COLLECTIBLES: Spring Cleaning?

Careful Now – Don’t Throw That Out!


It’s that time. Spring! And we sure are glad to see it come. We’ve waited long enough. So, all that clutter, from Christmas, the holidays, and the long winter, have gathered in your basement and garage – and now it’s time to attack all of that – get organized – and throw stuff out…

But wait! The first step is to make a plan. Even if it’s so bad that you hire a dumpster or Got Junk crew, you’ll want to do that first pass yourself. Look things over. Open boxes. Sort through. Talk to your kids – “if you don’t want this, I’m throwing it out” – is a good threat line to mobilize kids to help sort through – but you really shouldn’t you’re your own threat literally. Especially where old games, toys, and memorabilia is concerned.
Today, almost anything could be collectible to a certain point. Obviously, if you did nothing but save used Kit Kat wrappers then odds are you are not sitting on a hidden treasure, but you’d be surprised what your grandfather’s collection of wrappers would be worth. So, the good news is the really old stuff – hidden underneath the kids’ art projects – might be where you’ll find treasure.

Dealing with an estate whether it’s a family member or friend can be a difficult and emotional process. For most, it starts out as a tedious and slow one eventually leading to the mentality of get all this stuff out, I don’t care, and the list goes on. This mindset is what brings everyone to the clean out phase, but it is paramount to get a trusted expert and auction house involved if you think you have items that need a professional opinion.
The auction world in most circumstances is consignment based, so involving an auction house first is solely to your benefit. It is the house’s job to dig through and find that needle in the haystack because they only make money by making you money. The second factor is that a professional will be able to make an assessment much faster than the average home owner. Specialists are specialists for a reason, through years of experience they are able to give real time assessments of your articles without the deterrent of emotional attachment or stress.

Simple spring cleaning – and whole house estate cleaning can be exhausting and overwhelming. But once you make that pass through and sort through the obvious toss outs, what might still appear to be several months’ worth of work can typically be executed in an orderly and expeditious way – and maybe in a day or two.

When this phase two is done, a good professional auctioneer will not leave you with a pile of unusable items – they’ll have resources to call in to take it all away – be it simple trash removal or the dumpster in the driveway. And just because an item might not be valuable for a consignment auction – someone may need it – we know charities that provide furnishings to the homeless, or even clothes that can be donated – from winter coats – to prom dresses.

As we tell people – break the spring cleaning – estate cleaning – down into manageable steps. Take a breath, relax, and let the professionals do their job. And don’t do what we see all the time – clean before we get there! Do not worry, it’s just stuff! And we’re used to it – we’d rather go through that old set of drawers with you than come in after that little treasure of a mid-century pen holder has been tossed.

Just think how good you’ll feel when it’s all done – you can literally – and figuratively – open the windows and breath in the spring air – knowing you have new usable space in your home, items have been lovingly placed for auction, or donated to a good cause. Hopefully you’ll have fun in the process, too. Memory lane is a wonderful thing to travel down – and we, as appraisers and auctioneers – are honored to be invited in for the ride.


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