Everyday Living Tips

How To Sell Personal Possessions For Maximum Return




If you own something free and clear then it belongs in the personal possessions pile of your life. Getting rid of clutter has been our biggest goal for 2018 especially since the passing of my father-in-law and now my mother-in-law who has been diagnosed with onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Since then she has purged the entire home because she wants very little in it. She continually says, “I’m just one person” although when my father-in-law was alive it was only just the two of them and boy did they collect lots of things over the years.

Honestly it looks like the house is for sale but it’s not. She’s just is sick of the clutter and wants it gone and in some ways, I don’t blame her. Our space should be important to us whether we have a large space or a small space and filing it up only takes away from our room to move freely, something we should value more than stuff.


The time to purge is every day


Out with the old and forget about anything new or used.  Stop bringing stuff home even if it is free. That’s what it should be because we don’t always have to replace what we get rid of since we simply accumulate more stuff costing us money.

The ups and downs of our situation has impacted us greatly and we hope that our story might help you to consider going through your stuff and getting rid of what you don’t need or have doubles and triples of for no reason.

It seems that just 9 years ago we moved into our home with clothes and an air mattress but have since accumulated personal possessions we no longer use. Often times both Mrs. CBB and I would make excuses as to why we needed to keep something, but no more.

Just the other day I pulled out 9 ice-cream scoops from the kitchen drawers that I’ve been collecting over the years and picked two that I really needed and am selling the rest at an upcoming garage sale my sister-in-law is hosting at her house.

Buy, Sell and Trade websites are some of the biggest industries in Canada where we are able to take our unused personal possessions and turn them into money. Even if you don’t want a financial return on your possessions most often you can give it away for free.

Whether you sell your personal possessions or not what you are doing is keeping stuff from entering the landfill and continuing the use of items that likely are collecting dust at home.


Letting go of personal possessions


Sometimes the hardest part for people is to give up personal possessions that don’t add value to their lives. I know when my father-in-law passed away Mrs. CBB struggled and she’s still going up against what possessions of his to keep and sell. Right now we have a curio cabinet with a shelf dedicated to him and a few odds and sods that we’ve brought back.

If I hadn’t controlled the situation there we be lots more here because like her father she likes to hang on to things. It seems that no matter what we own used or not there is a story behind each item.  I’m sure you can relate.

How the story impacts your life dictates whether you want to keep something or not. The hardest part is to let go of possessions that offer no value but you THINK you might need it in the future. Perhaps you may but if you don’t then all you are doing is allowing clutter to build which ends up becoming more of a hassle down the road.

This was my father-in-law and we are still to this day trying to downsize the amount of possessions he accumulated over the years. Some might call this hoarding and perhaps it was but it certainly was organized chaos. Since growing up poor was in his blood any possessions that he found an ounce of value in, he kept. There was always the “what-if’s” and trust me when I say he had more than just doubles of what he owned, think multiples.


Savings vs. Costs of Personal Possessions


Over the past few months we’ve been downsizing or de-cluttering what my father-in-law left behind and it has been overwhelming for us. We’ve already paid to have three 15 foot bins taken away costing my mother-in-law approximately $1000 in rentals and dumping fees.

What we couldn’t sell or didn’t have time to sell ended up in the landfill or for free on the front lawn. It’s shameful really that we don’t have the time to financially maximize returns on his possessions but when there is so much it gets overwhelming.

Even though we are far from done cleaning out his possessions Mrs. CBB and I have started to do the same at our house. Leaving behind such a large task for a surviving spouse, children, relatives or friends to take care of is not fair at all.

Sometimes things happen that we are not prepared for in life and other times we know things may happen. Either way slimming down what possessions we own often makes the transition easier for everyone. In about three months we’ve sold lots of our hidden or unused possessions and have banked about $2500 which is better than nothing.

Along the way we have learned that if we want to see the biggest return on what we own then taking the time to research each item is imperative. I can’t even begin to tell you the stories we’ve heard from potential buyers about why they can’t afford something or why they should get it cheaper and so on.

This is what deters sellers but don’t let buyers who try to push you into lowering your prices bother you. It’s just a game and if they don’t want to pay, let them go because there is always a buyer as long as what you are selling is in decent shape.

Just remember there is a difference in pricing between what you sell at a garage sale and what you sell classified. Garage sale prices are rock-bottom and online ads are valued higher because most often the seller is not in a rush as it would seem with a weekend garage sale.

The amount of new products in wrapping we have dug up in my father-in-laws garage would astound you and many of you might think we should just donate and be done with it but he has a widow who needs the money.


Life doesn’t get easier


We’re all on a journey whether we want to believe it or not and how it plays out depends on many factors. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time brings joy or grief to our lives. Other times a seemingly healthy person falls ill or someone who thought they had time had little to no time at all. Life is precious my friends and although we must live it to the fullest we always need to consider in the back of our minds that tomorrow may never come.

Often we tend to forget about how our health can impact our lives today or in the future and for those left behind. When a spouse passes away it can be very overwhelming for those left behind to pick up the pieces. There is no way my mother-in-law would know where to begin selling his possessions many of which are worth lots of money.

The money we can earn for her will go to her bank account and help fund her living costs until she is no longer with us. What we’ve since learned after his passing is how expensive it costs to move into a retirement home and what services are and are not available for seniors in the community.

