March 23, 2018 — Are you one of the many people who have been carefully amassing, polishing, and preserving all kinds of collections for posterity? Here is some really bad news – nobody wants it but you! As one furniture dealer, speaking about early 20th century goods, commented, “It’s never coming back.”
Recent articles in the New York Times and the NextAvenue.org blog highlighted this sad issue, which then generated an avalanche of emotional comments. It is very hard for people to part with objects that represent emotional or sentimental ties with the past. Many people develop feelings of guilt about losing objects tied to their ancestors, while others go into denial.
Here are some of the top 10 treasures that you might love, but nobody else wants.
3. Collections of anything, such as antique dolls, clocks, etc. You might have many beautiful objects but folks don’t have the room or interest in displaying them.
4. Oriental rugs. Not light enough for today’s casual lifestyle. Most have little value because they are threadbare, or the owner paid too much to begin with.
5. Heavy and dark furniture. Mid-century modern like Eames or Knoll are desirable, but no thanks, mom, to anything else.
8. Books. Your Winston Churchill collection is of no interest. Our father-in-law died with a stunning collection of books about Native Americans and their battles with the U.S. cavalry (his ancestor was a West Point Cavalry Officer in that era). Unfortunately it proved very difficult to find the few people who might have had an interest in it.
9. Old magazines and paper ephemera. You might have 20 years of Gourmet Magazine, and every birthday card you ever received, but no one wants them.
10. Equipment older than mid 20th century. Sewing machines, film projectors, etc. There are a few exceptions – phonograph turntables are coming back.
Antique cars. Nothing seems quite as volatile as the antique car market. Muscle cars from the 60s seem to be really valuable, while classics from the 50s decline. The sentimental value of having “dad’s car” might make kids want to have it, but they have to have a place to store it.
What to do about your stuff
There are a variety of things you can do, once you get over the grief you might have that no one wants your stuff. Here are some of the best suggestions we have heard:
– Get started planning now, and don’t add any more to the collections. The worst thing you can do is to burden your heirs with disposing of stuff they don’t like and know nothing about.
– Find out what is worth. You can search online, hire an appraiser, or go an antiques dealer. That process might find you some outlets.
– Hire a service to liquidate it, conduct an estate sale, put it on consignment, or sell it on ebay. Novaliquidation.com is the type of company that will help you get rid of everything at once.
– Advertise for takers. Let your children, relatives or friends know what you have and ask them if they want it. Don’t shame the kids into taking it though.
– Give it away. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and church groups will take almost anything except upholstered furniture. At least you can get a modest tax deduction.
Comments? What have your experiences with parting with treasures from your life? Have you had good success doing so? What would be the hardest thing for you to part with? Please share your tips and experiences in the Comments section below.