stage,,, where the lady sits in the midst of a pile of garbage, and argues the removal of every old magazine. I have room for storage and while most of the items won't get used, when the time comes that they're needed, the price is "free". The garage, storage sheds and closets are neat and organized, and the house is not cluttered at all. There's just a lot of it.

So... the value is there. We still go to our "stuff" when we need something. The challenge really comes up when it's time to move. At that point, the value is essentially zero, and when it comes time to move we expect to have a net cost to declutter. I think of it as an athlete... hanging up the spikes for the last time.

The big decision will be WHEN... As I read through the suggestions I'm more and more inclined to go through the three days and gone route... finished off with the Waste Management Containers. If it costs $10K or more... cheap at half the price compared to mental anguish.

As I look back at our original retirement planning... trying to convince ourselves that we had enough net worth to retire, I have to laugh. We counted all of our furniture and household goods as part of the number... overestimating our nest egg by many thousands. It all worked out anyway.

Now, money doesn't mean as much as time.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:25 PM   #27
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The big decision will be WHEN... As I read through the suggestions I'm more and more inclined to go through the three days and gone route... finished off with the Waste Management Containers. If it costs $10K or more... cheap at half the price compared to mental anguish.
My big declutter didn't cost anything like $10K. More like $2K. That included hauling everything away and bringing an industrial shredder truck to park outside my home so I could see the 300 lbs of paper being shred!

I don't think this has to be a one time only thing. If you had a good clear out now, you might be surprised at how much space it opens up and how little you miss that "might come in handy to throw away" stuff. I found it quite therapeutic!
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:46 PM   #28
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I'm on the mailing list for Find Estate Sales & Tag Sales | EstateSales.org. You might want to go to some of the sales and interview some of the companies that do this for a living. Maybe you could find someone to just help with downsizing or decluttering if you have enough stuff to sell.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:18 PM   #29
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After having to deal with moving FIL a while back we did get on a purge for a while but that has fizzled/run out of steam and we need to get back on it. But the easy-to-get-rid-of stuff is gone, and now we have to make harder decisions.

I have a fine 20-gallon air compressor and a nice drill press in the basement but haven't used either for about two years. But I know durn well that the day after I get rid of them I'll need both.

I did put an ad on Craigslist for the boat & outboard for well below market price and got one nibble, no bites. The guy lived in NY state so I was surprised he'd even consider driving this far for it. Oh well, I'll try again in the spring. But the market for a Porta-Bote is limited.

And a lot of it is stuff I use maintaining the house/yard, like lawn care gear, paint equipment, car care stuff, tools used infrequently but regularly, and the like.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:26 PM   #30
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My big declutter didn't cost anything like $10K. More like $2K. That included hauling everything away and bringing an industrial shredder truck to park outside my home so I could see the 300 lbs of paper being shred!

I don't think this has to be a one time only thing. If you had a good clear out now, you might be surprised at how much space it opens up and how little you miss that "might come in handy to throw away" stuff. I found it quite therapeutic!
Thankfully, I did the "paper" thing, last year. Not 300 lbs., but two 4 drawer filing cabinets and several 30 gal trash bags full. Most from my business, where I was intimidated by the IRS worry. Burned it all (we're allowed to at our campgrounds).

I think think the going rate for a 2 day Waste Management "tanker" left out front, is about $500, and it would take 2, to handle furniture etc.
It took me 2 full days to reorganize the garage so the sort is done. I lied when I said no emotional attachment. My one time paper stamping hobby and the 1860 Pharoah Singer sewing machine that I bought for $4 will be tough to part with, as will my 1960/70 bicycle classics.

One has to be a special kind of person to offer a $75 (new) router for sale @ $10... and be calm when the guy offers you $2. Sadly, I'm not that person.

Do you "hire out" ??
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:50 PM   #31
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Synchronicity. I had just begun ruminating over some of these issues, probably needlessly from the suggestions on this thread. DW and i just decided that we are going to sell our weekend house on the Potomac River next spring. She is talking about dumping excess in our DC house to make room for the few items we want from the river house. I have been worrying about what we will do to get rid of all the stuff at the river house on the assumption that the buyer won't want it furnished. A turnkey estate sale operator who will excess the excess sounds like just the ticket. Relief was just a blog post away.
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:29 PM   #32
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Synchronicity. I had just begun ruminating over some of these issues, probably needlessly from the suggestions on this thread. DW and i just decided that we are going to sell our weekend house on the Potomac River next spring. She is talking about dumping excess in our DC house to make room for the few items we want from the river house. I have been worrying about what we will do to get rid of all the stuff at the river house on the assumption that the buyer won't want it furnished. A turnkey estate sale operator who will excess the excess sounds like just the ticket. Relief was just a blog post away.
I wouldn't necessarily assume that the buyer of your weekend river home would not want it furnished. I would want something like that furnished. My cousin on Cape Cod sold her home when she inherited a second home in the same town from her father. Cousin posted an ad on some for-sale-by-owner website, got an immediate call from a lady in CT who bought it sight unseen as a vacation home for the full asking price. Cousin did not have to clean anything out as the lady said she would take it all "as is" even the canned goods in the pantry.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:22 PM   #33
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I am trying to figure out what to move to Florida (and how), and what to do with the rest.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:49 PM   #34
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I have a fine 20-gallon air compressor and a nice drill press in the basement but haven't used either for about two years. But I know durn well that the day after I get rid of them I'll need both.
These are the kinds of things I find difficult. I was reading the blog of the authors of the minimalist book referred to earlier. They said that they found that when they got rid of those kinds of things (the ones kept for just in case...) they found that anything they needed in the year after doing it didn't cost more than $20 and could be gotten in 20 minutes.

