Consider this scenario – a person has a huge collection of books in boxes and shelves that they have been able to keep stored for many years — literally a few thousand books. Now they are losing their free storage space and under a time constraint to get all the books out but don’t have room in their home to just move them there.
The issue is within the collection are numerous valuable items that could be re-sold. What should the person do? Spend the time to dig through the collection for the gems and potentially make some good money? Pay to move and store the books elsewhere to have enough time to comb through the collection more thoroughly? Cut their losses and sell the bulk to a book dealer? Donate everything?
Lots of people face these tough choices with their collections. Here are some frank questions to ask yourself if you’re considering selling off collectibles:
- How badly do you need the money?
- Do you know for sure you can make money on the items?
- How much time and money will it cost you to make the money?
- Will what you’re likely to make compensate you for your time and expenses?
Consider these costs and don’t discount the costs that aren’t monetary:
- Hiring help to prep and sell items
- Making time for researching the market
- Having an appraiser do an evaluation
- Your time manning a garage sale
- Your time preparing items for resale
- Your space that can be taken up storing items waiting to be sold
- Your peace of mind and security being compromised dealing with strangers
Can you envision the entire collection gone with no money in hand?
How would you feel? Would you feel lighter? Would you be horrified?
Give yourself some boundaries – consider setting a deadline for completion and determine a budget for the preparation process. At the end of the day, donation is usually a way to distribute your possessions most easily.
This isn’t to say it’s never worth the time & money to sell items. It’s always for you to decide how your time and money are best spent. Being honest with yourself and having clarity about what is involved in the selling process is essential for making sound decisions.