What is the Value of? Liquidation Truths

The silver pattern you registered for when you got married has been polished each month for decades. Today, your children and grandchildren aren’t interested in and there is no room in the new apartment for it. Liquidate it! But, is there value?

Liquidation – Estate Sale, Consignment, Auction, Repurpose

The value your household inventory is based on what someone would purchase it for today and not what you paid for it or what you consider its value to be! This is difficult to understand for many. The truth is times have changed. When you were younger, what was exciting and chic to you was not what your parent’s thought was trendy. Millennials live differently then Baby Boomers or their parents. Technology makes a writing desk obsolete. The flat screen or laptop monitor makes an entertainment center merely furniture that takes up space. Millennials are more mobile then previous generations. They don’t want to accumulate as much stuff. Turn on HGTV sometime. Did you ever watch an episode of “Tiny Houses?”

China and Vintage Dishware

The china, dishwater and stemware you hand wash to keep it in good shape is difficult to liquidate. Our children entertain differently than their parents and grandparents. Delicate china is not part of eating at home. Family dinner are for smaller families — there is no need for enormous service for 10.

The prime directive for dishware: “If you can’t put it in the microwave or dishwasher, then don’t use it.”

Shop at IKEA, Restoration Hardware, or Target. You will not find floral designs on a lot of the china. Today, that is saved for estate sale. Slowly, there appears to be a growing market for vintage china and stemware in larger markets.

Solid Wood Furniture/Well Crafted Furniture

If your household furniture is midcentury modern, there are buyers. 50’s furniture is making a comeback in vintage shops. Well crafted, wood furniture has been replaced with IKEA or DIY plywood. Millennials purchase furniture they can use today. It doesn’t need to last for decades or even make it through one or two moves; trends will change and so do tastes. Home makeovers are the thing.

Value Suggestions

When selling household inventory through an estate sale, auction, or consignment, don’t expect large sums of money. Research other local sales in the market to understand what market value really means. Recognize who the buyers are — collectors? dealers? neighbors?
Everything has a value and a buyer. The smallest object was purchased once; it can be purchased again.
Before liquidating, look for original packing, boxes, or sales slips. Anything you can to return a piece to its original form will give it a vintage appeal and demonstrate its value.
Shop around. If you know how much it would cost to buy the same item new, use that to your advantage. Price below new and share the difference with the buyer. That is their savings!

We have learned from our clients disposal of household goods is painful. The idea of throwing away household inventory they have cared for and carries memories is often overwhelming. Our team includes a repurposing specialist. Her role is to find new life for household goods. For example, almost every high school has lost its budget for dram departments. A fir, china, or stemware that has minimal value on the open market has tremendous value to a school as a prop. The kitchen items that don’t match any longer and no one wants to purchase are treasures for a homeless individual that is getting a fresh start and new residence.

We avoid the term donation or charity. Many elders in the process of right-sizing or merely aging feel as if they no longer have a purpose in life. Discovering their household treasures lack value adds to one’s depression. Learning your treasures will have a new family, new stories around the table, or be honored as part of a right of passage offers hope!

The stage of life elders face is filled with endings. Every other life stage includes hope, new challenges, milestones to reach symbolizing passage to the next life stage. Aging goes from this moment in time through death. It is filled with closure and endings. When liquidating, consider each item has given you something. It could be a couch or stemware for 12. It has been part of your life. Hopefully, it has given you memories and its value enjoyed. When I took economics, there was no rule that everything appreciated in value. Consider your initial investment, how long you had it, and then what its current value could be. You might feel better.