Over the last twenty years I’ve been lucky enough to turn a life-long interest in “old things” into two of my current day jobs – auctioneering in Emsworth Auctions and running an antiques and collectables shop, Emsworth Antiques Etc. in the town’s West Street.
These days, I spend quite a lot of time in other people’s bedrooms and sheds, as well as various local self-storage facilities.
The requests for visits cover a number of purposes : a collector who want to sell past treasures, impending down-sizing, the items which won’t fit in after down-sizing, dealing with the contents of a relative’s home – either in situ or having been brought away to be dealt with.
My mission is to assess the items for purchase, or to triage them for the owner to put into our auction, or to provide a partial or complete clearance service.
Whilst not everything I am shown is to my taste, the previous owner had probably loved it for some reason, and my involvement takes the items a step closer to the next person who will love or use them in turn.
I can afford to be objective, whereas the person who has asked for my help has all sorts of memories and sentiment attached to the goods I am being shown. My advice is that if you’re not ready to let them go yet, hold onto them a while longer rather than regret their absence.
But if you’ve been storing Aunt Aggie’s boxes for fourteen years, remind yourself that she wouldn’t have wished her bequest to be a burden, and you really shouldn’t feel guilty about moving her possessions along. Someone else WILL love them in time.
Meanwhile, if I may - a couple of important points when arranging clearances at any level:
- Present an accurate picture – hold the family gatherings to decide who wants to keep what before you call us in. It doesn’t matter if the items have not been removed yet, but we do need to know exactly what we are dealing with.
- Once a price has been agreed, please do not remove items. If you decide you want to keep the cranberry glasses after all, please understand that has to change the financial agreement. Try not to sound aggrieved when told so.
And remember that most of us live with well-worn possessions which are really not suitable for re-sale at all, and for which there will be costs for disposal. All that has to be put in the balance.
We always make sure that any personal documents we find are returned, and that we treat our clients’ premises with the respect we would hope for ourselves in due course.
A couple of years ago my daughter said she couldn’t decide what to get me for my birthday, and almost decided on a skip! Dear child.