Home & Leisure



My Kids Don't Want the Stuff, and We're Out of Space

Ron Wynn on

If you ever find yourself in the position of inheriting a house full of furniture, art, antiques, jewelry and linens, don't be surprised if you are left with very few satisfying options. One option often considered for unwanted items is to just "put it in storage," though it's usually a poor option. How many people have stored things for years, paid storage fees totaling three times the value of the contents and then donated the items to Goodwill? Why did they not do that in the first place? The answer to that is quite simple.

1. They really did not think it through carefully in the beginning.

2. They anticipated keeping the items in storage for only a short period of time.

3. The idea of parting with personal treasures of theirs and treasures of their deceased loved ones was not a comfortable consideration at the time.

Of course, there is the option of an estate sale or selling items on Craigslist. The Craigslist idea can lose appeal because it involves meeting people for the sale and possibly putting yourself at risk. Also, treasure seekers responding to Craigslist ads are usually not big spenders. The estate sale is often the biggest of disappointments because of the 30% to 35% commission taken, and because the estate sale company usually cherry-picks for only the most significant and saleable items. In most instances, the company will charge a substantial fee to remove unsold contents and to do a final cleaning, which could cost as much as the revenue generated by the sold items. This makes it a losing proposition that in retrospect proves donating for a tax write-off could still be the best option.


At some point, most homeowners come to grips with how little value their contents and furnishings really have. But even with that understanding, it's really hard to walk away and turn the keys over to 1-800-GOT-JUNK. And what about Dad's tennis trophies, the 27 family photo albums, the DVD collection, the VCR collection, Mom's spoon collection, Dad's beer can collection, the Architectural Digest collection, and Dad's Mad magazine and comic book collection? And don't forget Dad's model trains. These all can be sold, but the money you take in won't buy you more than a three-day vacation at a resort.

I hope you find it satisfying to know that you are not alone. To discuss these and other options, call or email me.


For more information, please call Ron Wynn at 310-963-9944, or email him at Ron@RonWynn.com. To find out more about Ron and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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