Whether you are preparing your own home for sale or cleaning out the family home for your aging parents, you are faced with the choice of what to keep and what to give away. Should you keep family heirlooms in the hopes that your children will want them? How do you decide what to keep, sell, or give away?
During the course of your life, you collect a variety of furniture, jewelry, artwork, china, crystal, and flatware that may represent a substantial outlay of money at the time you bought them or that may have sentimental value. Once you have face the reality that you can’t take everything with you to your new home, your first act may be to ask your children what they want. The answer may surprise you, as often your children, nieces, and nephews will reply that they want little or nothing.
Why Your Possessions May Not Be Hot Ticket Items
If you are in your eighties, your children may be at the point where they are downsizing and are faced with the same questions. Younger relatives, who may theoretically have a need for furnishings of all types just aren’t interested. Why this lack of interest?
Here are some of the top reasons:
Tastes have changed. As Susan Devaney, president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), notes, “Young couples starting out don’t want the same things people used to have. They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.”
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More young people are choosing to furnish their homes with items from Target and IKEA, which allows them to have trendy, inexpensive furniture that is easy to dispose of when they make a move.
Priorities have changed as well. Millenials have fewer ties to traditional material possessions, while spending a large percentage of their money on things such as athletic wear, organic food, pets, craft beverages, tattoos and piercings, and conveniences such as same-day delivery and ready-to-eat food.
Other Options For Decluttering
Thinking you will sell items at a yard sale, on an auction site like eBay, or to an antique dealer? You may find a little interest there unless you are willing to sell everything for cents on the dollar. Whether you approach an antiques dealer or auction house, you may find minimal interest in your items unless they are mid-century modern pieces or high-value items such as Oriental rugs or fine artwork or jewelry.
Even charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army are picky about what they will accept. A liquidation company may write you a check and take away everything, but you may have to settle for much less than what you anticipated the household goods will yield. You can even hire a “move manager” to handle disposing of goods for you, but you may end up paying out-of-pocket rates that range from $40-$100 (US) to get the job done.
Do It Quick
Given these realities, you must be prepared to make hard choices when decluttering a home. People are sometimes slow to realize that there is not a hot market or their possessions and put too much effort into selling them or otherwise disposing of them. As a result of delay as they tried to get “top dollar” for that old bedroom set or set of china, they may find themselves paying storage unit costs or an extra month’s rent on a property or delaying the sale of their home. They yield to the temptation to hold on to too many items with sentimental value.
Bottom line? When decluttering your home or someone else’s, it is important to keep your eye on your end goal: whether you are settling, an estate or cleaning to clean out a residence, only move what you have a use for so that you can go on to enjoy your new lifestyle in a condo or apartment. Limit the sentimental items you take to a few mementos.
Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here