When the time has come to clear out the contents of our parent’s home, because we are not experts, we have a tendency to attach an emotional value on the items. How do we put a price on the Grandfather’s clock that chimed so loud, it woke us out of a teen-age sleep? The chipped cookie jar has immense sentimental value, but who would buy a chipped cookie jar?
When we moved my parents out of their home of twenty-six years, we had no idea what direction to turn, but we were sure we needed to do it all ourselves. My siblings and I felt we “owed” it to our parents to comb through every item and determine its worth. And there was the “stuff” that was collected and saved by us through the years, but never really important enough to take with us as we moved out.
Barry Golden founder of MaxSold, a four-year old Canadian Company, now in the United States, sends in a team that organizes and photographs items to sell via social media. Barry worked with a family selling their parent’s dining room set and the family would not take less than $2,000. They held on to too many memories and turned down an offer of $800. Because no one had room for an extra dining room table with six chairs and a sideboard in their home, they put it in storage. Three years later at $100 per month, the family paid $3,600 to hang on to it and sold it for $500. In Gordon’s words, “Better to yank the Band-Aid off now, even if it hurts. And it will.”
Of course, the family still needs to sort and save the family treasures (not in a storage locker, please!). But his advice is to control what you can control, including the amount of time you spend in the entire process.
When you are cleaning out your parent’s home, it is better to have the outside experts handle most of the process. And remember, you are looking to get rid, not get rich.