The true cost of “collecting.”

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

The true cost of “collecting.”One of the hottest TV trends these days are the rags to riches shows about ordinary people who discover hidden treasures at auctions, or estate sales, or by picking through piles of junk in storage units or barns.

Many people do not see any harm in saving as much “stuff” as possible in the hopes that one day it will become valuable enough to sell at a profit.

But like so many other things, myth and reality are often separated by a wide chasm. In most cases, the stored treasure becomes more of a nuisance than a cache.

And while a few items may have some monetary value, there is a definite and real cost of clean-up after the “collector’s” days are over.

The cost of dumpsters, laborers, and cleaners can often exceed any actual monetary value by ten, twenty, or even FIFTY times over.

And the accumulation of one lifetime can become just another final expense that has to be dealt with by the survivors.

It is heartbreaking to see one individual’s concept of treasure being relegated to trash.

Don’t let this happen to your kids. If you don’t need it or can’t sell it, get rid of it!

Because at some point someone else will have to do it.


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Harry F. D'Elia 05/20/2012 11:06 PM
  2. Charles Stallions 06/09/2012 01:30 PM
  3. Cheryl Ritchie 06/14/2012 07:47 PM
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Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

What amazing stories so now I realize it was a blessing that we downsized - it forced us to get rid of stuff. We were moving right after major flooding in the area and it was easy to give away furniture. When people came, I told them the rules - everything had to be gone by the evening before the movers arrived ... and if they wanted the bed, the matching dressers went with it plus the bedding, towels, everything coordinated as fewer bedrooms (5 down to 2) and fewer bathrooms meant I didn't need the stuff and they did.

May 21, 2012 11:27 PM #47
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

So true, Richard. My sellers recently paid over $10,000 to move 40 years worth of stuff--very little of which will ever be used or enjoyed again.

The most haunting image was a year or so ago when friends of a seller were over, helping pack and discard things; a woman came with about 10-12 pairs of unused chopsticks from Chinese restaurants and asked if she could through them away--the answer was no, pack them!

May 21, 2012 11:40 PM #48
Bill Fields
Bill Fields Learning Systems - Treasure Island, FL

Great advice Richard. I wish all agents shared this with their sellers. Thanks.

May 21, 2012 11:41 PM #49
Cynthia Larsen
Safe Haven Realty - Cotati, CA
Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA

I have a future listing that is filled to the brim with "mementos". I feel bad for the kids who will be hauling it out to the street.

May 22, 2012 12:36 AM #50
Michelle Rottach
RE/MAX Elite Homes - Bettendorf, IA
Scott County Iowa Real Estate

AHHH but it is the thrill of the finding that treasure that makes it so much fun! I love spending the afternoon strolling through flea markets and antique stores. Thank goodness I move often so the treasures get thinned out each time.

May 22, 2012 12:41 AM #51
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency - Milton, PA

Richard - When I moved out of a farmhouse 14 years ago, I filled 2 twenty cubic yard trash dumpsters.  Unbelievable!  Now?  I could pack up everything I own into a medium sized UHaul truck.  I have definitely learned to live with less! If you don't need it or can't sell it, get rid of it!  Couldn't agree more...

May 22, 2012 12:45 AM #52
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Richard.     One of my clients inherited a property where the deceased left behind 30 years' accumulation of treasures and stuff.    I lost count of the number of dumpsters he had to fill before we could put the property on the market.

Which brings to mind a plea - please make provisions for your pets in your will.

May 22, 2012 12:51 AM #53
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Richard, you tackled a touchy topic with this one. And you did it with finesse. Congratulations on your feature.

May 22, 2012 01:09 AM #54
Kerry Jenkins
Prime Properties - Crestline, CA

Having just moved from a 760 sq foot home, I realized long ago to not have too many collections of things that I don't need and would have to dust anyways.  Now that our home is almost 2000 sq feet, the stuff we did have has spread out and I realize there are particular things that I would want more of(kitchen gadgets, pictures of my family) and things that i would not(nicknacks)....

May 22, 2012 02:07 AM #55
Michael Murphy
Bienvenidos Real Estate - Parksville, BC

Its amazing how much stuff one collects, getting rid of everything is such a liberating expression of freedom

May 22, 2012 02:09 AM #56
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I totally agree with you. I represent heirs in the sale of their parents home's frequently. Many times there is so much to clear out.  Most things may have had value for the owner, but no one else valued the items.  Most is not even worth recycling.  What a pity.

May 22, 2012 02:44 AM #57
Ann Wilkins
Bay Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

Having been raised in the Midwest with depression era parents, it almost hurts me to throw things away.  Like people above said - you just may need it someday.  This past weekend I spent time cleaning out my adult daughter's old bedroom.  She had postcard collections, every pair of ballet point shoes (12), old riding boots, tennis rackets, Seventeen Magazines, track shoes and on and on and on - she never seemed to throw anything away  The room is now fairly neat and only post cards and one pair of ballet shoes retained. 

May 22, 2012 04:42 AM #58
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great advice Richard, I think that we could all learn from this and some need to be reminded daily.

May 22, 2012 04:58 AM #59
Nina Gaspich
Weichert Realtors/Sudler International Realty - Chicago, IL

The problem is...when you're getting rid of "stuff," you're getting rid of parts of your life.  In our materialistic society, we are unfortunately judged by the things we have - the more expensive, the better.  It's one thing to throw away a cheap knick-knack that you got as a gift from someone whose name you no longer remember. It's another to discard an old appliance that you got from your beloved aunt as a wedding present, or had to save up your own money to buy over the course of several months.  A baseball card from a no-longer-remembered player from the 1980s may have more "sentimental" value for the owner than an early 50's Mickey Mantle.

I'm speaking from the perspective of someone who had to help her mother sell "stuff" from her own home, move other "stuff" into storage lockers, and move herself into a nursing home on doctor's orders.  Over the course of nearly 7(!) years we weeded through the chaff in order to save the wheat.  Now that mother's gone I still have boxes of old bowling trophies and church-committee photographs that are either worthless or priceless.  I hope I have many long years ahead in which to figure out which is which.

May 22, 2012 06:08 AM #60
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas


This is sad but so true!  Well said.

May 22, 2012 01:09 PM #61
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

My grandmother raised 7 children during the depression.  The tales of her hoarding are endless.  I could and may post my own blogs on them.  A lot of it is based on Fear and for other greed.  Grandma would give away stuff if people needed it. But she could not stand waste.  

May 22, 2012 01:10 PM #62
Paddy Deighan JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

and it seems that every day we here a story about people that hoard....they should read your blog post!!

May 22, 2012 07:18 PM #63
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Richard, so true and there usually is a bit of a packrat in all of us!

May 22, 2012 07:57 PM #64
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Excellent post.  It is a good time to get rid of all of the stuff around the house.

Have a great day and an outstanding weekend.

Jun 14, 2012 08:19 PM #65
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I you have a chance, read George Carlin's routine called "Stuff". It will make you look at things a bit differently.


Jun 14, 2012 08:34 PM #66
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