Linda Moore is a Realtor with Amelia Bullock Realtors in Austin, TX. She is also co-owner of Estate Mates Austin, an estate sales company. You can reach Linda by email HERE.
Save it or Throw It?
After doing a recent estate sale for a couple who have lived in the same house for 33 years and had stuff stored in every closet, drawer, cabinet, and garage, I decided to talk to NWBW about “Whether to Save It or Throw It.” This is the content of that talk:
In addition to having sentimental value, some items just have more value than others. Those with value include antiques, vintage clothes, jewelry, kitchenware, tools, dolls, stamps, coins and collectible items like vintage linens, dishes, glassware, salt and peppers, and radios and stereos (if they work). These items can be sold at consignment stores, on Craigslist or at an estate sale.
Some questions to ask yourself are
- How long has it been since I wore it or used it?
- Is it costing me money to store it?
- It is taking up room that I need for something else?
- A good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used it in a year, it can’t be too dear.
I know someone who pays $22,000 per month to store stuff in a warehouse that he won’t get rid of because he might need it someday. The warehouse is full of furniture,accessories, and 15 TV sets. He has just bought a new home and is having new flat screen TV’s installed, so it makes no sense to keep outdated technology and appliances.
The refusal to get rid of things that are not being used may be compulsive hoarding, which is defined as:
Acquisition of and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
Living spaces that are so cluttered that they cannot be used for the purpose intended and
Significant distress or impaired functioning caused by hoarding. For example: the person may have stopped inviting friends over because their house is so cluttered that they are embarrassed.
People with compulsive hoarding need professional help to deal with what the rest of us call being a packrat.
If you know someone who needs to get rid of a large number of items and they are good saleable items, please remember that Estate Mates can help declutter by having an estate sale which benefits the person who needs to get rid of things.
Some items that don’t have much value that you can get rid of are
- Books you have read. Most people don’t read them again, so sell them to Half Price Books. Encyclopedias are not only outdated, but heavy and no one buys them at a sale. They have been replaced by computers.
- Clothes you don’t wear anymore should be sold at a thrift store or donated to a charity unless they are vintage—from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Clothes from the 60’s on are not yet cool.
- Records, slides and old home movies can be transferred to a CD or a DVD so you can get rid of the original and the equipment required to play it or see it.
- If you have years of tax records, bank statements, National Geographics or other magazines, take advantage of the free shredding day on April 19 that allows you to bring up to 5 bank boxes full of records to shred at Austin High School parking lot.
- Old magazines and newspapers should be recycled.
See my handy list of what to save or sell and what to throw away, below
Generally Save or Sell
- Antiques and good furniture
- Collectibles of all kinds: dolls, stamps, coins, old quilts
- Vintage clothes and jewelry
- Retro dishes (Fiesta ware, china, silver)
- Records (if they have jackets) in good condition
- Bedding (sheets, comforters, bedspreads) in good condition
- Fabric for sewing or quilting
- Kitchenware—utensils, cookware, bowls
- Tools, hunting and fishing equipment
Generally Throw Away
- Magazines and newspapers
- Outdated electronic equipment
- Old towels and sheets (stained or incomplete set)
- Mattresses with stains
- Paperback books
- Worn underwear and lingerie
- Incomplete items
- Rusty items
- Non-working tools and equipment
- Old appliances
- Paperwork more than 7 years old
- Plastic containers
- Cans of paint, thinner, and hazardous items
Compiled by Linda Moore, Co-owner of Estate Mates, LLC 512-577-1015