The April 2015 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance has a great article on how to simplify your life and put money in your pocket by taking inventory of your possessions and eliminating the things you no longer need or use. The article gives some tips on how to deal with the emotions involved in parting with items of sentimental value. Four steps are to: 1) Compose a mission statement, 2) Enlist help (Merry Welcome is here to help!) 3) Scope out your new place, if moving, and 4) Keep only what you love the most. Below is an excerpt of the article.
Spending: Let it go
By Lisa Gerstner, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Kiplinger's Money Power Posted 02/26/2015 at 10:00 am EST
Maybe you're downsizing from a sprawling house in the suburbs to a downtown condo. Perhaps a parent is moving to a retirement community, and you and your siblings are excavating the family home. Or maybe you're just plain tired of having too much stuff. Whatever the reason, having fewer possessions can simplify your life and put some cash in your pocket. But doing it the right way requires patience and possibly help from the pros.
What's the right way? That depends on how many belongings you have, your timeline and how much of the work you're willing to do on your own.
For large-scale downsizing, estate-sale and auction professionals can help sift through your stuff, estimate its value and sell it for a good price. If you have a number of valuable items to sell but not enough to warrant a large sale (or if you want a shot at selling things that didn't go in the first attempt), consider consignment shops and websites such as eBay. And don't forget charitable donations, which can reward your generosity with a tax deduction.
If you're selling or donating items of significant value -- or if you're not sure whether they're valuable -- call in an appraiser. At appraisers.org, you can search for accredited personal-property appraisers by location and specialty. Fees vary by region and by the appraiser's accreditation level but may range from $125 to $300 per hour.
An estate-sale or auction company that you hire may have qualified appraisers on staff. Ask appraisers about their credentials (such as accreditation from the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers or the Appraisers Association of America) and how long they've conducted appraisals.
Invite family members to take anything you're willing to give away. For those who aren't in your region, you could post photographs of items online with a tool that everyone can access, such as Dropbox, suggests Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
Don't overlook items that may have sentimental value. "A lot of times, it's the grandchildren who want Grandmother's apron or her china set," says Victoria Roberts, a certified professional organizer and owner of Victoria Roberts Organizing, in Mill Valley, California. But in your enthusiasm to clean house, don't foist leftovers on those who don't show interest. Chances are, they'll sneak it into the trash (or sell it themselves) when you're not looking.
(Lisa Gerstner is a contributing editor to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)
(c) 2015 Kiplinger's Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.