What to Do With What You Don’t Want


When it comes to the items you’re not keeping, whether clothing, furniture or anything else, there are two choices – either sell them or give them away. Selling is divided into auction, consignment and direct sale, and you can give items to family members, friends or the charity of your choosing. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Auction House – High End Items

    Auction houses hold different auctions throughout the year (e.g., jewellery, fine art). Items may need to be on site several weeks before the sale. Payment to you within 35 business days of actual sale. Commission 15-50% (lower fee for higher hammer prices). Optional cost for catalogue photographs.

  2. Online Auction – Content Sales

    Either on-site preview or bidding from catalogue only.   Professionals can handle all the tasks (cataloguing and advertising, and supervising preview, payment and pick-up). Set up in a matter of weeks. Little restriction on goods. Items start at $1 and the highest bid wins. Commission 30%.

  3. Direct Sale – On-site Content Sales

    Professional team handles all tasks (set up, photographs, pricing and advertising) and supervises showings and payment. Set up in a matter of weeks. On-site viewing and same-day sale at your home. Little restriction on goods. Commission 35%+.

  4. Consignment Stores – Furniture and Clothing

    Items must be previewed and accepted for sale. Clothing seasonal and designer-specific. Prices set by store (based on age, quality and condition) and reduced over time. Commission 40 50%. Cheques and unsold items to be picked up by consignor.

  5. Direct Sale – Online Marketplace

    Easy set-up – information readily available. To advertise post photos, description and asking price. Payment options of PayPal, Visa, etc. Vendor is responsible for packing and mailing or arranging shipping. Good for smaller items that can be sent by mail or courier and where time is not a factor.

  6. Direct Sale – Classified Ads

    Contact from buyers to your phone number or to an assigned email mailbox. Payment is to be arranged between you and your buyer – generally cash and carry. To advertise post photos and description with price. Problems with scams and personal security.

  7. Direct Sale – Garage / Yard Sales

    Price realized per unit effort is very low. Sale restricted by season and weather.

  8. Gift – Family and Friends

    If there is something that you want another to have this may be a good time to give it to them. At family gatherings you could also give each family member a list of what you don’t plan on keeping. Don’t force your heirlooms on another. It’s okay to sell items if no one wants them.

  9. Gift – Charity

    Donate your gently-used items. They may be given to others in need or sold to the public. Some charities provide a tax receipt for your gift.

A few words on storage:

Outside Storage. Do not store furniture, papers, textiles, metals or art outside in any sort of garage, barn or other outbuilding. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity plus exposure to light (as well as insects, birds and other animals) can destroy precious items.

Climate-controlled Storage Unit. You may find that the ongoing cost of a climate-controlled storage unit may exceed the value of its contents. In addition, missed payments may lead to loss of legal title to your items which will then be auctioned off by the storage company.

About Penny Schneider

Penny Schneider, TEP is a Trained Professional Organizer who works specifically with executors on estates. On the 1st of each month Penny writes short pieces about things important to executors (what to do when) and on the 15th with things an executor might find (what to do with). Penny assists clients throughout Toronto, York Region and the surrounding area.
This entry was posted in Executor, Furniture, Household Items, Organizing in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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