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Downsize and make a few bucks!

November 10, 2010

Moving from house to house has always been traumatic for me; perhaps it stems from my Dad being in the Army for a majority of my childhood and we moved a lot. We were called Army Brats simply because we whined about moving from base to base. When I became an adult I knew I would live in one place all my life. That lasted about 12 months when on month 13 the landlord raised my rent and I went searching for something better. Years later when I moved to NYC I had the biggest garage sale of my life and wondered why on earth did I have all that stuff?Garage sale sign

Parting with our old possessions is hard enough; but often it’s more difficult to decide what to do with our old stuff. Do we sell it or give it away (donate)? It you’re serious about downsizing, goal number one is to get rid of your stuff; making money is secondary. You probably won’t get as much as you think your stuff is worth, and if you donate it you may be able to take a tax deduction. Give us a call at 212-979-6830 to discuss the donation. Meanwhile I’m going to give you some suggestions for selling and donating.


  • Place a free classified ad that will run for a week in many large cities and 45 days everywhere else. Before you go there see how much competition you have in your category.
  • Conduct your own online auction for a listing fee of up to $2 per item. To see how much buyers will really pay, check “completed listings” for similar items. EBay can be labor intensive and it isn’t a sure thing.
  • It’s free to list an item but if it sells you pay 33-40% of the sales price. This site helps you avoid the hassle of photographing, listing, shipping and arranging payment for your items.
  • Consignment Shops : They’re best for clothing, household furnishings and decorative items. You typically get half of the final sale price as the shop will set the price and reduce it over time to move the merchandise.
  • Garage Sales: You’ll have to knock yourself out gathering, sorting as well as advertising…and don’t forget getting up early as the garage sale folks (they have their own cult) ring your doorbell early!
  • Estate-Sale Companies: These are best if you have a tight deadline to dispose of household stuff. They do all the work and usually take a 40-50% fee.


There is also recycling the items if you choose not to donate or sell. At you can sign up with them and list your stuff. Once there is a taker you just set it out for pickup. Once we were decluttered, I felt lighter and seriously have not missed any of the stuff….except one Christmas I missed my Mom’s old glass serving bowl that she used to serve her ambrosia. Let GAI ( show you the contribution rates and help you decide what works best for you. Stop by with your stories, but just leave your ambrosia bowl at home. See you soon!


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