I’ve often heard estate sale clients say they need to sort things and throw stuff out before an estate sale, after which I always ask them not to throw anything away. Just because it has limited value to you, doesn’t mean someone else can’t find a use for it. The old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never been more true. Plus, even with items of lower value, why should you go through the headache of packing them up or the expense of hiring a dumpster or clean out company, when you’re already holding an estate sale and someone may pay you for that item you can no longer use. You can always throw it out later.
So without further ado, here are seven common items – in no particular order – that you should never throw out before an estate sale.
Personally, I never like to see books thrown out. Period. There is always a school, library, crafter or used book store who will take them, even if they don’t go home with someone during your estate sale. That said, books are very popular at estate sales. I’ve seen avid readers buy bags and boxes of books and once had a crafter buy over a hundred books at once to build a secret door disguised as a bookshelf. Even at $1 a piece, books can add up quickly and add a nice bit of extra profit to your sale.
2. Clothes and Shoes
Surely you weren’t thinking about throwing away name brand and designer clothes, those adorable heels, your grown daughter’s prom dress, the neck ties you’re no longer required to wear for work or last year’s winter coat! These are some of the clothing items that sell at every estate sale.
3. That Sofa
You know the sofa I mean. It’s in your basement rec room or maybe the upstairs room your teenagers used to hang out in and play video games. The upholstery has that outdated pastel pink and gray geometric pattern from the 80’s or maybe a hunter green plaid that’s pilled at the edges. It’s faded, it sags, someone spilled coffee on it and the cat has been scratching the arms.
Nonetheless, to a broke college student or first time apartment renter, this may be their chance to get a comfy piece of – otherwise very expensive – furniture. All it needs is a slip cover, and it’ll be perfect. Again, you’re not going to get a lot of money for that couch, but isn’t it better than paying someone to haul it away or throwing out your back wrestling it out of the basement?
4. Old Appliances and Outdated Electronics
There are several reasons customers buy these items. For starters, the price is right. If you can have a 10 year old DVD player that works fine for a quarter of the price of a new one, why wouldn’t you? Also someone may have had an older model of something, liked it, and now want to replace it. Even items that don’t work, as long as they are marked as “not working” can sometimes be sold to DIY-ers for parts.
5. Costume Jewelry
Maybe it’s not made of gold, and maybe it has crystals instead of diamonds, but that doesn’t mean your costume jewelry is worthless. Attractive jewelry pieces are always in demand. Plus as an added bonus, your estate sale organizer will probably go through the jewelry to double check that no precious metals end up under priced.
6. Cleaning Products (Yes, even the open ones!)
It may seem hard to believe, but someone will probably buy your half empty (or half full!) bottle of laundry detergent, glass cleaner or even weed killer. Considering a full bottle of these products is $5 and up, paying $1 for that half a bottle is actually a really good deal for estate sale customers. Plus you are not paying to dispose of hazardous chemical and those chemicals are not going into a landfill or the environment.
7. Music and Movies
While you may be streaming your movies and music, listening to iPods and watching TV and podcasts on phones and tablets, there are still plenty of people out there watching DVD’s and blurays and listening to CD’s. We recently sold an entire box of VHS tapes to an older gentleman who is still using his VCR. Records have become collectibles, and even audio cassettes sell on occasion. The demise of physical formats has been exaggerated – plenty of people are still buying their movies and music this way and we sell them at almost every sale.
Is there something you were surprised to sell at a sale? Something you’re thinking about throwing out and want a second opinion? Let us know in the comments!