In an effort to both declutter and pay down our credit card, Ron and I have been on a roll of selling things lately. And I have to say, for the most part we’ve done surprisingly well with clothing resale, and even better with more valuable items like jewelry that we’ve sold on Ebay. It’s not a ton of extra money, but as much as small accumulated amounts of spending can add up to a big bill, small accumulated amounts of selling can also add up to a big payment.
But at this point in time, I think we may have sold just about everything we have to sell. I’m constantly on the lookout for things of value that we don’t love anymore, but since we’ve offloaded so much already, I’m finding less and less items that qualify. On the positive side, that means most of what we have is stuff we truly love and need (lagom!), and on the less positive side, it means no more sources of additional income as we work to get out of debt.
As the sale-worthy items have begun to dwindle, I’ve found myself doling them out month-to-month, instead of selling everything all at once. From a morale standpoint, this has worked well for me – it’s nice to have even a tiny bit of extra cash every month, instead of a lot one month and zero the next. It keeps me from getting too discouraged.
Along these lines, I’ve had some silver serving dishes and a couple of silver rings set aside for literally months now, waiting to be taken to a jeweler who buys gold and silver. Part of the reason they’ve been on hold is because the jeweler has two stores in town, and neither one is close to where I live, so going there is a time commitment. But this month, with nothing much else to sell, I decided it was time to venture out and see what I could get.
In the back of my mind, I know I’ve thought these pieces would bring in a nice little sum. Jewelers buy gold and silver by their purity and weight, and while I’ve sold some rings before for very little money, my friend Lori was telling me that she once brought in some silverware to sell and that it really added up. So having two heavy silver serving dishes made me feel hopeful and excited. I even polished them before taking them in so they were all shiny and pretty.
When I arrived at the jewelry store, a very nice lady came over to help me, and I plunked the bag down on the counter and waited expectantly to hear how much money I might be walking out with. She fitted a loupe to her eye and examined the first serving dish. “Well, this one’s not silver, so we can’t take this one,” she said nicely, handing it back to me.
I was stunned. The stupid thing tarnished like crazy, which is part of why I never used it and was getting rid of it, and it was also why I just assumed it was silver. Then the thought crept into the back of my mind that the polish I had been using was supposed to work on all kinds of metals, and so it should have occurred to me that it was possible that the dish was made out of something other than silver. I held my breath while she looked at the second dish.
She flipped it over, peered at the markings underneath, and gave me a pleasant smile. “This one isn’t silver either,” she proclaimed, handing it back.
I was pretty bummed. Other than the two dishes, all I had in the bag were the two rings, which did turn out to be silver, but she estimated were only worth about a dollar combined. Ugh.
As disappointing as it was, it was another good reminder that what we THINK has so much value, often has very little. I know I hung on to those items for as long as I did because I assumed they were valuable. My mother had offered them to me when she was cleaning out her china cabinet, and I think she might have gotten one of them from her mother, so I immediately thought “heirloom” instead of remembering we are not a family who really HAS heirlooms. I don’t remember if I ever even used either item for entertaining, so their useful to storage-worthy ratio was very low.
The dishes are now headed for the Goodwill. I did go ahead and trade in the rings – when I went to the jeweler, I had also brought in a necklace that needed repair, because I had a 25% off jewelry repair coupon for that store. I had them put the $1 trade in for the rings towards the repair of the necklace, which for the record, is real silver.