Consignment, an Option for Senior Citizen Downsizing

Apr 3rd, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

Whether it’s downsizing or just wanting/needing to sell furniture and household items, we seniors have several choices when it comes to getting rid of our ‘stuff’. 

  • We can give ‘stuff’ away to family and close friends.
  • We can have a garage sale/estate sale.  If we do this ourselves, it’s highly labor intensive and can be exhausting.  If we hire someone, a significant amount of sales goes to the person(s) hired.
  • We can have an auction.  Again, funds generated will be diminished by what has to go to the auctioneer.
  • We can advertise in the local classifieds, or online classifieds.  Ads must be paid for, but if you find someone who will purchase what you advertise, most of the sale income comes back to you.  There is no guarantee that items will sell.  You can spend money on the ads and still have the items underfoot that you want to get rid of.
  • Depending upon where you live, you can put household items on the curb in front of your house with a sign that says “Free..  come and get it!”.  We’ve always been amazed at how household items get recycled this way in San Francisco.  Seniors who live in rural areas also find this a highly efficient way of getting rid of what we don’t want or need anymore.

And then there’s the option of putting items in a consignment store.  The obvious disadvantage of this is that a certain percentage of the sale goes to the owner of the store.
This can generally be anywhere from 40% to 60%.  However, there are advantages that some of the other options do not  have.

  • All you have to do is arrange for your items to be taken to the store and sign the agreement with the owner of the store.  Very minimal labor on your part.
  • You get the items out of the house quickly and easily, and just wait for them to be sold.
  • Once the items are in the store, the owner does all the work to get them sold.
  • The money that comes back to you is likely to be about the same as a garage sale, an estate sale, an auction, and using classified ads.  And, again, there is very minimal labor on your part.

We have had recent experience selling on www.craigslist.com, www.ebayclassifieds.com, estate sale, giving stuff away to family/friends/strangers who pick up what we leave out in front of the house… and consignment.  The most satisfying experiences by far have been giving away and consignment.  SCJ highly recommends both!



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