Tuesday, August 19, 2008

CLEANING OUT COLLECTIBLES THAT HAVE LOST THEIR CHARM

Cleaning out collectibles that have lost their charm

Last Friday night I came home, opened the refrigerator to get a snack and noticed the light didn't turn on. Burnt-out bulb? So I looked in the freezer. No light. So at 9 p.m., I called an 800 number and booked a repair for Monday. Why do appliances always die on Fridays? Are the poltergeists of the world hard at work? I decided to clean our garage freezer, put the good stuff from our kitchen freezer there, and throw out lots of things that were old or not among our favorites. Two trash cans later, we had plenty of space to store the frozen food, and the perishables from the fridge were in coolers. We also found some great desserts, a few homemade meals, and a container of our favorite homemade orange and cranberry Thanksgiving relish. (In between times, I kept running to see the Olympics on television so I wouldn't miss Michael Phelps' gold medals.)

All of this led us to wonder what it would take to clean out the shelves and boxes of our collectibles that have lost their charm. So that job is on our list. We are going to start with the garage storage cabinets and sort everything into three main categories: "save," "donate" and "dump." In the process, we will certainly find forgotten treasures. Then, just as we did with the contents of our freezer (ice cream here, meat there), we will sort our collectibles into more specific categories.

Bookends and Depression glass, lady head planters and vinegar cruets will at last each have a single spot on a shelf. We can get a real inventory and stop searching every shelf when we want something. Schedule a cleaning. You may be surprised to find that many of the things at the back of your shelves are now much more popular--and might even make it into the living room.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just on the day I'm determined to tackle one room of the basement clutter! I need inspiration as I can't continue to hang onto things I love{d} How do you part with the sentimental things when you run out of space? Maybe I need therapy?

Anonymous said...

Therapy not always necessary, though to pay for therapy, you would still have to sell them! LOL! Maybe keep the MOST cherished pieces, and the others stuff, you could offer to your children, grandchildren, or if it needs to stay in the family, and nobody seems to want it, look to the nieces, nephews, or you could give as gifts. Otherwise, sometimes, (for me) the best therapy, is just to let it go, so someone can learn to "love" and cherish your pieces, just as you have for so long. GOOD LUCK!!

Anonymous said...

i too cant seem to get any organizing done i have my dad house and a storage unit filled with things that have come my way because of relatives passing away and now my dad in a nursing home i am an only child so it seems im the keeper of the "valuables" help
any suggestions are welcome

Anonymous said...

We painted the inside of the house and had to take "things" off walls, shelves, etc. That prompted me to begin looking at items that had lost their luster for me. I decided to part with some nice collectibles by having a sale and I made $500. Wow!! I was energized and I will again look at things critically to see if I really do need them.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous who has Dad's house and storage units full of things:

Consider contracting an Estate Liquidator who will relieve you of sorting, organizaing, and selling your items for a fee. It is worth the fee that charge because you do not have to do it all.

peterB said...

IT TAKES TWO TO SORT...

Of course when you "got" this stuff, it should have been a two-person decision as well.

I just got my second Kovels electronic news email, "both" of these really hit the mark with what is going on here.

Most of us are caught up in a sudden multiple layer of impacts that seem to be straining our "inventory", just this Summer we too realized that in order to move into our 40 foot coach for retirement next summer...we have to reduce largess.

Here begins the "layering", with all these baby boomers doing the same reduction (most of us after losing Mom & Dad), there currently is a glut of excess out here; add-in a lousy economy, shipping costs, a youth that does not "collect", an EBAY awareness of just-how-many-of-these-are-out-there, and a very rapid change in America's life style... and well, we have lotsa' worthless excess.

As dealer of any kind, you can "feel" this, as a buyer too... the three-pile logic the Kovels suggest has been with this family all summer, I cry at what is now (2008) worthless, has memories attached, or is just plain "nice"... the best counsel is another person, there to constantly remind you of just how unwanted, un needed, and un saleable this stuff really is.

Kovels got it really right on this one.

Anonymous said...

I have sold antiques and architectural salvage on e-bay with much success since 2000. However, I noticed that furniture, unless it is really special, doesn't sell because people don't want to pay to have it shipped. About 2 years ago, I got the idea to open a bricks-and-mortar store to sell the "big stuff." But I wanted the money to go to a good cause - so I called Habitat for Humanity. They told me they have stores - called ReStores - all over the country that sell donated furniture & home goods. All of the money raised goes to build homes for Habitat families. Talk about feeling good about donating! Knowing that I'm helping a family realize their dream of homeownership makes it easier to part with my beloved "treasures."

monkeyface said...

Having just cleaned out my late aunts house (she was a hoarder and had no childeren), I have had to take a good look at my own "collecting". While I am overwhelmed by the process of going through every room in my home, filled only with "great" stuff, I know I have to do it. Here is what helps when I need to be ruthless. Have a yard sale (or as someone else suggested if you have good stuff, hire someone). While this is not a new idea, the key is to have something bid in mind that you will use the money for. This doesn't mean going to the flea market. It means, getting a room painted, buying a new sofa, or taking a family vacation. Just one big thing. It not only will clean up your house, it will cleanse your soul!

Anonymous said...

HA! Did the same thing then had a garage sell with some of it and made $950!! Threw out the junk and gave the rest to the church yard sell....they said they made $2900 from our donation. Praise the Lord and pass the storage boxes!!! Oh...there's room for BOTH cars in the garage now...and space for new junk! Bren from Folsom, CA

monkeyface said...

