We’ve probably all collected something at one point in our lives: dolls, cars, baseball cards, Hummel figurines, Beanie Babies, shoes, handbags, tools, and more. In my work as a professional organizer, I’ve seen huge collections of things. Some of my clients have their collections displayed in their homes while others have them boxed away safely. No matter where the collection lives, the conversation is often the same.
“Someday these will be worth a lot of money,” my client says to me. I offer to gather information for the client on the current market value of the collection, and the client almost always takes me up on this offer. Unfortunately, the news is usually the same: the collection at one time was worth much more than it’s worth now. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think that it’s important for my clients to know the real value of what they have. I can feel my clients’ disappointment each time I deliver this news. They all spent a lot of money over the years building up their collections in the hope that someday they would sell their collection for a down payment on a house or a new car. A few of my clients still enjoy their collections even though they now know that they won’t retire early because of them, but others feel the immediate weight of a collection that was mainly built in the hopes of selling it someday. For the latter, there is no enjoyment in the collection as it is. The pleasure was in the expectation that it would increase in value over the years. This is the difficult part: what to do with the collection now. Some of my clients have tried over the course of many hours and sometimes days and weeks to sell the collection on Ebay or on Everything But the House or on another site for collectors. Other clients just pack the collection back into the attic or closet where it had lived for years before we unpacked it as a step toward our goal of finding more space in the client’s home.
My advice is always the same in regard to collections or for anything really: buy only those things you love and need. Do not buy anything in the hopes that it’ll bring you future wealth. This goes for baseball cards, crystal, a car, a home, diamonds, silver, or comic books. At the end of this post are some articles I found when researching the value of some of my clients’ collections. If you have a collection that you are looking to sell, do your research! Check with appraisers, antique shops, and online for the most current information regarding your stuff. And don’t hold onto something just because you think and hope that someday it’ll bring you joy in the form of money. You’ll feel weighed down by it for years, and you’ll have to move it, store it, dust it, clean it, and tend to it for years while you wait for the day when you find out its value. In order for our stuff to be worth much more money in the future, there needs to be a market out there for it, and more and more articles are saying that Millennials are not interested in things like our china collections, Chippendale furniture, silver, coin and stamp collections, and more.
Reach out to me if you’ve had luck with (or an interesting story about) a collection you had and sold! I’d love to hear about it!