By Lois Hoffman
Stuff. It’s what makes a collector’s world go around. They go to shows, garage sales, search online and a host of other places to acquire “stuff.” Then they put the “stuff” on shelves and in display cases and it sets there…forever.
I have never understood this. I am not a collector, but rather a creator. I paint, I take photographs, I make new “stuff” so it can set there. Even though the end means is the same, this part I understand.
Finding a Buyer
Now I have ventured into the new realm of the un-collector. Instead of stuff, I want space. That means getting rid of stuff. This is not the same as just not collecting, instead it is not buying but rather, finding a buyer.
Easier said than done. No matter what the projected value of an item is, it is really only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, a fact that changes with the times. A collectible item when purchased does not mean it will always be a collectible item.
So, what are my options? I tried the yard sale route…never again. People come to yard sales with the intention of getting something for a buck or two which is fine for what-nots but not so good for true collectibles. Then there is the issue that, even though 99% of the people are respectful, there is always that one percent that feels they are free to pick up anything in your yard, go in barns and look around and basically make themselves to home. I don’t think so. On top of this, you always end up with stuff no one wants, including you, that has to be hauled away. Nope, no more garage sales.
So, I tried the route of hauling it away in the first place…to an auction. The only saving grace here was that I got rid of stuff, but with very little to show for it. It’s like rolling the dice, you take your chances on who is going to show up and what they want. Many collectibles sold for a little of nothing because the true collectible crowd wasn’t there. Nope, done with that too.
After going through these trials, I have found a better way. Be warned though, the new way can be addictive. It is Marketplace through Facebook.
Using Social Media
It is about the easiest thing I have ever done. You research the item that you want to sell on E-bay and get a general price range, depending on condition, for your item. Then you go to Marketplace, choose a category, upload a picture and name a price. Basically, anyone on FB can see it.
Then, to make sure that even more people see your item, you list it in more groups and more groups. There are local groups in each town and city that has their own online selling groups, the list basically goes on forever.
Then you wait. Folks message you about the item, you bicker sometimes on price and when you agree, both parties decide on a meeting place (usually a public one unless you know the buyer) and you get rid of the item and have cash in hand.
Now, there is a little more to it than that. Sometimes it means a couple trips into town in a day. Once in a while it means mailing it to someone further away. But, for these minor inconveniences, there is a bigger payoff. You actually get rid of stuff and have a little loot to boot.
Jim was the ultimate collector. Instead of choosing a select few categories, he would collect anything and everything. It was against his nature to part with anything. I even found plastic grocery bags inside of boxes tucked away in cabinets (you just never know when you might need one). He kept everything in pristine condition, in protective sleeves inside of hard plastics inside of showcases. Many collectibles had never been opened.
At first, I felt bad letting go of things that he had put his heart and soul into keeping. But some things I had no idea what they were or where they came from. They were just things. Then my niece Michelle made it all right. She told me that up until now the things were just setting in the basement, packed away neatly where no one could see them or enjoy them. When they went to a new home, they were bringing someone else joy. I like this outlook, the “stuff” could stay with someone who shared his passion for collecting.
A perfect example happened the other day. I had two decorative biscuit tins that were made in England. I had no idea where he even got them. Within an hour of listing them, two people messaged me. One was Ron’s cousin who had a similar one that she remembers her grandmother using for pineapple cookies. She had never seen another one. A friend from Minnesota saw the other one and she thought it would go perfectly with some of her Dad’s things on her mantle in her new house that she and her husband had built in the country. Needless to say, they both found new homes where they could be appreciated and bring others joy.
My snowmen are another example. At one time I had over 100 of them. It was Jim’s and my thing to set them out each year. It would take over two days just to unpack them and then two more days to pack them back up. This year I chose my special few and set them out in an hour’s time. The rest I let go to new homes. I’m OK with that.
Once in awhile I find something that I truly like. This is the case with a small crystal pumpkin bowl. It caught my eye, I like it. I will keep it.
I am liking this new addiction and it does work both ways. Not only do I list my stuff but I also check out what others are selling. You can find anything on Marketplace from collectibles to household items to services. There is an administrator somewhere out there in the cosmos that keeps an eye on what goes on there and there are some items that are not appropriate like guns and knives.
Sometimes I wonder why they flagged my salt and pepper shakers as being against their terms and yet someone list a pack of tampons…seriously! You just shake your head and move on.
I am liking this uncollectable person that I have become. For one thing, I have more space and the place is less cluttered. I also have come to realize that I am letting go of the stuff, not the memories. Less really is more.
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