Guest blog by Julie Starr Hook of Five Starr Organizing and Design and author of “From Frazzled to Freedom”
Deciding whether to keep or toss an item is a very important task when organizing. Sometimes it means determining the “real” value of your item to make this decision. There are things to consider when determining an accurate value on your items.
What really determines the monetary value of something? An item’s true financial value is based on supply and demand. However, programs like The Antiques Road Show may leave many people worrying they should never throw anything away and that maybe they have one of those of items that will fetch thousands of dollars. Perhaps if they keep items for years they might be one of the lucky ones. If you’re unsure of the value of an item, check different websites such as Craig’s List, Amazon or Ebay. At the very least, get an idea of how much people are willing to pay for an item. These selling sites also let you know how large the demand is for your item. Remember, what a person lists an item for and what they actually get for an item can be two very different things. If you run into dead ends, call an appraiser.
Many people think just because they have collected something for a long time that it must be valuable. For example, many of my clients have collected National Geographics. While these are amazing magazines there were also many circulated. Therefore, many people also have them, which is what decreases the value. As another example, I had a client who collected vintage Holly Hobby items from the 70’s. She didn’t want to get rid of them just because they might be valuable someday. Well, now 40 years have passed and we found out that the majority of her items were valued at a little more than she paid for them and not increased in value like she thought would have happened. This was also true when we looked up the value of some of her vintage Avon items. Many collectors put hours and hours into their collection and because of the time and financial commitment to a collection they can have a tainted view of the actual value of their collections. Decide whether you are collecting things for the monetary value or for the love of the collection.
The sentimental value and emotional attachment needs to be taken into consideration when determining the monetary value of an item. Many people associate their “stuff” with a sort of stability and security. In the comic strip “Peanuts”, Linus has his security tied up in a blanket and gets very anxious when that is threatened. Adults may have a much more subtle but still very strong security attachment to their “stuff” and the thought of parting with it can be very anxiety provoking. This emotional attachment can also lead a person to placing a higher value on their stuff than it is actually worth. You may need to separate yourself from the sentimental nature of the item. This can be done by having a second person or third party assist you and they may be able to help take the “emotional” piece out of the equation.
Julie Starr Hook resides in Salem, Oregon, with her husband, three children and two step children.