Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, June 12th, 2022
You’ve faced the difficult decisions surrounding downsizing. You’ve got a plan in place for a retirement move. You’re being proactive about freeing yourself of belongings that no longer serve your best life. Now, what to do with all the stuff you’ve accumulated during a lifetime in your home.
As a result of bigger homes, increased financial means and a long life to accumulate, today’s typical senior has way more belongings than his counterpart even a generation ago.
In times past, children may have wanted much of what you had as they started out in life. Not typically true now. Today’s adult children have enough of their own stuff, many times too much stuff. Plus, today’s consumers generally have different preferences as trends continue to change. This only adds to the challenge of what to do with those treasures you no longer need.
When is the right time to start shedding the stuff you’ve accumulated? Do you have plenty of time, or do you only have a short amount of time to clear out your space?
“We frequently encounter seniors who have decided to sell their home in order to move to a smaller more manageable home, apartment or retired living community, only to realize that they are in contract on the sale of their home and need be out in 30 to 45 days and don’t know what to do with all the stuff,” said Annette Junell, co-moderator of the monthly Truth Series designed to help older adults make more informed decisions.
“Available time now becomes a real issue and the options for liquidating the extra stuff becomes much more limited and stress levels typically increase dramatically,” Junell added.
Joe Parks and his wife, Lois, had attended many Truth Series seminars well in advance of making the decision to downsize and learned how to go about liquidating no longer needed belongings along with who could help.
“Once we had identified what wasn’t going with us, the estate sale team were a huge help with the sale of the majority of our no longer needed items. Even after the sale, we still had some good stuff remaining. Ah, stuff. Yes, stuff,” Joe said. “For example, we had a china cabinet that held nice glasses and beautiful dishes, beautiful dishes we rarely used because a dishwasher would ruin them. All the Irish coffee glasses and most of the wine glasses went to one charity.”
“Other charities received more things such as coats, jackets, hats, sweaters, scarves, gloves, shoes, boots, shirts, trousers, dresses, slacks, and even socks. Some good furniture went to consignment and sold well. Many books went to the library.”, Joe recounted.
“I know a lot of our success was a result of all the help we received along the way. Without the help and knowledge, this would have been far more stressful and draining for Lois and I.”, said Joe.
Who is going to help you? It certainly doesn’t get any easier as we age. Do you have children who can help? Are they nearby or far away? Do you live in the city or a rural area? Do you live in a neighborhood that’s gated that might restrict various types of sales? Perhaps you have an adult child who may have a high level of sentimentality and you don’t, or you do and they don’t.
Do you have sufficient money that getting a return on the items you no longer need isn’t as big a deal, or are you counting on money from the sale of items to help you financially?
These are all considerations that need to be taken into account. Your circumstances can very much dictate the best solutions for liquidating no longer needed belongings. Knowing your options in advance is key.
“Even our beliefs and values dictate how each of us may go about this process,” Junell said. “This includes differences between one spouse and the other who may have different personal values about stuff. Like when one spouse says ‘Just get rid of it,’ and the other one exclaims, ‘Excuse me!’”.
Our no longer needed belongings fall into four basic categories for disposition: Gift, Sell, Donate, Trash. However, even these have become more complex in recent years.
Times have certainly changed when it comes to buying and selling used household items. With a marketplace flooded by new inexpensive furniture, stores full of trendy home decor, and second-hand housewares only a click away, liquidating a full house (or garage) of excess items requires a NEW and present-day strategy.
Are garage sales or yard sales worth the effort even if your neighborhood allows such sales? Will the effort result in enough money to make it worthwhile? Are there better alternatives that might raise as much money with less stress and hassle? Maybe an estate sale or an auction? However, even these have changed in recent years with many moving online as a result of the Covid pandemic. How do you make this work for you?
You can always donate your unwanted stuff. Or, can you? Your local library may not want your extensive book collection. Even Goodwill and similar organizations have restrictions on items they will accept. For example, they won’t accept TVs that aren’t flat screens because nobody wants them, and even then, they still may not take TVs. The same goes for furniture, sometimes it will be accepted and at other times not due to available space of an abundance of furniture or a given item.
How do you liquidate high-end items? Are there resources for donating specialty pieces?
For those interested in answers to these and many more questions about how to best disposition no longer needed belongings accumulated over a lifetime, the upcoming June 23 seminar “The Truth about Best Solutions for Liquidating the Extra Stuff”, will have expert panelists providing many of the answers.
The free seminar, “The Truth about Best Solutions for Liquidating the Extra Stuff” seminar will be held on Thursday, June 23 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
The seminar is free for seniors and their guests. Pre-registration is required as seating is limited.
Seat reservations can be made online at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.