Discovery Commons At Wildewood understands the motions that families go through when preparing to move into a senior living community. Whether looking for yourself or an aging parent, be sure to plan your move accordingly. While you’re at it, be sure to research senior living options like Assisted Living, Memory Care, or Respite Care before figuring out what to do with all of your belongings. For some extra advice, contact us online or give us a call at 301.863.7110 today!
When seniors make the sometimes hard, sometimes joyous decision to downsize, there’s often a lot of fallout; or throw out, as the case may be. But don’t be too hasty – it doesn’t all have to end up in the trashcan.
The temptation is to just chuck it all in a dumpster and not look back! But take the time, because there may be a better option.
Consider Giving Items to Family Members
So how about giving it away? Is there a good friend or family member who could use it? A grandchild starting their first apartment? A neighbor who’s always admired a certain vase? They might appreciate the offer—for reasons both practical and sentimental.
National charities such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul welcome donations. And if there are larger items like furniture, many will even come and pick them up for free. Many senior centers accept walkers, canes, shower chairs, etc. Moving cross-country? It is possible to donate unopened, non-perishable food items to a nearby food pantry rather than moving them.
This is a great option for single items that are still in good shape or still work. Remember however that shipping is an issue here so don’t try to sell anything really large or heavy, unless the buyer is willing to pay exact shipping or offer a local pick-up as an option. Sellers often get burned by charging too little for shipping and selling their item at such a bargain that they lose money on the deal. Wondering how much to charge? Go to eBay and search for similar items, checking the “Sold Items” option. See what others sold theirs for. If the senior is selling the same thing, they can even click on “Have one to sell?” and get a step-by-step template to guide.
If eBay isn’t a good fit for the things that didn’t make the moving cut, how about a consignment shop? This is a good option for clothing, accessories, housewares, and décor. Sometimes they’ll take furniture. Keep in mind, though, that consignment stores typically take 50 percent of the profit off the top before getting paid. Note — in an effort to set themselves apart from thrift stores, consignment shops generally only accept items that are in very good condition and still “in style.”
This is a great option for larger items because buyers are usually local which means there’s no shipping involved. Furniture, exercise equipment, electronics, and cars sell well on craigslist. There’s no charge to list or sell an item. Be sure to include pictures so buyers know what they’re getting. If someone is interested in the item, be aware of safety issues. If the item is small enough, meet at a busy and neutral spot rather than a home. Many police departments allow sales to take place in designated areas – greatly reducing the chance of being robbed. If the senior is selling large items like furniture or exercise equipment, make sure not to be home alone when the buyer stops by. One good idea is to Google the person’s name to find out a little about them. If there is concern or doubt, don’t give out the address – or even answer their request.
An estate sale is a great choice when “everything must go.” It’s perfect for the family of someone who has passed away or must move from a house to a single room in a nursing home or assisted living community. To find people in the area who do estate sales find them through word of mouth, the yellow pages or conduct a web search. A team of “experts” come in and handle everything. They’ll go through and price things to sell. After they take a percentage, this option will net more than having a garage sale, but less than consignment shop sales. The big advantage is that it takes place on one or two days and then it’s done. What sells, sells on the spot. Note that items worth more than a certain price can generally be reclaimed, but the rest usually becomes the property of the estate sale folks who can sell it at future sales and keep the proceeds.
So, don’t trash the treasure! Make a profit with just a little time and effort — and then spend it on new treasures for the new home!