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How to easily determine value.

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Dear collector types:

Please don’t read this post. It will only cause your blood pressure to rise. And I don’t want to be responsible for that. But if you insist on reading, please read the whole thing before you express your horror in the comments. My example in this post (as in all my posts) is personal and the decision I made is also personal. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I totally understand why someone would choose differently.

Whew- glad that disclaimer is over.

I’ve been working on a long ignored area of my home lately. As I get a little time here and there (sometimes only 20 minutes or so) I de clutter it.

Last week, I came across some plates I got a while back from my aunt. I love them, but bought the wrong size plate hanger and then never got back to putting them up.

I was re-inspired to hang them after having heard someone say how she twisted plate hangers to make them the right size.

But… if the plates are on the wall what do I do with their boxes?

My Aunt, the ultimate garage sale queen, had found the plates in their original boxes. With paper work and everything.

The original boxes were neat to see, but where should I store them? And the paper work for things I display?

Or a better question:

If I love the plates and don’t see the display as temporary, do I even need the boxes?

No, the answer is no. I personally have no need for the boxes. The plates are on the wall.

But… don’t the boxes increase their value?

Yes, technically, collectible items in their boxes are more valuable than the same items with out original boxes.

If my plan was to treat these plates as a collection that will one day be sold at an auction to fund my retirement, I would totally keep the boxes.

But I have no plans to part with them. They are items I love. I’m keeping them because they put a smile on my face.

And yet the value – related “what if’s” plagued my so easily plaguable brain.

At the same time, I had to answer these questions:\

  • If I keep the boxes, where in the world will I put them?
  • If I find a place to put them, how in the world will I remember where that place is?
  • And… If I do decide to get rid of the plates, will I really want to search through the entire house looking for the boxes? Wont that just prolong the already difficult decluttering process?
  • Here’s how I solved the dilemmas: I checked the value of the plates.

There’s a simple quick way to get a realistic idea of the value of items in your home. This is current, in the moment value that could be different in a different venue or at a different time, but it helped me make this decision.

Its called EBAY

Go to and search for your item. If its collectable, there likely an exact name on the back or bottom that will help you find that exact item listed on ebay.

After you find other items just like yours scroll down the page and click on “completed listings” on the left.

At this point, things get real.

Before I checked the box to see completed listings, I saw some people were starting some auctions at 40$ a set.

I know enough not to get excited about that. What someone wants for an item means nothing. The only thing that matters is how much people are actually willing to pay.

Even with boxes and paper work and everything.

The answer was, that boxes dont add significant value to these items.

And knowing that means I don’t have to store them.

And not having to store them means I can move forward ever so much more quickly with the over all de cluttering.

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