Whatever you reasons are for selling offline, we are here to share our 4 smart ideas for selling your stuff offline...and one really dumb one.
There are several reasons why you may choose to sell you stuff offline instead of online.
Maybe you have a huge amount of items to sell and don't want to deal with managing 100's of online sales. Perhaps the items, like furniture and antiques, are difficult to pack and ship. Or maybe the seller isn't comfortable with the technology of selling online.
READY TO LEARN THE 4 SMART IDEAS FOR SELLING YOUR STUFF OFFLINE? READ ON!
1: Consider COnsignment Shops
Contacting local consignment shops about selling your items is a great option, but there are some drawbacks.
Consignment shops generally are interested in good-condition furniture, antiques, and home décor. Always call the shop before hauling your items there to see if they are accepting new product. Sending pictures ahead of time is highly recommended.
If you enter into a contract with the consignment shop, they will handle the set-up, pricing and (usually) the remnants. You will receive your payment from them anywhere from 90-120 days.
Some drawbacks you may want to consider:
2: Think about Yard or garage sales
If you have a lot of items (of varied quality) to sell, having a yard sale may be right for you. The biggest benefit of a yard sale is that you keep 100% of the profits.
There are a couple key points to having a successful yard sale:
On the downside, yard sales can be a tremendous amount of set-up and tear-down work. Be ready to haggle: negotiating is part of the yard-sale culture. Be sure you have an “exit strategy” to discard or donate items that don’t sell.
Nobody Wants the Family Heirlooms: What to Do When It Happens to You
with free Declutter +Downsize Family Heirlooms Game Plan
5 Steps to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter
including free printable game plan
3: HOw about an estate sale
If you have an entire house (and garage, attic and/or basement) of things to sell, running your own weekend-long estate sale is an option.
Just like yard sales, it is vitally important to advertise as much as possible. The more traffic you have at your sale, the better your chances of selling things are.
Items should be displayed in an easy-to-shop way and clearly priced. Be ready to help customers haul their purchases out of the house.
Estate sales generally follow a structured price-reduction schedule (e.g. full price Friday and Saturday afternoon, 25% off Saturday night, 50%-75% on Sunday.). Be sure your customers are aware of how your sale is running to avoid problems.
4: Try contacting Jeweler or certified appraiser
Don’t assume jewelry, fine collectibles and gold/silver are fakes or junk! You could literally be throwing money in the garbage.
Research reputable jewelers or certified personal property appraisers in your area and have them review the items. They may be able to connect you with buyers for valuable items.
Any fee you pay to an appraiser is worth saving you the heartache of accidentally throwing away a treasure.
Assess the Mess: How to Plan out Downsizing a Home
includes free printable checklist
Clutter Puts the Rage in Garage: 6 DIY Steps to Organize Your Garage
with Dream Garage Planner
The dumb idea? pawning your valuables
The one advantage of selling your valuables to a pawn shop is that you get cash quickly. However, you pay for that desperation.
Chances are that an item you sell to a pawn shop will only get you 25% of the item’s value. You are far better off selling your items anywhere else. Don’t let reality TV shows give you the idea that you’ll make a great profit at a pawn shop.
Remember, if you sell your item to a pawn shop, they have the right to sell your item.
You are ready to sell your stuff offline!
Selling your stuff offline can be a great idea if you have a large number of things to sell in a relatively short time frame.
Consigning, yard sales, and estate sales are a fair amount of work for you, but you’ll see cash in-hand fairly quickly.
Be sure to have a reputable jeweler or certified appraiser review items before throwing them out.
Nobody Want the Family Heirlooms: What to Do When it Happens to You
with Declutter +Downsize Game Plan
Post-Organizing: Detox + Declutter Your Home After the Holidays
As Americans continue to live in larger and larger homes, we find ourselves able to store a huge amount of sentimental clutter...and we do not get rid of it. Ever.
As an Estate Clearing Professional and Professional Organizer, I see entire rooms, closets, attics, garages, and even cars overflowing with things people can't get rid of for sentimental reasons. People are using their homes as storage facilities instead of places to actively live their lives.
In this post I'll be sharing some of my professional tips to help you get rid of some (but not all) of your sentimental clutter.
Ready to get rid of some of your sentimental clutter? Keep Reading…
#1 Mentally Prepare
You know that in addition to being a tough task physically, downsizing your home is emotionally taxing. You now have your head in the game and know what to expect when it comes to the feelings you'll have.
To help you on your journey, I've created this Downsizing Your Home Emotional Roadmap just for you! Feel free to download it now.
What emotions have you experienced when moving or downsizing? Leave me a note in the comments section!
