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Part 1: Downsizing: Contents that Sell Well and Contents that Don’t

OVERVIEW


This is a very small sample of used things that sell well and used things that don’t. Note that I’m using the phrase “sell well”. This means that typically any decent item can sell, as long as the price is right and you can find a buyer, sometimes for a very unique item. This post is really about my take on what to expect. There are estate sales experts and auction houses out there who have education, experience and knowledge in antiques, collectibles, art and the list goes on. However, in my past ten years of experience in helping people downsize, organize and move their homes, I have come up with my own set of criteria in determining saleability of the usual suspects. Have a look at the following examples with brief explanations - and keep in mind, tastes and trends change. Mid-century may be popular now, but in 10 years it could be something different. Also keep in mind that if the price is right, most things will sell, maybe just not for the price you thought. And you can always donate, which is a whole other series of postings for me down the road!


YES: Modern design, excellent quality,excellent condition, popular European lounge chair, held value.

YES: There always seems to be a market for used sports equipment as long as it’s in decent condition. Selling at the right time of year also helps. Skis in the fall in this case. 

NO: Silver. Silver collectibles. You have to take your time to find the right buyer for this kind of stuff. The silver dealer I work with in Toronto no longer takes silver plate unless the piece is really special, and even turns away quite a bit of sterling. Go to consignment stores in Toronto and you will see loads of silver for very reasonable prices. They will take silver plate and other silver as long as it’s in good condition.

NO: Antique furniture. In this case because it has quite a bit of damage and is an unpopular style. You need to sell antique furniture in immaculate condtion with some sort of pedigree to it. Check out the site 1stdibs.com and you will see what I mean.

YES: Antique furniture. And conversely, here is a yes to Antique Furniture. In this case, classic well-executed design and craftmanship that comes from a popular period. It was also in excellent condition. Unless you know a lot about antiques and how to price it, sell it to an expert. In this case it sold at a consignment store.

NO: Home Gyms. This is a fairly big no. Simply for the fact that in order to sell/buy it, one needs to take it apart, move it, and set it up again. I give these away for free on kijiji. I had one client who sold a unit about half this size for $50. In this case, after posting it for free, the person who took it had to rent a van, bring helpers and spend 5 hours on site taking it apart with allen keys. Even hard to give away really.

YES: Golf clubs. Again, sports equipment in general has marketability. I use a guy who specifically deals in used clubs. He comes over, assesses the brand, age etc. and offers cash. He rarely says no to any of the clubs I’ve shown him. He doesn’t take golf bags though which you can easily post on kijiji.

NO: Treadmills. For the same reason as home gyms. Cumbersome and not very popular. I have watched movers move many treadmills and it always pains me to look at them - they always seem that they are one step on the staircase away from a cardiac arrest carrying these things. There’s all sorts of irony and paradoxes here. And I know from visiting many many houses these pieces of equipment are more often than not, dust collectors.

NO: Old desks, old desk chairs and old computers. If you have an inexpensive office-style desk from a large furniture store from 10 years ago, you might have to give it away. Some furniture that is made of MDF is poorly constructed, and when you take out the screws to take it apart and move it, it starts to lose its integrity. However, the desk shown is made of solid wood which is a plus. Old worn desk chairs are giveaway as well as long as it’s in good enough condition to donate! Old computers need to be scrubbed then recycled. Lots of options to do this. Very old Apple computers have collectible value, but they have to be working and in really great shape.

NO: Area rugs. Generally rugs are a no for me. Primarily because they often have become very worn, have stains, or are a very specific style with little appeal. However, I sold a high quality area rug that came from a house with a dog, primarily because it was modern and well made and well taken care of. If you have an older rug in decent condition take it to a consignment store. Selling it online by yourself may take time. Kijiji seems jammed with them.

NO: Crystal stemware. If you have a complete set in even numbers, from a great brand like Waterford, Baccarat, Fostoria and it all is in mint condition - no chips, no etching from dishwashers you should be in good shape to sell it online or at a consignment store. From my experience I rarely see crystal that meets all this criteria. However, consignment stores do sell it, best to send them a picture and get their opinion. Consignment stores I talk to also prefer wine, scotch or larger type barware glasses. Small sherry glasses or teeny glasses aren’t in as big of a demand.




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