Clearing the Clutter: Junk or Treasure?

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to “lighten the load” and clear out some of that stored stuff, you may find yourself overwhelmed with what to do with it all. The items squirreled away in attics, basements and other storage areas are put there for any number of reasons – very few of them evident to the ‘lucky’ people in charge of eventually dispensing of them. Some of it is probably junk that has simply not been discarded for one reason or another. Some of it may be useful or a good candidate for repurposing or donating to a worthy cause. Other items may have sentimental value. But what about the category of stuff that may have actual value? How do you know whether you have items that are worth keeping as collectables or selling to someone who will appreciate them?

Does it have value as an antique?

One type of value an item could have is as an antique. According to a article, “The Five Signs of a Valuable Antique,” look for these factors to determine whether an item has potential value as an antique:

Rarity – Such factors as, how many were made originally, how many are still in existence and unusual qualities, will determine how rare the item is. Basically speaking, the rarer, the more valuable.

Aesthetics – Simply put, visually appealing items have greater value on the antiques market.

Desirability – A particularly subjective factor, this has to do with individual taste, perceived relevance and current trends. No matter how old something is, if no one wants it, it’s worth nothing.

Authenticity – Basically, is this the real deal? Is it really as old as believed and not a recent reproduction? Was it made by a renown manufacturer? Is it made of authentic materials?

Really Great Condition – Obviously, the closer to its original condition an antique is, the more it’s worth.

Does it contain valuable materials?

Another way to determine the worth of an item is to investigate the materials from which it’s made. Say you find metal bookends or a necklace. While they may not qualify as antiques, they may contain precious metals or stones that increase their value and desirability. Take items you think may be made of valuable materials to a pawn shop or jewelry store where knowledgeable folks can appraise them. Since it’s a shop-owner’s business to acquire items at the lowest possible price and resell them at the highest possible price, you’d be well-advised to get multiple appraisals before selling to make certain you get the best price.

Would someone pay for it?

Yet another consideration is the item’s desirability to the right party. A mint-condition leather jacket may be the wrong style or size for you but to someone else, it may be a highly desirable item for which they’d gladly give you a few dollars. Rather than donating or throwing away such high-priced, desirable items as formal wear, musical instruments, working appliances and other household items in fine condition, consider advertising them for sale.

Clear out the clutter and get the most from what you have in storage. By all means, keep what has use and/or sentimental value to you. Donate that which will most benefit those in need. If it has value, though, determine that value and try put it into the hands of someone who’ll both appreciate it and give you a fair price for it. There may be treasure up there in the rafters but you’ll never know unless you take the opportunity to find out!

How do you tell junk from treasure?

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