Mom, We Have to Talk: 5 Ways to Discuss Downsizing with Your Aging Parents
With free Discussion Cheat Sheet
Assess the Mess: How to Plan Out Downsizing Your Home
With free Room-by-Room Checklist
Help Organize Your Aging Parents (While They are Still Young and Healthy)
With free Conversation Guide
HOw do you downsize A HOUSE FULL OF STUFF?
In this post, I’ll share the 5 keys to success for a downsizing project. As a bonus, I’ve created this FREE Discussion Cheat Sheet. Click to download.
Ready to Start the Discussion about Downsizing a Lifetime of Stuff? Keep Reading
#1 Take it One Room at a Time
Be aware and respect the fact that there is emotional weight attached to many of the items in every house. You will probably hear “that belonged to my mother/grandparent” more times than you can count. Be patient and take breaks if you start to feel frustrated.
It will take some strict self-enforcement, but as you review items, stick to Yes or No, but never Maybe. If you allow Maybes, it becomes the “dumping ground” for things that you will have to review again. Anything that is a Yes should have a specific place, purpose, or plan for the new home. A No should be separated out into Donate or Discard.
Assess the Mess: How to Plan out Downsizing a Home.
with free printable Room-by-Room checklist
Mentally Prepare for Downsizing Your Home: 4 Tips to Control Your Emotions
with free printable Emotional Roadmap
#2 Choose your treasures instead of lamenting your losses
- “Let’s choose the items you want to treasure” instead of “What can we get rid of?”. Just the simple mind-shift can ease the emotional impact. Make this your mantra.
- “Donating these items to Habitat for Humanity (or whatever charity is close to your parents’ heart) will be such a blessing to someone.” Knowing that the things in your home will benefit someone else can make it easier to let go.
To read more about Organizing Your Aging Parents, click here.
#3 Make a Plan for Collections
- “Choose your one favorite piece to treasure”. It is important to give your aging parent some control in what they want to take with them. Moving to a new home is very stressful and can make your parents feel that they aren’t in control of their own lives anymore.
- “Let’s pack this one items to take with you, and we’ll create a photo album of the other items”. Photographing treasured pieces of a collection, printing them out and creating an album is a good way to preserve the memories.
- “Let’s start gifting these legacy items now”. For example, if a family member is going to be the eventual recipient of the antique tool collection, give it to them now. If your parent knows that their wishes are being carried out, it helps with the anxiety.
#4 Make a plan for Selling or Donating
Most families have the desire to sell some of the possessions, but aren’t sure where to start. You can try services like EBTH or estate sale companies. Always check with the Better Business Bureau and check references of any service you retain to sell your items. Some families choose to consign household items: be advised that there is quite a process involved. Another route is to list things on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, etc., but be aware that the sheer number of items you’ll have to manage is overwhelming. The technology and selling items one-by-one is tedious and can be a barrier.
Related article: Help Organize Your Aging Parents While They Are Still Young + Healthy, includes Free Printable Checklist
Do a google search for local charities in your area to find out where you can donate items. You can find good homes for nearly all of the things in an average home. For example, local pet shelters and animal hospitals always accept sheets, towels, linens and laundry detergent. Local schools are happy to accept office supplies and food banks accept unopened food, food wrap, etc.
If your parents have collections that may have interest to a museum or school, consider donating the entire collection. For instance, a large collection of military memorabilia may find a new home in a local museum, military school, or veterans center.
Find charities that will pick-up donations at the home. Each group usually has their own guidelines about what they will and won’t accept, so take a minute to research them. Discuss with your parents whether they want to be there as items are being carried away or not.
5 Consider hiring a Professional Organizer or other estate professionals.
YOu're ready to get started downsizing.
Downsizing a lifetime of stuff can be an overwhelming and emotional task. Start early, be patient, and respect the emotional distress downsizing can have on your parents.
To help get you started, I’ve created this free Discussion Cheat sheet. Download and put it to good use!
Assessing the amount of stuff in Your house (or your aging Parents' home).
Your home is a museum of your family’s life, but it has gotten so full you can’t see the forest for the trees. Let’s take a look at how you can start the process, at your house or in your aging parents’ home, of realistically assessing how much stuff there really is. To help you out, we’ve created a free room-by-room checklist to use.
Want the lowdown on how to Downsize Your Stuff? Keep reading!
YOU’RE NOT A CLASSIC HOARDER, BUT MAN... THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF
A simple example is the plastic souvenir cup. These cups have no monetary value, aren’t used daily, and yet every home I’ve ever been in has at least 50 of these cups taking up space in the cupboards. It’s the “maybe I’ll use it someday” theory combined with the “but I got it at XYZ event” concept that causes people to not be able to throw things away.
Now take the example of the souvenir cup and multiply it times a house that has been lived in for over 20 years. The result is a house full of stuff that isn’t necessarily garbage, but it also isn’t serving any purpose in your life. All the stuff is doing is making you feel disorganized.
YOU’RE READY TO START downsizing your home.
