Baby boomers are retiring or preparing for retirement every day and downsizing is often part of the strategy. In a recent issue of SmartMoney magazine, there was an article about the trials of unloading our stuff. Not only do we have to get rid of our stuff, but sometimes the lifetime accumulation of our parents.
The process is difficult emotionally and financially for some.
Barriers to Success
The purging of the excess junk is flooding the market with valuables. According to the article, dealers say the value of high end items has plunged 50% or more. We were spend generation and now we don’t want it anymore and neither do our kids.
Then there is the perceived value for an item versus reality. Part of it this disconnect can be attributed to forgetting about depreciation and the other to emotional attachment. One specialist advises clients to take a zero off the price of what they paid originally to reset expectations.
Options to eBay and Craigslist
The usual suspects for selling off unwanted items are too time-consuming when it comes to an entire houseful of items. One alternative people are turning to are estate liquidators. They have the tools and expertise to handle the whole job from inventory to donating unsold stuff. Usually, they have a mailing list of regular customers and the staff to handle a large sale.
Using an auction house is another option. Prices are set by the highest bid in the group so if turnout is bad, high value items can be bought dirt-cheap (reserves can be set in advance).
I’ve found liquidator sales to be common where I live now but auctions are most often used for estate sales in Kansas where my parents live. The downside to both methods is that you will pay a sizable commission for all this assistance which greatly reduces the final payout.
Whatever method you decide to use to downsize, I recommend purging your possessions thoroughly and often. Mr. Boomer and I did our first big purge of stuff seven years ago when we moved from a home he’d lived in 30 years. Remember, whatever you don’t get rid of your heirs will have to deal with.
What are your downsizing plans?