Still smarting from the Salvation Army’s caviler attitude towards my Mom’s gorgeous clothes, I found myself staring at the furniture which filled the rear of our storage unit. What was I going to do with all of that?
We’d already been down this road a few times. I’d sorted through my aunt’s belongings three years before, finding homes for most of her furnishings and a lion’s share of her clothes. A few months later, I downsized Mom and Dad to an independent living apartment out of their home of four decades. Just over a month ago, I sifted through Mom’s stuff again. She was never going to return to her apartment, so we were storing her things until we knew which assisted living facility she would be moving to. In the process we donated a bedroom suite and desk to one charity and gave a recliner to one of my bestie’s sons.
Since there was a long waiting list for my mom’s apartment, we rushed the move to maximize our refund and took everything to the storage facility. I planned on sorting through it when we moved her into assisted living, but we never made it that far. So, after the funeral, my first job was to sort through everything in storage and figure out what was there.
Some of it was easy. The half full box of cereal – trash. A shoe box full of used insoles – trash. A gallon Ziplock bag of dental floss told me Mom didn’t floss as she should, but there was no reason we should ever have to buy any more – ever! We also have a lifetime supply of Q-tips, cotton balls and Kleenex.
Some of it would be a treasure to anyone. Mom collected porcelain and crystal whatnots. I didn’t hesitate a moment in claiming the Lladro, Royal Doulton and such to display in my house – but I did share with my sister, my cousins and a few friends, albeit reluctantly. Same with her jewelry. The fine jewelry I split with my sister and the costume I spread between us, my cousins and those good friends. My sister placed dubs on the Frankoma Ware, the lamps and Mom’s art. I wanted a Queen Anne desk with display case and an etergere to show off my new treasures.
Still there was a five piece bedroom suite, a dining set with hutch and various living room furniture. Acutely aware of how hard my parents worked to amass these belongings and cognizant of the fact that this was the good stuff – not that cheap stuff they pass off as furniture some places, I assumed that consigning it was a good idea.
I took lots of pictures and emailed them off to some of the better consignment stores I knew of. From time to time Bill and I will redecorate and drop off a mirror or a chair. We’ve had good luck. We’ve also shopped at consignment stores and found some real winners. Well, when you own your own moving company, I guess consignment is a good idea, but it wasn’t working out so well in this case.
The calls came in. Yes, they’d like to sell my mom’s stuff. All I needed to do was deliver it to them. I knew that was the case for the odd piece I’d consigned before, but this was virtually an apartment-ful of furniture and I’d already moved it once. No, they wouldn’t give any estimates on value of things they hadn’t seen in person. No, they wouldn’t come to the storage unit to look it over. The gamble was all mine – and when I delivered it, I not only had to agree to whatever price they wanted to put on it, but I had to agree to their markdown schedule. Either that or pay to take it back to the storage unit and continue to pay for storing it.
It sounded like I did all the work and took all the risks, only to net out less than half of whatever price the consignment store eventually got. This wasn’t sounding so good after all.
So maybe letting it go in one of the storage auctions was a better answer. The lady at the storage place came down and guesstimated that I might net out $150-375 for the lot of it. Was she kidding? We’d paid more than $375 for the small dining set from IKEA and it still looked brand new. I understood that the furniture wasn’t as valuable to them as it was to me, but I’d prefer to use it for kindling at those prices.
I posted the furniture on facebook and one of my friends was dying for it, but she’s in Wales and moving on to Canada from there. She wasn’t sure when or if she’d actually manage to get to Dallas to pick it up. The way things were going, I wouldn’t have minded giving it to her, but I couldn’t afford to store it until some time in perpetuity, so that was a no go, too.
If no one in the immediate family or my cousins could use these treasures, maybe someone in the wider family could. I’ve made that call and sent the pictures. I’m waiting to hear back.
Anyone need any kindling?