Just to put things into perspective for a moment a decent retirement home IF you are able to get into one can cost upwards of $3000 plus depending on where the home is located. Add any serious health issues and that number increases.

If you thought that life was tough financially while you’re working full-time wait until you retire and you have little to no income or savings. What if you still have a mortgage to pay? What if you still have debt? What if your health deteriorates? What if you have disabilities? What if there is no one there to help you?

People with severe disabilities face a number of challenges in everyday life, chief among them financial – including barriers to employment and additional costs to manage their conditions, from mobility devices through to specialized therapy. Related: The CRA makes life more difficult for those with disabilities

That’s when life gets real and although some people might rely on the government or even their kids to pick up the pieces there’s never anything good that comes from it. The amount of red tape and hoops will blow you away if you’re not prepared. We’ve experienced siblings fighting, relatives who turn their backs and so-called friends who try to get stuff for cheap or free knowing the value of what they are getting is higher.

This is why it’s so important to think about your finances for today and tomorrow so if you are left behind after the passing of a spouse, alone or disabled for whatever reason that you have savings put away for a rainy day. Even a dollar a day is better than having nothing at all.


Maximizing Return on Personal Possessions


Over the past months Mrs. CBB and I have been tasked with investigating items that my father-in-law owns so we know how much to sell them for. Thankfully before he passed we talked about what he had and how much they were worth especially his hobby equipment which included fishing, hunting, gardening, boating, biking and a host of other things that kept him busy during his retirement years.

A quick example of our legwork would be the brand new snow blower sitting in the garage that cost $1500 to purchase and someone offering my mother-in-law $100 for. If we weren’t there to step in she likely would have sold it and not because she doesn’t care it’s because she doesn’t know any better. Not everyone understands the value of something but when money is on the table they are likely to crack and take it especially if they are desperate for it.

Not all kids will jump in and do what we are doing to help my mother-in-law bring back some money into her savings account nor does everyone have kids, family, friends or relatives to help out. These are things to keep in mind when you continue to buy stockpiles of items just because they are on sale or offered free to you.

Take what you own and slim it down to what you need and not what you think you might need today or in the future. If you find that your closet has 15 jackets take what you don’t use and sell them or donate them if the money is not important to you.

We’ve still got a few more trips and bins to fill up before we are done with the major clean-up at my mother-in-laws house which will end up costing her around $2000 in removal and dumping fees. If you think about the money you are saving on stuff you buy but don’t use and the costs of getting rid of it for those left behind you might find that it’s not much of a savings at all.


Selling Personal Possessions


Where are the best places to sell your personal possessions?

There are online websites and mobile apps available in Canada for buying and selling to consider. Most importantly if you are selling someone else’s personal possessions take the time to research items you aren’t sure about pricing so you maximize return. Even beyond this list there are websites that offer to sell specific items such as used wedding dresses such as Stillwhite.ca

Alternatively donate to local shelters, community centres or second-hand shops if you’d rather just down-size and ship it out the door.


Less is More


When I was living in the UK there were zero closets in my house which meant I needed a wardrobe which most often was big and bulky. I’ve since learned that if we pretend that we don’t have closets, shelving, garages and basements to store stuff then we bring less into our house.

It may sound daft but if you are the type of person that has to stand back when you open a closet because something might fall out or you have to stash stuff under  the bed because you’ve run out of space consider getting rid of those personal possessions that are closing in on you.

Discussion: How do you decide what personal possessions to keep and what to sell?

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  1. Sorry for the loss of your family member and the multitude of issues requiring your attention.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

    Please will your post resources to determine the selling price/fair market value of items… ” .personal possessions take the time to research items you aren’t sure about pricing”.

    My lengthy and varied research in attempts to find out what is currently deemed collectible and prices for specific items have been unsuccessful.

    Such as,my search through postings on Craigslist lead to frustration as the sellers fail to provide the name of a manufacture or details, thus requiring searching through pages of ” dining suites”, “wood tables”, etc. in attempts to find similar quality of items.

    What resources do ALL the resellers use to determine the selling price?

    The personal possessions/household furnishings involved are what would be considered of better quality; such as Gibbard furniture which is of classic style, high quality crystal items ,select vintage clothing that is of high quality .
    All of the items are undamaged and clean condition.

    By what means would you find out if a specific china collectible or item is of significant value?

    All of the items are packed away in storage, thus a third party specializing in ” estate sales”, ” downsizing service” are unable to see the items, if in fact,an estimate of value would be provided by a third party ?

    All suggestions are appreciated.

    Thank you

  2. My husband and me down sized 2 years before I retired. 4 bedroom house to a two bedroom condo. Hardest thing to do was get ride of stuff, because of the emotional attachment. Ii am happy we did it, but hated doing it. 3 years later and I am so happy we did it when we did. My son and his wife bought our house and when we go there I am so happy we don’t have the stairs and a ll the garden work. It is also a relieve not to have all that stuff.

    1. Hi Dale,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I think in the moment it’s the hardest thing to do but like most things when the dust has settled we can look back and be thankful for what was done. I know it’s still not over for us and each time is a struggle but Mrs. CBB is picking and choosing the best she can. Thanks for the insight I’m sure she will appreciate reading it. Mr.CBB

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