Senior Downsizing – cash in the cupboard

Before you move house, it is sensible to rid yourself of the clutter you no longer “love”, “need” or “want”.

But, one of the questions I always get asked when helping people declutter, downsize or just move house, is how do you know whether an item which is no longer “loved” is worth tens, hundreds, thousands of pounds or whether it’s junk.

Well the only thing to do is ask an expert.

An example of this came recently. Whilst helping a lovely lady downsize, we came across 2 boxes full of old cameras and photographic accessories sitting in the back of a cupboard. One had originally belonged to my client’s father who was an amateur photographer and had been there since his death some 38 years ago, and the other had been bought by her late husband during one of his new hobby fads in the 1990s.

I confess to not knowing anything about the value of photographic equipment, so I packed them into the back of the car with a few extra bits and took them to Newbury to Special Auction Services.

Well, the newer equipment wasn’t worth putting into auction as it was mass produced entry level equipment as we’d suspected, but there was great excitement over the discovery of an old big lens which had belonged to her father.

Note: it’s always encouraging when the valuer asks a colleague for a second opinion – and in this case they agreed that it was quite a rare lens in very good condition which would appeal to the Japanese market.

The great thing about auctions nowadays is that they are also live on the internet meaning someone the other side of the world can bid as easily as the person standing in the room. The problem is you don’t know if they’re going to show up or not.

So with an estimate of £600 if the Japanese were asleep or potentially £1500 if they were awake, into the auction went the single lens and off to the charity shop went most of the rest.

And to our delight, the Japanese were enthusiastically online for the auction and the lens finally went for £2,600. And as for the other equipment, that made almost £50 for a local charity – win win as they say.

So when decluttering for downsizing or moving house, don’t just throw away the stuff you don’t know what to do with, make the effort and find your local auction house. They are normally so helpful and happy to value your chattels. Just make sure you do it before you move out – whatever you do, do not put it into another box because you haven’t got time to deal with it now as it will just sit at the back of another cupboard in your new house!

If you know anyone who may like some help senior downsizing or just moving house in Surrey, Berkshire or London, then get them to give us a call 020 7305 5944 or 01344 723292