If you are helping an aging parent through this process, be sure to emphasize that their donations will benefit someone local in need. It often makes letting things go easier if they know it is going to a good home. Another way to frame it is to think of what you want to keep and treasure, instead of focusing on what you need to get rid of.
Help Organize Your Aging Parents (While They are Still Young + Healthy)
with Two Easy-ish Conversations Guide
Mentally Prepare for Downsizing Your Home: 4 Tips to Control Your Emotions
With free printable Emotional Roadmap
Mom, We Have to Talk: 5 Ways to Discuss Downsizing with Your Aging Parents
with Discussion Guide
STEP ONE: MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE AREAS TO REVIEW
Next, note every coat, linen, hall and storage closet, every room, and look for any “hidey-holes” that may be in the house. I know from experience that “smurf doors” (half sized doors that usually have attic-quality storage behind them) tend to be filled to the brim with holiday décor, old stereo equipment and outdated home items.
When you are doing your assessment, you need to look in ALL the places. Trust me: there is stuff stashed everywhere in a home.
STEP TWO: GIVE EACH AREA A REALISTIC SCORE
You’ll want to give each area a grade on a 1-3 scale. For example, say you are looking through a bedroom closet. Grade it like this:
1= can see the floor and /or there is negative space (hooray!)
2= items on floor, most of shelf space is full (you can work with this!)
3= jammed to the max, can’t fit another item inside, its like a clown car (oh boy!)
STEP THREE: WALK THROUGH WITH A PARTNER
STEP FOUR: WHAT IS VALUABLE TO US VS VALUABLE TO OTHERS.
- What is valuable to our family in terms of sentimentality?
- Consider photographing items that are sentimental but you don’t really need to physically keep.
- What in the house is valuable to others? Some items may have monetary value when sold, while other things could be a valuable donation to charity.
- Think something might be valuable? Do a quick eBay search.
- If you’re concerned about overlooking valuables, consult a professional certified appraiser (a great source for online appraisals is The Estate Lady. Check her out here.) The cost is completely reasonable.
- Be realistic: check out this article from Forbes magazine, "Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff."
YOU’VE on your way to DOWNSIZing YOUR STUFF
FREE PRINTABLE ROOM-BY-ROOM CHECKLIST.
its the most wonderful time of the year!
ready to learn back to school organization tips? Read on....
Let's get this thing going.
*The Logistical Challenges: Pull out your planner and get ready to schedule a million appointments and carpools.
* The Buying of the Things Never Ends: Just plan on selling a kidney in early August to cover your expenses. You’ll spend a whole month purchasing clothes, school supplies, backpacks, and post-it notes. The bleeding won’t stop until mid-September, if you’re lucky.
* All the Time with the Eating: Forget about Summer when you could pull off pop-tarts for breakfast, pool concession-stand nachos for lunch, and Chick-Fila for Dinner. You’re going to need to sling out at least 3 meals a day.
*The Soon-to-be Disaster Zone of a Home: Instead of a house strewn with wet swimming towels and Cheez-It boxes, instead you’ll have backpacks, soccer shin-guards, and decimated lunchboxes to deal with.
Let’s take a look at how you can break it down and survive.
Check out our Back to School Organizing board on Pinterest.
get your logistics on, yo.
You should set up doctor and dentist appointments, get prescriptions and medical authorization forms filled out, set up haircuts, sign the kids up for Fall sports and/or after school activities.
When you’ve got all of that done, start creeping on other parents you can potentially carpool with. Befriend them, asap. Keep telling yourself it isn't stalking if it's for the kids.
1. Pull out the school year calendar and put all the dates on your calendar before you make a single appointment. Make sure everyone in the family has access to this.
2. Download the Carpool Kids app (free). It allows you to swipe to add or remove drivers, riders and set locations. I’ve used it for 2 years now and cannot say enough good things about it!
3. Remember to take copies of any form the school will need (like the Medicine Release Form) with you to your pediatrician visit.
(Want more ideas? Follow our Organizing Your Family board.)
Sell One Kidney Now to Pay for Everything,
(save the Other Kidney to Pay for the Holidays)
- Have each kid review all last years’ clothes, shoes, backpacks, water bottles, and jackets to see what can be handed down or donated. Bag that stuff up immediately and get it to its new home. Once that is done, make your school shopping list.
- Have a school supply scavenger hunt within your house before you step foot in a Staples, Target or CVS. I know you have notebooks with 5 used pages sitting in your house somewhere. Get them out and use again this year.
All the time with the eating!
Start thinking about make-ahead breakfasts (if you can start a stockpile of frozen homemade breakfast burritos, you are my personal hero). Talk with the kids about what they want for lunch every day. Discuss your after school snack strategy with your shorties, otherwise they're gonna raid the Pringles and pudding cups daily.
