Maybe you’re downsizing from a sprawling house in the suburbs to a downtown condo. Perhaps a parent is moving to a retirement community, and you and your siblings are excavating the family home. Or maybe you’re just plain tired of having too much stuff. Whatever the reason, having fewer possessions can simplify your life and put some cash in your pocket. But doing it the right way requires patience and possibly help from the pros.
What’s the right way? That depends on how many belongings you have, your timeline and how much of the work you’re willing to do on your own. For large-scale downsizing, estate-sale and auction professionals can help sift through your stuff, estimate its value and sell it for a good price. If you have a number of valuable items to sell but not enough to warrant a large sale (or if you want a shot at selling things that didn’t go in the first attempt), consider consignment shops and Web sites such as eBay. And don’t forget charitable donations, which can reward your generosity with a tax deduction.
If you’re selling or donating items of significant value—or if you’re not sure whether they’re valuable—call in an appraiser. At www.appraisers.org, you can search for accredited personal-property appraisers by location and specialty. Fees vary by region and by the appraiser’s accreditation level but may range from $125 to $300 per hour.