Having just cleaned out my late aunts house (she was a hoarder and had no childeren), I have had to take a good look at my own "collecting". While I am overwhelmed by the process of going through every room in my home, filled only with "great" stuff, I know I have to do it. Here is what helps when I need to be ruthless. Have a yard sale (or as someone else suggested if you have good stuff, hire someone). While this is not a new idea, the key is to have something big in mind that you will use the money for. This doesn't mean going to the flea market. It means doing something you really want or need that you didn't really have the money for, such as getting a room painted, buying a new sofa, or taking a family vacation. Just one big thing. It not only will clean up your house, it will cleanse your soul!

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to wonder how you all handle your garage/yard sales. I had one earlier this spring and made under $100. I advertised on Craigslist and posted signs. It took me two days to get everything out and only partially marked. I vowed not to bring anything that didn't sell back into the house and still have items I can't decide what to do with. I priced everything very, very low and took almost any offer. I have donated many of the items, but wonder if I could sell some leftovers elsewhere. Maybe being in Columbus, Ohio has something to do with it? Advice appreciated.

Anonymous said...

My Husband I believe needs therapy. He collects and collects and then starts to box them to save them. All starting with Truck Banks, Possible Dream Santas, Carnival Glass, Crocks, Jugs, Old tools, saws, telephones, funiture,clocks, coo coo clocks.....the list goes on and on. We all tell him, including his mother to which he got the inspiration from in the first place, that you have to either sell, trade or stop buying. We live in a 2200 sq. ft. house and there is only him, myself and 1 dog. He is pushing the limits of space. No wall space is left, and all the floor space is taken too.
I need help for him....LOL! Cleaning out is not an option.
OMG, is there anyone else that has this issue? I am forever cleaning.

wayne said...

Let me get this straight. When the light bulb in your refrigerator burns out, you call a repairman?

Anonymous said...

I'm in the midst of getting a house ready to be "on the market" in this wonderful market. So, I'm feeling all your pain. Still, I'm feeling better about myself and somehow feeling "lighter" as I see progress.

I'd like to make a suggestion for those things you really can't part with, but need to keep in storage. Use a database that allows photos, and categorize things by price paid, year purchased, color, style/period name, room where you'd display it, box # where it's stored, etc. I know it sounds expensive and time consuming, but there's a free product out there called Open Office, and the database is quite good. If you number the boxes, you can find things quickly when you want them.

Anyway, happy collecting AND purging everyone.

Anonymous said...

We need to eliminate the "dump" from our sorting choices and recycle the "trash". Sign up for Freecycle.org and have someone who wants it come and take your stuff away. A great idea now spreading worldwide. Nothing too big or too small.

Anonymous said...

Re emptying freezer & refrigerator ... repairman once told me the frozen food & refrigerated food should last 24-48hours if the doors are not constantly opened (I was worried about fresh cold milk for a baby).
When we retired & sold a home, I carefully scrubbed, priced wrapped items in tissue, boxed them for a tag sale. Came home from school one day to find 'helpful' husband "found" a carton, unpacked it & distributed contents throughout the house. How proud he was to have found all these great things ... LOL! AND, best of all, he later repeated with another carton! P.S. He is still alive but will have to hire someone to clean out treasures & sell them.

Anonymous said...

A great way really force yourself to clean and sort those endless keepables is to have hardwood floors put in the WHOLE first floor of your house. I had to clean out EVERY closet and that means to the floor (haven't seen that in years) It also means I couldn't just shift it all to another closet. It had to go upstairs in boxes. The floor looks great and those boxes are slowly getting emptied. Nothing comes downstairs til it has a place. The Goodwill is gonna be happy this year. Why did I buy those tie dyed shirts anyway? Alice

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry and Ralph: Do not throw out your unwanteds....ever! Donate them to a charitable cause for auction (anyone would love to bid on something that you have owned). Unwanteds are my favorite collectibles (valuable or not). I have many items that have been thought to be collectibles by some and damaged items by others. I love to give a home to "unwanted or damaged" items.
Thank you for your input and knowledge. Regards, Dee

1st Mate said...

What, you're not going to try to sell any of those collectibles?

Anonymous said...

Tip for your garage or yard sale. Price everything you want to sell then hand out a slip of paper to everyone leaving which says "half price at 1pm on Sat." You will get most people back for perceived bargains. We have done this even though the price is very low to begin with and people always come back for that perceived "real" bargain! Last yard sale we cleaned out the garage and made $3700! Then we bought an estate and have filled up the garage again. This is a fun life!

merricourt said...

Thanks for all your good advice, however....

I was appalled to read your actions regarding your refrigerator "cleansing"! What a shame - "two trash cans full" of unwanted food. What a waste. Even in this country, we have many who hunger. How can we justify throwing away two trash cans full of food? This was not food that was spoiled - this was food, frozen, that was not used because of bad grocery purchasing habits. We should eat what we buy and buy what we eat! We all need to do better on this score! I feel bad when I have to toss just one item which stayed in the fridge too long. One person must finish what she cooks - or freeze for later use - but not to throw away. Sorry for the comments, but it struck me that wealthy or not, we all need to practice frugal habits.

Anonymous said...

To the lady who said..
My Husband I believe needs therapy. He collects and collects..
I would really like to invite him to my next sale... LOL
To the lady in Columbus, living there has nothing to do with an unsuccessful garage sale. Since you are using the internet, go to ask.com and look up tips for garage sale and I'm sure you will find a large amount of information. One thing to keep in mind, the day is important, here in northern Ohio the big day is Thursday which I am sure it is there too. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I have some pieces of china and ceramics that I have known personally to be around 100 years old. They do not have any identifying marks on the bottoms, nor hidden in the design. Is there any other way to determine their origins and, perhaps, present value?