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3 Steps to Self-Appraising Your Stuff Before Selling it

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

There are times when you are clearing out your home or organizing and you have a hunch that the item you hold in your hand is worth some money, but you have no clue how much.

Perhaps this happens a lot when helping your parents or grandparents with downsizing, and you come across some gold, silver, a coin collection, autographs, jewelry, art, furnishings, or any other rare items. Paying to have each and every item appraised can be costly, and you’re not about to pack up and bring everything to the Antiques RoadShow.

As Estate and Downsizing professionals with twenty-six years of experience, we know a thing or two about the appraisal of goods. We have helped hundreds of our clients sort and organize items for keep, for sale and for donation.

When faced with a large project ahead, here are some ways that you can self-appraise your items so you can have a better idea of what is worth selling versus what could be donated to a family in need.

How to Self-Appraise Your Items

1. Educate yourself on what's trending. Unfortunately, spending time on how much something was worth at the time it was purchased, what materials it is made from and/or other specific details about an item may just be a waste of time. When thinking about furnishings, clothing or décor, the resale value is mainly determined by whether or not the item is in demand or not.

Resale-value is determined by the demand and that can be hard to determine alone from your circle of peers. Asking a friend how much they would pay for the item is a start, but we tend to research different groups of people between the ages of 20-40 years-of-age.

For example: Say you have a beautiful wooden dining room set. You could to talk to first time home buyers looking to furnish their house. Are they buying brown wood dining room sets? If they are not, then it probably isn’t worth as much as you think. This would then be an item that requires realistic pricing or a decision to donate

Other places to research demand and resale value could be, Facebook marketplace or Kijiji, ebay, or etsy. Be careful not only to just search for what the items are listed for, but look to see when the last time the items actually sold. Sometimes similar items are listed for a lot, but don’t sell very fast. But keep in mind- the people selling them are businesses selling them and those are retail prices, and you would be selling yours for wholesale.

2. Ask your family members what they are interested in keeping from the home. If nobody wants the item, then it probably means a) they don't know about it or b) it is worth nothing. If nobody wants the items in your family, and you don't want them, that could be an indicator that it didn't hold the value it did when it was originally purchased.

3. Admit you know nothing and ask an expert. Art, antiques, furniture, collectables, and clothing trend randomly. If you admit you don’t have a clue how much something could be worth, you could hire an expert. What a professional appraiser will do is market research, and possibly test a few items in auction. At Estate Concierge, we have professional appraisers on our team ready to help.

BONUS TIP: Unless you are an expert, don't plan on sorting or packing your items yourself. Save yourself time and stress and hire help. You could be keeping things of no value, and donating and throwing things away that are. We recommend to not even start packing. If you’re looking for support, you can contact us, Estate Concierge and Downsizing HERE.

When facing a large project, like downsizing an entire estate, sorting, organizing and selling items can be overwhelming. Knowing what is worth the effort to sell versus donate can be tricky. We are always here to help as best we can. Feel free to reach out for a consultation.


Caroline Maurice,

Owner, Co-Founder

Estate Concierge and Downsizing

Burlington, ON


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