Most importantly, figure out a game plan for getting dinner on the table every night. I strongly recommend planning every meal and snack out about 5-7 days in advance. That way you can hit the grocery store once a week.
( How I Created a Weekly Family Routine That Works for Our Family talks more about meal planning. You can also check out ourMeal Planning Pinterest board. )
- Start stocking up now on non-perishable foods (like juice boxes and snacks), as well as sandwich bags and napkins. Remember to buy extra ice-packs for lunch boxes: I guarantee last years are either leaky or MIA.
- Set the expectation that your kids pack their own lunches. I make the deal that I will shop for and prep the food, but the kids have to pack the lunchbox themselves. If you’re super cool and have the time, pack up a bunch of stuff on Sundays to get you through the week.
- Plan your dinners and grocery shop once a week. If you have a plan, there’s a better chance you won’t end up with Dominos at your door. See my in-depth blog post about creating a family routine by clicking here.
Set your house + car up to make life easier
- Create a drop zone for where all backpacks, sports bags and lunchboxes will go after school. The closer you can get it to the door, the better. Eliminate having bags strewn across the entire house. Check out my blog post on creating a garage mudroom/drop zone by clicking here.
- Set up a lunchbox packing “cockpit”. Make it easy to reach all the supplies you’ll need to pack a lunch. Set aside one drawer to house all the sandwich bags, Tupperware containers, napkins, etc.
- Stock your car with everything you could possible need. Granola bars, deodorant, a couple extra dollar bills, wet wipes, and a few extra water bottles will never go to waste. Check out our Car Organization board here.
Don’t be a Grinch, Enjoy the Season!
To make your life a little easier, I've created this free Back to School checklist.
Want to help organize your aging parents? Read on.
Start Talking Before It Gets Awkward
I Know Your Excuses...because they’re the Same Ones I Used
- For APs, NOT TALKING about things is the norm.
- Ditto that for many families. And if you come from the Midwest (like me), we truly excel at not talking about things!
- Talking about Later Life Plans means eventually talking about Death. And nobody likes to think about that.
- There is legal paperwork involved and it’s too complicated, expensive, confusing, and/or overwhelming to start.
- There’s some sort of family discord and somebody will definitely object, be offended and/or hurt by the efforts to discuss Later Life.
- Everyone assumes that the adult child living closest to Mom or Dad will take care of it all.
- Money. Discussing financial plans for Later Life is awkward at best, taboo at worst.
Suck it Up, Buttercup.
Timing Is Everything
(aka Don’t Start Talking at Thanksgiving Dinner)
Emphasize Your Role as an Advocate
End the Conversation with a Plan, No Matter How Small
For example, you could say “Next time we talk, I’ll bring along a printed copy of a blank Living Will for us to discuss”. You also want to make sure you have an agreed-upon plan if your loved ones can no longer make decisions or in the event in an emergency.
A great resource is this free conversation guide, created by A Place for Mom.
What’s the Plan for All the Stuff in the House.
- Sterling Silver (but not silver plated items)
- Coin, stamp, artwork, gun, crystal or other valuable collections
- Truly unique, high-end antiques that are in pristine condition
- Family photos
- Sentimental items (christening & wedding gowns, military memorabilia, etc.)
The best way to describe this is to quote this article from Forbes magazine: “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff”. Start planning now for what will become of:
- “Brown” furniture
- Most mass-produced china and glassware
- Organs (the musical instrument, not your innards)
- Greeting cards, magazines and newspapers with no historical significance
- Old Tupperware, appliances with frayed cords, and cookbooks
- Flower delivery vases
- Plastic souvenir cups and empty Cool Whip bowls. Trust me: your aging parents have these.
- Your school papers, textbooks, and every drawing you ever did. Keep your diploma, let the rest of it go.
- 80% of the stuff stored in the garage
- Clothing that hasn't been worn in decades
Want to help your aging parents with clearing out all the stuff in the house?
Clutter Puts the Rage in Garage
The 3 Commandments of Closet Organization
Four Important Legal Papers
There are 4 important legal documents you should ensure your aging parent has.
- Will: An up-to-date Will is an important document.
- Living Will (also called Advance Health Care Directive)
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances:
- Organ Donation registration
- Final Disposition Instructions (funeral and burial wishes)
- Digital Legacy Plan (learn more about what this ishere)
How can you find out what documents you need in your state?
Want more Advice on Helping your Aging Parents?
They have all the papers in order! Now what?
You've started the process of later life planning!
Coming soon...Later Life Planning Guide, workshops, and one-on-one coaching
Back To Schoool
Before & After
Closet Organization Ideas + Hacks
Downsizing Your Home
Family Schedule Logistics
Garage DIY Organization
Garage Drop Zone
Later Life Planning
Organizing Aging Parents
Weekly Family Routine