It’s very likely that you’ve heard the phrase ‘tidy house, tidy mind’. A simple phrase, a simple concept, but not always a simple task. It’s an idea that many of us are keen on in theory, but when it actually comes around to doing the deed it can seem rather daunting. Allow us to spur you on with a short quote from Wendell Berry: ‘Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.’ Ah. Good point, well made, Wendell. It might be time to address that clutter…
Today is Clear Your Clutter Day and we think it’s the perfect excuse to clear your home of unnecessary pieces, creating space for that much needed injection of freshness. Holding onto inherited pieces just for the sake of it? Bought a vintage chair years ago that you’ve fallen out of love with? It might just be time to let go (and maybe make some extra cash!). We here at Layer have pulled together a piece filled with tips on how to sell your vintage furniture and homeware, so grab a cuppa, take a deep breath, and choose which tips will be most helpful to you.
Know what you’re selling
This may sound obvious, but to sell a vintage piece for the best possible price it is imperative that you gather as much information as possible. When was it made? Who made it? Where was it made? Each piece tells a story, and buyers want to know as much of this story as possible. It adds value, life and character. Another important aspect to research is: how much are similar items selling for? This will give you a good indication of what your price should be.
Talk to local traders
Attend your local vintage and antiques fairs. Locate traders with similar pieces to the one(s) you are selling. They may well offer to buy the piece from you in the hope that they can sell it on for more. They’re the professionals and will be able to offer guidance (N.B. but do refer back to the previous point – know what you’re selling so you don’t get ripped off!).
Trade at local fairs
If you have more than a few items to sell then you may want to explore the option of setting up your own stall at a local trade fair. Casual traders are welcome at places like the Collectors Fairs at Ardingly and Newark, and the bi-monthly Sunbury Antiques market. If the official vintage and antiques fairs seem a bit daunting, selling at car boot sales is another good option.
If you’re more of an indoors bod then perhaps fairs and car boots aren’t for you. Fear not! Vintage shops will be more up your street. Google local vintage and antique shops in your area, and we can almost guarantee they’ll be able to help.
An increasingly popular way of trading vintage and antique furniture and homeware is online. Of course you have mega-site eBay there as a tool. But for a much more personalised and friendly approach take a look around our site – Layer. We live and breath preloved pieces (we’re obsessed!), and we promise to provide you with a free listing on your website, a bespoke service, and a warm experience, all in return for a fee once your item has been sold.
If you’re super old school you could try the approach of paying for your piece to be in the classified ads section in your local newspaper.
If you have done your research and you discover that your item is of considerable value then you may want to go down the route of selling your piece through a reputable auction house. The benefits of this is that your piece will be exposed to a targeted audience, however the downside it that auction houses can charge very high fees for their services.
Consider restoration and repairs
If there is noticeable damage to a piece then don’t be afraid to explore the option of restoration and repair. It may well add hundreds or thousands onto the selling price.
Try not to get frustrated if your piece doesn’t sell immediately. The vintage world is a funny one, and the desire for certain pieces is constantly shifting and changing. Trends come and go. It may well turn out that your piece of vintage furniture will be all the rage this time next year, and your piece will be snapped up for a great price!
Top tip: if you’re holding onto any pieces from the mid century period (roughly between 1933-1965) then these pieces are incredibly à la mode and will sell well. This is particularly true when a certain name can be accredited to the piece such as Eames, Hans Wegner or George Nelson (to name a select few).
It can be very difficult to know whether your piece is truly vintage, so if you need a helping hand here, then take a look at our recent article demystifying the definitions of “antique” and “vintage”.
Bon chance de-clutterers! Go forth and tidy! And never forget, that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…
Jasmine Birtles, founder of MoneyMagpie.com has set up the first National Clear Your Clutter Day on Saturday March 19th and you can join in by following the Google+ Hangout all day. See more details at ClearYourClutterDay.co.
Click here to sell with Layer.
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