I do think that is true for a lot of stuff and that isn't hard to get rid of. The more difficult are the things you don't use, but that more expensive. I have gotten rid of some things and then found that I needed them later and had to spend way more than $20 to replace them.

And, yet, I do find it stressful at times to have too much stuff. Part of it is that it can be hard to find what you need when you need it. The other day my headphones broke and I was looking for a spare set. I knew I had some old ones I had replaced a few years ago, but I had no clue where to find them...

And, of course, the things that you keep for just in case you have to reserve space for them and may have to clean them, etc. Or, have to sort through them to find things that you use more often.

The other one that is hard for me are things that I don't love and would never currently buy but I know it was expensive (relatively). The other day I broke something on my mantle that I loved. I've priced out replacing it and can do it for a couple of hundred dollars and probably will. I commented to DH that virtually every other thing we have in that room I would rather broke. He asked me why I had bought things if I felt that way. I pointed out that some of them were gifts. I didn't hate them (I would have gotten rid of them if I did). I liked them but I didn't love them. In other cases, I had some decorative items that I bought many years ago. They cost maybe a couple of hundred dollars each. They are....OK. But, my tastes have changed somewhat. So, it is hard to know what to do with that kind of thing.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:16 PM   #35
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We've been decluttering for months. It ebbs and flows. For awhile, it seemed like chaos everywhere I looked. But last month we turned a corner and things are looking much nicer.

Not one to sell on ebay - but I have been consistent in taking iPhone photos of the stuff going to thrift shops and, at some point, will enter it in www.itsdeductible.com for gift-in-kind write-off.

Taking pictures has also helped to be able to keep the "memory" without having to keep the item.

When some bulky items with little value are set out at the curb with a "free" sign and they seem to disappear within a couple of hours.

We still have our work cut out for us - although we've made progress, we are nowhere near "show ready" for selling. Things need to look more empty (shelf space, closet space).

Also planning for some painting in the next couple of weeks. Having to move things away from walls usually triggers a new round of getting rid of things.

But the fantasy is to have "staff". That would be cool.

Appreciate the discussion of this topic, the tips, and comments!
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:54 AM   #36
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I wouldn't necessarily assume that the buyer of your weekend river home would not want it furnished. I would want something like that furnished.
Our hope is to sell to people like us who want it as a second home. They could walk in to a fully furnished house and start partying right away. But a lot of the houses on the waterfront near me are going to retired military officers who move in with furniture. Either way, I would hope to escape with a minimum of work getting rid of stuff. I would prefer not to pack a box. I'm retired after all.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:12 AM   #37
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Yes, for garage sales, sometimes you just gotta let it go for less than what you thought it was worth. But be careful. We had cherry pickers come and look at our old toys, jewelry and curio items. We researched and had some priced appropriately ($100 for some items). They still sold.

Now, those cherry pickers may have also gotten a few big deals for the $1 items we had too. Just don't put it on the news. I don't want to know about that "Original Copy of the Declaration of Independence" I just sold for $1.

Here's one strategy we used. We had a table of $1 and under items. When someone started negotiating hard on our other items, I would bend, but then ask them to take an item from the dollar table also. Yes, I negotiated down, but also gave them another item for "free"! Win win. We got rid of more junk, and they got a deal of the century.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:17 AM   #38
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I think one of the advantages of using a third party service would be to avoid the emotional fact that the new router only fetched $2. Just get a check for what they negotiated and never know the details of what various items brought. I think this would be a major benefit in the process.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:54 AM   #39
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I was just going through ancient papers and found some perfectly awful school portraits of me from elementary school. The one from 4th grade (I was 8) is dreadful. My hair is a mess; my front teeth are too big for my face. I can't believe my Mother let me go to school looking like such a rag doll, let alone spent $$ to buy the results...in fact, she stopped buying school pictures of me around 7th grade. Yet I have no other photos of me at this age. If I throw out these old photos, will I somehow live to regret it?

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Just scan them and put it on a USB stick. I plan to do the same for all my pictures (instead of keeping a truck load of photo albums). Actually, I've been meaning to sent the negatives to digitize. I think it is a few dollars per roll.
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:14 PM   #40
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One has to be a special kind of person to offer a $75 (new) router for sale @ $10... and be calm when the guy offers you $2. Sadly, I'm not that person.
You could put a floor on what you are willing to accept and then donate the rest to charity. I don't sell super cheap to the flea market and eBay resellers. I'd rather either get a fair used price or donate.

Having said that though, at our neighborhood garage sale many households end up with as much junk as they started the day out with. They price it too high to sell.

One thing I have noticed is that the best deals I have found are usually from estate, benefit and thrift shop sales where the people doing the selling are not the original owners. The original owners usually can't let items go for pennies on the dollar, which is really all a lot of used items are worth.
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