Downsizing: Sell or Donate?

A recent blog post I came across reminded why I haven’t had a yard sale since 1980. It was a large sale with items from various family members and we all got along well doing it but we agreed that the return on the energy expenditure didn’t add up to much. On the other hand there are people who regularly hold yard sales and enjoy it thoroughly because it is a social event and the money raised is secondary.

I have found it is difficult to find people to conduct an estate sale from the client’s home unless the contents are very high end. I have asked people who do it what the minimum value of the items needs to be. They would like to generate a minimum of $3500.00 in sales in order for them to consider doing it. This is in order to cover the labor they would have to hire to:

  • sort and process the items for the sale
  •  set up the area for the sales
  • be onsite at the sale to assist with sales and security
  • provide for traffic control at the time of the sale
  • promote the event
  • clear out what doesn’t sell

Then of course they have to pay the client’s share from the proceeds.

If you are emptying a home to sell, it a better alternative might be to find someone who buys the entire contents and leaves the home “broom clean”. Ask a real estate agent if they can refer you to someone who does this.

If you just want to clear out some space and continue living where you are and want the space more than the money, then consider donating the items. In some communities there are civic groups like the Rotary Club who have auctions and will send people to your home to collect your donations. In many rural towns where there is a recycling depot there may also be an informal “swap shop” for leaving clothing and household goods that have re-use potential.


Harriet Vaughan

About Harriet Vaughan

I am a Senior Move Manager, working with Senior Citizens and their families when it is time to downsize or just make the home safer and more comfortable for aging in place. I help these people make decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate, or sell. I also offer workshops on "Getting Things Done When You Are Over 60". I write about how to overcome memory lapses and how to use your physical energy well. I have a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine. I live in Coopers Mills, about 14 miles east of Augusta. I have been married for almost 50 years to my husband, Chuck Vaughan. Our business is called Legacy Years Transition Services.