Friday, March 11, 2011

Is Your Parent's Junk Worth Anything ?

Sorting Collectibles From Junk

When adult kids tell me about how they cleaned out their parents home, I always wonder if there were any goodies in the stash they dumped, donated or sold off at a cheap lump sum to a "junk dealer"? If only adult children had a heads up on what is junk and what is collectible, they might have moved more slowly and carefully on liquidating an estate. Now don't get me wrong, what's on my mind isn't the relative who overlooked some fancy schmancy dinner plate. I'm thinking about the person who threw out a box of documents from WWII or a let go of some great seltzer bottles.

What People Throw Out That They Should Hold Onto

Whenever I have been party to a discussion about clean outs, I inquire, "so what exactly did you throw out?" . Too often I hear back "everything in the basement, garage, kitchen, bathroom etc". " what?"......I ask. The adult child explains,"Oh you know, rusty garden tools, old jars from the year one, a closet ...filled with old hats, a medicine cabinet stuffed with junk...boxes of drawers filled with stuff etc.

Learning From Pawn Stars

NO NO NO .....a lot of what is considered "the junk" is actually the good stuff. Come on, we have learned that from all the realty T.V. programs popping up such as "Pawn Stars", "American Pickers", "Auction Kings" etc..

Junk Dealers Who Do Clean Outs

Many adult children do not want to bother sorting through the contents of their elderly parent's home so they hire a person who does clean outs to get rid of everything for an agreed upon lot price. Typically, the junk dealer fills up his (or her) truck and returns to a shop or storage area to begin the next step of sorting through the house clean out.

To Junk Or Not To Junk

Before you hire a junk man to do a "clean out" of mom and/or dad's home, it might make sense to get more familiar with what treasures you might actually have among the so called junk. Take a look at my site I Antique and you will learn a good deal about what is collectible by poking through over 177 free collector group forums. As editor of that site, I have learned a lot myself about what to keep and what to dump.

I thought I would share with you some tips about what you may have that is collectible before you simply unload the whole lot.

Sorting Collectibles from Junk

PAUSE WHEN YOU COME ACROSS the following items which may be collectible and should not be tossed or boxed up as junk.


1. Tools
2. Stamps
3. Postcards,
4. Documents
5. Photos
6. Scrapbooks
7. Letters
8. Diaries
9. Boy Scott memorabilia
10. Advertising tins, cans
11. Medicine, pharmacy, powder tins, bottles.
12. Hats, hankies, vanity items.
13. Radios, cameras, typewriters (and related items).
14. Seltzer bottles, milk bottles, old bottles
15. Cigar boxes
16. Garden tools.
17. Chenille bedspreads.
18. Kitchen utensils, housewares
19. Spice tins
20. Dog figurines
21. Vinyl records
22. Board games
23. Comic books in good condition.
24. Sports souvenirs and memorabilia.
25. Pocketbooks, gloves, clothing, jewelry from 60s or earlier.
26. Valentines, greeting cards, candy boxes, wrapping paper.
27. Art and office supplies. (water color set in a tin, vintage glue bottle, staplers)
28. Children's school related items (primers, handwritng books).

Photos shown are from the wonderful collection at

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Society of Professional Journalists

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