• If you’ve ever wondered what’s going to happen with all of your prized possessions and your lifelong collection of antiques and valuables well let me tell you…it’s not pretty! Of course, we all hope that our children will cherish and appreciate the things that we do, and the things that we have, especially if they’re valuable. However, just go to any estate sale and you will find the truth. You’ll see heirlooms from an individual’s entire collection going up for sale, often at a fraction of its value, and usually by people who never knew the owner or the meaning of their collection. It’s sad, but often it’s just a financial transaction devoid of any sentimental value because the families were never involved in the hobby or collection.

    Every week we’d bring home new items and every week my mom would shake her head in disapproval and say, “What did you bring home now?”

    I’ve always loved antiques and appreciate anything with old world charm- from a time when people took pride in their workmanship. I remember driving around with my dad on Sundays, in his old beat-up work van, scouting around for garage sale signs. We’d call that “free-style picking” back in the day (pre-internet, of course) and I loved spending that time with my dad. Every week we’d bring home new items and every week my mom would shake her head in disapproval and say, “What did you bring home now?” My dad was always great at fixing items (electronics, furniture, etc.) and every week we’d have some new project to fix. Sometimes he would sell them for a profit, but more often than not, he would keep the more valuable items for his personal collection (but not to the level of a hoarder).

    Those memories are why I still love going to estate sales now.  Recently, I have been taking my kids with me now that they’re old enough to appreciate it. I take them for several reasons. Other than the obvious of spending quality time with them, it helps them learn about history in a whole different way and with a new motivation. Attributing value to learning always improves motivation and performance. Picking up items and having to look up their history is more motivating when it involves the potential for financial gain. The more rare, precious and historical significance an item has, the more valuable. It’s that simple! Secondly, it gives them various skills to negotiate prices and helps build their confidence and communication skills. I encourage them to negotiate some of the smaller deals on their own and often it works in our favor. Who can say no to a kid?  It also demonstrates the importance of recycling items and helps them understand how quality and workmanship equates to the longevity of an item. Finally, I’m hoping it helps them appreciate my collection, so it’s not simply tossed away or sold off at nominal prices (at least if they do, they better make a killing!). Often sentimental value associated with items is more important than monetary value. So pass the estate, garage and rummage sale bug on to your children. They will quickly learn that as in any other field, experience and knowledge of your product is what gives you the advantage. Make it a family event because it’s a great way to bond and you never know – you may uncover a lost Van Gogh masterpiece. Happy hunting!