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Old 01-11-2016, 11:13 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,484 posts, read 43,754,934 times
Reputation: 47257


We are getting serious about getting rid of stuff this year. I've already done a major cleanout of several closets and I've cleared the dining room table to start photographing china, sterling silver and other household items to sell. But I'm not sure where or how to proceed.

I used to have a pretty active ebay account but I haven't used it in about 7 years.
I don't want strangers coming to my home from Craig's List.
Garage or yard sales are out of the question because of mobility issues.
Our kids aren't interested in it or are not in a situation where they could take it- in fact we still have a bunch of their stuff in our home.
I contacted an alternative online auction company but all they do is take pictures, put them online and be there when people come to pick the things up. Obviously they deal with local people and don't pack or bring things down from upstairs, etc. and again I don't want people in my home.

I've donated a bunch of items to people in our community who lost their homes in fire or other hardship and now I'm to the point of only having things to sell.

Do auction houses come to the home to access the lots or are people expected to bring them to the auction houses?

I'm realistic about what I can get but I think, with the huge house we have, we will still bring in a lot of money. Do I call an organizer? How do I look for help? How do they charge/ Percentage/ hourly/ set fee?

What did you do to downsize? Ideally, we could move into a new home and take only what we really want and leave the rest here for an auction house to handle but that isn't going to happen anytime soon.
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:51 PM
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I called a local antique dealer who came to the house and bought and hauled off some of my aunt's furniture several years ago. He probably would have bought smaller items also if we'd had any to sell. Of course we only got about 25% of the value, but it was worth the convenience.
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:56 PM
Location: Pennsylvania
16,349 posts, read 10,334,620 times
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Locally, auctioneers will come to your house, pack, and sell. But they of course charge for it, meaning take a higher percentage than if you hauled it to them.

I can understand not wanting strangers in the house but these are business people. They don't count. Sort of.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:11 AM
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,198 posts, read 1,342,982 times
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I sold quite a bit through CraigsList. For things I was able to move myself, I put them in the garage, front foyer or outside on the porch before people came to pick them up. That reduced the need to have people traipsing through the house. For larger items, you just have to let people in, especially if you want them to do the moving.

In all my ads I stated I wanted cash only. After communicating with the buyer and getting a sense of them from the back and forth emails, if the item was heavy, I was sure to tell them they had to move it themselves -- that I couldn't help them do that. I ended up meeting a lot of nice people who bought from me. If you are uncomfortable letting people in while you are alone, arrange to have a friend or neighbor be there for the pickup.

I am a single woman. I never felt threatened by any of the buyers. I think if you are selling household items, you will get a fairly decent sort of folk looking to buy. If you go back and forth a bit with the emails or phone calls, many will tell you something about themselves before you have to decide if you want to sell to them. If you get a bad or uneasy feeling about someone, just give them an excuse and then contact the next person who inquires.

As to donations of large items, I think Salvation Army was the only one that would come into the house to pick up things. Everyone else wanted you to put things on the front porch.

BTW, don't expect to get much for china. Nobody wants it anymore.

Regarding your children's belongings, make them come to get their stuff. If they don't want it, sort through it for special items and put them in a memory box for each kid. Then get rid of the rest.

Last edited by ansible90; 01-12-2016 at 12:24 AM..
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:11 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
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Just call 1-800-Got-Junk

They'll load it and haul it away.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:59 AM
Location: Pennsylvania
16,349 posts, read 10,334,620 times
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Habitat for Humanity will pick up within a certain distance.

but that's donating of course, not selling.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:16 AM
Location: Europe
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There is a china site that also buys from individuals see Replacements, Ltd. buys china, crystal, flatware or collectibles.
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:02 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,484 posts, read 43,754,934 times
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In our area we have several good organizations which take stuff away, arrange local moves, etc. They are called TROSA and are rehabilitated addicts. They have a great reputation and we have used them before. Actually I don't think there is a lack of places which will take stuff away. I'm still trying to get some money from this house full of "treasures".

Actually Replacements is not that far from us. It might be worth a day trip to visit their showroom.

One thing I thought of about selling furniture on CL or any other way really. Do you collect the cash and then tell them where it is and if they damage it or your house what happens? I'm thinking of going down stairs. Do you have them sign a waiver or something?

I have a lot of highly collectible antique dolls- at least they were collectible 20-30 years ago. I'm thinking it would be best to deal with somebody who deals only in dolls. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:43 AM
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
2,276 posts, read 3,078,357 times
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A series of garage/yard sales, Craigslist sales (we moved everything we wanted to sell to our detached garage before listing it making it easy to load up and safer to transact right there out in the open driveway) and by hauling stuff that traditionally doesn't do well at tag sales (clothes, dishes of no particular pedigree, knickknacks) to the thrift shops.

There is consignment as an option but in our previous area, they took too much of the sale (40%) so I hit Craigslist hard with the larger pieces I needed to move on before moving. Like another poster, we specified cash only in our ad and only once had someone show up with about half the cash we were asking. We just said, "Sorry, no sale and as we were moving the item back in to the garage, he went to his vehicle a "found" the rest of the cash. Gads. Be prepared for some no shows. I think that was the biggest hassle we had.

Some things we sold we took a severe beating on. Really good things but they just didn't appeal to the local market and we couldn't reasonably take them with us. A good example was a very pretty vintage patio set, a glass topped table and matching chairs in impeccable condition. We had a lot of tire kickers but no real takers until we just let it go dirt cheap. We are talking plastic furniture cheap. Moving that big piece of glass would have been iffy and we are in hail country now so that just had to get sold at whatever price. It is what it is.

Your doll collection may take a while to parse out unless you are lucky enough to find a dealer that knows and wants it all and is willing/able to pay a reasonable price. I'd start with Etsy (not ebay) now and sell them yourself. Find comps on the market and undercut the prices of the ones of the similar age, desirability, rarity and condition. Sadly a lot of the collectible market is in the toilet right now and many people are finding that they may not get what they paid even decades ago in some categories. Glass and china is all but dead for the most part for example. I have no clue about dolls as that is not my thing. The doll market might still be intact but given how much of the collectibles market is underwater, I doubt it.

ETA: You might want to try Etsy for your china/glass as well. I have a friend in KC that was floundering in our antique/vintage event venue with her glass and china but she is moving it well on Etsy and has all but withdrawn from retail sales.

It's a hard process but ultimately a satisfying and freeing one. Best of luck to you....

Last edited by AK-Cathy; 01-12-2016 at 07:22 AM..
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:49 AM
Location: NC
6,549 posts, read 7,970,518 times
Reputation: 13460
Originally Posted by Nerys52SoSilver View Post
There is a china site that also buys from individuals see Replacements, Ltd. buys china, crystal, flatware or collectibles.
Unfortunately, you probably will get only 10 cents on the dollar, considering they have a warehouse full of peoples' stuff and need to wait for someone to actually want a replacement piece of your collection. But go for a visit! The place is spectacular and they give impromptu tours.

One thing you might try if you have a lot of items is a living estate tag sale. A few companies in the area will do all the work, but I imagine they take a big chunk of the returns. You might wait to do this until you are within a few months of moving (there may be a wait list), or after you move but before you relinquish you house.
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