Late this afternoon about 30 friends passed through my nearly empty house for a “Come ‘n’ Git It” party.
My friend Judi and I arranged on several tables all the stuff I wanted to free myself from. I’d invited people via email and Facebook a few days earlier, asking that they bring food or drink to share as well, since I had packed my kitchenware.
My cleverest idea was to let everyone know that half of the proceeds from the moving sale would go to a local charity we all support. Guests were asked to donate into a basket what they thought was a reasonable price for their take-home treasures.
We had a fun party and because a good cause was involved my guests probably paid twice as much as they otherwise would have. The educational foundation “I Have a Dream” got $220, I got $220, and Goodwill got the last of the stuff, kindly delivered to them by one of the last guests.
Everybody wins, and I’m rid of yet another buttload of Stuff. Another dent in the mountain.
There is a time and a buyer for everything: witness the McGuire furniture saga.
You may remember my humongo McGuire desk, the logjam in my early efforts to downsize during the summer. It took up an acre of physical space but was way too valuable just to chuck. Or so I thought.
I listed it several times on Craigslist, each time significantly reducing the price. Not one nibble until I PAID two boys to move it down to the garage for me and listed it for free. Then a couple from the coast drove 2 hours each way to fetch it.
Meanwhile, I’d kept the leather, cane and wicker McGuire desk chair that went with it, because… well, because.
Last minute I realized that of the THREE desk chairs I had, it was my least favorite. It had to go.
I listed the chair on Craigslist for $60. Very quickly a woman called from Seattle to say “Hold it for me. I’ll be there in three hours.” She gave me the $60 without a moment’s haggle.
Then she asked about The Desk.
Turns out she loves McGuire furniture. She had seen the desk listing and would have happily paid $500 for it, but to her chagrin she had just gotten a new desk.
Moral of this story: if you want to get rid of unique items of value, be patient. Start early and list often. Otherwise, figure on giving it away.
The auction house sent me a preliminary statement from last week’s sale.
My art deco sideboard sold for $650. The six place settings of lovely thoroughly modern looking 100-year-old china? $150. The antique clock? $350. Then the auction company takes 20% of that for commission. Some stuff didn’t even sell.
I guess the good news is that if I ever want to re-stock on furnishings, the auction house is the place to start for incredible bargains on lovely things.