Congratulations. You are considering a change in your lifestyle that will alter your current living situation, and downsizing is the most common event for most retirees today. If like many others, your kid’s are off to college, or have started their own families now, that big old house and the associated chores and yard work are not as appealing as they once were. You may be considering a change in the size, style or location of your new home. Perhaps you are moving into a townhouse or condo, going traveling in an RV or taking up residence in an in-law suite the kids now have. Most of us have accumulated a lot of things in our life, from cherished furniture, decor and mementos, to old kid’s toys and yard and garden equipment. What do you do with all those possessions that are perfectly fine, but you don’t have any use for any more? Recycle them! How many times have you said, “This is too good to throw away. I wish I knew someone who could use it.”
Your local resale or consignment shop has the customers to help you clear out your closets and make some money too. It’s almost like having a money tree where you can pick up a few extra dollars if you’ll take a few extra steps.
Before you get your items ready for resale, contact your favorite shop to learn how they operate. Also ask when the best time to bring in your items is. Knowing when to bring in seasonal items will get you the fastest sale for the best price.
Select the shop you will use with care. Do they have the customers who will want what you have to sell? Shop owners and managers can give you a good idea of the items they have the most demand for . . . if your shop doesn’t sell what you want to recycle, ask for the name of a shop whose clientele is looking for just that item.
Consigning furniture and antiques is a little more complicated than consigning clothing. However, the basic rules remain the same. Furniture and antiques should be in the best possible condition when presented to the consigning shop. They should be clean, sturdy and preferably in perfect condition. Remember, your piece will sell for what it is worth at the time of consignment. Tightening a few bolts or touching-up with a bit of paint can really make a difference in pricing. Refinishing is NEVER advised for actual antiques as they lose value when refinished or touched up. Leave that for the experts.
Furniture and antique consignors should contact their shop of choice for information on pick-up services, acceptance hours or any other special requirements you may need before lugging around large or valuable pieces. Even better advice would be to make arrangements with a shop owner/manager to drop by and discuss your merchandise before bringing it in. Consider bringing with you a picture of large items and a seat cushion from upholstered items or a drawer from your dresser or buffet to allow the shop owner to view the material and its condition. It is also wise to interview the shop owner when considering consignment of valuable pieces. Please use your best judgment when placing valuable items with another and always get the particulars in writing.
When dropping off your merchandise, make sure this an acceptable time for the store. Advance notice may be necessary when dealing with large items. There may be a waiting list for space to sell your item. Find out if they have staff to help carry in your merchandise or to put it together.
Another important piece of advice is to divulge all the information you have on the item. An informed shop owner is a beneficial selling tool. Regardless of the information being good or bad, give the shop owner all the information you have, hide nothing. Give them the manufacturer, when & where you bought it, for how much. Did you get it second hand or new, was there any smoking or pets in the house, all this information is important in order to sell the item quickly and for the best possible returns. People like buying a “story” with their items.
NOW, WHERE WILL YOU BE GOING?
Start by thinking and mapping out what you want to do next.
- Recall daydreams of the type of home and lifestyle you always wanted to have when the kids were grown. Was it an artist’s studio or a carpentry workshop?
- If schools have always dictated where you lived, now you have one less constraint. Think about other criteria important to you, such as rural living or proximity to recreational pursuits.
- Consider laying the groundwork for a future retirement lifestyle. Maybe your new home will also be the one you retire in.
- With fewer living expenses, you might have more expendable income and find that you can increase the luxury or convenience of your lifestyle. Adopt the motto: “Less, but better.”
- See how much space you actually need. Look at your current home, and subtract the square footage of rooms you won’t need anymore. Add in the measurements of the new spaces you might want, such as a creative workspace or a solarium.